Andover High School’s annual musical, ‘In the Heights,’ was a great success presented by talented students in the Collins Center last week. This musical was a large theatrical performance and contained many dances, costumes, and of course music. Edward Lu and Emma Harris were the leads in the musical, playing in a story set in a vibrant neighborhood in New York City.

Putting together a whole musical, on top of  the strenuous academic work is no easy feat. Only a few days before the opening of the show, Lu felt pressure from his peers, since he was having trouble memorizing, along with some of his other cast members. He said, “Up until a few days before opening night, we still had cast members who didn’t know the music, light/musical/microphone cues that were being missed, and missing set pieces. However, slowly, but surely, everything started to fall into place, and it was amazing to watch what once was a couple of high schoolers running around on a stage turn into a musical.”

Although the days before the opening of the musical were stressful, the production came together on stage. “Up until opening night, we had never run through the whole show without stopping before. So when the show went so seamlessly on Thursday night, it was kind of like a miracle and everybody was so pumped about the whole production,” said Lu. 

Harris found the learning all of the moves to be a challenge, and she said “again it is Latin style music and dance, which I had never done before, so the choreography as a whole was really challenging.” 

Lu, however, had difficulties on stage in the middle of the production, and learned a lot from the process of putting it together. “I had to improvise a piece of music because the actual music was too high for me to sing. Another time I had to improvise was during the night of our second performance,” he said.

Aside from the vocal range that was a challenge for Lu to handle consistently every night, there were technical difficulties as well. Props in the wrong places, and sets failing to cooperate with Lu. But when things go wrong, Lu said, “I improvise a line and the play goes on.”

Harris’s favorite part of In the Heights was the “message about home and what it really means. I also love the theme of community and how it really represents our drama group as our own community,” she said. 

By Nick Gilpin and Mari Nagahara