Getting to Know You: “The King and I” Inspires and Delights at the Times-Union Center November 13-18

Getting to Know You: “The King and I” Inspires and Delights at the Times-Union Center November 13-18

Energetic, engaging, and entertaining from the overture through the reprise, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I opened Tuesday, November 13 at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Jacksonville. Offering a riveting and visually enthralling adventure, The King and I triumphantly inspires and delights young and old alike. The show runs from November 13-18, 2018.

tue13nov(nov 13)7:30 pmsun18(nov 18)10:00 pmFeaturedRodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and IBroadway in Jacksonville7:30 pm – 10:00 pm (18) Times Union Center for the Performing Arts, Moran Theatre

Based on the 1944 semi-biographical novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, The King and I is a familiar story that has appeared on the big screen numerous times over the decades. For many, the 1999 adaptation Anna and the King starring Jodie Foster and Yun-Fat Chow likely served as their first introduction to the tale of Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam. Rodger & Hammerstein’s The King and I will be recognizable to film fans, though it presents the timeless tale in a powerful and unique manner only live theater can accomplish.  

Anna in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, “The King & I” is presented by the FSCJ Artist Series Broadway
Photo by Jeremy Daniel

The year is 1862. Anna Leonowens (played by Angela Baumgardner) is a strong-willed British schoolteacher and a widow who comes to Bangkok at the request of the King of Siam (played by Pedro Ka ‘Awaloa) to educate his many children. She’s part of his bold plan to modernize his nation.

Read interview with Angela Baumgardner here: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘The King & I’: A Treasured Heirloom Comes to Jacksonville Nov. 13-18

Anna finds herself in a world completely unlike her own in this East vs. West drama, yet she refuses to be intimidated by the king and his representatives. When her contract is violated, she does not relent in demanding rectification. The British schoolteacher quickly comes to adore the Siamese princes and princesses in her care. Yet cultural differences, the King’s ego-centric and macho personality, and the demeaning treatment of Siamese women prevent Anna from getting too comfortable.

Through her consistent kindness and perseverance, Anna and the King begin to respect and understand one another. Despite their differences, an unlikely friendship blooms. When she learns the British plan to take over Siam as a protectorate and that the King is portrayed as barbaric in the West, she’s outraged and helps him entertain the British envoy and prove to the world that the King, despite his flaws, is a leader deserving their respect. Anna witnesses true growth in the King of Siam. Drama and differences ensue, but in the end true progress is made and the future of Siam looks to be brighter and more accepting.

The King of Siam and Anna Leonowens in Rodgers & Hammerstein's King and I. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, “The King & I” is presented by the FSCJ Artist Series Broadway

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s musical adaptation of The King and I was born when Gertrude Lawrence, who wanted to play the leading role, brought Landon’s novel to their attention in the 1940s. Both Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s wives wanted to see the book brought to life on stage as well. When the gentlemen saw a screening of the 1946 film adaptation, they finally came around to the idea. There was certainly plenty to write about—Eastern vs. Western civilization, female vs. male dynamics, despotism vs. democracy, and so much more. The King and I became the most expensive Rodgers & Hammerstein production to date, debuting on Broadway on March 29, 1951.

This classic Broadway musical has enjoyed a revival recently, transporting a new generation of theatergoers to 1860s Siam. The FSCJ Artist Series musical production masterfully does just that. While at times uncomfortable in an age of political correctness, theatergoers find themselves in a riveting and decidedly foreign world of colonialism and the Orient. The sets, costumes, lighting, and sound captivate the imagination and draw theatergoers into this magical, mystical world so foreign from our own.  Familiar songs like “Getting to Know You, “Shall We Dance,” “Something Wonderful,” and “Whistle a Happy Tune” delight the audience and inspire rousing applause. Producing a well-known Broadway favorite for a modern audience was a monumental task, yet Restaging Director Shelley Butler succeeded beautifully at the Times-Union Center in this breathtaking Broadway musical based on the 2015 Tony Award-winning Lincoln Center Theater production.   

