The traditional sound of the harpsichord (rhythmic pattern) was in charge of opening the curtain with the award-winning actor Lin Manuel Miranda. (Shutterstock)
The contributions of Latinos to the Broadway stage were celebrated this Thursday in style with Hispanic stars of theater and television, with music, dance, joy and the pride of a presence that continues to grow in the world of tables.
The virtual show made a tour of the long list of musicals in which Latinos have performed over the years, such as “A Chorus Line”, “Rent”, “West Side Story”, “Evita”, “The Capeman”, ” On your Feet! ” and new ones like “Kiss My Aztec!” by John Leguzamo, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month, organized by the Broadway League and Playbill theater magazine.
The traditional sound of the harpsichord (rhythmic pattern) was in charge of opening the curtain with the award-winning actor Lin Manuel Miranda , star of “ Hamilton ” and “ In The Heights ”, the first Latin musical to hit Broadway .
Miranda proudly recalled that the key has been on Broadway for decades when referring to the long history of Hispanics in musical theater in various facets as actors, dancers, musicians, choreographers or screenwriters.
“The clave can be heard anywhere on Broadway,” said the actor, who wrote the script for “In The Heights” with Quiara Alegría, and who marked the rhythm of the clave with his hands.
It was precisely the theme “Carnaval del Barrio” from “In The Heights” that revolves around the life of a group of Latinos in the community of Washington Heights, the quintessential Dominican neighborhood where Miranda grew up, which opened the show with actors originals of that musical including Anthony Ramos, Doreen Montavo and Olga Mereditz.
The excellent digital concert featured the actress and dancer Chita Rivera, a legend of the tables both in the Latin and Anglo world, who reflected on her performance as Anita , “a sensual, independent and powerful woman” in the original version in 1957 of the famous “West Side Story”, which earned him a Tony.
Immediately afterwards, the public listened to the song “A man like that” interpreted by Karen Olivo and Shereen Pimentel, from the reruns of the musical in 2009 and 2020.
The power of storytelling was highlighted in this great Latin night introduced by the Mexican composer Jaime Lozano, who spoke of the importance it has had in his life, and then presented
“Dreamer” performed by a group of artists that included Mauricio Martínez and Angélica Vale, a song that reminds you that dreams can be achieved.
Broadway stages are not strange for the Spanish Antonio Banderas, who in his participation tonight spoke about the extended family as “cousins who are not blood cousins” and customs such as celebrating the holidays with abundant food.
Long live Broadway! allowed the audience tonight to give “a taste” of what will be “Kiss My Aztec!”, the first musical written by actor John Leguizamo, who also recalled the tradition of storytelling among Latinos.
“We are good at telling stories,” said the activist, who also stressed that his story is about a group of Aztecs who lead a rebellion against the Spanish conquerors.
“We had great empires like the Aztec, the Incas and the Mayans, we built America,” he stressed to regret that this history is not known. His musical will have a mixture of Latin rhythms, such as salsa, merengue or hip hop.
Lucie Arnas, daughter of famous comedian Lucille Ball and Cuban Desi Arnaz remembered her father, from whom she said she introduced the conga to North American audiences and from whom she inherited her passion for Cuban food such as picadillo and black beans.
The singer and actor Rubén Blades was in charge of closing the hour and a half concert with “Yo nací en Puerto Rico” from the controversial Paul Simon musical “The Capeman” .
Lin Manuel Miranda returned to remember that “the stage is the perfect place to bring the stories of our peoples. Let the tradition continue ”.