In the Heights: The Musical for Hyde Park High School

Sibisiswe Mahlangu and Mandisi Matomela in the lead roles of Vanessa and Usnavi in rehearsals for the school's production In the Heights.


Hyde Park High School, under the supervision of producer and co-director Danielle Bentel, presents In the Heights: The Musical, in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Hyde Park High School.

The story is set over the course of three days, involving characters in the largely Dominican-American neighbourhood of Washington Heights in New York City. The music and lyrics were written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also wrote Hamilton, and the book was by Quiara Alegría Hudes.

Read Hyde Park High School’s top achievers

This production was nominated for 13 Tony awards, winning four; Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler) and Best Orchestrations (Alex Lacamoire and Bill Sherman). It won a Grammy award for Best Musical Show Album. It was also nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Bentel chose this musical with the aim of exposing the schoolchildren to as many of South Africa’s top musical theatre professionals across many spheres of the industry, from choreography to directing through to the technical and backstage support.

“When I first heard about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights two years ago, I was taken by this rap meets salsa musical. This planted the seed as a possibility for the next major production. When I discovered that the next major production fell in the same year as the school’s 60th anniversary, I decided there was no better way to raise the bar on the cultural front, than by celebrating 60 years of holistic academic excellence,” said Bentel.

He has enlisted a team of phenomenal talent. The gorgeous musical theatre performer, Stefania du Toit is co-directing and also heads up the choreography for the show. Du Toit will be assisted by the ever-so-talented, Lesego Ramathare. The zesty Tony award-winning score is musically directed by Matthew Vlok, with the assistant musical director, Tate Mhunduru.

“The show is a colourful, refreshing and exuberant celebration of the daily lives of characters from all walks of life, yet despite the challenges and hardship that life throws at them, they remain a close-knit community,” said Bentel. “For me, Hyde Park High School is also a community joined together by 60 years of hard work, dedication and family values, living up to our motto: Hyde Park, a great place to grow up.”

The show runs from 3 to 6 May. Tickets are R50 each.

For more information and to purchase tickets contact: [email protected] [email protected]

Chronicle Reporter

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