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I , FSCJ Artist Series, Jennifer Melville

We attended the 17th Annual Family Night on Broadway at the Opening Night of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I and the atmosphere was instantly engaging. Events such as these encourage the entire family to come out and enjoy fine theater close to home. We arrived an hour before show time to participate in a variety of kid-friendly activities. The children learned the difference between horns and antlers at the Jacksonville Zoo table, decorated an elephant with MOSH, crafted floating candles at the Jax4Kids booth, made noisy kazoos at the Jacksonville Science Festival table, and thoroughly enjoyed the Green Screen Photo Shoot sponsored by PRI. If you have kids or grandchildren of any age and want to take them to a Broadway musical, I absolutely recommend attending Family Night for any FSCJ Artist Series Broadway in Jacksonville production. We thoroughly enjoyed the festivities and my young theatergoers remained gainfully occupied in the antsy time before the performance began.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I , FSCJ Artist Series, Jennifer Melville
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I , FSCJ Artist Series, Jennifer Melville

The children were instantly captivated as a ship sailed into Bangkok through the mist at the musical’s opening and they found the princes and princesses of Siam to be the best part of the production. I was worried that themes like colonialism, polygamy, and period-accurate degradation of women would be too heavy for them, but the musical was so tastefully arranged and the unconventional heroine so charmingly portrayed and empowering that we enjoyed the production from beginning to end. The experience sparked later discussions about history, social roles, and other challenging concepts. Fine art inspires and challenges the viewer; that’s part of its power.

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I , FSCJ Artist Series, Jennifer Melville

My young teen walked away with a new passion for a story she previously disliked.  My younger theatergoers (ages 10 and 8) enjoyed the dancers very much, though they were quite wiggly and restless by intermission. It’s a long night indeed. The show started at 7:30 PM and wrapped up with a rousing ovation around 10 pm.   Based on content, length, and weeknight performance time, I would recommend this production for ages 10 and up. Of course, there will always be exceptions. My younger kids enjoyed it, but my oldest got more out of the experience and did not spend the second half wiggling in her seat or yawning dramatically. As a musical theater fan, I personally enjoyed every second. The pitch-perfect musical score made my heart sing and I found the stage crafting absolutely breathtaking.

Two vastly different worlds collide in amusing, at-times shocking, and captivating ways in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I.  There’s something for everyone. If you’re a long-time fan, you’ll appreciate how beautifully it’s brought to life here in Jacksonville and the music will tempt you to sing along. If you’ve never seen it before, prepare for an experience you’ll never forget. Whether attending as a family, with friends, on a date, or as a solitary Broadway enthusiast, The King and I at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts is a world-class experience simply too beautiful to miss.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/11/14/the-king-and-i-times-union-center/


Rodgers & Hammerstein’s ‘The King & I’: A Treasured Heirloom Comes to Jacksonville

Like many beloved Broadway musicals, the story of “The King & I” has traveled through decades and across oceans like a treasured heirloom passed down from generation to generation. Based on the true story of Anna Leonowens in 1860’s Bangkok, its carries with it the truths of the cultures reflected in this extraordinary telling.

“The King & I” is presented by the FSCJ Artist Series Broadway in Jacksonville November 13th-18th in the Times-Union Center’s Moran Theater (www.artistseriesjax.com). The musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British school teacher whom the modernist King brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children. Considered one of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s finest works, The King & I boasts a score of such classics as ‘Getting To Know You,’ ‘I Whistle a Happy Tune,’ ‘Hello Young Lovers,’ ‘Shall We Dance’ and ‘Something Wonderful.’

Angela Baumgardner was familiar with story long before she auditioned for the role of Anna. As a child, she’d traced her fingers along its intricate details and dreamed of its exotic beauty. She didn’t know how or even why, but she felt that she was destined to one day experience that magic as her own.

