¡LATINO HOLLYWOOD! – Everyone loves a good rags to riches story. Maybe it all started with Cinderella. Not that there haven’t been male versions along the way, too. There’s a new Cubano in town that has the current rags to riches tale all sewn up and it very much mirrors the life of an earlier Cubano, Desi Arnaz who arrived in the U.S. with nothing and made it big in Hollywood. The 2012 version is, of course, William Levy. The guy is well known to Spanish language audiences through torrid novelas, but American TV’s “Dancing with the Stars” has made him THE hot new discovery and Flavor of the Semana. Levy arrived in the U.S. from Cuba with his family as a child of nine. As with many that have made that journey, they had nothing. And now he’s on the cover of People Magazine where he may be more used to People en Español. He’s even being auctioned off at this week’s Hispanic Heritage Awards in DC. Only for lunch. Don’t you love a good rags to riches story?
¡TEATRO! – LA theatre lovers are looking forward to the world premiere of the musical “Los Otros” at the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum set to open on June 3. Buenos Aires-born Graciele Daniele directs the piece that will integrate several California stories that span many decades. The first act features a Southern California woman who encounters Mexican immigrants and in the second act, we meet a Mexican-American man first as a 12 year-old boy working in the fields and then as a 75 year-old man. Puerto Rican-born Julio Monge stars along with Tony award winner Michele Pawk with book and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh and music by Michael John LaChiusa. The cast and creators are all major Broadway veterans with credits and awards that are way too many to list in this space. Daniele began her stellar dance career at the Teatro Colon in Argentina and moved on to study ballet in Paris where she saw a production of “West Side Story” and that was it. She packed up and moved to New York and started dancing in Broadway musicals before turning to choreography and directing. Many years ago, I was casting a TV movie about dancers that Daniele was set to choreograph before breaking her leg. No problem. The lady would sit immobile on the floor in a rehearsal room with her leg in a heavy cast, shouting out in her delicious accented English and commanding attention. She got those dancers to do exactly what she needed. An awesome and multi-talented lady. ¡HASTA PRONTO!