Two productions will crown our stages this Summer: EL BOLERO WAS MY DOWNFALL at Pregones Theater in The Bronx, and the Broadway district opening of SPAMILTON at Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in Manhattan. Allow me to brag a bit. Two of the things we do extremely well at PregonesPRTT are: adaptations and collaborations. El Bolero and Spamilton are prime examples, respectively, of things we do extremely well.
On Adaptations – EL BOLERO WAS MY DOWNFALL – 20 Years Later
Days before leaving jail, LOCA LA DE LA LOCURA, nightclub entertainer and self-fashioned femme fatale, recounts a life of travestismo and the terrible turn that landed her in prison.
In photo: Jorge B. Merced as LOCA
On June 1st we will open the newly developed version of EL BOLERO FUE MI RUINA, premiered in 1997 at what was then our 50-seat Studio on Grand Concourse. It was a magical space. It was never too small for our big dreams or too big for our experiments. When Jorge Merced shared with me the story Loca la de la locura with the idea of adapting it for the stage, we do what we usually do. Read, discuss it, read again, take a stab at adapting a couple of pages, take a stab at a musical take on it and decide whether to go at it…or not.
There was a special affection attached to the idea. The author of the story was the late MANUEL RAMOS OTERO, a friend, a literary genius and a gay icon in Puerto Rican literature. Our Musical Director then was Ricardo Pons. Ricardo, Jorge and I teamed up, and working with the rest of our creative team, went for it under the title EL BOLERO FUE MI RUINA. It was one of those instant hits, an audience favorite.
JOIN US on Thursday, June 1st for the opening and reception of EL BOLERO WAS MY DOWNFALL, the re-envisioned version of El Bolero Fue Mi Ruina, immersed in a new rhythm of English and Spanish, and with impeccable new harmonies. Sharing the stage this time around with Ensemble actors Chad Carstarphen (PASION), Gabriel Hernández (MUERTE) and Cedric Leiba, Jr. (VIDA), Jorge B. Merced (LOCA) is performing and directing. Musical Director Desmar Guevara is working his magic as one of the Club’s musicians alongside Gabo Lugo.
On Collaborations – SPAMILTON – An American Parody
PregonesPRTT’s history of creative collaborations date back to the 80’s. Collaborations emerge in numerous ways, generally in response to a developing relationship. Some last for decades, as our ongoing exchange with Roadside Theater (KY/VA), and some are recent, like our Fall 2016 run of I Like It Like That. Enter some old friends of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater with a new idea: the transfer of the hit show SPAMILTON to the PRTT on 47th Street.
Welcoming SPAMILTON into Puerto Rican Traveling Theater is a tribute to a history of showcasing original works and to the partnerships we have built along the way. Miriam Colón, the late Founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater/47th Street Theater, found immense joy in one such partnership: the artists/producers who created Forbidden Broadway. She would have been thrilled to learn that we have developed a new and collaborative vision for the continued success of SPAMILTON, their latest adventure. She admired playwright Gerard Alessandrini and the producing wit of John Freedson. For years, the producing team of Forbidden Broadway rented the PRTT a few months at a time. This time around is different.
This partnership makes artistic sense, and it is in harmony with our mission. The show pays a double tribute to Lin-Manuel Miranda and his world famous Hamilton, and to what he represents in the history of Broadway. This time around the show will have projected Spanish translations of its fabulous lyrics. We will share the production process and logistics of playing in our Off-Broadway home. We cannot wait to get the word out to many segments of our Latino community, and beyond. This is both another partnership at the intersection of nonprofit and commercial theater, and a great new instance for inter-cultural collaboration.
El Bolero Was My Downfall and Spamilton – this Summer adventure honors the promise we’ve made to you all: Two Great Stages, One Great Theater! Our Bronx-Manhattan Theater Express is on a roll!
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
SUMMER FREE Programming spices our run with STAGE-GARDEN-RUMBA. Live streamed projects, Block Party, comedy night. Curious? Stay tuned for more.