Besides directing more shows this year than Broadway has marquees, Hartley aced perhaps the most difficult assignment she faced: turning American Stage’s In The Heights at Demens Landing into a Hispanic-themed success. Hartley’s task was to transform the capacious Demens Landing stage into a busy New York barrio wherein a multi-ethnic, multi-aged cast encountered every sort of problem from star-crossed love to a winning lottery ticket. And Hartley succeeded: after two-and-a-half hip-hop and salsa-filled hours with the loving, struggling, dancing and singing denizens of the musical’s Washington Heights, we couldn’t help but imagine that we knew what it was like to share an endangered neighborhood with more-or-less Americanized Latinos from Puerto Rico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. How could Hartley know so much about store owners and hairdressers and taxi dispatchers and piragua vendors? And where did she get all that moxie?