Actress/cabaret singer Stephanie Trudeau will return to Don’t Tell Mama, 343 West 46th Street, March 3 at 7:00 p.m. in the updated version of her musical docu-cabaret, “Becoming Chavela.”
Written and performed by Ms. Trudeau, the play is more than just a musical cabaret based on the songs of legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas. It is also a documentary theater project that traces the artistic evolution of the famous ranchera singer and her relationship with her musical mentor Jose Alfredo Jimenez (the greatest composer of ranchera songs in the world), the painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlothe great Cuban courtesan Macorina, and producer Pedro Almodovar, which brought the singer back at age 72 after a 15-year battle with alcoholism. Trudeau is accompanied by Ben Lapidus on guitar and percussion. The director is Tanya Moberley.
This performance was originally scheduled for December 30, 2012 but was postponed due to Omicron. Ms. Trudeau will travel to the West Coast to perform the piece on March 13, 2022 at Arthur Newman Theater, The Joslyn Center, 73-750 Catalina Way, Palm Desert, CA. Information: https://joslyncenter.org/les-michaels/760-340-3220.
The show won a 2020 Bistro Award for Outstanding Achievement: Tribute Show. This season’s newly revised edition, which took place at Don’t Tell Mama on November 22, prompted Andrew Poretz (Theater Pizzazz) to consider it “a modest winner who has the potential to be a much bigger show. “. He added: “Trudeau has a wealth of source material worth seeing, and it will be a pleasure to hear Stephanie Trudeau sing again, in any language.”
“Becoming Chavela” not only dramatizes the singer’s life, but also examines Latin America’s “golden age” culture from the 1930s to the 1960s. of the singer’s life are in English, but Vargas ranchera songs and Latin American pop hits are sung in Spanish with some translated lyrics. The play is illustrated in multimedia containing historical images of the main characters, the art world and the social milieu of Mexico City in the middle of the century, when it was the cultural capital of Latin America.
Stephanie Trudeau has been an actress and singer for over 40 years, performing in New York City cabarets, Off-Broadway and regional theaters. She had developed a program of songs written by women, including Spanish songs that her Puerto Rican mother adored. These included songs by Maria Grever, Maria Teresa Lara, Maria Teresa Vera and Consuelo Velazquez. Discovering Chavela Vargas, she decided to refocus the project in a program centered exclusively on this artist. “Becoming Chavela” emerged part bioplay and part tribute – a cabaret show enriched with biographical and staged narratives, Mexican songs, and illustrated with multimedia. Ms. Trudeau says: “I am Puerto Rican, but I feel this Mexican singer in my bones. She adds, “What I love about his music is its primal power. It’s heartbreaking. This music has guts, guts.” Trudeau says she was also intrigued because Chavela’s life story touches on many hot topics: gender issues, gay rights, immigration and Mexican culture.
Initially, the show was partly developed under the eye of director Deborah Wright Houston, who is best known for her work as artistic director of the critically acclaimed Kings County Shakespeare Company (1983-2010). The show debuted at Pangea in 2017, where it was invited back for a return engagement. It then evolved through engagements at Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles in 2019 and Don’t Tell Mama in 2019 and 2021, where it was directed by Tanya Moberley.