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Brown Fist Productions and CASA 0101 Theater to Stage EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS

Boyle Heights will be the setting for a pull out all the stops Cinco de Mayo (May 5, 2016) celebration on the Eastside of Los Angeles as Brown Fist Productions in association with CASA 0101 Theater present the opening night of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS, A New Rock 'n' Roll Musical. The production, which runs through May 29, will be presented on CASA 0101 Theater's Main Stage. The theater is located at 2102 East First Street (at St. Louis Street across the street from the Hollenbeck Police Station), Boyle Heights, CA 90033.

EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS is written by Tom Waldman (Book & Additional Lyrics, Producer), who along with David Reyes (Music & Lyrics, Producer) authored the book "Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock and Roll from Southern California." James Holvay (Music & Lyrics), who wrote the hits "Kind of a Drag," "Don't You Care" and "Susan" for the seminal 1960s group the Buckinghams, composed most of the musical's 19 original songs. Rudy Salas(Music & Lyrics), leader of Tierra, one of the most successful pop, rock, or soul groups to ever come out of East Los Angeles, wrote a number specifically for the show, "Doing It Our Way."

The musical is executive produced by Maria Elena Yepes, who launched the new theatrical production company, Brown Fist Productions. Emmanuel Deleage, Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater, serves as an Associate Producer of the show. The show is helmed by Steve E. Feinberg (Director, Creative Producer) who co-authored composer P.F. Sloan's 2014 autobiography, "What's Exactly the Matter with Me?" The musical is choreographed by Urbanie Lucero, a noted movement director. The show is under the musical direction of Gary St. Germain, who performs frequently with the Taiko Center of Los Angeles, which opened for Yoko Ono at the Yellow Magic Orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011.

EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS tells the fictional story of Jimmy Ramirez, leader of the four-man vocal group, the EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS. The group has conquered East L.A., but Jimmy and the others have bigger goals. They aim to be #1 in the nation, Mexican-American superstars. But first they have to make a record. EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS is inspired by the true story of Cannibal and the Headhunters, the musical group which opened for The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965.

"In researching the book I wrote with David Reyes, 'Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock and Roll from Southern California,' I realized that the incredible story of Cannibal and the Headhunters opening for The Beatles deserved its own treatment, either in film or on the stage," said Waldman. "When I wrote the script for EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS I decided to use that story as the basis for a largely fictional account of the vibrant East Los Angeles music scene of the mid-1960s. I wanted to capture on stage the excitement, energy, and determination of a community of Latino teen-agers who saw Rock 'n' Roll and Rhythm and Blues as a way to establish their own identity and to rebel against their immigrant parents."

"EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS captures that special summer of our youth - when hearts were pumping, kids were dancing and all was right on a Saturday night in East L.A.," said Feinberg.

"When Cannibal and the Headhunters made their debut at the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday, August 29, 1965 opening for The Beatles, I was a teenager in the audience. I remember that night and special moment in time with great fondness. Now, over 50 years later in 2016, it brings me great joy to bring this fictionalized story reminiscent of that musical era to the stage for new generations," said Yepes.

The cast of 20 includes: Kenneth Lopez (of North Hollywood) as Jimmy Ramirez,Marco Infante (of Studio City) as Mario, Jesse Maldonado (of Hollywood) as Andy, Matthew Ramos (of East Los Angeles) as Ronnie, the members of the singing group the EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS, as well as Gabriel Gonzales (Los Angeles) as Carlos Ramirez, Diana Castrillon (of Northridge) as Sonia Ramirez, Angel Galvan (of East Los Angeles) as Lydia Ramirez,Bernardita Nassar (of North Hollywood) as Teresa Gomez, Jordan Charles (of Santa Monica) as Hal Fisher, Jahmaul Bakare (of Lincoln Heights) as Eddie Mitchell, Katie Kitani (of North Hollywood) as Ensemble, Taleen Shrikian (of Orange County) as Ensemble, April Sheets (of North Hollywood) as Ensemble/Bride, Andrew Joseph Perez (of North Hollywood) as Teen/Groom/Heartbeat Understudy, Sebastian Gonzalez (of Los Angeles) as Teen/Groom/Heartbeat Understudy, Vanessa Benavente (of Toluca Lake) as Ensemble/Teresa Understudy, Tatiana Gomez (of Valley Glen) as Ensemble/Lydia Understudy, Benjamin Perez(of Los Angeles) as Carlos Understudy, Efrain Garabay (of Los Angeles) Hal Understudy and Isabel Serrano (of Los Angeles) as Sonia Understudy.

The EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS band consists of: Gary St. Germain (of San Bernardino) Music Director, Keyboards and Guitar, James Holvay (of Woodland Hills) on Rhythm Guitar,Christian Burrolla (of Los Angeles) on Bass, Chris Diaz (of Los Angeles) on Guitar and Peter A. Zavala (of Los Angeles) on Drums.

The musical score for EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS includes 20 songs: We're The EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS, They Don't Know Me, Doing It Our Way, It's All Good, A Special Place, Stars By '66, La Bamba, I Had My Say, Bad Dads, Don't Screw Up, What's Happening Here, We Got Fans, The Best We Can Do, She's Back In Town, This Is How It Is, Sellin' Out, When Dreams Die, Thank You Mr. Epstein, We Are One and Whatcha Doin' Tonight.

The production team includes: Maria Elena Yepes (of Monterey Park), Executive Producer; Tom Waldman (of Los Angeles), Book Writer, Additional Lyrics, Producer; James Holvay (of Woodland Hills) Composer, Lyricist; David Reyes (of Upland) Composer, Lyricist, Producer; Rudy Salas (of Los Angeles) Composer, Lyricist; Steve E. Feinberg (of Topanga Canyon) Director, Creative Producer; Josefina López, (of Boyle Heights) Founding Artistic Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Emmanuel Deleage (of Boyle Heights) Associate Producer, Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater; Edward Padilla (of Boyle Heights) Casting Director, Board President, CASA 0101 Theater; Angel Leonel Gutierrez (of Echo Park) Assistant Director; Gary St. Germain (of Highland) Musical Director; Urbanie Lucero (of Silver Lake) Choreographer; Melodee Fernandez (of Eagle Rock) Vocal Director; Jerry A. Blackburn (of Porter Ranch) Production Stage Manager; JP Torres (of San Dimas) Stage Manager; Soheil e. Najafi (of Culver City) Technical Director; César Retana-Holguin (of San Fernando Valley) Scenic Designer; Jose Lopez (of Los Angeles) Lighting Designer; Julius Bronola (of Los Angeles) Costume Designer; Joey Guthman (of Los Angeles) Lighting/Projections Assistant; Vincent Sanchez (of Commerce) Sound Designer; Miguel Carachure (of Los Angeles) Sound Engineer; Gabriela Lopez de Dennis (of Los Angeles) Graphic Designer; Aaron Macias (of Los Angeles) Pre-Production Photographer; Guadalupe Arellanes (of Los Angeles) CASA 0101 Theater Communications and Outreach Coordinator;Sarah Kiss (of Los Angeles) Social Media; Cesar Arredondo (of Los Angeles) EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS Website Designer; Mark Kraus (of Boyle Heights) CASA 0101 Theater Webmaster;Ed Krieger (of La Crescenta) Production Photographer and Steve Moyer Public Relations (of Los Angeles) Press Representative.

EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS will be presented on CASA 0101 Theater's Main Stage located at 2102 East First Street (at St. Louis Street across the street from the Hollenbeck Police Station), Boyle Heights, CA 90033 with Opening Night set for Thursday, May 5, 2016. Thereafter performances will be presented on Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. and on Sundays at 5:00 p.m. through May 29, 2016.

Tickets are $30 per person for General Admission; $25 per person for Students, Seniors, Boyle Heights residents and Groups of 10 - 19, and $20 per person for groups of 20 or more. This show is recommended for all ages. Advance reservations are highly recommended.

Free Parking is available on several streets surrounding the theatre. Free Parking is also available on Fridays and Saturdays only at the Boyle Heights City Hall Parking Lot located at 2130 East First Street (at Chicago Street) by entering the lot from Chicago Street; the lot is closed on Sundays. METRO Gold Line stations are located on First Street in Boyle Heights at both Soto Street, and at Boyle Street (Mariachi Plaza), within a short walking distance to the theatre.

