Theatre Under the Stars

Award-Winning Director, Outstanding Choreographer and Broadway Casting Agency Join Theatre Under The Stars on Season Opener

Houston – Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is excited to introduce the creative team behind our production of In The Heights and to announce audition information for the production.

Making his debut at Theatre Under The Stars, Nick DeGruccio will direct upcoming TUTS production of In The Heights. DeGruccio most recently directed the Los Angeles premiere of First Date, and has a lauded history of direction on the West Coast. His credits include Next to Normal, Man of La Mancha, The Last 5 Years, Putting It Together and Rent. He’s received 10 LA Ovation nominations for Direction and won three LA Ovation awards – two for Direction of a Musical (2008, 2004) and for Direction of a Play (2002), the 2014 Desert Theatre League Award for Direction and the 2009 Backstage Garland award for Direction for an Outstanding Season among many others. No stranger to acting, his many performance credits include City of Angels, Dracula, The Pajama Game, “Frasier” and “Everybody Loves Raymond”.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Nick several times. He is one of the smartest, theatrically savvy, and gifted directors that I know, and it is an honor to share his fine work with the TUTS audience. His productions have been justifiably celebrated and rewarded for many years. He brings a kind of special joy to the process that will serve this already joyous musical in a very special way. I know that he and his creative team will deliver a production that is full of life, energy, and theatrical vitality,” said Sheldon Epps, Artistic Advisor for Theatre Under The Stars.

In The Heights will be choreographed by Jose-Luis Lopez whose performance credits include, most recently, On Your Feet! and the Broadway and touring productions of In The Heights. Lopez will be recreating the original highly praised choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler who also recently won the Tony® Award for Hamilton: An American Musical. The scenic and costume design for this production will also be based on that of the original Broadway production.

In The Heights, the first Tony®-Award-winning show by Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, will kick off the Theatre Under The Stars 2016-17 season on September 13, 2016. The 2016/17 season is generously sponsored by Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. For all shows, air transportation is provided by United Airlines, the official airline of TUTS. For more information on In The Heights or any of the shows in the 2016/17 Season, visit

Auditions for In The Heights will be held in Houston July 30-31, in New York August 2-11, and in Los Angeles August 4-5. This marks the beginning of a new partnership between Theatre Under The Stars and casting agency, Stewart/Whitley as the official casting agency. “Stewart/Whitley has quickly become one of the busiest and most successful firms with their work in New York City and with other regional theaters. We’re lucky to have them working with us this year,” said Epps.

July 30
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. EPA/ECC
7:00 – 8:00 p.m. Open Call

July 31
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Dance Call. Dancers should arrive at 10:00 a.m. to sign in.

By Appointment only. Actors who are interested in auditioning for the production should submit a headshot and resume directly to Stewart/Whitley electronically to, Subject: Stewart/Whitley ATTN: IN THE HEIGHTS/TUTS

August 4
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. EPA
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. ECC

August 5
10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Dance Call. Dancers should arrive at 10:00 a.m. to sign in.
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Callbacks

Theatre Under The Stars and Stewart/Whitley are currently casting the following roles for this show:

[USNAVI] Male, 24, Dominican. Owner of De La Vega Bodega, his parents emigrated from the Dominican
Republic and have since passed away. The play’s narrator and the eyes and ears of his Washington Heights neighborhood. Loving, charming, charismatic, witty, hard-working, and loyal. Strong actor, excellent rapper and singer, high baritone/tenor to G4. Must move well.

[NINA] Female, 19, first generation Puerto Rican-American. Freshman at Stanford. Intelligent, hard-working, and driven. Trying to make her family proud while navigating adulthood. A beacon of hope and inspiration to all who know her; she represents the opportunity outside of “the heights.”. Strong belt/mix to an E. Must be a good mover.

[KEVIN] Male, 40’s, Puerto Rican, immigrated to NY. Nina’s father. Owner of Rosario Car Service. Upstanding, proud, and devoted patriarch who is hard-working and verging on worn down. He is stubborn, hot tempered at times and can be quick to act without thoughts of repercussions. Stands firm in his beliefs and traditions. Spanish speaker. Strong baritone to E4.

[CAMILA] Female, 40’s, Puerto Rican. Nina’s mother. Co-owner of Rosario’s. A smart, sharp tongued, fierce, and loving mother. Spanish speaking, strong singer-belter (G3-B4) Must move well.

[BENNY] Male, 24, African-American singer/rapper. Rosario Car Service employee. Attractive and masculine with an air of lingering boyish energy. He once was a street punk and hoodlum. Kevin saw promise and helped shape him into a responsible, hard-working young man. Driven, aspiring businessman. Excellent rapper and pop tenor voice to Ab4.

[VANESSA] Female, 19. A shampoo girl at Daniela’s Salon. Beautiful, vivacious, sexy, driven and intelligent with a strong sense of humor. She wants to get out of the barrio, worldly and urban. Strong dancer with an excellent high belt to E5.

[SONNY] Male, 16, Dominican. Usnavi’s cousin. Streetwise yet a goofball. Charming and adorable, he feigns a persona of perceived cool masculinity. He is someone that needs guidance or risks ending up a street punk. Strong comedic timing. Excellent rapper and tenor to Bb4.

[ABEULA CLAUDIA] Female, mid-late 60’s, Cuban. Raised Usnavi though not his blood grandmother. Loving matriarch for the entire community. Deeply loving and unwaveringly optimistic with a surprising sense of humor. Full of wisdom, life experience, memories and years of hard work. Excellent singer. Spanish speaking a plus; belter (f#3 to C5).

[DANIELA] Female, 30’s-40’s. Owner of Daniela’s Salon. Brash, funny, and outspoken. Meticulous about her physical appearance. the gossip queen of the neighborhood. Spanish speaker. Excellent singer with strong comedic timing. Belter (G3 to C5).

[CARLA] Female, 20’s-30’s. Works at the salon. Daniela’s sidekick. Sweet and likeable. Strong in her faith, she is a pure, sweet, innocent, and loving woman who is devoted to her family and friends though she is easily taken advantage of because of her naivety. Strong dancer and singer with comedic timing. Spanish speaking a plus.

[GRAFFITI PETE] Male, 18-20’s. Local graffiti artist. Sonny’s best friend. Always hanging out on the streets, dancing to his boom box music, spraying any surface he can. Must have “swag”. Fantastic Hip Hop dancer, rapper/singer; Spanish speaking a plus. Break dancing skills and acro are a plus.

[PIRAGUA GUY] Male, 30’s-40’s. He walks the hot and humid streets of Washington Heights selling piraguas (flavored ice shavings) to earn a living. Strong sense of humor and great sense of pride. A local institution. Spanish speaker. Excellent high tenor with sustained A4.

[FEMALE ENSEMBLE] To play various ages, ethnicities, and members of the local community. Residents of Washington Heights. Strong hip-hop and Latin dance skills are a plus. Excellent singers/dancers (dance in multiple styles – Latin to hip hop).

[MALE ENSEMBLE] To play various ages, ethnicities, and members of the local community. Residents of Washington Heights. Strong hip-hop and Latin dance skills are a plus. Excellent singers/dancers (dance in multiple styles – Latin to hip hop).