Between winning a Tony Award for his score of “In the Heights” and winning two additional Tonys for conceiving the pop culture juggernaut known as “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote a 15-minute musical called “21 Chump Street.”
This production receives its local premiere in a special student-produced presentation beginning Wednesday, May 24 in Sinclair Community College’s Black Box Theatre of Building 2.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Based on the story by Robbie Brown, which originally appeared on the WEBZ radio program “This American Life,” the one-act “21 Chump Street,” is a breezy account set at Park Vista Community High School in Lake Worth, Florida. Honors student Justin Laboy falls head over heels for the beautiful Naomi Rodriguez. The catch? Naomi is actually an undercover police officer determined to crack down on drugs at the school.
The show premiered at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2014.
“I love the dynamic this fun and simple show presents,” said director Isaiah Parnell, who provided sound design for Sinclair’s production of “Dracula” earlier this season. “Justin really likes Naomi and is willing to do anything for her. But from Naomi’s perspective, she has a job to do and understands that any (relationship) would be a huge problem. Ultimately, the characters learn there are consequences to every action.”
Songs include “What the Heck I Gotta Do,” “One School” and “The Money.” Parnell says the score reflects Miranda’s unique hip-hop essence.
“If you’re a Lin-Manuel fan, a fan of ‘In the Heights’ or ‘Hamilton,’ you’re going to love this show,” he said. “It has such an upbeat and modern pop sound with moments of rap as well. Lin-Manuel’s lyrics are so captivating.”
The cast consists of Max Santucci as the Narrator, Naman Clark as Justin, Elisa Fuentes as Naomi, and ensemble members Courtney Kakac, Thomas Puckett, Justin Lampkins, and choreographer Chelsea Overman in multiple roles. The artistic team includes music director Dani McClendon.
“Lin-Manuel is one of my biggest idols,” Parnell added. “He is giving many opportunities for diversity in theater. ‘21 Chump Street’ specifically requires minority casting. The lead male has to be African-American. The lead female has to be Hispanic. Lin-Manuel is simply getting younger people interested in theater as well which is really cool. Anything he puts his name on deserves to be seen even if it’s only for 15 minutes.”
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