At Tampa Prep's production of "In The Heights," Terrapin thespians transported the audience to the vibrant New York City community of Washington Heights — a place where the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music.
The main character, Usnavi, played by junior Ryan Charest, is a first generation Dominican-American dealing with the struggles of paying rent, closing neighborhood businesses and the loss of his parents. He is cared for by the neighborhood grandmother, Abuela Claudia, played by sophomore Alondra Rios, but dreams of the day he can return to the Dominican Republic and reconnect with his roots.
Usnavi's cousin Sonny (freshman Dylan Mann) and his best friend, Benny, (senior Elijah Watson) run the neighborhood business and tease Usnavi about his crush on Vanessa (senior Bianca Rivera-Irions).
Kevin (junior Casey Gloekl) and Camila Rosarios (senior Natalie Ise) run the local cab company but struggle to pay tuition for their brilliant, hardworking daughter, Nina, (senior Angela Vari) to attend the Ivy League Sanford University. Daniela (senior Nikki Monson) and Carla (senior Drew McCullough) are gossip queens who work in the neighborhood salon. Over the course of the show, a combination of Latin rhythms and hip-hop lyrics tell a captivating story of chasing a dream while holding on to and celebrating where you come from.
Tampa Prep's impressive performers left the audience in awe with each scene. All members of the cast, including senior Caleb Quezon as the Piragua Guy, junior Lauren Kelly as Graffiti Pete, small ensemble and large ensemble were seen providing support and backup to each member of the performance.
The entire cast and crew should be applauded for another fantastic production. With many students involved in other various activities at the same time, they still performed like professionals during the production of "In the Heights."