A magical world of adventure and imagination comes to life in Amigo Duende, a new musical written by Joshua Henry, the Tony Award-nominated star of The Scottsboro Boys, In The Heights stage manager Heather Hogan, and Luis Salgado, the Latin assistant choreographer of In The Heights and performer in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Check out photos of the cast and creative team in rehearsal below!
It’s the night before first grade begins and Marisa is faced with an important choice. Will she be able to enjoy her larger-than-life world of adventures with her best friend Remolino, a wisecracking elf, or will she be forced to leave behind her childhood fantasies and become a grown-up? Nothing is impossible in Amigo Duende, a modern-day fairy tale based on the classic story by Flavia Lugo de Marichal where your favorite childhood toys sing and dance, fantasies become reality, and a little girl fights to keep imagination alive in a world daring her to grow up fast.
The cast of Amigo Duende includes Ehizoje Azeke, Molly Bier (New Kid, It Shoulda Been You), Giselle D’Souza (Into the Woods, James and the Giant Peach), Salina Faison, Cindy Fernandez (The Two Month Rule, The Little Dog Laughed), Grace Freeman, Tauren Hagans (In The Heights, The Wild Party), Andy Herr (Forever Plaid, Barefoot in the Park), Sasha Hollinger (Man in the Mirror, In The Heights), Jasmine Knight (The Wiz, Big River), Christopher Michael Lacey, Anthony Martinez (Floyd Collins, I’ll Be Damned), Erin Maya (The Donkey Show), David Melendez (A Chorus Line, Bubbling Brown Sugar), Ari Stachel (Ragtime, Sweet Charity), Greg Uliasz (Heaven Can Wait, Last Kiss) and Tony Vo (Bacha Bazi, These Seven Sicknesses).
Amigo Duende features music and lyrics by Joshua Henry, who was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in The Scottsboro Boys. The book is by Joshua Henry, Heather Hogan (In The Heights) and Luis Salgado (In The Heights, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Fame) based on the beloved Flavia Lugo de Marichal story. Salgado will direct and choreograph the production, which is being produced by R.Evolución Latina and Salgado Productions.
Kate Rance (The Barrow Group’s An Enemy of the People) is the scenic designer. Herrick Goldman (Prospect Theater Company’s Myths and Hymns) is the lighting designer. Harry Nadal (Broadway’s The Capeman and A Class Act assistant costume designer) is the costume designer. Michael Eisenberg (Broadway’s How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying assistant sound designer) is the sound designer. Manuel de la Portilla (Happily After Tonight, Moderato Cantabile) is the projection designer. Jason Burrow (Violet at New York University) is the musical director. The production is general managed by Julie Miller (Zapata! The Musical, Clear Blue Tuesday).
For tickets to Amigo Duende, visit www.RevolucionLatina.org.
Amigo Duende will be presented at El Museo del Barrio, one of New York’s leading Latino cultural institutions, located at 1230 Fifth Avenue at 104th Street. The performance schedule is as follows: Friday, October 5 at 7:30pm; Saturday, October 6 at 1pm; Saturday, October 6 at 7pm; and Sunday, October 7 at 1pm. There are four additional student matinees being presented at 10am and 12pm on Thursday, October 4 and Friday, October 5. The October 5 evening performance is a benefit fundraiser including an optional VIP experience.
Amigo Duende is based on the beloved short story El Amigo Duende (The Elf Friend), written in 1952 by renowned Puerto Rican author Flavia Lugo de Marichal for the Puerto Rican Public Radio (WIPR) children's program Alegrías Infantiles. After the original short story was lost in a fire that destroyed the studio, Lugo re-created El Amigo Duende as a stage play four years later. Retired from public life, Lugo did not intend the script for production.
History took an unexpected turn when a friend, educator Angelina Bauzá, asked the writer for a script to stage with her students at the Antonio B. Caimary Elementary School in the Barrio Obrero section of San Juan. The writer donated the El Amigo Duende script and the student production was seen by legendary Puerto Rican theater scholar and director Leopoldo Santiago Lavandero, then director of the theater program for the Puerto Rico School System, who fell in love with the story. He immediately contacted Lugo and purchased the rights for the show to be staged in public schools throughout Puerto Rico. El Amigo Duende was suddenly being produced in all 78 municipalities island-wide.
The show received its first professional staging in 1968 in a critically-acclaimed production by Comedia Puertorriqueña at San Juan's Tapia Theater. Now considered a classic, El Amigo Duende remains one of the most frequently produced children's plays by schools, churches, and community theater companies in Puerto Rico, with hundreds of productions over the last fifty years influencing generations of children and families. Now 85, Flavia Lugo de Marichal looks forward to traveling to the United States to attend the world premiere of the musical version of Amigo Duende.
With partners like Deutsche Bank, Nike and actor Antonio Banderas, R.Evolución Latina has been making a difference since 2008. Utilizing the arts through educational and collaborative programming to empower the Latino community, R.Evolución Latina believes that everyone can discover their full potential in the arts. R.Evolucion Latina empowers and unites the Latino community to manage and expand programs that inspire. R.Evolución Latina is an affiliate of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. For more information, visit www.RevolucionLatina.org.
Photos courtesy John Capo
Grace Freeman, Tony Vo, Molly Bier
The Amigo Duende Ensemble
The Amigo Duende Ensemble
Joshua Henry, Jason Burrow and Luis Salgado
Ehijoze Azeke, Erin Maya, Jasmine Knight
Molly Brier and Greg Uliasz
Joshua Henry and Jason Burrow