Picks :: 'In the Heights'

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November 23, 2009 // UPDATED 8:41 am - November 23, 2009
By: Cristof Traudes
Cristof Traudes

The Winner's in Town

“In the Heights” was last year’s Tony Award winner for best musical. Not bad for a new show, but also not terribly surprising. Just consider the year of release.

The musical is a story of change. (What was happening in 2008? Oh yeah: A presidential candidate was running on a platform of change.)

It’s a story about diversity. (What was happening in 2008? Oh yeah: People were about to elect the country’s first black president.)

It’s a story about struggles. (What was happening in — well, you get the gist.)

Of course, timing isn’t everything. “In the Heights” comes with plenty of quality, too.

It’s the first full-length musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose background includes co-founding a unique hip-hop/storytelling/improv/musical theater group. He spent four years developing “In the Heights,” which like most new material didn’t actually debut on Broadway. (In 2005, it was a successful off-Broadway creation that led Miranda, then also a cast member, to win a lyricist award.)

It obviously didn’t take very long for the show’s success to skyrocket once it did hit the big stage. On top of being named last year’s best musical, it also won Tony Awards for score, orchestrations and choreography.

‘In the Heights’

Dec. 1–6
Orpheum Theatre
910 Hennepin Ave.


Non-linear lines

Straight lines are usually so… plain. Not Lisa Nankivil’s.

Rather than filling canvasses with untarnished, geometric lines, Nankivil screws hers up — for the good. Her work explodes with color; it sometimes seems real images are hiding in between her lines.

This isn’t easy-to-digest Piet Mondriaan. Take the time to stare.

Famously Private

Thru Jan. 5
Traffic Zone Gallery
250 3rd Ave. N.