“It’s such an iconic role. The beauty of it is that I’ve gotten to see this production, the 2015 Tony Award-winning production from Lincoln Center, so I was already captured by this particular interpretation. For me, any acting piece that I do, I look at what parts of her character resonate with me. Even since 2015, there have been several different Annas, and everyone is different because every person is different. For me, the biggest thing that stands out is her strength. I don’t think there is a weak bone in her body, except maybe for the children, and I can totally relate to that as well.”

“[During] her struggle in Siam and with all that is going on, she is strong in her beliefs and her principles. There are moments that she just wants to leave, but it’s for the sake of the children that she always stays. There was a point in my life, too, when I just had this revelation that everything we do is all about the next generation, and I see that in Anna. She has a sense of destiny and a sense of purpose, even in going to Siam, even in accepting the King’s offer. And what she is able to do there is invest in and impact the next generation, specifically the next King. She’s given this great offering, and I think that’s what captured me even in the rehearsal process with the children and the young prince, soon-to-be king.”

The masterful score by Rodgers & Hammerstein sets the tone of the course and brings the audiences along for the journey which exists in a space all its own. As in most of the productions scored by the brilliant team, there is a political undercurrent that runs alongside stories of forbidden love, differences in class and clashes in culture.

The King of Siam and Anna Leonowens in Rodgers & Hammerstein's King and I. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, “The King & I” is presented by the FSCJ Artist Series Broadway
Photo by Jeremy Daniel

“There’s a challenge that every couple is facing, and there’s always a political thing as well. In “Cinderella,” yes, it’s a class difference, and the prince that will become a king. In “The Sound of Music,” it’s set against the backdrop of a Nazi invasion. In Siam, it’s the clash of cultures and Anna trying to exert herself as an equal, but there is no equal to the king. He is worshiped as a god.  I grew up on Rodgers and Hammerstein. I’m from Oklahoma, so every child performed in Oklahoma. We’re one of the ony states with a musical written about us. I’ve grown up with all these stories and loved all the stories since I was a child. What I loved about the relationships is they are so multi-dimensional. There’s an attraction, but there’s the high stakes of who she is and who he is. In “The King & I,” it’s an intellectual attraction and respect and admiration.”

The chemistry between actors is important in order to deliver an authentic performance and be believable in the portrayal of the characters. The connection between Anna and the King exists in the restraint of propriety and the electricity charged by an underlying sexual tension rippling beneath the surface – in a family friendly way, of course.

Before she’d won the role, before she’d even auditioned, Baumgardner met the future prince outside the backstage door of the iconic Lincoln Center where “The King & I” captivated audiences with its Tony Award-winning run. Pedro Ka’ Awaloa was auditioning for the part of the future King and the two entered together as a pair of young hopefuls with a destiny to fulfill.

Anna in Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King and I. Photo by Jeremy Daniel, “The King & I” is presented by the FSCJ Artist Series Broadway
Photo by Jeremy Daniel

“With any actor you play against, you have to like them. During my audition process, there was only one being that I ever auditioned with, and that was Pedro. Our audition was actually at Lincoln Center, which never happens. You’re always auditioning at some studio or rehearsal space. For both us, I’d never been inside Lincoln Center backstage, so just to be there was incredible. We first met outside the backstage door, and we shared this moment together walking in, and they took us into this rehearsal hall, and said ‘ok, you two are going to read together.’ So already there was this excitement and energy, and it worked right away,” says Baumgardner.

“We had a great first introduction, and were able to build off that during the rehearsal process. And seeing each other grow in the role has just taken it to another level. The audience sees the finished product, but we’re investing hours in every scene and every nuance. It’s been a treat to see how our performances together, and our reactions and chemistry and tensions together, grow every time we go back to the scene. It thrills me to know what the audience is going to get to experience based on the time we’ve put in together.”

