ASCC to stage “In The Heights”

The Fine Arts Department at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) will present its 2017 theatrical production “In The Heights” on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 2- 3, in the Gov. H. Rex Lee Auditorium. A musical with lyrics and music by Lin-Manuel Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, “In The Heights” is set over the course of three days, involving characters in the largely Dominican-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City.

“The musical is based on real-life situations among the Latino Americans who migrated to the U.S.,” said Fine Arts chairman and Director of the production Kuki Tuiasosopo. “Leaving a homeland and trying to adjust to the new environment while maintaining a culture and family traditions is a lot to deal with, and the frustrations are real. This ordeal is very common among the peoples of the world, and certainly for our Samoan people living in the diaspora community in Hawai’i, the US Mainland, New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere in the world.”

Artistic Director Regina Meredith-Fitiao, whose students have worked hard on the sets and props that will evoke the Washington Heights location of the play, echoed the importance of its multi-cultural theme.

“The play hits close to home with situations many can relate to on multi- levels,” she said. “It also touches on what is valuable to us as a person of ethnicity, a people, a community, in a way that mirrors our day and age — with many of similar situations we have to go through ourselves as Pacific islanders.”

More than 50 ASCC students will pool their talents for this production as members of the cast, the choir, the crew, and the dancers. In addition to Tuiasosopo and Meredith-Fitiao, all of the Fine Arts Department has joined the collaboration: Associate Director Dr. Sybil Johnson has worked with the students in refining their acting skills, Loretta Puaauli is the Choir Director, and Poe Mageo is the Project Liaison.

During the intermission after Act 1, the ASCC Student Association for Faasamoa (SAFF) will provide interim entertainment.

Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the earliest draft of “In the Heights” in 1999, his sophomore year of college. After the first production in 2000, Miranda continued to refine the play through numerous drafts, until it opened in a Broadway production in March 2008. This production garnered thirteen Award nominations, winning four. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Tickets for the ASCC production of “In The Heights” are now on sale at the ASCC Business Office for $10, and may also be purchased at the same price at the Lee Auditorium on both nights. Doors will open at 6:00 p.m. and the show will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The Fine Arts Department acknowledges the support of the ASCC leadership team, the Dean of Academic Affairs, the Chief Financial Officer, the Procurement Officers, the support staff, faculty and students, and the community for their continuous support of the Arts at ASCC.

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