“In the Heights” Pulls Off a Miracle!

Victoria Kulikowski

The cast for our spring musical “In the Heights” pulled off an impressive performance in all three shows on March 17th and 19th! With the common nerves, stress, and fatigue that practicing enhanced, the energy during opening and closing night was not guaranteed to be high or lively. Overcoming all obstacles, the crowd’s cheers encouraged them, and the musical came to a successful conclusion!

On opening night, an unexpected guest was invited, rumored to be an actress from the actual film. Cast members started to speculate it might be Vanessa, Nina, or Carla, but neither of those actresses came. Instead, we were pleased to hear Griselle Ponce as she spoke about her experience with auditions and her introduction to a career as a performer. Dancing for roughly 30 years, she has collected many accolades during her career as an actress, motivational speaker, and performer, even performing in front of former president Barack Obama. Starting just like our KHS cast, she dreamed big, and with constant practice, hard work, and visualization she was able to achieve what she set out to do. Her tips for success include educating yourself on your wants, practicing, and keeping a healthy hunger/ passion for your desires. After her introduction, she said that she was unable to be in the movie because after filming Act 2 Scene 2, she sprained her ankle due to a wardrobe malfunction. 

Motivated by Ponce’s speech and knowing that she would watch opening night’s performance, our cast brought all they had to the stage. Seats were packed, and cheers were enhancing the energy. A massive obstacle was about to come their way. With some of the leads getting sick a day or two before opening night, roles needed to be switched to the ensemble in a few hours. Having to learn dialogue, songs, and placements a day before the show would not be easy for anyone, but our extra for Vanessa pulled it off naturally and the show ended on a positive note, with people enjoying the show! 

Friday was the day it all crumbled. The ensemble was short of a few too many members, leads were too sick to sing and could not come, people were panicking, nothing was going right. Canceling the performance was hard, but had to be done in order to not mislead the audience. Instead of a 7 pm show, there were going to be two Saturday shows, at 2 pm and 7 pm respectively. During the rehearsal on Friday, many songs were skipped and the cast looked depressed, but they powered through and the extra leads had a chance to catch up with learning their lines. Everyone just hoped that the back-to-back performances on Saturday would play out perfectly. 

Saturday’s shows were beyond expectations! The afternoon show did not bring in many people, just some families and cast members’ acquaintances. Even so, the leads did a phenomenal job not letting the lack of people get to them. Later, during the evening show, cheers were twice as loud as the Thursday show and the positivity was reflected on the stage. With the best energy ever performed live, the dances were spot on and songs were perfectly sung, exciting the audience. With two major lead changes and a lot of stress, many things could have gone wrong, but our “In the Heights” cast at KHS was able to pull off a miracle thanks to hard work, practice, and perseverance!