Remembering that little girl in Oklahoma, Baumgardner relishes the time on stage with her youngest castmates. She imagines the experience through their young eyes and the memories they will carry on through their lives. It’s the same feeling she gets when she catches the moment the music strikes a chord with a young audience member. She remembers that spark and is grateful for the opportunity to not only share this amazing journey but to ignite the passion for storytelling and music.

“For them to write this musical in the 50’s, and for it to still have such an impact today is incredible. It is a gift to share this with the next generation, just as I learned it when I was a kid. It’s a timeless story and a show that has something for everyone.”

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/11/08/rodgers-hammersteins-the-king-i/


The Sounds of Simon & Garfunkel, One Night Only on Oct 26

They were unlikely rock stars, the antithesis of the traditional paradigm, who took the world by storm as 60’s folk heroes. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel spoke to generations as counterculture icons of the social revolution and were one of the best-selling artists of the era.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story comes to Jacksonville for one night only on October 26th at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts. Presented by the FSCJ Artist Series, the production traces the history of the duo’s the storied career with projection photos, original film footage, and a full band performing such hits as ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘Cecilia,’ ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ and ‘Homeward Bound’ with Taylor Bloom as Paul Simon and Ben Cooley as Art Garfunkel.

A New York native and triple threat, Bloom was excited to audition for the role of Simon because, unlike his typical acting calls, he was able to stretch beyond a scripted play and occasional singing role and demonstrate his skills on guitar. He was a casual fan of Simon & Garfunkel, and because of growing up hearing artists like Cat Stephens and James Taylor, Bloom understood the context of the era.

“Before I got involved with the show, I liked them the way most people do. I knew a handful of their hits like ‘America,’ ‘Cecelia,’ ‘The Boxer’ and things like that. That’s one of the reasons I love this show so much, because, working on it, I discovered this whole other catalog that I grew to love so much,” he says.

Simon Garfunkel, Taylor Bloom
Taylor Bloom

“I performed with this show last year, so this is my second tour. I’m able to focus more when I’m playing to get the sound right, trying to emulate vocally what Paul Simon sounds like when he sings. I can focus more on the beauty of the music and less on the technical aspects and trying to stay in tempo with the band. I’ve performed the songs so many times, and I love them. You’d think I’d get tired of them, but, at home after the tour, I listen to the music just to listen to it.”

Bloom says learning the history of Simon & Garfunkel from the early days, performing as the duo Tom & Jerry, to the architects of the songs that defined a generation helped inform his delivery of the music, but also offered a fresh perspective for writing and performing music.

“I recently read the biography of Paul Simon and his process, not necessarily how he writes the songs but the mentality that goes into songwriting. It made me think a lot about my own songwriting and performing of music. It also got me into listening to Paul Simon’s solo records which are awesome. I just feel so comfortable with the music now, so I feel that I can add something more to it.”

While ‘Sounds of Silence’ is his favorite Simon & Garfunkel song, Bloom admits it’s not always his favorite number to perform in the show. The energy of the audience helps to influence the energy of the band and the performers.

“It’s funny because I feel like it changes. Some nights I’ll really enjoy playing a song like ‘Keep the Customer Satisfied.’ When the band really digs into it, it’s so much fun. On the other hand, sometimes when we play ‘The Boxer,’ you can just see the way it reaches out and touches the audience,” he says.

Simon & Garfunkel

“Everyone brings in so much of themselves. The music means something very specific to them, so, if we play a song, like when Ben sings ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ which he does beautifully, it’s amazing because everyone in the audience heard that song, and it brings back memories of something they’ve gone through in their life. It’s such an incredible opportunity, and we’re so fortunate to be able to enjoy that.”

The Simon & Garfunkel Story is a retrospective of their career together, but it also touches briefly on the pair’s acrimonious split. It would be hard to ignore the sad elephant in the room, but the production is a designed as a celebration and not as a dramatic retrospective of the dissolution of one of the most beloved songwriting teams in popular music.

