The Marian Players recently began rehearsals for their upcoming spring musical, “In The Heights.” The troupe has been working on getting the rights for the ambitious project since attending the Broadway production on a club excursion to New York in 2009.
“’In the Heights’ changed me,” said Marian Player Mason Spong. “It is one of the most exciting things I have ever witnessed, and I cannot wait to perform the play during my last year here.”
“In The Heights” tells the story of a vibrant Hispanic community nestled at the very top of Manhattan. The riveting story takes you on a journey through three days and three generations of the community. There are family and financial issues, love stories, and the underlying theme that is woven throughout the musical — the search for home. The show’s Latin and hip-hop influenced Tony Award-winning score keeps audiences on the edge of their seats. The show was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and won four, including Best Musical and Best Score.
With all this to live up to, the show proves to be one of the most ambitious musicals the Marian Players have ever attempted. The complexity of the score prompted the Marian Players to attempt something totally new. For the first time, the music in the show will be played from a professional computer program that uses over 30 instruments to produce a Broadway-like sound. This is a huge change from the live band that usually plays the accompaniment.
“With the progression of technology today, it just seemed like it was time to take the show to the next step. A bit of a leap of faith,” said James Killeen, music technician for the Marian Players production. “All of the instruments, quality, mixing and sound design that went into the Broadway production can now be reproduced at the high school level.”
The show also calls for one of the largest and most complex sets the group has ever constructed. In addition, the amount of choreography calls for two separate dance instructors, one specializing in hip-hop. With all the dancing in the play, the new music system proved critical to making the show come together.
“Aside from the level of detail that opens up for the cast members with the rehearsal software, the dancers can have access to all the same cues, tempos and rhythms as the rest of the cast. So far, it has proven to make the process of learning the show more efficient for everyone,” said Killeen.
The Marian Players are undergoing a very intense rehearsal schedule to prepare for the show’s mid-March opening. Tickets will be available as the show’s opening draws nearer.