BWW Interview: Luis Bravo Talks FOREVER TANGO and More; Comes to the McCallum, 1/11

Luis Bravo's internationally acclaimed Forever Tango has played to great acclaim in Europe, Canada and throughout the United States, and most recently, enjoyed its third run on Broadway. The McCallum Theatre Luis Bravo's Forever Tango for three performances -Saturday, January 11, at 8:00pm and Sunday, January 12, at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. Forever Tango opened on Broadway in June of 1997 for what was expected to be an eight-week engagement. It ran for 14 months and has since been back to Broadway on two separate occasions.

The New York Times called Forever Tango "A must-see!" USA Today said "Forever Tango shows that the style is more than steamy - it's smart, even funny...a sensuous, seductive, pleasure." The New York Daily News raved that the show was "an evening of sheer pleasure! Sensual, elegant, dazzling!" And the Associated Press declared it to be "the most theatrical show on Broadway!" These sizzling reviews and huge demand for tickets forced the run to be extended again and again.

Forever Tango features fourteen world-class tango dancers, one vocalist and an on-stage eleven piece orchestra, including the instrument of the tango, the bandoneon, in an evening that celebrates the passionate music and dance of Argentina. The dances, performed to original and traditional music, are the result of collaboration between each couple and director/creator Bravo. "The tango is a feeling that you dance," says Bravo, "a story you tell in three minutes. It's passionate, it's melancholic. It's tender, violent. You dance it with somebody - but it is so internal, you dance it by yourself. More than just a dance, the tango is music, a drama, a culture, a way of life."

Forever Tango tells the story of the birth of the tango in 19th century Argentina where thousands of men, having abandoned a disintegrating Europe to emigrate to South America, found themselves in the crowded abattoirs (packing houses), the bars and street corners of the arrabales (outlying barrios), and in the enramadas (brothels). The tango was born of this lonely and violent existence. Originally shunned by Argentina society as indecent, the tango became an overnight craze in upper-class Paris when Argentine intellectuals taught it when traveling abroad. The tango quickly spread across Europe and to America, and was eventually re-imported home to Argentina society, though not unchanged, and today, the tango may be Argentina's best known export.

Luis Bravo is a world-class cellist who has performed with major symphonies throughout the world. His distinguished credits include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Colon Theatre Opera House, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic and other prestigious ensembles. I had the opportunit to chat with Mr. Bravo about his upcoming engagement at The McCallum Theatre and more. Here are a few excerpts ffrom thea conversation.

DG: Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

LB: I am Argentinian. I was born in one of the provinces in Argentina and then I moved to Buenos Aires when I was eight years old, for education. And then I came to this country when I was twenty four and since then I have been living in the United States. Right now, I am living in Lexington, Kentucky,

DG: When did you first discover music?

LB: I must have been two or three years old.

DG: What are your recollections of that?

LB: Well, from my family. My mother is an artist. She was a big influence. I think my mentor was an uncle who was a priest that came to live in our town. He was a painter. He was a composer. And that's where it all started. From my mother, and from my family.

DG: I know Cello is your primary instrument, but is that where you started and do you play others?

LB: Yes, I play others. I play guitar. In fact, before playing the Cello I made my - I had a career as a professional guitar player and, ah --- playing classical music and mostly popular music from Argentina, -- tango and folklorico music - and then I began the Cello and since then, everything that happened in my life - yes.

DG: Do you remember the first time you ever played in front of an audience?

LB: I danced in front of an audience when I was four years old. I think I was in kindergarten. And my teacher was my first musical teacher, yeah.

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David Green David Green is the Executive Director of The American Foundation For Arts Education, founded by Carol Channing and her late husband, Harry Kullijian -- working to restore the Arts to our nation’s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed "Musical Theatre University", a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominees Matthew Morrison and Stephanie Block, Drama Desk nominee Lindsay Mendez, Krysta Rodriguez, Scott Barnhardt and Anneliese VanDerPol to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, JoAnne Worley, Rex Smith, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is the Regional Editor and Reviewer for the Inland Empire of Southern California.

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