Collaboration offers lessons on and off stage


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — OFC Creations and the Rochester Latino Theatre Company will present ‘In the Heights’ December 13 and 14 at The Lyric Theatre in Rochester.

Rochester Latino Theatre Company Executive Director Annette Ramos and OFC Creations Executive Director Eric Johnson discussed the production Wednesday during News 8 at Noon.

“This is actually the second time that we’ve had a collaboration between OFC and Rochester Latino Theatre Company,” noted Johnson. “Back in 2014, we did this show, sold out our entire run with our adults and people raved about the show. It was the first time being done locally in Rochester. So now we wanted to bring it back, this time with teenagers. So we have 50 kids in this show performing the full-length show. It’s not a shortened version. It’s the full musical and they’re doing an amazing job. It’s really a spectacular undertaking for these kids.”

For the young actors being a part of ‘In the Heights’ is about much more than learning their lines. “One of the benefits that the Rochester Latino Theatre Company brings to the production is the cultural competency,” explained Ramos. “So the youth are really engaged in the history of the play and where it took place, the migration of people across America, and the influence of that migration – not only within the production but within their own families as well.”

The actors are participating in a project called ‘Yo Soy’ as part of the preparation for the performances. Ramos said, “Stephanie Paredes, who is my co-founder of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company, really looked at ‘where I belong’ or ‘where I’m from’ and we developed this whole internal piece around youth identifying their own cultures, finding out their family history, connecting it to the migration of this particular Latinesque community in New York City. And how does that connect to the intersectionality of creating a new community and belonging? In any production we create community. This really deepens their understanding. They’ll also have visual displays at the theatre during the run of the show, of their own internal work and their own family history. And that connects multi-generations as well as multi-cultures within this one production.”

Johnson said those who attend will be immersed in ‘In the Heights’ at The Lyric Theatre. “When audiences arrive, you can expect to smell empanadas and smell the food that we’ll be serving in the lobby. You’ll have a live band playing in the lobby too. So there’s a lot of things that are happening that is more than just putting on another show. Right? We want, not only the cast but also the audience to have a full experience.”

Get your tickets for ‘In the Heights’ at the door, by calling (585) 667-0954, or online at the OFC Creations website.

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