“You can’t have a show about Simon & Garfunkel without addressing the fact that they had kind of a rocky relationship towards the end, and they eventually decided to part ways. We do definitely address that, but the show is primarily a celebration of the music they made when they were together,” Bloom says. “We try to capture them in stages of partnership. We do it sort of chronologically. As the show goes along, the musicianship gets a little better. Obviously, the songwriting takes on a whole new life, so there’s a real progression that happens throughout the show.”

The afterglow of Paul Simon’s final show of his farewell tour performed in the same space as the famous 1981 reunion Concert in Central Park serves to perfectly bookend the career of a man who devoted so much of his life to sharing his gift. Bloom is grateful for the opportunity to play a part in sharing that legacy.

“It gives a deeper meaning to what we’re doing, because it takes our show from being a celebration of Simon & Garfunkel’s amazing years together to almost the continuation of the legacy of their music because Paul Simon is not going to be playing it anymore,” he says. “Obviously, I will never be Paul Simon, but I just want to continue celebrating what he did. Sharing his music with another generation of listeners is sort of like the passing of the baton. It’s a total gift.”

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/10/24/the-sounds-of-simon-garfunkel-oct-26/


‘Young Frankenstein’ FSCJ Summer Musical Theatre Review

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW

FSCJ Summer Series, Young Frankenstein

The FSCJ Artist Series and the Nathan H. Wilson Center for the Arts debuted the thirteenth annual High School Summer Musical Theatre Experience (SMTE) on July 20th, 2018 with “Young Frankenstein,” Mel Brooks’ zany musical, which runs through July 29th.

The musical is based Brooks’ 1974 black and white comedy-horror film by the same name. The film became and remains a cult passion; DVDs are available in public libraries and on-line, and it’s screened on television from time to time. Brooks wrote the lyrics and music for all but one of the songs in the adaptation (“Puttin’ On The Ritz” was written by Irving Berlin). The show, which opened on Broadway in 2007, cost $16 million to produce. Opening night tickets were priced at $450, which made the production famous before the first curtain.

The musical follows the film closely, with song and dance added. The story focuses on the experiences of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, as he pursues ground-breaking medical research. The character is portrayed marvelously by Jeremy Ferri, who has appeared in two previous SMTE shows, “West Side Story” and “Cats.”

FSCJ Summer Series, Young Frankenstein

Fredrick’s life as a professor in a prestigious New York medical school changes after he learns that his grandfather, a Transylvania resident, has died. He travels to Europe to settle his family’s estate, which includes an ancient castle with a well-equipped laboratory. His grandfather, Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein, who is portrayed by Aidan Jones, was a brilliant but mad scientist, able to breathe life into dead flesh. Frederick soon becomes fascinated with his ancestor’s experiments and decides it is his duty to continue Victor’s efforts and “join the family business.”

Frankenstein was initially brought to life by Mary Shelley, a young English author, whose famous novel was first published in 1818. We will leave the unfolding of the story for you to experience, except to say that Fredrick does of course, create a monster, an intimidating super-sized monster: Shelley would have been pleased to see her creature brought to life. Note that parental discretion is advised for young children, as the show includes some sexually suggestive situations and double entendres.

The show is colorful and is filled with engaging and colorful characters. The hunchback Igor, Victor’s original assistant, is assigned the task of finding a brain for Fredrick’s new creation. He is a campy character played by Stanton senior Brendan Murphy, who spends two hours bent at the waist to portray Igor’s physical disability.

Inga (Lana Davidenko, a Douglas Anderson senior), is Fredrick’s sexy Swedish lab assistant who sings up a storm and also yodels. “A Roll in the Hay” was a show stopper.

Elizabeth Benning, played by Isabella Williams, is a rich heiress (with the dresses to prove it) who is introduced as Fredrick’s fiancée, but subsequently becomes enamored with the monster. She also belts out powerful songs, including “Deep Love” during Act II.

'Young Frankenstein' FSCJ Summer Musical

Frau Blücher is the castle’s mysterious housekeeper, who was in love with Victor. She is portrayed by Ponte Vedra High School junior Jasmine Hurt, and her song “He Vas My Boyfriend” was a crowd favorite.

