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Review: Dublin High School Drama Raises Performing Arts To New Heights

April 22, 2016

dhs-in-the-heightsDUBLIN, CA–Several weeks before the opening night of the Dublin High School Drama spring musical In the Heights, one of the people listening to rehearsal remarked that the cast probably shouldn’t still be using the Broadway soundtrack to rehearse.

Well, as it turned out they weren’t: they were the only ones singing.

After Thursday night’s opening performance, it is clear that In the Heights could be a broadway show. Bringing together just over fifty students, the production shows what Dublin High Drama can truly offer.

The musical In the Heights was written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, and takes place in a barrio of Washington Heights, NYC. Nina Rosario grew up in the barrio and was the first person there, and in her family, to go college. However, after dropping out of her first year at Stanford, Nina returns home to face not only her parents, but all the people that were so proud of her when she left. The musical also follows Usnavi, a Dominican bodega owner, and his grandmother Abuela Claudia as they struggle over the change in the barrio. Over the course of her visit, Usnavi discovers what the people of the barrio really mean to him, and Nina realizes that to achieve her dreams, she must never give up.

Despite the fact that we live across the country, the DHS drama department managed to recreate a mini-barrio on stage. With the master set and on point acting, it was easy to believe that one sat not in Northern California, but in Washington Heights.

The leads of the Usnavi and Nina were played by Caedon Perriman and Gwynnevere Cristobal, and their abilities to get fulling in character really set the scene for the whole performance.

Starting in December, the In the Heights cast had to not only to work with Mr. DiLorenzo and Ms. Lopiano, the drama and choir teachers, respectively, to learn to sing and act their roles, but also to dance as performing In the Heights requires actors to put on a variety of hip hop and salsa numbers.

For Senior Keiva Bradley, who played Vanessa, Usnavi’s love interest, the “nine to one salsa rehearsals were really fun, but also really difficult at first, since you’re learning a whole knew way to dance”.

To top it off, the show’s music was not recorded, but was live: in the orchestra pit, Mr. Everts and several band students played with professional musicians, making the show just that much more special.

For the students actors, the whole process was exhilarating, if slightly exhausting. Many are already claiming the musical to be one their favorite experiences at DHS.

“The whole production was really a journey; everything was awesome and the whole experience was a blast.” said sophomore Noah Mac after the performance.

Christine Padrid, who played Camilla Rosario, Nina’s mom, agreed with him, saying that “the whole production was so emotional and now we’re all so close to one another, sort of like a family” and that forging a bond between everyone was hard, but once created was unbreakable.

Another actress, Nicole Dayton, cited the power of the musical: “I love to sing, and I think that telling stories through singing and music is so powerful. It was wonderful to be able to bring my character Abuela Claudia to life, especially because she’s a character that millions of Americans can connect to.

Want to experience the magic of Dublin High Drama’s In the Heights for yourself? You have five more chance starting tonight at 7 p.m. There are also 2 p.m. matinee performances and 7 p.m. evening performances this Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $14 for students and $16.50for adults, and can be bought online (recommended) at or at the door.

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3 Comments
  1. Catherine Brown permalink
    April 22, 2016 8:47 am

    I saw it last night and it was fantastic!! It was so professional and captivating right from the start. It was hard to remember that these are students up on the stage. From the start to the end (it is a full length production) it was spot on. I know many of the actors, stage hands and musicians and to see how talented they all are is wonderful. The entire production team should be very proud of themselves! I wish them all well on their next performances and if you have the time to go – DO!

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