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Alabama Shakespeare Festival Presents AMERICAN MARIACHI

The heartfelt comedy filled with lively mariachi music follows Lucha on a journey of empowerment and self-discovery.

Alabama Shakespeare Festival Presents AMERICAN MARIACHI

Alabama Shakespeare Festival presents American Mariachi by José Cruz González, through Aug. 21, 2022, on the Festival Stage.

The heartfelt comedy filled with lively mariachi music follows Lucha on a journey of empowerment and self-discovery. When Lucha discovers her mother Amalia - battling early onset dementia - has moments of clarity when she hears a long-lost mariachi song, she and her friends set out to start a band and record the music that brings her mother back. There's just one problem: it's the 1970s and women aren't allowed to be mariachis.

The show boasts a songlist of mariachi tunes - both familiar and new - a brightly colored set reminiscent of the 70s, and Mexican folklorico-inspired costumes. A band of authentic mariachi performers adds another layer of appreciation for traditional Mexican American culture to the production.

Playing well-meaning Lucha is Jimmy Award-winner Elizabeth Romero, whose credits include American Mariachi (The Goodman Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (Paramount Theatre) and Ragtime (Park Playhouse).

Henry Godinez (The O'Neill Theatre Center, Yale Rep, Signature Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center) previously directed this production of American Mariachi at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago. He returns to the piece as it transfers to ASF.

The show upholds a reverence of history and culture, but Godinez said the show also emphasizes the need to create your own space in tradition.

"Tradition is a living thing," said Godinez. "Nothing ever stays the same, and sometimes there is a need for tradition, not to change completely, but to evolve."

The director said that while the characters aren't activists, the five women are learning to follow their heart and in doing so discover what female empowerment is all about.

"An all-female mariachi band was unheard of in those times in the United States," said Godinez, "and they were told it would be impossible. So you root for them to succeed."

Godinez said the show is a uniquely American play, and while it is a celebration of Mexican American and Latino culture, the heart of the story - family, tradition, and memory - is universal.

"It's about love," said Godinez, "and mariachi music ties it all together."

Playing Lucha's boisterous cousin Boli is Lucy Godínez (Man of La Mancha, Oliver, Footloose), and giving a heart-wrenching performance as Lucha's ailing mother Amalia is Gigi Cervantes (American Mariachi, Our Town, So Go the Ghosts of Mexico).

The rag-tag group of all-female mariachi players is composed of Gloria Vivica Benavides (Somewhere Over the Border, Real Women Have Curves) as the sassy hairdresser Soyla, Amanda Raquel Martinez (Somewhere Over the Border, 33 to Nothing, Frankenstein) as innocent Gabby and Satya Chávez (Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, Refuge) as independent Isabel.

The supporting mariachi band, lead by Ricardo Gutierrez as Federico, features Ayan Vasquez-Lopez, Daniel Ochoa, Salvador Martinez and Rudy Pinon. The cast is completed by Bobby Plasencia, portraying Lucha's godfather Mino, Christopher Llewyn Ramirez as Mateo, and Eréndira Izguerra as calavera Tia Carmen.

Melinette Pallares and Julian Diaz play the female and male understudy, respectively.

Members of the production team include music director Cynthia Reifler Flores, scenic designer Linda Buchanan, lighting designer María-Cristina Fusté, associate lighting designer Mike Morin, wig & hair designer Jason P. Hayes, sound designer Ray Nardelli, costume designer Danielle Nieves, costumes associate K.D. Schill, stage manager Ana Muñoz, and production assistants Delaney Dunster and Cassandra Whitt.

Ticket prices start at $25. To purchase, call 334.271.5353, visit the ASF Box Office (Monday - Saturday, doors open at 12:00 p.m.), or purchase online at ASF.net. Evening performances begin at 7:00 p.m.; matinees begin at 2:00 p.m.

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