“They say the neon lights are bright/On Broadway/They say there’s always magic in the air” and regardless of what the rest of that song says, those lyrics rang true this past Tuesday when we won super duper cheap rush lottery tickets and went to see In the Heights.

It was my first real Broadway show. My family had gone to an Off-Off Broadway show a number of years ago, Prince and the Pauper, which was fun, but not quite the same. I wanted to go to a show that I had heard of before, whose cast had perhaps performed during the Tony awards. I wanted that magic. So, we got dressed up, and took a cab up to the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 46th. It was all I had hoped for.

Written by a native of the New York City neighborhood Washington Heights (also an alumnus of my cousins’ school, Hunter College High School), the story of In the Heights is about love for one’s home, accepting one’s origins, and reaching for one’s dreams. Other than West Side Story, I had never heard of a musical that featured so many Hispanic characters or so much Latin music, which lent the show a flavor and spice that Broadway definitely benefits from. The performances were energetic, the dancing was hot, and the seats were ridiculous. (Read: front row, center.)

Although we didn’t see the original cast perform (only a few roles were reprised by their original actors), we did get to see Corbin Bleu, of High School Musical fame. I had no idea that’s who he was as we were watching, all I knew was that his name sounded familiar. It could have been the fact that I kept thinking of cordon bleu, but whatever. Jordin Sparks, an Arizona native and pop star, will be joining the cast in August.

You can watch the original cast’s 2008 performance at the Tony Awards here.

If you’re wondering, they won Best Musical, Best Score, Best Choreography and Best Orchestrations.

Going to the show inspired me in a few ways. First, it inspired me to go to another show! Heck, if I can win some more $26 front row tickets, what am I waiting for!? I’d still like to see West Side Story, American Idiot, perhaps Memphis and definitely La Cage Aux Folles. Next week will be busy. It also inspired me by reminding me how much I love theatre and music. I never ended up even auditioning for any musicals in high school, which now I sort of regret. At the time, it just seemed like it would have been too overwhelming, just another extracurricular on my already long list. However, musicals really do combine three of the things that make me supremely happy: singing, dancing and acting. So, who knows, maybe eventually I’ll check that off my bucket list and try out for a horrible community theatre production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat or whatever else is available…