ST. MARY’S SCHOOL-NAIROBI
PRODUCER-Mr. Peter Macharia
DIRECTOR-Mrs. Jackie Kasuku
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR-Ms. Mary Owuor, Mr. Cliff Ouma
MUSIC DIRECTION- Danson Kiundi
VOCAL DIRECTION- Rogers Wandhala, Ms. Eunice Kanyi
In the Heights by Lyrics Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes
In the musical In the Heights, we encounter the many colorful residents of Washington Heights — a New York City neighborhood on the brink of change. Usnavi, a first generation Dominican-American corner bodega ((in the US) small groceries shop, especially in a Spanish-speaking neighbourhood) owner, and his friends and family are dealing with the pressures of rising rents and closing neighborhood businesses. As one family struggles to figure out how to pay for an Ivy League tuition for their brilliant and hardworking daughter, a young woman is trying to put a down payment on a new apartment, and Usnavi himself is trying to get back to the Dominican Republic to reconnect with his roots after the death of his parents. In Washington Heights, community is everything, and we see how each of these individuals struggles to survive and how these same individuals come together as a community to mourn their losses and rejoice in their triumphs. Over the course of the show, we see the hard-working residents of Washington Heights grapple with love and lust, identity and racism, all while the prospect of a winning lottery ticket hangs in the air, potentially changing the livelihoods of the people and the community forever. This revolutionary new musical combines Latin rhythms and dance with hip-hop lyrics to tell a captivating story about what it means to chase your dreams as you cling to your roots, and to celebrate the community from which you grew.
MUSICALS DONE BY ST. MARY’S SCHOOL
|The Pirates of Penzance||1972, 1982, 1994|
|Yaomen of Guard||1974|
|The King and I||1985, 2004|
|My Fair Lady||1988|
|Cool in the Furnace||1991|
|Fiddler on the Roof||1993|
|Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat||1994,2008,2018|
|The Government Inspector (Straight Play)||1995|
|Sound of Music||1997|
|Down Memory Lane Jubilee Concert||1999|
|The Music Man||2005|
|Once on this Island||2019|
- Usnavi — Tinashe Emmanuel Mpariwa
- Nina — Gabrielle Andia/Joy Mungai
- Benny — Allan Mukundi Karundo
- Sonny — Gabriel Jude Mulaa
- Vanessa — Michelle Nthambi Kituku
- Kevin — Matulai Muumbi
- Camila — Abigail Kibe
- Abuela Claudia — Elizabeth Hope Nakoye
- Graffiti Pete — matthew Muathime
- Piragua Guy — Leon Brian
- Carla — Debbie Wacuka Maina
- Daniela — Kenda Neema Maye
The Story of In the Heights
Please note, this synopsis contains spoiler alerts.
Welcome to summer in Manhattan: it’s stuffy, it’s sweaty, and it’s hot. The air smells of fruity popsicles and taxi exhaust fumes, and everyone’s mildly annoyed all the time because their shirts keep sticking to their backs. But here, on a familiar corner in the Washington Heights neighborhood (whose inhabitants are a majority of immigrants and families of color, far uptown from the Times Square tourists and the bohemian chic boutiques of the downtown crowd), neighbors and friends are about to experience a momentous day in their community, and we’ve got front-row seats.
Our narrator, bodega owner Usnavi de la Vega, welcomes us to his home turf and introduces us to some of his people. We meet Abuela Claudia, a neighborhood matriarch who raised Usnavi, and Sonny, his sluggish cousin. There’s Daniela and Carla, proprietors of the local salon, as well as Kevin and Camila Rosario, who manage a cab service. Today, the Rosarios’ daughter Nina is coming home from Stanford University with a secret she’s ashamed of: She lost her academic scholarship because she couldn’t keep her grades up while working two jobs to maintain her tuition payments. Nina and her parents’ employee Benny, who runs the taxi dispatch, reconnect and dance around their long-repressed romantic feelings for one another — much like Usnavi and Vanessa, an employee at Daniela’s salon who’s trying to realize her dream of getting out of The Heights and into an upscale apartment.
When Nina comes clean to her parents, her father Kevin is thrown into emotional turmoil. Nina seeks solace in friendship, and the women at the salon give her a cheer-up makeover and gossip session. As the day turns to evening, Usnavi closes his shop and discovers that his bodega sold the winning lottery ticket worth $96,000. The whole ensemble sings about what they would do with that kind of cash. Quietly, Abuela Claudia reminisces about her difficult childhood in Cuba and her story of immigrating to the USA. She then reveals she’s the lottery winner.
The Rosarios host all of Nina’s friends for a dinner party, where Kevin announces he’s sold the taxi company to pay Nina’s tuition. Benny is furious Kevin didn’t give him a chance to buy the business, and Nina takes Benny’s side. Meanwhile, Usnavi’s date with Vanessa goes poorly. As many of the characters converge in the same dance club, all the tensions between them come to a head. Just as a fight breaks out in the club, a classic New York City electrical blackout shrouds the neighborhood in total darkness. Chaos ensues, with looters and dangerous individuals taking temporary control of The Heights. As the scary part of the night wears on, some good comes out: Usnavi and Abuela Claudia reunite and discuss the winning ticket, and Benny and Nina finally confirm their love.
The next morning, Kevin is frantic and furious because Nina spent the night at Benny’s place. Usnavi is dismayed to find his bodega was looted, but then Abuela Claudia tells him to take a third of her winnings and realize his dream of returning home to the Dominican Republic. It’s a hard decision, but he agrees. The heat remains oppressive, and the damage of the blackout has everyone on edge. Daniela calls for a neighborhood celebration to clear the air. The block party starts well, but then Vanessa faces the sad fact that Usnavi is choosing to leave the country. Usnavi’s cousin Sonny is having a tough time — turns out he’s in love with Nina too — but is comforted that Abuela Claudia and Usnavi plan to give him a third of the money and let him run the bodega.
Then, in a horrible moment of breaking news, we discover that Abuela Claudia has died suddenly. The residents immediately host an impromptu memorial service, and everyone comes together again. Vanessa finds out that Usnavi has secretly used part of Abuela Claudia’s money to help her lease a new apartment out of The Heights. She pleads with him to stay in New York, but he’s resolved to leave. Nina and Benny decide to pursue their relationship despite Kevin’s disapproval, and Sonny puts a secret plan in motion.
A day later, everything’s different: the car service is gone and the bodega is a mess. But as Usnavi prepares to leave, Sonny surprises him by having had a mural painted on the bodega honoring the life and legacy of Abuela Claudia. The gesture unlocks something inside Usnavi, and he decides to stay, having realized The Heights truly is his home, whether he was born there or not. The neighborhood residents reunite and resolve to move forward together and try to help one another make the future bright.
—Compiled by Literary Manager Benjamin Fainstein