EL BOLERO WAS MY DOWNFALL
Text in English. Songs in Spanish. Dual-language supertitles.
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. A tribute to a great Puerto Rican writer, drenched in sequin, song, and the irreverence of survival. A new version of one of Pregones’ most popular and enduring plays, EL BOLERO FUE MI RUINA.
Jorge B. Merced
Cedric Leiba Jr.
Jorge B. Merced
About the production
EL BOLERO WAS MY DOWNFALL explores the legacy of queer Puerto Rican literary icon Manuel Ramos Otero (b. 1948 – d. 1990), and is adapted for the stage from his celebrated Spanish language short story “Loca la de la locura.”
Our 2017 version —running in strictly limited engagement during the month of June— celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the production with a brand new English translation, an expanded cast, new and unplugged torch songs, and an entirely additional set of audiovisual elements.
The play’s protagonist is a nightclub entertainer and self-fashioned femme fatale serving the last days of a long prison sentence. She is also a man, matter-of-factly recounting a lifetime of travestismo and the passions that end up in murder.
Since its Spanish language premiere in 1997, EL BOLERO has had more than 100 performances in 5 different countries and triggered dozens of critical dialogues around the subjects of colonialism, migration, queer identities, and becoming political.
Chad Carstarphen is a theater actor and singer born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in New York City. He began acting professionally at the age of twelve. He trained at La Guardia High School of Performing Arts and NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Credits include BROKE-OLOGY (KTC) and the 1st national tour of the Broadway show, In The Heights. Off-Broadway credits include Street Lights (ATA), The Conscientious Objector (Theatre Row), and workshops for Tell Me Tomorrow, Basquiat, and Bring It On. Film and television include Dumped and Law & Order. Prior credits with Pregones/PRTT’s ensemble include Neon Baby, The Harlem Hellfighters On A Latin Beat, and 48Hours In… El Bronx, coproduced with Harlem9.
Gabriel Hernández is an actor, rapper, musician, playwright, burlesque performer, voiceover artist, and theater teacher from Hoboken, NJ. Some of his favorite roles were in Aaron Jafferis’ Kingdom, Cándido Tirado’s Momma’s Boyz, and José Rivera’s References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot. He holds two degrees from Yale University, where he met his wife Rachel, with whom he writes plays and makes nostalgic 90’s hip-hop. Prior credits with Pregones/PRTT’s ensemble include The Marchers and The Desire of The Astronaut. He was recently seen in Cándido Tirado and Vico C’s La canción at Repertorio Español, and in Theater of War’s Ajax.
Cedric Leiba Jr. has toured nationally with Miss Saigon, Rent, and Go Diego Go Live!, and internationally with Carmen La Cubana. Other recent credits include the role of Jacob in Goodspeed Musical’s La Cage Aux Folles, Kingdom at The Public Theatre, Yellow Brick Road at Lucille Lortel, Sweet Charity/Caridad (2013 HOLA AWARD Outstanding Performance by a Featured Male Actor), and NHAT. Film credits include: Millie and the Lords, Elliot Loves and Last Night at Angelo’s. Prior credits with Pregones/PRTT’s ensemble include Neon Baby and The Marchers.
Jorge B. Merced is an acclaimed theater actor and director, and also a trained musician and dancer. He studied at the Escuela Libre de Música in Puerto Rico, City College-CUNY, EITALC/International Theater School in Cuba, and the Alvin Ailey School. Dozens of acting credits with Pregones/PRTT’s ensemble, where he is Associate Artistic Director, include La otra orilla, El último rosario de Medea, Baile Cangrejero, El Apagón, and El bolero fue mi ruina. Director and dramaturg credits at Pregones/PRTT include Aloha Boricua, The Marchers, and 10 years of LGBTQ-themed Asunción play competition and workshop production series. With other companies, prior director credits include Fellini’s La Strada, co-directed with René Buch, and Jordi Casanovas’ Gazoline at IATI.
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[tab: VENUE] THE BRONX
Pregones Theater in The Bronx
575 Walton Avenue
Bronx, NY 10451
Located on Walton Avenue between 149th & 150th Streets in The Bronx.