Two weeks ago, I watched the second performance of the Manila premiere of "In the Heights," the Tony Award-winning musical about a Latino community on the verge of change. In my review, 'In the Heights': Soaring and Finding Home, I noted two things: One, that K-La Rivera is still a bud not quite on the verge of blossoming; and two, that this production will no doubt go down as one of the year's finest.
This afternoon, I watched again - the company's fourth to the last performance. Time, it has always been said, makes for growth - and a second serving of "In the Heights" proved just that. Praise must go to the afternoon's best performers: Usnavi, Sonny (Bibo Reyes with the Zach Galifianakis vibes), Abuela, and Daniela (you are hilarious, Tex Ordonez!). And the lighting design is just wild!
But on K-La Rivera, who plays Nina: She really has a very beautiful voice, one that's a perfect fit for the stage. And my, has she grown in a span of two weeks! For a theater newcomer in her very first (leading) role, her transformation was evident in this afternoon's show. I cried during "Everything I Know." Here's to seeing more of you in musical theater, K-La.
The Riveras of Washington Heights: Felix (left, as Benny) and K-La (as Nina).