BUFFALO, NY (May 20th, 2018) — On Friday, May 25th, Raíces Theatre Company will open the Western New York premiere production of La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny, a musical by playwright Carmen Rivera. The musical tells the story of La Lupe, the Queen of Latin Soul whose energetic voice and unforgettable performances made her a star in New York City during the 1960s and ‘70s. “La Lupe was an Afro-Cuban woman singer who was rising to stardom during the Cuban revolution which is said to have ‘spit her out,’” said Victoria Pérez, Artistic Director of Raíces. “She eventually landed in NYC where the music scene was dominated by men. Despite these odds, she was a fighter who knew what she wanted and believed in herself. That’s an example that we have to show to our audience.”
After starting her singing career in Cuba and Mexico, La Lupe rose to prominence in New York City performing alongside Puerto Rican-American musician and songwriter Tito Puente. Her unique singing style was widely acclaimed and helped lead to career highlights, including a solo concert at Carnegie Hall and a memorable performance on The Dick Cavett Show, before an unfortunate fall from grace. “When listening to La Lupe you can’t help but feel every single feeling she is feeling,” Pérez said. “You go on a journey with her. Her story is filled with dreams coming true, tragedy and ultimately faith in your destiny.”
Playing the title role of La Lupe is Raíces ensemble member Melinda Capeles, making her third appearance for Raíces after her roles in Mariela in the Desert and Desde El Puente – Christmas Edition. “From the moment I found out that there was a musical about La Lupe, I knew it was something that we had to produce,” Pérez said. “But we needed someone who could play this dynamic character well. Melinda answered that need for us.” Ensemble members Rolando Gómez, Mercedes Pérez, Maria Pérez-Gómez, Dewel Pérez and Steve Brachmann round out the rest of the cast, each actor playing multiple roles in the story of La Lupe’s incredible life. This production also features the introduction of Raíces’ musical ensemble, featuring Joey Gonzalez (Musical Director/Keyboard), Hansel Herrera Deschapelles (Trumpet) and Jeremias Soto (percussion).
La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny, an Asociación de Cronistas de Espectáculos de Nueva York (ACE) Award Winner in 2001 for Best Production, is the first musical which is being fully staged by Raíces. It marks the second musical production involving Raíces after the company’s successful collaboration with
MusicalFare in 2015’s Artie Award-winning production of In The Heights. “This production is the biggest project we’ve ever done and it’s the right time to do it,” Pérez said. “We have a live trio of musicians on stage, and all of the cast are ensemble members which brings us great pride. And most importantly the story of La Lupe is a story that deserves this interpretation because she gave us everything she had. It’s time we return the favor.”
La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny opens Friday, May 25th, and runs for three weekends through Sunday, June 10th. All performances will take place at the Manny Fried Playhouse, 255 Great Arrow Ave., third floor, Buffalo. Friday and Saturday performances will take place at 8 PM and Sunday performances take place at 6 PM. Tickets for those performances are $20 for general admission or $15 for students/seniors. There will also be Pay-What-You-Can Thursday performances on May 31st and June 7th at 7:30 PM. Tickets can be reserved by calling 716-381-9333 or by visiting http://raicestheatrecompany.com.
About Raíces Theatre Company
Raíces Theatre Company is based in Buffalo, NY, and operates as Western New York’s premier Latinx bilingual theater company. Raíces – which means “roots” in Spanish – was chosen as the company’s name as it perfectly reflects the belief that, in order to truly understand who we are as Latinx people, we must celebrate the present while always looking at who we have been in the past in order to have a clear vision for the future. Its mission is to provide original theatrical entertainment for the WNY region which is specifically geared towards nearly 30,000 Hispanic people living in Buffalo and 10,000 more living across Erie County. The company is dedicated to develop, nourish, and produce modern and original works dealing with the Latinx experience in order to preserve our “raíces.” Raíces has also earned great recognition from the Buffalo theater community, having won one Artie Award and receiving five Artie Award nominations during its existence. It has also partnered successfully with many local theater companies including MusicalFare, Subversive Theatre Collective and Road Less Traveled Productions.