By: Jun X. Ma Cao
Broadway has been known for its plays, most musicals and operas. Bright lights, music and dancing come to our mind when the word Broadway is evoked. In a typical play of Broadway, most singers don’t get stuck with a certain role.
Choral singing is often part of the production, but a soloist gets the audience to admire his or her performance with their great vocals and characters. Many Puerto Ricans follow this trajectory as is the case of the Puerto Rican company “ Black Box Theater Workshop” that along with its director, Miguel Rosa Lopez they produced a remake of the play “Broadway Bound”.
Creating a musical requires a lot of teamwork; collaborative ideas are needed in order to create a great masterpiece. Looking for the right people with great artistic talents to give the play or musical a sense of humor and creativity is also important. Serious imagination and creativity from the producer and the cast is put up to work.
Everything must be perfectly organized and well thought out to give the audience the intended message and create a good sense of humor during the musical. “The most difficult part in the play was finding for a perfect song, that melody that suites to my voice,” said Jose Plaza, one of the performers.
Musicals are often presented in a stage; in the 1860s, the modern musical theater was created. The first musical was “The Black Crook” produced in 1866 in New York by Charles M. Barras. In 1987, the play “Broadway Bound” was one of Neil Simon’s most personal works. “As time passes everything changes, and obviously Broadway would not be left behind. The plays are more modern, they have more special effects with the advancement of technology and the return of many old movies to the theater,” said Abdiel Portalatin, one of the performers.
In the remake of the play “Broadway Bound”, various students from several universities participated and most of them were women. “It took us two weeks to organize this play. The director said that we will be the ones to create the play all by ourselves so that we accumulate and have more experience,” Jose said. He also said, “With this play, I have learned to have better control of my voice, to be more supportive, give constructive criticism and something that I will never forget… less is more.”
The play took place in the Victoria Espinoza Theater at Santurce. As you enter, a relaxed atmosphere welcomes you, advertisement and frames with bright lights circling them and the dim lights at the hallway create an environment close to the street of Broadway. People of all ages were waiting in their seats for the play to start.
With a red curtain as the background and a video at the center of the stage, the play started at 8:30 p.m. Then one of the members began talking about how great is the city of New York and the famous Time Square, where the brightly illuminated of the Broadway theater district is.
Famous songs of Broadway and musicals gave life to the theater. A sequence was performed for the audience to show the story of this imaginary character who came to America seeking the dream of becoming a great artist on Broadway. The imaginary character experienced rejection from the people of America since he was Puerto Rican, telling him that he was no longer in Puerto Rico and that his traditions did not matter anymore.
At the end of the play, after all the obstacles the imaginary character had to go through he succeeded and got to be a great artist. The activity ended with the song “You Can’t Stop the Rain” from the musical “Hairspray”, where all the member of the cast had the opportunity to present themselves and culminate the show with a last dance with the entire cast. At the end, the audience left with the desire for the play to continue, delighting them with songs and dances.