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Cultural Competency Program: In the Heights

By on December 3, 2019

Cultural Competency Program with Rochester Latino Theatre Company and OFC Creations Presenting: In The Heights

OFC Creations is presenting Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights at the Lyric Theatre Main Stage from December 13 to 14, 2019. The show is in association with the Rochester Latino Theatre Company focusing on collaboration on cultural competency.

In the Heights features a cast of 50 students ages 10-18 from across Rochester including towns such as Pittsford, Spenceport, Webster, and Greece. Many of the cast members are Rochester City School students, and for many of whom, is there first experience in performing arts. OFC Creations enlisted professional theatre artists, Meghan Halley and Hunter Ekberg, to direct the project.

“We wanted to offer our students a chance to experience a show not typically done in the Rochester community,” said Eric Vaughn Johnson, OFC Executive Director. “We needed a strong partner to present the show authentically, which brought us to the Rochester Latino Theatre Company.”

Written by Hamilton author, Lin Manuel Miranda, the story of In the Heights explores three days in the New York City Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights. All of the story’s characters are on the brink of change of who they are, where they are going, and who they want to be.

Annette Ramos and Stephanie Paredes from the Rochester Latino Theatre Company (RLTC) have been leading the cast in the history of Washington Heights, the migration of Latinos into the community, exploring cultures and discussing inclusion.

The cast of 50 teenagers have been working on “Yo Soy” project, exploring identity. During the project cast members have been exploring various aspects of their identity from food to language, traditions, and more. Students explore their cultural background and learn to not only appreciate and explore their own histories, but others as well.

By performances on December 13 and 14, students will have created an overview and exploration of their identity to create an appreciation for diversity, inclusion, and equity. As the story of In the Heights explores family, culture, and traditions, the cast will be exploring the same within themselves. “Yo Soy” projects will be displayed in the lobby at performances.

“We want this to be a learning experience on and off stage for this amazing cast,” says Ramos, Executive Director of RLTC.

This is not the first time OFC Creations and the Rochester Latino Theatre Company have collaborated. In 2014, OFC and RLTC partnered to present the first Rochester production of In the Heights, starring a cast of adult actors and featuring Adele Fico as Abuela. The 2014 partnership production’s full run was sold out and was the beginning of a long term relationship between OFC and RLTC.

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