The Arts

June 24, 2012

Broadway in the Valley

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Written by: Nydia O
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Back by popular demand and thanks to Xavier Jaramillo’s Provacouture Productions [K3], Spring Awakening opened in McAllen, Texas. Spring Awakening is a musical adaptation of a play of the same title written by Frank Wedekind in 1892 Germany. The musical opened on Broadway in 2006, and closed in the early part of 2009. In 2006, it was awarded eight Tony Awards.

When I briefly read this play was about a tale of the coming of age of teenagers living in late 19th century Germany, I was not expecting to be shaken off my seat.  It is no wonder the play was banned in Germany during the late nineteenth century. The musical frankly, and I mean that literally, portrays topics such as abortion, homosexuality, child abuse, suicide and sex. And let me not forget to add what I choose to describe as autoeroticism.  I was grateful for the full service bar at Cine El Rey, for I needed something strong to deal with the impact, and the crude awakening.

Both Producer Jaramillo and Director Felipe Garcia agreed the musical portrays the harsh reality that nothing has changed since 1892. “Humans have not changed, we still cannot talk about certain topics without feeling embarrassed, we prefer to avoid them,” said Jaramillo. After a great success last year, the musical premiered on Saturday, June 23, and will close on Sunday, July 1st, 2012 at Cine El Rey of McAllen, Texas. Jaramillo, a Harlingen native, is an incredibly talented opera singer and actor himself who said his greatest challenge has been to be behind the scenes instead of performing on stage; a change he has embraced and one that led him to establish his production company.

I met director Felipe Garcia when he was coaching the Speech, Drama and Debate team students at Harlingen High School South. My son was part of his team for a couple of years; a team that received rave reviews in competitions held in New York City. When I heard he was directing this rock musical, I knew I had to go see it because not only does he have an impressive trajectory as choreographer and director, but Felipe’s work is always evolving. I was not disappointed; I was rattled, but very pleased with all the actors’ performances. It never grows old to see young and talented actors bestow the audience with a performance clearly deriving from their hearts and souls. I asked Felipe if any of these young actors were paid for performing, he said no. What these actors do receive is the opportunity to train and improve their acting and singing skills working under the direction of two dedicated professionals at no cost to them; a valuable contribution towards their future.

Delyssa Castillo and Micah Solano, a law student, are the lead actors in this play, they have a good chemistry and they both manage to “reel-in” the audience into the plot. Because of the story line, Micah has a greater opportunity to shine, and he does. Rafael Martinez, who is also the play’s choreographer, has a challenging role; he made us laugh, and then he made us cry, something Martinez managed well. The cast amused the audience crooning  rock ballads composed by Duncan Sheik with lyrics distinctly from the 21st century.  Titles like “The Bitch of Living,” “My Junk,” and “Totally Fucked,” sang to the beat of rock managed to blend perfectly with the 19th century setting.

There was not a single actor who did not perform well, they sang, they danced, it was a very enjoyable experience.

The play does deal with very tough issues. I thought I was shocked because I belong to an older generation, but a very young woman in the audience told me her jaw dropped a few times; her eyes widened as she recalled. This proves, like Jaramillo said, that humans have not changed much. One of lines the self-proclaimed atheist main character Melchior said was: “Shame is only a product of education.” What do you think?

There is still time to enjoy this unique musical. Plan to attend this coming Saturday June 30 at 8:00 PM, and  Sunday July 1st, 2012 at 2:30 PM at the Historic Cine El Rey of McAllen, Texas. Tickets are $15.00 per person and $20.00 at the door. Cine El Rey has a comfortable, very casual, almost bohemian atmosphere, so don’t worry about what to wear – just go and enjoy the show.

Xavier Jaramillo and Felipe Garcia would like to recognize their sponsors and thank them for their support. “Ticket sales cover about 30% of the total production cost,” said Jaramillo. “If it wasn’t for our sponsors, we would not be able to bring this musical to the Rio Grande Valley.”

Sponsors: TinderBox/Vino 100 – Mario Orlando Garcia, Allstate Insurance – Colletti’s of Harlingen – Smile Loud Photography, Valley Wide Sprinkler Systems and Jennifer Lynn Tullos.

Here is a complete list of all the cast members; I look forward to writing about each of them in the near future.

Delyssa Castillo, Beatrice Cabrera, Rebecca Gamboa, Roni Ryan, Jessica Mason, Connie Lopez, Armando Lomas, Jr., Florencio David Villarreal, Rene Adrian Sandoval Jr., Steven Cano, Emmanuel eaton, Rafael Martinez, Micah Solano-Vargas.

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and my spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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