The spring musical has become a tradition at KIPP DC College Preparatory over the years. After wowing audiences last year with their rendition of “Hairspray”, KCP Theater looks to continue to raise the bar with “In the Heights” the seventh KCP Theater Production. Created by three-time Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, “In the Heights” is a story of love, hope, and faith during three days in the Latin community of Washington Heights.
“We traditionally have chosen a bigger challenge each year, so it seemed pretty natural to choose a Lin-Manuel Miranda show for our musical this year,” explained Caity Schneeman, theater arts teacher at KIPP DC College Preparatory and founder of KCP Theater.
“When we started we had more girls than boys participating and the shows we’ve chosen in the past have reflected that. What makes this production different is that we have a lot of really talented male performers this year. There are a lot of rapping and singing parts for the boys as well as some really strong female roles, so there’s a good mix.”
Sebastian is a senior at KIPP DC College Preparatory and has been a part of KCP Theater for the past two years. “I love theater because it’s a place where I can express myself and be who I want to be,” he says.
He plays the role of the Piragua Guy in this year’s production; a role he says has many real-life similarities. “I love playing the Piragua because he mirrors who I am personally. I’m a guy that likes to have fun and bring joy to other people, and that’s exactly what the Piragua guy does.”
Beyond being a tool of self-expression, one of the most remarkable aspects of theater is its ability to expose both performers and audience members alike to brand new worlds explains Jamaal, senior at KIPP DC College Preparatory who plays the role of Jose in “In the Heights.”
“After last year’s musical, I found out a lot about myself. I originally always wanted to be a basketball player when I was older. But having this opportunity has made me realize a love of acting, singing, and dancing I never knew I had.”
KCP Theater has grown tremendously since it’s founding in 2014, something Ms. Schneenman credits to the hard work of our students and theater’s ability to impact other aspects of the lives of our students. “I think our alumni have built a legacy that our kids want to be a part of,” she explained.
“Every year there is this sense of community in the theater program. It gives them a reason to come to school and helps with their attendance. It helps with their grades and it creates a sense of belonging.”
In the Heights premiers Friday, March 29th at 7:00 pm in the KIPP DC College Preparatory Theater and runs until Wednesday, April 6. View more information and purchase tickets!