"Tons of energy!"
That's how the cast describes In the Heights, a musical set to take the stage in the Ursuline College theatre.
"It's very upbeat," says Grade 9 student Syndnee Chinnick, who portrays the character 'Vanessa' in the play. "It's high energy and there's lots of singing and dancing in this production. I'm excited to be part of it ... I can't wait for opening day!"
Jack Gillis, a Grade 12 student and veteran of previous UCC productions, says this play is very different from past performances.
"With so much singing and dancing, it's a bit of a stretch for me," he says. "But I'm having fun. And audiences will love the music - it's so unique and different from anything we've every done before."
In the Heights is a musical with songs and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote the award-winning Broadway play Hamilton. The story is set over the course of three days, and involves characters in the largely Hispanic-American neighbourhood of Washington Heights in New York City.
"Some people call it a modern day Fiddler On the Roof," says Lindsay Dunlop, a teacher at UCC and director of the production. "The audience is going to love the fantastic dance numbers and the great music - everything from ballads to fun hip-hop raps."
The production involves 28 actors, about 20 members of the orchestra and more than 26 behind-the-scenes crew, including make-up, costumes, lighting and sound.
The curtain goes up on In the Heights in April. Afternoon matinees are scheduled for community partners and Grade 5 to 8 students in Chatham-Kent's Catholic elementary schools from April 9th to 12th. Evening performances for the general public begin on April 10th and run through the 13th, beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Ursuline College theatre. Tickets are $20 and are available at the UCC Box Office; or by calling 519-351-2987.
In the photo above, cast member Jack Gillis performs a scene from 'In the Heights' -- Photo Courtesy of The Chatham Voice.