Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Lupe - La Gran Tirana
There's a great theatrical experience waiting for you at Teatro Flumen - a one woman show based on the life of the Cuban singer dubbed the Latina Judy Garland, who died in 1992.
Her death is the starting point for this production, a European premiere for the play. On a stage bare but for a musician, Miguel Angel Rodriguez, a few props - cases, trunks and picture frames, Yamilet Duran Sosa gives a powerful and moving performance as this amazing woman, as she sees her life flash before her in her last moments.
And it was quite a life, from humble beginnings in Cuba, she became a top selling artist in her own country until in 1962, she left to seek her fortune in the USA, there, through friends and contacts, she landed a job at the famous La Barraca club and became the first female Latin Singer to appear Carnegie Hall and alongside Tito Puente and his orchestra, Madison Square Gardens. She was flamboyant in the extreme, changing clothes during a performance from a bag she specially kept onstage in case she decided she was not comfortable, Or just walking off mid-song to return some minutes later as if she had never left.
Picasso once called her a musical genius, but drink and drugs, along with poor management took their toll and in the early eighties her popularity began to wane and she was virtually destitute, living on welfare when she died in the Bronx.
In 2002, a street in The Bronx was named after her.
It's a powerful and enjoyable evening and if you are put off by an evening of theatre in Spanish, consider this, the play is directed by British actress Samantha Holland, now living here in the city, who spoke very little Spanish when she began this project and has thoughtfully provided a précis of the play in English, ask for it at the theatre when you arrive.
Unmissable - but go on youtube.com to catch old videos of the real La Lupe performing before you go for background.
June 8, 9,10, 15, 16, 17
June 29, 30 July 1