Sac State theater department prepares for ‘In the Heights’ musical

Cast learns music, lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda


Aaron Jackson - The State Hornet

In the Heights’ cast warm up for rehearsal. Musical set to premiere March 28. The musical, directed by Ed Brazo, is about a latina girl who gets accepted into Stanford University.

Aaron Jackson

“In the Heights,” a musical featuring the writing of Lin-Manuel Miranda, is Sacramento State’s next theater production that is set to premiere on March 28.

The musical, written by Quiara Alegria Hudes, tells the story of how Nina, “a young Latina girl, gets accepted to Stanford University and has to work while in school because her family is poor,” according to Ed Brazo, director of the show.

Brazo, who is also a professor of musical theatre at Sac State, is happy with the students’ performance thus far.

“For me, as a director, this is a more modern production that I’m not used to,” Brazo said.

Actors are currently being taught the music and lyrics, which were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda is the creator of the Broadway show “Hamilton” which premiered in 2015. Students are also getting assistance from guest vocal director Luann Higgs.

“It’s kind of like a rock opera in that the music just doesn’t stop,” Brazo said. “The students are really identifying with it.”

William Schmidt, who plays “Piragua Guy,” said he has taken particular interest in the musical.

“This is such an important show,” Schmidt said. “I’m excited to see these cultures that aren’t often represented in musicals being represented in this way on our stage and campus that is so diverse.”

Brazo does expect there to be obstacles and challenges throughout the production.

“The biggest challenge so far is scheduling,” Brazo said. “Students have night classes and have to work. Once we get the show going it’s not so bad because everyone will already have a couple of rehearsals.”

Some actors, like sophomore Samaria Sylvester, playing Carla, have said they have had their own challenges with learning some parts of the musical.

“Learning salsa for the first time has been fun, but also stressful,” Sylvester said. “I love musical theater so it’s a fun challenge.”

“In the Heights” will run for three weeks through April 14. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $18 for students.