DO YOU DREAM IN SPANISH? Asks Roberto Araujo At The Green Room 42 And The Answer Is; When He Sings… YES!
Heigh-Ho Friends & "Family"! Bobby Patrick your RAINBOW Reviewer here. Putting the silent T in CABARET to bring you all the T.
So my lambs, shortly after entering Green Room 42's space, we became a little overawed by the number of musicians that found their way to the stage. No small combo, trio or just pianist to accompany Roberto Araujo, oh no. A seven-piece BAND, some with more than one instrument to play, set themselves up in chairs along the back of 42's stage. Clearly, this would be as much concert as cabaret, we thought. But, we were to be schooled in how a show can be multiple layers of performance that defies and yet fits into all the night club musical categories at once. As they struck up the music, they proved to be a tight group with real power. With the blare of the trumpets, mixing with a strong drum rhythm, Araujo took to the stage to enthusiastic applause and began to sing, first in English and then Spanish and then English again and this was just his first song. His handsome shining face, eyes and unstoppable smile expressing such joy that there was NO language barrier. On the contrary, this bilingual nature of his performance that would repeat many times throughout the evening buoyed his show and left no one behind. We may not have all understood everything he was singing, but we all knew what he meant.What Araujo meant with his DO YOU DREAM IN SPANISH was to bring to life his own personal story and deliver to his audience tales of his Mexico City birth, upbringing as the youngest of 5 (and "THOSE" Latin family ties that bind,) and his self-realization of being a huge fan of Broadway musicals. Now, we all know what that means don't we, my rainbow tribe? It means Roberto had to come out to his family as being a SINGER! At 15 young Roberto knew he wanted to be a musical theatre actor and he would pursue that dream with everything he had. Oh... and he also realized he was gay too. SURPRISE!! Well, it was a surprise when his mother, upon conducting a motherly SNOOPING, came across a letter from her teen son's boyfriend. Araujo perfectly typified the strained relationship that followed this incident with a fast, tense rendition of EVERYBODY SAYS DON'T; the answer he felt he was receiving at every turn within his repressive family. Once his mother decided to give him 24 hours to get out of her house he also knew THERE's GOTTA BE SOMETHING BETTER THAN THIS. With a clear, high, powerful baritone, slick moves and professional chops sharpened on the choppy seas of cruise ship ballrooms, the dynamite Araujo presented his story in song and spoken word that never seemed scripted. Oh, it was polished, with a few charming fumble/giggles here and there, but professional through and through while always just easily talking to his audience. There was more than just fine performing going on; there was star power. Moving with real heart through the more heartfelt chapters of his story; making his way to New York City in 2000 where he had to sleep on the streets for a bit to landing his first performing gigs to his 5 years entertaining on cruise ships where he met his dancer husband Brett, Roberto's quintessentially New York story touches, amuses and entertains as it flows from the soul of a true and truthful entertainer with just the touch of a super cute accent. And speaking of accents, one of the important themes Araujo weaves into his show is one of "casual racism." Remarks he would hear almost daily like "Do Mexican people wear modern clothes?" or "You don't SOUND Mexican." and even "Do you dream in Spanish?" Which, if nothing else, provided the title for his show, but that struck at the core of his self-esteem. Never letting things drag though, Araujo's humor and his triumphs over his adversities are something to inspire everyone. It was his parents after all, in a moment of reconciliation, that gave him his first camera and started Araujo's successful photography career. But, upon hearing via facetime that the boyfriend they had finally come to accept was soon to become their son's HUSBAND they all realized they had reached a bridge too far to cross. The ever ebullient Araujo, though, had his chosen family attend his wedding and it was this group of friends and his husband that helped him conquer the devastating disease Myosthenia Gravis in 2017.
So my darlings, Roberto Araujo's story, and the cabaret/concert/celebration/PARTY that he's made of that story are a treasure to the ears, eyes, and the soul. Is he the well-known photographer of the male physique, Roberto Araujo? Is he the actor/singer/dancer/songwriter/entertainer Roberto Araujo? Well, when he sings with such passion, power, and beauty his rendition of THE WORLD INSIDE A FRAME, a paean to the photographer's view of the world from "The Bridges Of Madison County" the answer is, Roberto Araujo; All Of The Above. We cannot recommend this show and this performer highly enough and so my rainbow children, Bobby gives DO YOU DREAM IN SPANISH a resounding 5 out of 5 rainbows.