This afternoon we drove over to Mill Valley to see the youth production of In The Heights at the Throckmorton Theatre. I’ve never been to this theatre before, but I’m definitely going back. I found out about the show when I saw an instagram post by a young actor I’ve seen twice now at A.C.T.’s Strand. I love supporting the teens, especially now as I prepare for the 70th anniversary of my youth theatre group.
When we booked our tickets, I forgot to check my calendar. I had planned to do the March for Our Lives in San Francisco. We didn’t change the date, because I felt the kids deserved a good audience. The performance dates were set before the march was organized, and the show must go on! When I placed my ticket order on the theatre website, I requested aisle seats but then noticed the seating was general admission. At Will Call, we discovered that they had reserved seats for us on the aisle in the front row, facing the step unit where some of nicest moments in the show were staged. We couldn’t have asked for better customer service. The theatre itself is adorable; I especially like the painted ceiling over the seats.
This was my first time seeing In The Heights. I’ve been listening to the cast album, so I was familiar with the songs and some of the storylines. Because the theatre is intimate, I appreciated the decision not to use heavy age makeup on the teens playing older roles. The talented performers like Jasmyne Brice as Abuela Claudia conveyed the age of their characters just fine without it. The role of Kevin Rosario is the perhaps the most challenging for a teen to play, and Javier Vicuna Kevin was excellent. Some of the lead roles were double cast for different performances. We had the delightful John Diaz as Usnavi. Both Anna Vorperian ( Vanessa) and Chloe Rodrigues (Nina) were lovely. Sassy Asal Takesh rocked as Daniela, while Gia Asher-Lagleva (Carla) was winsome and soulful. I would love to see the other cast perform these roles, but the show closes tomorrow. Fergus Campbell was both funny and touching as Benny, and feisty Anaya Smith-Orr shone as Camila Rosario. Sleiman Elahmadieh made the most of his role as Piragua Guy, as did Sam Yolles as Graffiti Pete. Kavi Subramanyan, the actor from the A.C.T. Young Conservatory, was a live-wire as Sonny. We enjoyed his cocky energy and his cheeky grin. The ensemble was diverse and spirited and thoroughly entertaining.
I was very impressed with the storefront set designed by Steve Coleman. The choreography by Stacey Printz made the most of the different levels and the relatively small stage for such a large ensemble of dancers. Director Kevin Allen did an excellent job staging the show and bringing out the best from his cast. I got to talk to him during the intermission, and his enthusiasm was infectious. And, after the performance, I finally got to meet Kavi!
As soon as we got home, I put myself on the Throckmorton mailing list. I’m looking forward to another musical at the Throck!