Starting Arts Dream Team produced the Tony award winning musical "In the Heights" January 17-19 at Santa Clara High School.
The Dream Team is comprised of Bay Area high school students who try out to be part of the elite squad of performers.
Last year, the group put on Les Mis, which challenged them vocally. This year, they were challenged physically as most of the students were gifted actors and singers, but the majority had no formal dance training. The group worked hard for a short 14 weeks to put this show together and the results were nothing short of outstanding.
The story centers around a group of immigrants (and children of immigrants) in Washington Heights, New York. The barrio, as it's put in the play, is home to
The acting of the cast we were lucky enough to see was stellar. Jordan Plutzer (Usnavi) was a perfect male lead - combining humor, fantastic vocals, and sensitivity to his character. And, the females were incredible. Eva Zakula (Vanessa) was sassy and smart. Micaela Laber (Abuela Claudia) showed genuine emotion in her performance as the aging matriarch of the group. And, Kelly Rosales (Nina) was superb as the Stanford drop out who returns "home" to realize that graduating is vital to her future, and the future of her family.
This wasn't "just" a high schooler performance. This was a performance that could have been done on any main stage, in any part of the country, with adults and been just as good. Yes, at times, the dancing was a little strained, but for 14 weeks of rehearsals that pushed these kids to learn hip hop, salsa and lifts, it was a pretty good showing of the skill these "kids" have. Many of them are destined for greatness and a future in musical theater!