U.S. Grant musical hits close to home for its cast

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- The costume assignments go out on single sheets of white paper.

The cast rolls in after a long school day.

Welcome to 'In the Heights' rehearsal U.S. Grant style.

Taylor Forester is Musical Director.

"It's like a little family here," she says.

Jeremy Wilhm is stage director.

The high school cast is largely made up of people like Ronald Bacon, pulled into this production with no experience except how to carry a tune.

"Ms. Forester heard that I could sing," he recalls. "So she was like, 'I have something in store for you.' I was like, 'okay?'"

Forester says, "Honestly, I had never worked with a lot of these kids before."

'In the Heights' is a Tony Award winning play set in a hispanic New York City neighborhood.

The characters are a community of mostly young people trying to find their way through sometimes difficult circumstances.

Male lead George Luna took a lot of dance classes but had never acted much.

"I wasn't planning on being the lead role," he says. "I was just hoping to be a back up dancer."

The other lead, Chrystal Borrego says south Oklahoma City is full of neighborhoods a lot like the Heights.

"A lot of drama," she giggles.

Actors like Aurelia Torres from this predominantly Latin American high school didn't have to look far to find inspiration for their characters.

Torres says, "My grandma died recently and in the play that happens too."

Forester says of this play, "It's wonderful because it's really about community and I think that's something we here at U.S. Grant really embody."

It had been a few years since U.S. Grant tried a production this big.

Faculty knew they had to pick something that would connect for it to be successful.

It turned out that 'In the Heights' met expectations at almost every level.

U.S. Grant's production of 'In the Heights' opens February 26 and runs through February 28th.

Showtimes at the school auditorium are 7pm.

Tickets are $7 at the door.

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