Just saw this show last night and it’s AMAZING. Takes place in Washington Heights, has songs but also a lot of amazing rapping and hip hop dancing. In general, I’m not a fan of musical theater because of the steadfast refusal to act, but in this show, the actors are actually acting on stage, even while singing — that, on top of the decent story line sucked me in. When I hear someone who can REALLY sing wail in a song, it gives me goose bumps. Man, if I could sing like that, I would NEVER shut up. I’d sing doing the dishes, getting ready for work, doing laundry, presenting a power point on cost savings, all of it.
The guy who wrote it as one of the leads and raps/spoken words his way through the show and he’s amazing and performs with heart. And the whole show is really different from Broadway, like it was good at capturing something about real life without Disneyfying it, so that there’s still something recognizeable of Washington Heights, Latin, urban/hip-hop culture on stage without being cheesy. Usually, when a show gets to Broadway, the soul gets completely steamrolled out of it (You know, like the version of “New York” on “Friends”), so I have no idea how they managed to pull this off.
P.S. And I know this is bad, but some of the show reminded me of a really good episode of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
P.P.S. The only “musical” moment I could see was when the grandmother character tells a girl that she sent her recipes so that she could remember “the flavor of life.” That made me throw up a little.