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A performance to remember by the remarkable Justin Torres. In The Heights.

POSTED October 08, 2019
BY Timothy W. Gaffney
Twitter: @TimothyGaffney

THOMASTON: Sometimes in life, you just feel extraordinarily privileged to have been part of something. Something that made you feel better deep in your soul after witnessing it.  

That was the case on Sunday afternoon when I took in a remarkable performance at the Thomaston Opera House, put on by the Landmark Community Theatre, In The Heights.

The productions star, Torrington High School alumni, Justin Torres, revised his role as Usnavi De La Vega in the production, created by the great Lin-Manuel Miranda.

If there was ever a role Torres was made for, it was this one.

I had seen him perform this show at THS back during his senior year and at the time, I had no idea that we had this kind of talent gracing the Little Theater stage at THS and still do to this day.

Lin-Manual Miranda starred in the show he wrote for himself back in 1999 and there’s no way he could have foreseen a young man years later looking and acting so much like him as Torres does.

In the two years since I saw Torres at THS in the show, he has had roles in Tommy, The Wizard of Oz and Title of Show, three different roles that he melted into with such ease for a young man who just graduated in 2018.

In The Heights and Usnavi though, that’s his role, that’s his jam, that’s his pure moment of joy.

A packed house at the Thomaston Opera House took in the performance on Sunday afternoon. I’ve never seen the balcony so filled and it rocked a bit like Shea Stadium used to when the Mets were in a playoff game (I know, I’m dating myself, it’s been a while).

From the opening number, “In The Heights” to the Finale, a talented cast and production crew mesmerized the audience from start to finish.

It’s a fast paced, high energy run for most of the show, which ran two hours with an intermission so we could all catch our breath!

Throughout, though, it was Torres who led the charge and as the show wrapped up for the final time after an eight-show run, the thunderous standing ovation from the truly appreciative crowd told the cast everything they needed to know.

The reviews stated to come in early during this run that started on September 21 and they were all positive for so many great reasons, starting with Torres.

Where will we see this ’18 graduate of THS land next?

The sky seems to be the limit at the moment and he can count on the fact that his supporters can’t wait to take in whatever great performance lies ahead.

Well done Justin, well done indeed.



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