NCT Kicks Off Its 2018-19 Season with Multiple Tony Award® Winner In the Heights

The North Carolina Theatre will kick off its invigorating 2018-19 season with a high-octane production of the Tony Award®-winning 2007 Off-Broadway and 2008 Broadway musical In the Heights, directed and choreographed by Michael Balderrama, on Oct. 16-21 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of downtown Raleigh, NC. Originally conceived by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show features music and lyrics Miranda and a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes.

In the Heights opened on Broadway on March 9, 2008 at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where it ran for 1,184 performances before closing on Jan. 9, 2011. The show won four 2008 Tony Awards®, including Best Musical and Best Original Score Written for the Theatre, and was nominated for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

According to NCT’s Sept. 17th news release:

“… In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood — a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

“Starring in the role of Usnavi, the Dominican-American bodega owner, is Andres Quintero. Quintero boasts television and film credits including Madam Secretary, Law & Order: SVU, and more. His previous theater credits include regional productions of In the Heights, Rent, and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, and the national tour of Altar Boyz.

Danny Bolero will portray Kevin Rosario, the overprotective father of ‘good girl’ Nina. Bolero previously starred as Kevin on Broadway, with other Broadway credits, including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (revival), Man of La Mancha (tour), and regional productions of Evita, Selena, and Nine.

Michael Balderrama will direct and choreograph North Carolina Theatre‘s production of In the Heights. Balderrama’s previous Broadway credits include the first and second national tours of In the Heights, West Side Story, Saturday Night Fever, and Ghost. [Balderrama] has taught and choreographed in over 60 states and countries on four continents and has worked with artists including Michael Jackson, Gloria Estefan, Bruno Mars, and Sutton Foster.

“‘I’m thrilled to be directing and choreographing North Carolina Theatre‘s season-opening production of In the Heights,’ said Balderrama. ‘This story is relevant and needed now more than ever. The show tells the struggles and difficulties immigrants and their children face, but the story is universal. How do we remember and honor our heritage and those who sacrificed for us in the past, while forging our own path against the obstacles that face us every day? I know the Raleigh audience will be touched by the story and infected by the music and choreography so deeply, they won’t be able to help but get on their feet and dance along!’

“Portraying Nina Rosario, the ‘girl who made it out’ and a first generation college student, is Cristina Sastre. Like Balderrama, for whom she has previously played the role twice, Sastre feels the show is important because of its focus on strength of community while proudly depicting the lives of immigrants and their children. As a Latina who grew up in northern California, she says the role will always have a special place in her heart.

“Other principals include David Guzman (Graffiti Pete), coming straight to In the Heights from Broadway’s Hamilton; Genny Lis Padilla (Daniela), with previous credits including the first national tour of In the Heights; Nick Sanchez (Benny) who recently starred in Escape to Margaritaville on Broadway; Nicole Paloma Sarro (Abuela Claudia); Reed LoRenzo Shannon (Sonny), television star and North Carolina Theatre Conservatory alum; Carly Prentis Jones (Camila Rosario); Elizabeth M. Quesada (Carla); and Melanie Sierra (Vanessa).

“Rounding out the cast are Ashley Adamek, Josie Bodle, Jurä Davis, Alexander Domingue, Greer Gisy (who also serves and the associate director and associate choreographer for this production), Sai Graham, Michael John Hughes, Christina Austin Lopez, Michael Schimmele (Piragua Guy), Travis Staton-Marrero, and Carlita Victoria.”

SECOND OPINION: Oct. 16th Raleigh, NC WNCN/CBS 17 interview with actors Nick Sanchez and Christina Sastre, conducted by Taniya Wright:; Oct. 12th Raleigh, NC Raleigh BWW Interview with actors Genny Lis Padilla and David Guzman, conducted by Jeffrey Kare:; Oct. 10th Raleigh, NC Triangle Arts Review interview with actress Carly Prentis Jones, conducted by Anika Willis: and Oct. 9th interview with actor Reed LoRenzo Shannon, conducted by Anika Willis:; and Oct. 8th Durham, NC Indy Week mini-preview by Byron Woods:

The North Carolina Theatre presents IN THE HEIGHTS at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16-19 and 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 and 21 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, 2 E. South St., Raleigh, North Carolina 27601.

TICKETS: $25.15-$99.15, except $25 college-student tickets.


NCT Box Office: 919-831-6941, ext. 6944, or

Ticketmaster: 800-745-3000 or

GROUP RATES (10+ tickets): 919-831-6941, ext. 6949;; or

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NCT BLOG (Stage Notes):




NOTE 1: Arts Access, Inc. of Raleigh will audio-describe the show’s 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20th, performance.

NOTE 2: At 4:30 p.m., after the 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 20th, performance, NCT will host a FREE panel discussion and audience talkback, moderated by psychiatrist and El Futuro executive director David Lucas “Luke” Smith, MD. The panel speaking on issues of concern to to North Carolina’s Hispanic community will include cast member Andres Quintero and Raleigh community leaders. For details, click here.


In the Heights (2007 Off-Broadway and 2008 Broadway musical): (Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization) and (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), and (Wikipedia).

Lin-Manuel Miranda (music and lyrics): (official website), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), and (Wikipedia).

Quiara Alegría Hudes (book): (official website), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), and (Wikipedia).

Michael Balderrama (NCT guest director and choreographer): (official website), (Internet Off-Broadway Database), (Internet Broadway Database), (Internet Movie Database), (Wikipedia).


Robert W. McDowell has written articles for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, CVNC, and Triangle Arts and Entertainment, all based in Raleigh. He edits and publishes two FREE weekly e-mail newsletters. Triangle Review provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of local performing-arts events. (Start your FREE subscription by e-mailing and typing SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) McDowell also maintains a FREE list of movie sneak previews. (To subscribe, e-mail and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.)

By Robert W. McDowell

Robert W. McDowell is a Raleigh, NC-based freelance writer, editor, and critic. He has written theater, film, book, and music previews and reviews for The News & Observer, The Raleigh Times, Spectator Magazine, and Classical Voice of North Carolina, all based in Raleigh. In 1980-91, he covered business, industry, government, and education for (We the People of) North Carolina magazine, published monthly by N.C. Citizens for Business and Industry. In April 2001, McDowell started Robert's Reviews, a FREE weekly e-mail newsletter that provides comprehensive, in-depth coverage of the performing arts in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina, which includes Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro. Triangle Review is the latest-and-greatest version of McDowell's original newsletter. (To start your FREE subscription, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE TR in the Subject: line.) From December 1980 until September 2017, McDowell served on the board of directors of The Cinema, Inc., a Raleigh-based nonprofit film society formed in 1966. He currently publishes a weekly list of FREE advance screenings of movies in the Triangle area. (To have your e-mail address added to this FREE list, e-mail robertm748[at] and type SUBSCRIBE FFL FREE in the Subject: line.) McDowell also co-edited and supervised the production of Jim Valvano's Guide to Great Eating (JTV Enterprises, 1984), a 224-page sports celebrity cookbook; and he served as a fact checker for Valvano: They Gave Me a Lifetime Contract, and Then They Declared Me Dead (Pocket Books, 1991).