Dublin High School’s First Musical in 8 Years “In The Heights” Opens April 21
DUBLIN, CA–The Dublin High School Drama Department is producing its first musical in eight years, with “In The Heights”, a hit Broadway musical created by Lin Manuel Miranda, who is currently one of the biggest stars in theater after creating the smash “Hamilton”.
“In the Heights” opens on Thursday, April 21 for a four-day run in the Dublin High Center for Performing Arts and Education. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at DHSDrama.com.
Dublin High School Drama Director Scott DiLorenzo talked this week about the months of preparation that have gone into a show that he believes will be the best ever done at Dublin High. (source: Dublin High School)
How did it come to be that the department would do “In The Heights”?
Director Scott DiLorenzo: “When I started in the fall, they came to me and asked, “Would you be willing to do a musical?” and the first thing I asked was how many weekends do I have, and they said one. So I knew it had to be something that would draw people with great content.
“Originally, we looked at a lot of children’s pieces, like Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Cinderella’. But unfortunately, the rights were really difficult to get for those. We originally looked at ‘Shrek – The Musical’ or ‘Seussical’ but another local company was doing it. And we couldn’t get the rights. I met with Ms. Lopiano and Mr. Everts and our choreographer and we asked ourselves, ‘What do we really want to do?’
“I want to the Advanced Drama class and put some choices on the board and asked them. And the kids pretty overwhelmingly wanted to do ‘In the Heights’?
What is it about this show that the students connected with?
DiLorenzo: “Lin Manuel Miranda is the hottest name on Broadway right now and they were really excited for the opportunity to do something he wrote. Plus the themes are so relevant to high school students in regards to family and finding out where belong, the hardships of college, finding yourself…it really is a perfect thematic high school piece with contemporary lyrics and language that the kids really dive into.”
How daunting is it to do a musical after eight years?
DiLorenzo: “To an extent, it’s the most daunting because nobody knows what is needed. When I went in and said, “We have to rent the sets.” And they asked how much and I said $12,000, the reaction was “Whoa”. We’ve never spent that before. But with the new theater, you have to. And the rights for musicals are normally about 10 times as much as producing plays. So we definitely have to earn the money to do this. It’s taken a lot more fundraising, and a lot more stakes on the line if it doesn’t succeed.
“Also, it’s a new theater, and a lot of things that weren’t there. For example, we had no wireless mic system. If you do a musical, you need a wireless mic system or else you will get drowned out by the orchestra, so we were able to work with the district and they were able to get us a wireless system for the theater.”
How many students are participating?
DiLorenzo: “There are 43 kids in the cast, 10 doing tech, 7 student instrumentalists in the orchestra. And there are probably another 20 kids selling concessions and ushers and all of that.
“The kids have embraced this way more than I thought. I was scared because I knew that ‘In the Heights’ is a very difficult show, one of the difficult out there. In my 10 years, it’s the most difficult show I’ve ever produced. Musically and with the choreography, it’s intense. But I am comfortable saying, it’s the best show I’ve ever directed. The kids have really embraced it and I would deem them a higher quality than a community college production or community theater. I feel like this is close to semi-professional.”
Are there kids participating outside of the drama department?
DiLorenzo: “We have a lot of choir kids. Not as many dancers as we would have liked, but we have some amazing dangers that came out for the show. We hope that as visual and performing arts grows at Dublin High, there will be more people coming out for future shows, especially in regards to dance.”
How has it been working in the new theater with a production of this scale?
DiLorenzo: “The fact that we have this theater, with the lights and sound, is going to be leaps and bounds, bigger and broader than anything this school has ever put on.”
How can our community support this production and our students?
DiLorenzo: “People can get tickets at dhsdrama.com. There’s a big button that says ‘Buy Tickets’ and it will direct you to the Vendini site to purchase tickets.
“We have invested a lot in this production and the kids have put in 5 months work for one weekend and I would love to see the community support our arts programs. But this isn’t just drama. It’s drama and choir and band and dance. The entire performing arts department is involved.
“It’s going to knock people out. I love when people come out of show and say ‘I can’t believe that was a high school show. And they are going to say that here.'”