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Tampa’s Spanish Lyric Theatre brings ‘In the Heights’ to Ybor

Take a peek behind the curtain before showtime and watch interviews with members of the production
From left to right: Ralph Colón Jr. as Usnavi, Ariana Parera as Vanessa, Isabella Falber as Carla, and Mika Kleinschmidt as Daniela, perform during a technical rehearsal for Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
From left to right: Ralph Colón Jr. as Usnavi, Ariana Parera as Vanessa, Isabella Falber as Carla, and Mika Kleinschmidt as Daniela, perform during a technical rehearsal for Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jul. 29

Colorful costumes hang on a rack in the women’s dressing room as the volunteer cast members get ready for their first technical rehearsal before opening night on Friday at HCC Performing Arts Ybor.

Wearing a fresh red manicure to match the colors of the Puerto Rican flag designed on her nails, Daniela the salon owner in Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” adjusts the mic tape on her back where her ponytail falls near a tattoo of music notes — an ode to her daughter and her love of the arts.

HGTV viewers may recognize the actress from her show “100 Day Dream Home” while she’s on stage stirring up bochinche in the barrio. Yes, bochinche means gossip in Spanish, but it also means party.

Go for the electric block party in act two, and stay for the insight this musical offers about the love of family, friends, culture and community.

JL Rey, the new artistic director of Spanish Lyric Theatre, said the production is about what it means to be home.

And Tampa, being home to one of the oldest Hispanic community theatre companies in the country, has long waited to perform Lin-Manuel Miranda’s first Tony award-winning musical.

“If you’re inspired, bring with you a flag,” Rey said. “There is a particular number in the show in which you will be inspired to pull out your flag and wave it. That’s an invitation.”

If you go: Visit their website to purchase tickets to the show.

Sheet music for the play “In the Heights” by Lin-Manuel Miranda seen at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Sheet music for the play “In the Heights” by Lin-Manuel Miranda seen at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Elizabeth Cabrera, 48, who plays abuela Claudia in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” laughs while Elizabeth Perez, 46, who plays Yolanda and is part of the ensemble, tints her hair gray in the women’s dressing room at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Elizabeth Cabrera, 48, who plays abuela Claudia in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” laughs while Elizabeth Perez, 46, who plays Yolanda and is part of the ensemble, tints her hair gray in the women’s dressing room at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Esdras Alvarado, 25, who plays Sonny in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” reads a script during a rehearsal at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Esdras Alvarado, 25, who plays Sonny in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” reads a script during a rehearsal at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Ariana Parera, who plays Vanessa, enters the stage during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Ariana Parera, who plays Vanessa, enters the stage during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Cassidy Forte, 14, who is a member of the ensemble in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” jumps during a rehearsal at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Cassidy Forte, 14, who is a member of the ensemble in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” jumps during a rehearsal at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
JL Rey, who is the artistic director for the Spanish Lyric Theatre, instructs a cast member during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
JL Rey, who is the artistic director for the Spanish Lyric Theatre, instructs a cast member during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Brandon Rodriguez Benavides, 25, who plays the piragua guy in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” performs during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Brandon Rodriguez Benavides, 25, who plays the piragua guy in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” performs during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
From left to right: Ralph Colón Jr. as Usnavi, Ariana Parera as Vanessa, Isabella Falber as Carla, and Mika Kleinschmidt as Daniela, perform during a technical rehearsal for Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
From left to right: Ralph Colón Jr. as Usnavi, Ariana Parera as Vanessa, Isabella Falber as Carla, and Mika Kleinschmidt as Daniela, perform during a technical rehearsal for Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Latina American flags seen during a rehearsal of Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Latina American flags seen during a rehearsal of Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Elizabeth Perez, 46, who plays Yolanda and is a member of the ensemble, waits during a rehearsal of Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Elizabeth Perez, 46, who plays Yolanda and is a member of the ensemble, waits during a rehearsal of Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Rachel Rodriguez, 26, who plays Nina Rosario in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” seen in the shadow during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Rachel Rodriguez, 26, who plays Nina Rosario in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” seen in the shadow during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Rachel Rodriguez, 26, who plays Nina Rosario, left, and Doug Buffalo, 24, who plays Benny, right, in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” perform during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022.
Rachel Rodriguez, 26, who plays Nina Rosario, left, and Doug Buffalo, 24, who plays Benny, right, in the Spanish Lyric Theatre’s production of “In the Heights,” perform during a technical rehearsal at HCC Performing Arts Ybor City theatre in Tampa on Monday, July 25, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Spanish Lyric Theatre’s volunteer cast wave flags from Latin American countries during a rehearsal of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Spanish Lyric Theatre’s volunteer cast wave flags from Latin American countries during a rehearsal of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Spanish Lyric Theatre’s volunteer cast practice a scene during a rehearsal of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
Spanish Lyric Theatre’s volunteer cast practice a scene during a rehearsal of “In the Heights” at the Cuban Club in Tampa on Thursday, July 21, 2022. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
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