One of the funniest bits in the show featured Jack Niemczyk, a Douglas Anderson School of the Arts junior, as the lonely blind hermit who befriends the monster after singing the terrific solo number “Please Send Me Someone.”

Douglas Anderson senior, Gannon Thomas, is the one arm and one legged Police Inspector Kemp, who relentlessly chases the newly created monster. Another featured player is Auggie Pulliam, who portrays the well-intentioned simpleton Ziggy to perfection.

We know Sandalwood senior Johnny Flannagan can grunt, groan, and terrify as the show’s Monster, but he surprised everyone with his polished dancing and singing in one of the funniest roles in the show. This is Flannagan’s second SMTE show; he appeared in last year’s “West Side Story.”

'Young Frankenstein' FSCJ Summer Musical

The dance ensemble featured eleven dancers from schools throughout the area and included Ella Bohannon, Sirena Mia De La Rosa, Aja Farber, Liberty Frederickson, Dylan Lewis, Sara Mills, Alex Peek, Olivia Phillips, Grace Royal, Samarra Taplin, and Ryleigh Taylor. These dancers were everywhere including the aisles, the balconies, and the stage, where they were sensational in “Puttin’ On The Ritz”. The Character Ensemble featured thirty-two students dressed in the costumes of Transylvania residents, who added a deepened dimension to the foreign setting.

Director Erik DeCicco, Jacksonville University’s Assistant Theatre Director, was once again splendid in his casting and directing (just as with last year’s “West Side Story”). Michelle Ottley-Fisher as Choreographer, with Brian Alford as Assistant, created visually exciting dance routines.

Dustin Pettegrew, a Philadelphia-based scenic designer (and a Jacksonville native), created the wonderful massive castle and multiple location settings, which included the dungeon, forest, and laboratory.

The Crew included: Beth Harvey, Producer/Program Director; Aaron DeCicco, Vocal Director; Samuel Fisher, Movement Coach; Samuel Parker, Technical Director; Johnny Pettegrew, Lighting Designer; Camala Pitts and Dorinda Quiles assisted by Logan Wilkins-Kinhofer (Costume Designers); Emily Kritzman, Stage Manager; Jay Deen, Monster Make-Up Artist; Amanda Harvey, Make Up Artist.

The show is fast-paced from opening to closing and filled with humor and excellent singing and dancing; another terrific production brought to the stage by the amazing talented students from our North Florida schools. Thanks go to the FSCJ Artist Series for another magnificent summertime musical.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/07/24/young-frankenstein-fscj-summer-musical-theatre-review/


DUAL CRITICS REVIEW: ‘In The Heights’ at Players By The Sea Theatre

Over the years, Jacksonville Beach’s Players by the Sea community theatre has presented a number of outstanding summer musicals. This year’s selection, staged during July 20 – August 12, 2018 is noteworthy in many ways. In 2008, “In The Heights” was nominated for 13 Tony awards and won 4, including Best Musical and Best Original Score; in 2009, it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize Award for drama.

fri20jul(jul 20)7:30 pmsun12aug(aug 12)9:00 pmIn the Heights!Don’t miss the show that made Lin-Manuel Miranda a star!7:30 pm – (august 12) 9:00 pm Players by the Sea Theatre

The play presents a slice of life story in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. The community is ethnically diverse, with Hispanics being the largest group. The music and lyrics were composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who grew up in The Heights. To prove he was more than a flash in the pan creator, he later wrote and starred in “Hamilton,” a hip-hop rendering of the life of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. It debuted in 2015 and remains one of the hottest musicals on Broadway. The FSCJ Artist Series has scheduled a Jacksonville road show for 2020.

“In The Heights” with a book by Quiara Alegria Hudes, and music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is brilliant art and a tribute to Hispanic-American heritage.