For tickets, call the CASA 0101 Theater Box Office at 323-263-7684,, or buy online at

An Art Exhibit will be running concurrently with the musical EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS, May 5 - 29, 2016, in the Jean Deleage Art Gallery located in the lobby of CASA 0101 Theater. The Art Exhibit, "Roots of the Eastside Sound" curated by David Reyes (of Upland) andJimmy Centeno (of Los Angeles), is a photo exhibit focusing on the history of Chicano Rock 'n' Roll on the Eastside of Los Angeles from 1955 - 1965. Viewing Hours are prior to performance show times and Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

More About The Creative Team of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS

Tom Waldman (Book Writer, Additional Lyrics and Producer of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS) is co-author with David Reyes of "Land of a Thousand Dances: Chicano Rock and Roll from Southern California" (University of New Mexico Press). First published in 1998, and in a second edition in 2009, the book is the most definitive history to date of the Chicano Rock and Roll scene in Southern California from Ritchie Valens through Quetzal. From 2011-2015, Waldman was a contributing theater critic to the website From 2013-2015, Waldman hosted "Rock and Roll Stories" on the PBS radio station, KLCS. The program featured prominent musicians from the 1960s to the present talking about their careers and the songs that changed their lives. Guests included Noel Paul Stookey, Lonnie Jordan from War, and Lil' Willie G of Thee Midniters. Tom Waldman is the author of three other books, including "Not Much Left: The Fate of Liberalism in America" (University of California Press, 2008). Waldman also produced a three CD set for Rhino Records called "Brown Eyed Soul" (released in 1997) and wrote the liner notes for the collection. He also served as Associate Producer of "Chicano Rock! The Sounds of East LA." Waldman fell in love with theater in London in 1972, when as a teen he attended a production of Tom Stoppard's play Jumpersstarring Diana Rigg. EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS is Tom Waldman's first time writing for the stage.

James Holvay (Composer & Lyricist for EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS) wrote "Kind of a Drag," which reached #1 for the Buckinghams in 1967. He composed three more hits for the group that same year: "Susan," "Don't You Care" and "Hey Baby (They're Playing Our Song)." Nearly 50 years later, Holvay has written 19 songs for EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS. Holvay says, "At that time, East LA teenagers were sophisticated connoisseurs of Rock 'n' Roll and Soul music, refusing to be limited in their choices by industry-imposed categories or pat judgments. They embraced obscure Rhythm and Blues ballads, British Invasion chart-toppers, nascent experiments in funk, snarly, blues-based rock, bold girl groups, and electrified folk, born on the streets of Hollywood. These kids adhered to a simple credo; keep the good, throw out the bad."

A Chicago native, James Holvay, followed a similar pattern. As a young kid, in the pre-Elvis days, he listened to the music of his parents' generation: Glen Miller, Bing Crosby and Perry Como. That changed when his older brother came home with a 78 RPM Rock 'n' Roll record by Bill Haley and his Comets, and not long after, a Rhythm and Blues 45 RPM by Howlin' Wolf. With all due respect to his parents, Holvay moved on, without so much as a backward glance. "The raw energy of that music," he exclaims today, "made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I didn't know how, but I wanted to dance." When he was a teenager, Holvay wrote two sides for Dee Clark: "I Can't Run Away" and "She's My Baby." A few years later, Holvay was hired as a guitarist for the Dick Clark Caravan of Stars. On the tours, he performed with such Rhythm and Blues stars as Wilson Pickett, The Supremes and The Four Tops.

By the mid-1960s, Holvay was writing songs in earnest, mixing the styles of The Beatles, Motown, Stax, and folk into his own particular blend. Like The Beatles with "Sgt. Pepper's," the Turtles with "Happy Together," and the Jefferson Airplane, Holvay enjoyed a very good year in 1967. To this day, the hits of the Buckinghams help to define what made pop music in the 1960s special. What can't be readily expressed into words is made clear by listening to "Don't You Care," or "Kind of a Drag."

With EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS, Holvay has taken his vast knowledge of the range of sounds popular in the mid-60s and applied it to a musical about a kid named Jimmy Ramirez, who has dreams of touring the world as the next Soul sensation, a Mexican-American Smokey Robinson or James Brown. "I have written numbers for EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS that variously recall Motown, the British Invasion, 'Shake a Tail Feather,' and 'The Last Time,'" says Holvay.

James Holvay says, "The sixties was my generation for music, and I was a big fan and record collector. I bought, stole, and listened to everything I could get my hands on. Over all those years of listening to music and then playing it in cover bands, it subconsciously got imbedded in my brain. When writing an original song, a snippet or sound bite of something that I heard will come out in my writing."

