“In the Heights” is not only one of the Thespians’ biggest shows in terms of production value but also in terms of collaborative efforts. “In the Heights” is based off of the playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin Manuel Miranda’s personal experiences growing up in Washington Heights in Manhattan on 183rd Street.
While Washington Heights is mainly a Hispanic community, and the Thespians wanted to keep the play as authentic as possible. To maintain this diversity, the Thespians reached out to multiple student organizations for non-Thespians. Through the outreach to other Penn State clubs, 50 percent of the “In the Heights” cast are not involved in the Thespians.
Organizations that were involved in the cast include Sigma Lambda Gamma, Ballroom Dance Club, S.MA.R.T and World in Conversation. The thespians are happy that this production is a Penn State effort rather then just a thespian effort.
Director Anne-Marie Pietersma says, “This show is a combination of many efforts with a purpose to not only bring a good show to Penn State but highlight the importance of keeping cultural diversity alive.”
“It’s been a lot of work, but every bit of it the past five months has paid off. The cast has been working so hard, and they deserve a huge crowd,” says Pietersma.
Production manager Emma Gregory says that she is proud of the diversity and different backgrounds this cast has to offer. Gregory also says that the show is not a traditional musical.
“If you don’t like typical musicals you might like ‘In the Heights’,” Gregory says.
Shows will be performed Thursday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m., Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 5 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $4.99 for students and faculty and $12 for the general public. Tickets will be available online (www.psuthespians.com), at the HUB or at the door.