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February 26, 2010

A REVIEW – Another “Oklahoma”

Roy Meachum

The lovely musical about my father’s native state set Broadway on fire. “Oklahoma” was not only a record-breaking hit; it also set the pattern for shows that followed. “In the Heights” looks ready to pull off the same trick.


When Baltimore’s Hippodrome latest production opened this week, I found myself jolted in my seat by a deluge of Puerto Rican music; any doubts about nationality vanished when star Kyle Beltran’s Spanish dialogue came out at a machine-gun pace. There is something about the island that makes its people especially proud. If nothing immediately comes to mind, then I suggest the 2008 Tony-winning show currently dancing circles around the former movie house.


The concept was born to Lin-Manuel Miranda, awarded Broadway’s highest honors for writing both lyrics and music. Also picking up his Antoinette was Alex Lacomoire for arranging Mr. Miranda’s tunes into the wall of sound. Director Thomas Kail’s been down the hip-hop trail before. Andy Blankenbuehler choreographed the performers so that there is no pause in the performance. It drives and drives and drives….


You get the idea.


“In the Heights” will drive out of Baltimore a week from Sunday. Don’t get left behind. It’s at the Hippodrome Theatre and that’s where you want to be. Get a move on! Uh, one, uh two and three!


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