Steve E. Feinberg (Director and Creative Producer of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS) was one of the few people who understood the enigmatic P.F. Sloan, composer of "Eve of Destruction," "You Baby," "She's a Must to Avoid," "Secret Agent Man" and so many others. Feinberg co-authored Sloan's 2014 autobiography, "What's Exactly the Matter With Me?" (Jawbone Press in London, 2014). The book was on Shindig Magazine's top five books in 2014 and reached #1 on Amazon's Best Seller list for Songwriting. The foundation of the Feinberg/Sloan friendship may have been established back in the late 1950s and early 1960s, years before the two actually met. They both got into Rock 'n' Roll through big sisters who spent a lot of cash on 45 RPMs.

"My sister had a great record collection, and turned me on to all of the hits," says Feinberg, who grew up in Massachusetts. "When one of her records got scratched or she tired of it, she passed it on to me, and I added it to my meager collection."

Feinberg, a budding author, entered the counterculture through theater, writing, producing, and acting in Boston and New York during the late 1960s and 1970s. "As one would write a song, we wrote plays," he says. "We looked like rockers, we acted like rockers, but we hung out in theaters rather than music clubs. We had stories to tell and the theatre is where we told them."

Feinberg is combining theater and Rock 'n' Roll into his role with EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS. He brings not only experience, but his boundless enthusiasm of a teen-ager in 1964 hearing The Beatles for the first time. "In the mid-1960s," says Feinberg, "America was in the process of a transitional passage. Music was our guide through that passage. What was true for a small town in Massachusetts was equally true for East LA."

Steve E. Feinberg's screenplay, The Happy Worker, based on his play of the same title, premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and is currently in development as a film starring Sam Elliott, to be directed by Duwayne Dunham, produced by Bill Borden and executive produced by David Lynch. After graduating from Bryant and Stratton School of Business, Feinberg trained at the American Center for the Performing Arts at Boston Center for the Arts.

Maria Elena Yepes (Executive Producer of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS) is an educator and writer, and has been a community activist for the past 30 years. Yepes has dedicated her professional career to providing higher educational opportunities for the most underserved populations in Los Angeles. EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS is her new theatrical production company, Brown Fist Productions' first show. The mission of Brown Fist Productions is to bring the stories of Latinos and Latinas the stage and screen; stories which reflect the dynamic cultural life - devoid of stereotypical representations - of the Latino community in the United States.

David Reyes (Composer, Lyricist and Producer of EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS) developed an interest in modern classical music in the early 1970's, and his fascination with the genre led him to study it seriously in college. Because of his dedication to the pursuit of modern classical music, Reyes was awarded a scholarship to study in Europe, where he had the privilege of studying and training with modern masters who changed the course of classical music: Iannis Xenakis and Gyorgy Ligeti at Centre Acante, and at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory in Aix en Provence, France. In Los Angeles, he has worked with other influential composers: the late Dorrance Stalvey, musical Director of LACMA, and Aurelio De La Vega, faculty member emeritus at California State University, Northridge. Reyes produced a three CD set for Rhino Records called "Brown Eyed Soul," and was Associate Producer for the PBS documentary "Chicano Rock." He is co-author for "Land of a Thousand Dances" and co-curator of the exhibit "Roots of the Eastside Sound." Currently Reyes is composing a mini opera entitled, "El Circo Anahuac," scored for voices, chamber ensemble and puppetry.

Production History and Background:

The World Premiere performance of the musical EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS was presented at CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, CA on Friday, January 15, 2016. The original production was directed and choreographed by Corky Dominguez, and produced by Maria Elena Yepes, Founder of Brown Fist Productions, in association with Josefina López's CASA 0101 Theater. The production played through February 14, 2016 to sold out audiences, and is now being brought Back By Popular Demand to CASA 0101 Theater where it will run again from May 5 - 29, 2016.

EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS tells the fictional story of Jimmy Ramirez, leader of the four-man vocal group, the EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS. The group has conquered East L.A., but Jimmy and the others have bigger goals. They aim to be #1 in the nation, Mexican-American superstars. But first they have to make a record. EASTSIDE HEARTBEATS is inspired by the true story of Cannibal and the Headhunters, the musical group which opened for The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965.

Cannibal and the Headhunters rose to fame from their beginnings in the Ramona Gardens housing projects in Boyle Heights to their record chart-topping success, opening for The Beatles during their 1965 U.S. Tour, including appearances at the Hollywood Bowl on August 29 and 30, 1965, where ticket prices ranged from $3 - $7 per person, as well as at Shea Stadium in New York on August 15, 1965.

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