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In the Spotlight - West Coast Black Theatre Season Opener

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - The West Coast Black Theatre opens its season with a multi-Tony winning production, "In the Heights," from the creator of the smash hit "Hamilton."

"In the Heights" will make for a lively evening. Performer Michael Mendez says, "It's going to be a phenomenal.party over all. It's a musical with a hip hop beat and Latin infused rhythm . It's a celebration of culture, family and the discovery of one's self."

It takes place in Washington Heights in Manhattan. A place where both Michael Mendez and Jim Weaver have lived. Director, Choreographer Jim Weaver says,"It's about the people in the neighborhood and the changes taking place, the shifts that are going on. They are experiencing gentrification, rents going up, things are becoming more expensive and people are having to deal with that."

Mendez adds, "During the change of time, we experience family, love, and one of the themes of the show is learning to be patient with things."

It's a musical and a drama combined and tells a great story.

"Every thing is interwoven, and the choreography comes out of the exuberant emotions that they are feeling at that moment," said Weaver.

One song is called "96 Thousand".

"In the song, "96 Thousand", one of the characters wins the lottery and everybody is just like fantasizing what they would do with such a large amount of money," explains Mendez.

Even if you've never lived in Washington Heights, the characters in the play will remind you of people you know.

"Anyone can relate to the folks you see in this neighborhood. The young upstart, the nurturing grandmother figure, the long relationship couple having issues they have to deal with," said Weaver. "I hope people will see the story for the honesty of it, and see the love that is the message of the piece, everyone getting together and celebrating. "

"In the Heights" is at West Coast Black Theatre through Nov. 19.