ShareThis Page
St. Joseph High School stages Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In the Heights’ | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

St. Joseph High School stages Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In the Heights’

Joyce Hanz

St. Joseph High School tackles a “new classic” — “In the Heights.”

Before “Hamilton” swept the musical theater world by storm there was “In the Heights.” Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music and lyrics, starring in both. “In the Heights” garnered numerous top industry honors including Best Musical, Choreography, Original Score and Orchestrations at the 2008 Tony Awards.

Anthony Fellowes, 20, returns to direct this year’s production and says he chose “In the Heights” for its message and the current popularity of “Hamilton.” The Harrison school’s show also suits his smaller cast, comprised of 19 St. Joe’s students and seven middle-school students from area schools. The show is set April 4-7, with all performances at the Casino Theater in Vandergrift.

“In the Heights” not only showcases major changes in these character’s lives that resonate with each audience member, but it advocates for change in human empathy,” Fellows says. “This is a community from all backgrounds and they come together in desperate times to love and lift each other up. I think that is the most important thing to be teaching our kids in today’s world.”

Making his musical theater debut is senior Daniel Fabregas in the lead role of Usnavi De La Vega, owner of a local bodega (corner store). Senior Julia Singleton wraps up her St. Joe’s musical journey as Nina Rosario, a not-so-successful college student returning home.

“It’s non-stop — the energy of the show,” Singleton says. “And the show has a deep message of family and community coming together that I think everyone can relate to. It’s also challenging for the cast because it does require so much energy and hip-hop and rapping isn’t something most people can just naturally do.”

Additional leads for the production are Brody Porter as Benny, Alex Babilon as Vanessa, Julia Ammon as Camila Rosario, Sam Shadle as Kevin Rosario, Olivia Jesse as Daniela, Hannah Laskowski as Carla, Isabella Maritz as Abuela Claudia, Anabel Stickney as Sonny, Olivia DiNatale as Graffiti Pete and Mary-Kate Schratz as Piragua Guy.

Contemporary and energetic, the musical is set in Washington Heights, a diverse upper Manhattan neighborhood of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean.

“The dance numbers are a ton of fun and the choreography was one of the most challenging parts of this show,” Fellowes says.

For Fabregas, learning the musical theater ropes is a departure from his familiar sports world.

“I tried out for the fall cabaret, spent two months rehearsing with this group of people and I really found myself enjoying it,” Fabregas says. “This is different from my traditional path of sports but I’ve made so many friends and close connections that I am thankful for. Theater is 100 percent harder (than sports) it’s not even close. The amount of time you have to spend, because it’s not natural to me like sports is, but this — first year doing a musical — it doesn’t even compare.”

Details: our.show/sjheights

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.