South Coast Repertory (Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei) returns for a third summer to the historic Mission San Juan Capistrano with the Outside SCR production of La Havana Madrid by Sandra Delgado. The play with live Latin music runs July 15-Aug. 4.
Directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce, La Havana Madrid tells the story of Chicago’s legendary nightclub that served as the social hub for the city’s Cuban, Colombian and Puerto Rican communities of the 1960s. What began as a chapter of the Cuban American Society in the middle 1950s became a must-stop for all the popular Latin musicians of that era.
“La Havana Madrid promises an exceptional blend of live music and personal story-telling, all harmonizing with the stunning surroundings of Mission San Juan Capistrano,” Ivers said. “The characters, songs and narratives populating Sandra Delgado’s beautiful adventure are born out of lived experiences. La Havana Madrid resonates joyfully with what makes us all part of a unique American community.”
Delgado describes La Havana Madrid as an “immersive documentary theatre experience” based on the stories of actual Chicagoans who frequented the nightclub. Through historical writings, photographs and countless personal interviews with patrons of the long-gone 1960s nightclub, Delgado has created an unforgettable evening of music and theatre.
Audiences will be welcomed into La Havana Madrid, where they will meet members of the Chicago’s Latin community, hear their compelling stories of life in a new land and enjoy the lively sounds of mambo and salsa performed live. The production’s setlist ranges from Latin standards to hits of the era to a surf-rock staple and original music.
La Havana Madrid played to sold-out houses at two of Chicago’s top venues: Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Goodman Theatre. It has been featured in The New York Times and on CNN, recognized as one of the best plays of 2017 by New City Chicago and Time Out Chicago, and received the Time-Out Audience Award for Best New Work and the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists (ALTA) Award for Best Production. The Chicago Tribune called La Havana Madrid “heartfelt and fascinating.”
“South Coast Repertory is delighted to be returning to this beautiful, historic setting for another summer of theatre under the stars,” Tomei said. “Mission San Juan Capistrano’s commitment to community, culture and presenting vibrant programming to diverse audiences makes them once again, the perfect partner to join us in this engaging and lively production.”
Mechelle Lawrence-Adams, the Executive Director of Mission San Juan Capistrano said, “We are thrilled to bring Outside SCR to the Mission’s Central Courtyard for a third summer. La Havana Madrid is the perfect production to be set within the aged corridors and architecture of old Mission San Juan Capistrano. South Coast Repertory’s masterful stage—designed to appear like the Mission itself—is an artful Illusion that is just so fun to see. Audiences will be awed by the overall effect of the setting and (the) production caliber.
“We believe that summertime is the perfect time to explore and try new things, and for that reason our members and SCR’s audience will delight in this unique opportunity to see award-winning theatre in a new way.”
A multi-talented artist, Delgado is a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a 2021 United States Artists Fellow. Her audioplay, if you belong to me as I belong to you, is on Audible as part of a collaboration with the Oscar-winning film, Women Talking. Her new musical, The Boys and the Nuns, is in development with the Latiné Musical Theatre Lab in New York and Cal State Fullerton. This August, she makes her debut at Joe’s Pub in NYC with her music project, The Sandra Delgado Experience.
As an actor, she brings 20 years of experience to stages ranging from her Chicago theatre homes of Teatro Vista and Collaboraction, to the Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens and Lookingglass Theatre Company, to off-Broadway, where she starred as Jocasta in The Public Theatre’s production of Oedipus el Rey by Luis Alfaro. She received the Theatre Communications Group’s Fox Foundation Resident Actor Fellowship in the Extraordinary Potential Category.
A respected presence in the Chicago theatre scene as a director, actor and playwright, Bruce has directed productions at Victory Gardens, Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Teatro Vista Theatre, and the universities of Illinois, Indiana and De Paul, along with the renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She helped develop and directed La Havana Madrid at the Goodman, Steppenwolf and Teatro Vista theatres, along with subsequent productions at The Miracle Center, Navy Pier Lake Stage and The Den Theatre.
Delgado, who plays the title role of La Havana Madrid, the nightclub’s singer/guide, leads a cast that includes Eduardo Enrikez (Henry), Maria Jimena Gastelum (Maria), Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel (Myrna), Luis Herrera (Carlos), Marlene Martinez (Maruja), Roberto Antonio Martin (Tony) and Tristan Turner (Carpacho).
Accompanying the actors is a five-piece band featuring Roberto Martin (bass), Carol Macpherson (trombone), Carlos Ordiano (keyboard) and percussionists Alfredo Ortiz and Nestor Gonzales.
The design and creative team include Roberto Martin, music director; Efren Delgadillo, set design; Carolyn Mazuca, costume design; Lonnie Alcaraz, lighting design; Jeff Polunas, sound design; Cristian Amigo, composer; Jonny Martinez, choreographer and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, casting director. Maisie Chan is the production manager, Kathryn Davies is the production stage manager, and Natalie Figaredo is the assistant stage manager.
Outside SCR received generous support from Season Producers Michael Ray and Apriem Advisors, Honorary Producers Connie and Dr. Peter Spenuzza and the Spenuzza Velastegui Family Foundation and Associate Honorary Producers Susan Shieldkret and David Dull. Haskell & White LLP is the Corporate Honorary Producer.
For the first time, SCR is offering tables for sale that put theatregoers right next to the stage. The four-person tables are $500 each and are sold as a table. No individual places will be sold. Each table comes with light refreshments. Reserved seats range from $35 to $50 and once again, lawn seating is available for $20 to $35.Single tickets may be purchased either online at www.scr.org or by phone at (714) 708-5555. More information is available at scr.org.
La Havana Madrid
By Sandra Delgado
Directed by Cheryl Lynn Bruce
Running July 15-Aug. 4 at Mission San Juan Capistrano. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
Step back to the 1960s as the Mission transforms into La Havana Madrid, Chicago’s legendary nightclub where newly arrived Latino immigrants dine, dance and find community. As the glorious rhythms of mambo and salsa form the heartbeat of an ever-changing city, we learn the stories of Cuban, Puerto Rican and Colombian settlers seeking refuge in a strange new place, discovering their destinies and falling madly in love. At La Havana Madrid, it doesn’t matter where you come from—music means home and everyone is welcome!