Broadway-Aimed Musical AMERICANO! Set to Open at The Phoenix Theatre Company in January
The Broadway-aimed musical Americano!, inspired by the life of DREAMer and political strategist Tony Valdovinos, will premiere at Phoenix, Arizona's The Phoenix Theatre Company, January 29 - February 23. Opening night is January 31. Americano! is presented by The Phoenix Theatre Company and Quixote Productions (Jason Rose, producer), Tony Award-winning producer Ken Davenport (Altar Boyz, Godspell, Kinky Boots and Once on This Island) is the executive producer.
With America once again embroiled in heated debates about immigration, Americano! is the true story - the life, the challenges, and the perils - of Tony Valdovinos, a DREAMer. Tony walked into a Marine Corps office at Camelback High School in Phoenix on his 18th birthday to enlist, only to discover his parents hadn't told him he was an undocumented immigrant. But he didn't give up on serving the only country he had ever known-he did it in alternatively powerful ways instead. Americano! casts a deeply human light on what it means to be a DREAMer.
Americano! features an original score by critically acclaimed singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez ("Lola," named as one of NPR's top 50 albums of the year), with a book by Michael Barnard (Producing Artistic Director, The Phoenix Theatre Company) and Jonathan Rosenberg. Michael Barnard also serves as the director of Americano! which features choreography by Sergio Mejia, and musical arrangements by Sergio Mendoza with Marco Rosano. Former New York Times Phoenix Bureau Chief Fernanda Santos is the creative consultant.
Tony Valdovinos, whose life story serves as the inspiration for Americano!, also serves as a consulting producer. "I knew it was a big opportunity," says Valdovinos. "I was approached by these fellows that wanted to write a story of an immigrant. They had read an article about me. I met with them and I told them my whole life story. Imagine someone calling you out of the blue and then a year or so later, you hear 20 songs involving the most intimate details of your life? Here were 17 artists investing their best talent in the depiction of some of my most personal challenges. But this journey is worth it to share the story of DREAMers and what their families are going through. And it will also put a smile on their faces."
"From the moment I heard that the story of Tony Valdovinos was going to be a musical, I wanted to be involved, because it's about the new American hero." says Executive producer Ken Davenport. "I'm thrilled to join a team of such passionate and unique voices and look forward to helping them tell this important and timely story to audiences in Phoenix, and hopefully, all over the world."
"I believe Americano! has a chance to be the most emotionally resonant musical to ever come out of Phoenix," says Michael Barnard, co-author and director of Americano! "It's a very relevant topic, and nobody has been writing about it in the world of musical theater. It's an Arizona-grown story, and I think it's important to try to put a spotlight on a population of individuals who have been misunderstood. Tony Valdovino is so committed to this country and so believes in this democracy. The arts try to speak to the times that they were written and created, so it seems particularly important that a piece like this is presented at this time in our history. We're very proud to have Americano! as the centerpiece of The Phoenix Theatre Company's 100th Anniversary season."
Americano! premieres on the mainstage at The Phoenix Theatre Company, January 29 - February 23. Opening night is January 31. Performances are Wednesday - Saturday at 7:30PM, with matinees at 2PM on Saturday & Sunday. Tickets for Americano! are $32 - $82 and available at www.phoenixtheatre.com. Visit AmericanoTheMusical.com for more information.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Michael Barnard (Book and Director) is currently entering his 20th season as The Phoenix Theatre Company's Producing Artistic Director. Barnard is also the head of The Phoenix Theatre Company's New Works Incubator, which assists in the development of new plays and musicals. He is the co-author and director of ¡Americano! after recently directing West Side Story and Cookin's a Drag for The Phoenix Theatre Company. Barnard, who has a master's degree in theatre from Northwestern University and a fine arts degree from Arizona State University, was a senior show director for The Walt Disney Company. Barnard's nine-year tenure with Disney included producing stage productions of Pocahontas and the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Barnard has directed more than 560 productions and more than 1,000 special events. He has directed and choreographed for Disneyland, Universal, Osaka Japan, Donny and Marie Xmas Show, 100th Anniversary of the Calgary Stampede, National Tour of Veggie Tales, Childsplay, San Jose Rep, PCPA, Santa Barbra CLO, Arkansas Repertory, Phoenix Theatre Company and many more. He received National Arts and Letters Award for outstanding contribution to the field of Musical Theatre in 2011 and was named Artist of the Year by the Governor's Art Awards in 2008. He has honored with the Leadership in Arts Award from the YWCA, the Arts Leader Award from the Phoenix Boys Choir and in 2018 won the Ellis Island Medal of Honor award for his commitments to tolerance and diversity.
JONATHAN ROSENBERG (Book). For over four decades, Jonathan Rosenberg was an educator and administrator involved with Special Needs children. In addition to having his master's degree in special education and Doctorate in Psychology, Jonathan has been a radio personality, arts reporter and lead singer/songwriter in San Diego rock bands. His most recent musical, the critically acclaimed 33 1/3 - House of Dreams, broke attendance and box office records at the San Diego Repertory Theater in August, 2019.
CARRIE RODRIGUEZ (Music & Lyrics), a singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas, finds beauty in the cross-pollination of diverse traditions. A passionate performer, she melds fiery fiddle playing, electrifying vocals and a fresh interpretation of new and classic songs with an "Ameri-Chicana" attitude. Her most recent release, the critically-acclaimed bilingual album, "Lola," was named as one of NPR's top 50 albums of the year. Carrie has performed on stages across North America and Europe for the last decade, as well as on programs such as Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show, A Prairie Home Companion, and NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. In the words of author Brené Brown, "She's the trifecta for me - beautiful singer, soulful songwriter, and kick-ass fiddler."
