‘In the Heights’ gets an encore production

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Courtesy flyer.

Courtesy flyer.

Broadway’s “migrant musical” is taking a curtain call in the land of immigration. South County theatre-goers, who missed the Sweetwater Union High School District production of Tony Award-winner “In the Heights” in San Ysidro this summer, will get a second chance at Southwestern College this month.

Set in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan, “In the Heights” is a musical mural of the lives and relationships of an immigrant neighborhood.

Director Ruff Yeager said the 2007 musical is as relevant as ever.

“The immigrant is looming large in our national and global dialogue,” he said. “This play speaks to those issues. Even though it centers on the Latino immigrant experience, I think its message is universal and especially relevant today. Many in our student population are second or third generation immigrants and it’s important to me to tell that story.”

Usnavi, a small bodega owner, runs his business while tending to an aging Cuban woman who serves as the matriarch of the vibrant neighborhood. Usnavi sings and raps of winning the lottery and retiring to the beaches of his native country, the Dominican Republic. He also pines for a beautiful girl who works in a beauty salon next door. Meanwhile, Nina returns from her freshman year at Stanford with troubling news.

Yeager said he hopes to spur change through this production.

“In an educational setting, working with young people, I think we have a responsibility to embrace the social aspect of our art and encourage change,” he said. “Why else do art if not to change the world in a positive way? This is our positive protest.”

“In the Heights” runs Oct. 14 – Oct. 25 at Mayan Hall. Tickets are $8 for students.

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