Orlando Shakes Kicks Off 30th Season with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In the Heights’ Starting Sept 5

Orlando Shakes, in partnership with UCF, will kick off its 30th Season with a production of Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights from September 5 - October 7, 2018.

Orlando Shakes, in partnership with UCF, will kick off its 30th Season with a production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights from September 5 – October 7, 2018.

In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams, and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

In the Heights is the winner of the 2008 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography, and Best Orchestrations.

“This production brings our theater an incredible opportunity to feature a diverse cast of Latinx performers from Orlando and nationwide,” says Artistic Director Jim Helsinger. “Lin-Manuel Miranda has created a community of characters whose stories are universal: stories of family, of love, of running a small business, and reaching for your dreams. It’s definitely going to touch our audience’s hearts.”

Orlando Shakes’ In the Heights features:

  • Ernie Pruneda as Usnavi de la Vega. Past credits include Sister Act: The Musical (Original Broadway Cast), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Clopin), and many other appearances and performances across the country and at sea.
  • Alina Alcántara as Abuela Claudia. A Music Business alumna from Berklee College of Music, some of Alina’s recent credits include El Wiz (Orlando Fringe), Madagascar: A Musical Adventure (Orlando Rep), and her Orlando Shakes debut in Man of La Mancha.
  • Iliana Garcia as Nina. She was last seen as Carla in the John W. Engeman Theater’s production of In the Heights.
  • Deon’te Goodman makes his Orlando Shakes debut as Benny. NYC credits: Freedom Riders: The Civil Rights Musical, The Prince of Egypt (Stage Reading).

Additional casting includes Juan Cantú as Kevin, Leesa Castaneda as Camila, Nina V. Negron as Vanessa, Zachary Infante as Sonny, Vicky Campadonico as Daniela, Kayla Alvarez as Carla, Erick Ariel Sureda as Graffiti Pete, and Bert Rodriguez as Piragua Guy.

The ensemble includes Melanie Farber, Nicolette Quintero, Alejandra Martinez, Cherise James, Maiky Ayala, Kyle Laing, Joshian Morales, Rico Lastrapes, Carlos Pereyo, Ana Martinez Medina, and Mark V. Harriott.

Director Nick DeGruccio returns to Orlando Shakes after directing Man of La Mancha in 2017. The artistic team also includes Assistant Director Eric Zivot, Musical Director Josh Ceballos, Choreographer Kim Ball, Scenic Designer Jim Hunter, Lighting Designer Bert Scott, Costume Designer Christopher Vergara, Wig Designer/Stylist Ron Wolek, Sound Designers Craig Beyrooti and Trevor Peters, Audio Engineer Britt Sandusky, AEA Stage Manager Laura Lockner, and AEA Assistant Stage Manager Emily DeNardo.


Preview Dates: September 5 & 6 at 7:30pm
Opening Date: September 7 at 7:30pm
Senior Matinees: September 12, 19, & 26, & October 3 at 2pm
Talk Back Performance: September 23 at 2pm

Opening Night Party & Pre-Show Chat – Friday, September 7
Arrive at 6:15pm to enjoy free light appetizers, followed by a brief, informative discussion about the creative process with the director and members of the creative team. Free to all opening night ticket holders. No RSVP necessary.

Sunday Funday – Sunday, September 23 at 12pm
For the first-ever Orlando Shakes Sunday Funday, gather your crew for a Latin street party themed pre-show with complimentary signature cocktails and light bites, followed by a matinee performance of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights. Use code word: FUNDAY


Tickets start at $30 for regular performances and $18 for Preview Performances and Senior Matinees, They are available now by phone (407) 447-1700 ext. 1, online at orlandoshakes.org, or in person at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 East Rollins Street).

Show schedule is Wednesdays – Saturdays at 7:30pm, and Saturdays and Sundays at 2pm.

[Publicity photos by Dynamite Films, feature Alina Alcántara, Iliana Garcia, Deon’te Goodman, and Ernie Pruneda for Orlando Shakes’ production of In the Heights. Costume design by Christopher Vergara. Graffiti by Danny Rock]

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