Heritage High Theater Students Preparing for 'In the Heights'

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Heritage High cast members rehearse for their upcoming presentation of "In the Heights."
Heritage High School breaks new ground with its upcoming student production of the musical "In the Heights."

"In the Heights" won the 2008 Tony Award for Best Musical and will be remembered as the first Broadway musical to feature rap. The show tells the universal immigrant story of a Latino community in a New York neighborhood struggling to assimilate while surviving economic reality. The major characters all face significant and life-changing hardship while grasping to hold onto their dreams.

Director Greg Newman (left) is a drama teacher at Heritage High. He is excited to be doing a show that features stories of Latinos in a modern setting.

"The story documents in many ways the struggles immigrants face as they come to America," said Newman. "Stories about Latino culture are probably underrepresented in America. However, I did not choose this show expressly to feature Latin culture, but because the characters and their stories are so memorable."

Cast members are learning a lot from the show.

"The thing I appreciate most about the show is the sense of community and how the cast has come together like family," said junior Matt Balane, who plays Usnavi.

Senior Daniel Balbuena plays Graffiti Pete, far removed from his last role as Mr. Darcy in "Pride and Prejudice."

"I appreciate that the characters in the play do not like the changes they deal with, but that they learn to adapt to change and move forward," said Balbuena.

"In the Heights" features amazing choreography by Hope Burns, who is also the Heritage High School dance team coach

All are welcome to see In the Heights at 7:30 p.m. on March 28-29 and April 4-5. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students. Heritage High is located at 26001 Briggs Road in the Romoland community of Menifee.

Note: A few more musicians are needed and members of the community are invited to come be a part of the musical ensemble. Needs are for someone who can play the trumpet, flute, clarinet, and trombone. If you are interested, email Kelly Burt at kelly.burt@puhsd.org.


  1. Story by Adam Jenks, Heritage High School student and publicity manager for the show. Photos by Larry Sichter.