In the Heights
If ever there was a critic-proof musical, it is Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' exuberant, irresistible and almost risibly sanitized 2007 paean to community and immigrant aspiration. Almost, because -- even if the Washington Heights depicted by Hudes' cloyingly wholesome libretto and Marco De Leon's grit-free, storybook-barrio set looks more like Sesame Street than any known avenue above Manhattan's 131st Street -- once Miranda's high-octane Latin hip-hop opener kicks in, and Michael Torrenueva (as the Dominican bodega owner Usnavi) literally sings the neighborhood to life, any qualms melt away in the sheer warmth of this immensely likable company's embrace. Powered by choreographer Daniel Lazareno De Dios' electrifying production numbers, director Rigo Tejeda's staging (a reprise of his 2012 production) expertly weaves Miranda's salsa and merengue rhythms with Hudes' limpid conflicts into a driving and seductive Technicolor fantasy. Standouts include vocal powerhouse Veronica Rosa as Nina, the Puerto Rican Stanford dropout who returns to the 'hood to face the disappointment of her striver parents (Martica De Cardenas and Luis Marquez); James Oronoz as her forbidden (i.e., non-Hispanic) love interest; Vivian Lamolli as brassy gossip Daniella; and Anastasia Silva as the matriarchal neighborhood eminence grise who almost mystically ties up all the plot strands to deliver the evening's celebratory ending. Casa 0101, 2102 E. First St., Boyle Heights; Fri., 8 p.m.; Sat., 2 & 8 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.; through Dec. 22. (323) 263-7684, casa0101.org.
Fridays, 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sundays, 5 p.m. Starts: Nov. 22. Continues through Dec. 22, 2013
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