Heights, no waits! Play from ‘Hamilton’ creator opens in Park Slope

Heights, no waits! Play from ‘Hamilton’ creator opens in Park Slope
Stage of the streets: The cast of the Gallery Players’ “In the Heights” rehearse for the show’s Park Slope opening on April 23.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Call it “In the Slope.”

Brooklynites struggling to score tickets to Broadway mega-hit “Hamilton” can get the next best thing — a play with music and lyrics from the same creator. The Gallery Players will stage writer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “In the Heights” starting on April 23 in Park Slope, giving audiences an accessible taste of Miranda’s wordplay and unique style, says the show’s director.

“It’s a different show than ‘Hamilton’ but you can definitely feel his voice and his individualism as a writer in the show,” said Michael Bello.

“In the Heights” tells the story of a bodega owner in the distant neighborhood of Washington Heights, in the outer borough of Manhattan. The Brooklyn production resisted the urge to transfer the setting to Crown, Prospect, or Brooklyn Heights, staying true to the original script. But Bello said the tale of a gentrifying neighborhood will resonate with residents of this borough.

“I think, on a very sort of material level, the difficulties people in Washington Heights face in the play are also very visible from what I can see in Brooklyn,” said the Manhattan resident, who walks past three new high-rises on his walk from the Gallery Player’s space in Park Slope to the subway.

“In the Heights” played for three years on Broadway, but the Tony-winning show — which is filled with salsa and hip-hop numbers — has rarely been produced in New York since closing on the Great White Way in 2011, said Bello.

Audiences intrigued by the show can discuss it after the matinee performance on April 24, chatting with Bello, the cast, and the theater scholars about “In the Heights.” Belle said the talk will probably focus on gentrification and preserving heritage, topics that are prevalent in the play.

“I think a lot of people will recognize the landscape, the themes, the reference in the play and I know a lot of people will want to talk about that,” he said.

“In the Heights” at the Gallery Players [199 14th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (212) 352–3101, www.galleryplayers.com]. April 23–May 15. Thu–Sat at 8 pm; Sun at 3 pm. $18 ($15 students and seniors).

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Across the boroughs: The “In the Heights” cast rehearses a musical that is set in distant Manhattan, but which echoes themes familar to many Brooklynites.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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