You could say that Atlantis Productions strikes again with another moving musical this year — In the Heights. Although the play takes place in a bodega-ish area in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, the common Pinoy would easily relate to the culture of the community, and even the individual stories of its characters.
Imagine a typical day of Usnavi, a guy who lives in the neighborhood:
Lights up on Washington Heights, up at the break of day
I wake up and I got this little punk I gotta chase away
Pop the grate at the crack of dawn, sing
While I wipe down the awning
Hey ya’ll good morning
Daniel, a daddy who works hard to give his daughter a good education and a better life than his:
And I always knew
That she would fly away
That she was gonna change the world someday
I will not be the reason that my family can’t succeed
I will do what it takes
They’ll have everything they need
Or all my work, all my life
Everything I’ve sacrificed will have been useless
Nina, a college girl whom everyone looks up to, and who later on comes home after having quit school:
This is my street
I smile at the faces I’ve known all my life
They regard me with pride
And everyone’s sweet
They say, “You’re going places!”
So how can I say that while I was away, I had so much to hide!
Hey guys, it’s me!
The biggest disappointment you know
A lot of the issues involve making ends meet, the importance of family and home, getting educated — very Filipino indeed. They even have their own version of snow cones called piragua.
But among all, the most inspiring (and perhaps also my favorite) character would be Abuela Claudia, the woman who revels in the simple things of life and later on ***SPOILER WARNING*** wins the lottery:
And as I fed these birds
My hands begin to shake
And as I say these words
My heart’s about to break
And ay Mama
What do you do when your dreams come true?
I’ve spent my life inheriting dreams from you
What do I do with this winning ticket?
What can I do but pray?
I buy my loaf of bread
Continue with my day
And see you in my head
Imagining what you’d say
The birds, they fly away
Do they fly to La Vibora?
Alright, Mama, Okay.
Paciencia y fe!
Patience and Faith.
The last showing of In the Heights was actually today, but who knows, they might decide to show it again in the next couple of months. All I can give you at the moment is this sneak peek video from ASAP. The cast includes a rapping, hip-hopping Nyoy Volante (as Usnavi), Jackie Lou Blanco (as Camila) who surprised me with her lovely voice, Calvin Millardo (as Kevin) whom I must have seen in some other plays, and K-La Rivera (as Nina) whom I’ve never seen before but was very pleasant nevertheless.
Atlantis Productions was also responsible for moving me to tears a few months back through their heart-breaking heart-warming play, Next to Normal. This will be re-staged from October 7 to 16 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City. For tickets, call Atlantis Productions at 892-7078 or 840-1187 or Ticketworld at 891-9999. For info, visit www.atlantisproductions.com. If you have spare tickets, please give them to me, I wanna watch it again!