SERGIO MENDOZA (Music Arrangements) is a producer, arranger, composer, multi instrumentalists and Latin music pioneer. Just like jazz legend Charles Mingus Mendoza was born in the border town of Nogales, Arizona. He is also the founder and leader of Orkesta Mendoza, a band which he formed in Tucson, Arizona in 2009. Through his work with Orkesta Mendoza, two time Grammy Nominated band Calexico, Devotchka, Mexrrissey and Mexican Institute of Sound, Mendoza has traveled and toured all over the world from Europe, UK, New Zealand, Australia, Canada to South America. As band leader and musician Sergio has performed a total of four times in Latin America's most important music festival 'Vive Latino'. Through his production work with Los Angeles Azules (Mexico's #1 selling group)and Mexican producer Camilo Lara, Mendoza has produced and arranged songs for artist such as Natalia Lafourcade, Miguel Bose, Belinda just to name a few. His band Orkesta Mendoza is planning to release their third full length album 'Curandero', in April 2020.
MARCOS ROSANO (Music Arrangements) Born in Tucson, AZ, Marco Rosano is an accomplished woodwind player, and a versatile multi-instrumentalist and composer. Marco is a long tern member of the band, Orkesta Mendoza, and was a founding member of the popular Tucson based band, Crawdaddy-O. In addition to playing in many local bands, he has composed music for award winning films of Alex Italics, and was an active member of the experimental composition group, Chamberlab. Macro has recorded with national and International Artists including Calexico, Depedro, KT Tunstall, as well as many others, and has performed as a musician in productions of Chicago, Anything Goes and Westside Story. He continues to maintain an active career as a composer, musician, performer and arranger, bringing his diverse set of creative skills to many different areas of the world of music.
SERGIO MEJIA (Choreographer) has served as a Creative Director and Choreographer for television and live events around the world. Sergio served as a Creative Director and head of Choreography for 3 Disney Channel International hit television shows including "Violetta", "Soy Luna" and currently "Bia", as well as heading their international world tours. Sergio has also created, directed and choreographed several shows for Universal Studios Japan which included an IAAPA Award nomination. Sergio has also worked with Alejandro Fernandez, Christina Aguilera, Walt Disney, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon, Latin Billboard Awards, CBS, MTV, VH-1 and Celebrity Cruises.
FERNANDA SANTOS (Creative Consultant) is an award-winning author and journalist with a long reporting career, including 12 years at The New York Times. An immigrant from Brazil, Santos has reported in three languages (Spanish, Portuguese and English) on immigration, the U.S.-Mexico border, race relations, public policy and criminal justice, among other topics. Her first book The Fire Line: The Story of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, won the Western Writers of America 2017 Spur Award for Best First Nonfiction Book and was one of two finalists in the Contemporary Nonfiction category. She is a professor of practice at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, a board member of the Arizona Latino Media Association and vice president of The Sauce Foundation, which raises money for journalism scholarships and pancreatic cancer research.
TONY VALDOVINOS (Consulting Producer) was born in the state of Colima, Mexico and was brought to the U.S. when he was two years old. At the age of 18, Tony wanted to enlist in the U.S. Marines after 9/11 to serve the country he loved only to learn of his undocumented immigration status. Like many other DREAMers, Valdovinos grew up American and did not know of his undocumented status. His true and inspiring life story became the inspiration behind Americano! He is now the CEO of La Machine, a consulting firm that specializes in field operations to help local and national clients. His clients and efforts include winning minimum wage ballot initiative campaign, Bernie Sanders' 2016 Presidential campaign for Arizona, the campaign to elect Representative Ruben Gallego into the U.S. House of Representatives and recently ran Kate Gallego's 2018 Mayoral campaign. He has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Forbes for his outstanding achievements in his respective field.
Ken Davenport (Executive Producer) is a two-time Tony Award winning producer and writer. Davenport is the founder of Davenport Theatrical Enterprises (DTE). He has created and produced numerous shows the past 15 years. Davenport has produced more than a dozen Broadway shoes including the Tony Award-winning Best Musical Kinky Boots, the first Broadway revival of Godspell, Altar Boyz, Macbeth, Once on This Island and Deaf West Theatre's Spring Awakening.
QUIXOTE PRODUCTIONS / JASON ROSE (Producer) is one of the driving creative and motivational forces behind making ¡Americano! and the true story of an Arizona DREAMer a reality. Rose is the president of Rose + Moser + Allyn Public & Online Relations. Rose and his firm are recognized as one of the most creative and cutting-edge public relations and public affairs firms in the Southwest. Rose is also the creator of the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. The Scottsdale event is now the most attended polo event in North America.
Phoenix Theatre Company is the largest regional theater production company in the Valley with close to 500 performances on multiple stages. Phoenix Theatre Company entertains and inspires more than 100,000 theater and performing arts fans each year. The Phoenix Theatre Company was originally founded in 1920 as the Phoenix Players. It is the oldest art organization in Arizona and one of the oldest arts organizations in the country. The Phoenix Theatre Company is forged with the mission of creating theatrical experiences that use the arts to inspire hope and understanding. The Company believes the arts are an essential vehicle to fostering the 'hero within' and cultivating greater understanding of our cultural and political differences. The arts are where anyone can go (the popular, the geeks, the affluent, the broken down) and be welcomed and learn to empathy and what it is like to walk in another's shoes.