The Musical “In the Heights” is “West Side Story” Meets “Rent”

“In the Heights,” only playing through January 15 at the Oriental Theatre, is a wildly vibrant show that will win the heart of just about any theatergoer.

Not only is the show acclaimed—it won 4 Tony Awards in 2008, including Best Musical, and the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album—but also it’s well executed in this national tour.

The story of the tightly knit Manhattan neighborhood of Washington Heights, filled with striving immigrant families, is told through funky, energetic dancing; alternately catchy and touching songs that often feature some Spanish; and even some hip-hop. There are also plenty of cross-cultural laughs.

The strong ensemble filled with soaring and effervescent voices includes Perry Young as the corner bodega owner, Usnavi; Presilah Nunez as his love interest, Vanessa; Virginia Cavaliere as Nina, the daughter of an immigrant family who has dropped out of Stanford; Celina Clarich Polanco as Nina’s mother, Camila; Christina Aranda as Nina’s Abuela Claudia; and Katherine Brady and Tauren Hagans as neighborhood gals Carla and Daniela.

Two different love stories—between Usnavi and Vanessa, and Nina and her father’s employee Benny, keep the audience’s interest peaked.

For tickets to “In the Heights,” playing at the Oriental Theatre at 24 W. Randolph St. through January 15, visit or call Ticketmaster at 1-800-775-2000.