The action takes place on a neighborhood street where Daniel Dugan has captured a cityscape of small shops against the background of the imposing George Washington Bridge.

Dominican-American Usnavi (Matias De La Flor) runs a small bodega selling morning coffee, newspapers, lotto tickets, and groceries. He is romancing the lovely Vanessa (Rhea Ailani) who works at the beauty salon next door. The salon is owned by the opinionated but caring Daniela (Andrea Christina Vilarino).

Interesting characters live and work on this street, all of whom are fantastic singers who belt out lyrics both sweet and hot to music that includes hip-hop, mambo, rap, meringue, and salsa beats. Rousing dance filled with amazing energy is a hallmark of this show, especially notable when the neighborhood celebrates a summertime “Carnival del Barrio.”


Abuela Claudia, who cared for Usnaivi when his parents died earlier, is a revered elder who is like a grandmother to many younger residents. Nina (Zoe Rosas) is the first child in the barrio to go to college (Stanford), but returned home before completing the first year, because she didn’t have enough money to continue. Her father Kevin (Marcos Miranda) owns a small taxi company, and against his wishes, she has fallen in love with Benny (Isaiah Turner) an employee who works as a dispatcher. Kevin’s wife Camila (Raquel Lopez Cory) has her own opinions about this romance.

Other colorful characters include Sonny (Mario Nota), Usnavi’s flippant jokester cousin; Carla (Jay Sevilla), an employee at Daniela’s beauty shop; and Graffiti Pete (Andrew Phoenix), a skilled artist. Piragua (Elijah Turner) sells shaved ice from a pushcart, amusing us and his customers with comical song

Ensemble members do much of the dancing. Female members include Cameron Thomas, Emely Cuestes, Gemma Smith, Angie Acedera, Robersy Romero and Mia Vasquez. Male members included Javon Wrighten, Jamil Abdur-Rahmen, Alex Aponte, Walter Johnson, Darnell Bennett and Joel Oliver.

The excellent band hidden away back stage played flawlessly under the direction of Musical Director Anthony Felton who was also on piano. The musicians included David Ott (Guitar), Sean Tillis (Bass), Bit Risner (Trumpet) Alexander Hernandez (Woodwinds) and Luis Ocasio (Drums).

This spectacular show was made possible by the sponsorship of the Lazzara Family Foundation. Joe Kemper, who teaches and directs at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, has done a remarkable job of casting this show, filled with fine singers and dancers, that captures life at Subway Stop 181 in New York City’s Washington Heights community. Applause also goes to choreographer DeWitt Cooper for sharing his extensive knowledge of dance in this show.

Additional production crew members included Emilee Paris (Stage Manager), Jereme Raickett (Production Manager), Marquis Jarod (Costume Designer), and Nate Cimmino (Technical Director).

Don’t miss this exciting musical at Players by the Sea, 106 North 6th Street in Jacksonville Beach. For reservations call 904-249-0289 or visit playersbythesea.org.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/07/26/in-the-heights-players-by-the-sea-theatre-review/


Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Comedian Gerry Dee World Comedy Tour in Naples, Florida

    November 21 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  3. Ocala Balloon Glow

    November 23 @ 5:00 pm - November 25 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  4. 9th Annual Shopapalooza Festival, Part 2

    November 24 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village

    November 24 @ 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm UTC+0
  6. Christmas in the Country – Lights Display, Hay Ride & Festival

    November 24 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0
  7. Soul Beach: The Outdoor R&b / Jazz Concert & Comedy Show on the Water

    November 24 @ 7:30 pm - November 25 @ 1:00 am UTC+0
  8. 15th Annual X-Country Marathon, 30K, Half-Marathon & 5K

    November 25 @ 7:30 am - 2:30 pm UTC+0
  9. FREE TICKETS! Tampa Improv 11/27 Stand Up Comedy Show

    November 27 @ 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm UTC+0
  10. FL Orchestra Happy Hour Concert – Nov 28

    November 28 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm UTC+0