This past weekend, Festival Playhouse hosted In The Heights, a musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The cast of the musical made Kalamazoo College theatre history in being a first all person of color cast and selling out all shows that ran Thursday night through Sunday afternoon.
“Being in a musical is difficult, but very fun. I’ve spent so much time with the cast that we’ve grew closer into a huge family,” said cast member Jay Young ’19. “I felt love and motivation.”
Young said that much effort was put into character portrayal by everyone in the cast. “What made this play so successful is when we all sat down and had a 4-hour discussion about how we relate to the play and to characters in the play,” she said. “After the discussion, we had stronger bonds. Most of the cast identified with at least one of the following: student of color, first generation, struggle to feel home, and seeing a difficult change in their neighborhood. We all shared similar struggles, which drew us together.”
Cast member Natalie Vazquez ’17, also agreed with Young’s statement. “I had so much fun playing Carla and building my relationships on stage with other characters. It was an incredibly rewarding play to be a part of and a perfect way to end my time at K.”
Even with opening night being on a Thursday, the show sold out, which is history-making for Kalamazoo College theatre. With the great performance of the cast, crew, and orchestra, ticket reservations began to go quickly. “The play was so very popular because of the marketing team did an awesome job advertising in the Kalamazoo community,” Young said.
Young reminded that the cast encouraged their friends to come, as there was something so relatable about the story of In The Heights for many people on K’s campus. “Since the cast was so big, there was a lot of word of mouth spreading the word. The main idea to take away from this musical is to spread awareness of the gentrification that occurs in Washington Heights.”
“I think people came out to see In The Heights because we represented a different group of people on stage. It’s so promising to see how people came out,” Vazquez said.