Gabriela Garcia is an actress who is currently performing as Nina Rosario in the musical ‘In The Heights’. Gabriela fell in love with the musical after seeing it live in Broadway and took on the role of Nina when it hit London, UK. We were lucky enough to speak to Gabriela before the barrio closes for its final time in the West End!
1) What is your favourite song from the show and why?
To sing, probably ‘Breathe’ because I find it the hardest and I’m able to keep growing with it every day – of the whole show probably ‘Carnaval’; I feel like it explains the show so well, it has so many arches, great story telling and it always makes me dance backstage you can’t help but move to the music when you hear it! – it has the soul of the whole piece.
2) If you could only act one scene from In The Heights for the rest of you life what would it be? Why?
Does ‘When You’re Home’ count as a scene? I guess not but it is acting through song… I mean to pick out a scene it’s hard! If I HAD to probably the one after ‘Everything I Know’ where Nina tells her parents she wants to go back to Stanford and finish what she started.
3) What are you going to miss most about the show? Why?
The music! I’m probably going to be home listening to it…I just can’t get tired of it.
4) What initially drew you towards this musical?
The fact that it was about a Latino community but wasn’t your stereotypical Latino story- they were just real people. I cried so much when I first saw it I had to go back two more times that week before I left New York to really digest it! I wanted so badly to make people feel what I was feeling when watching it.
5) Have you learnt anything from the character you play? If so what?
What haven’t I learnt?! Not only I am pushed as an actress every day but also I’m learning how to take care of myself outside of work. I’m very lucky to play a character that inspires me every day to be better personally and professionally.
6) If you had to play a different character who would you play?
Daniela – she’s so fun!
7) Have you got anything up your sleeves for the final performance?
No, will need to concentrate very hard to not cry and just enjoy it like I do every night.
8) What would you say is the best part about performing on a traverse stage? Do you prefer it over the usual stage?
I love it – it allows us to just be…we don’t have to worry too much about the angles. There’s nowhere to hide which can be very exposing but I love!
9) What makes In The Heights different from other musicals?
The fusion of rhythms and styles in the piece – it just has so much heart.
10) How did it feel performing to Lin-Manuel Miranda last year?
It was such a dream come true! I never thought I would be able to meet one of the people that has inspired me and has had such an important impact in my life …they say you should never meet your heroes but I’m lucky to say I did and I felt even more inspired after it! He was so normal and nice.
11) What would be your dream show to perform in and which character would you like to play?
Well In The Heights was one of them! I have so many! Fosca in ‘Passion’, Evita, Bonnie in ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, Mimi in ‘Rent’, Paulina in ‘Death and the Maiden’, Maria or Anita in ‘WSS’, Alex in ‘Flashdance’ Cathy in ‘The Last Five Years’…the list goes on and on however my next dream is to be able to create a character maybe in a new musical or play or even TV!
12) How do you feel that this show is coming to an end in London?
I feel extremely grateful! We started with a one month run at the Southwark Playhouse and then transferred to Kings Cross theatre for a limited run that kept extending and we ended up doing more that a year which is unreal! I got to perform the show from different characters perspectives and with different companies, the learning is constant. I’m sad to be leaving this routine behind and not seeing the cast as often as we all go to different jobs but I’m also so grateful this was able to happen.
We’d like to thank Gabriela Garcia for her time and all the best with the last performances of In the Heights and with the future!
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