Canciónes de Tennessee WilliamsMUSIC
Mexican singer/actor Armando Arrocha serenades us with a rich mix of English words and Spanish songs from Tennessee Williams plays.
starring Armando Arrocha
compiled and directed by David Kaplan
Produced by Priscila AlbaMexico City, Mexico
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“What is the heart but a sort of instrument that translates noise into music”
- Tennessee Williams, from Camino Real
Direct from Mexico City, popular singer/actor Armando Arrocha (Les Misèrables, Fiddler on the Roof, Mamma Mia!) ignites passions with a poignant evening of words and music from Tennessee Williams plays.
This special evening highlights the remarkable words Williams wrote for men, under the spell of romantic boleros, rumbas, rancheros and ballads.
Compiled and directed by Festival Curator David Kaplan, this concert of Spanish songs and English words draws its inspiration from Tennessee Williams plays such as Camino Real, Night of the Iguana, Summer and Smoke and other plays that are swayed by the Mexican music that influenced Williams throughout his life.
About the Piece
Canciónes de Tennessee Williams
Canciónes de Tennessee Williams celebrates some of the most beautiful and powerful words Williams wrote: extended speeches that are practically arias.
As Williams intended, in Canciónes, these words are spoken in English before, during, and after songs sung in Spanish.
Highlights include insinuating rancheros, Cuban-inspired boleros, and romantic ballads from Camino Real, the "Rumba Rumbero" from A Streetcar Named Desire, and a mariachi song in English written for Anthony Quinn for Williams' mariachi band drama, The Red Devil Battery Sign.
"I love Mexico, I think it is really and truly my native land!"
-- Tennessee Williams in a letter from Mexico City, June 20, 1945 to Audrey Wood
Jubilant or mournful, the Mexican music in Williams’ plays reveal the emotion, often unsaid, of an onstage scene. Canciónes shows off the roles of men for whom passion is thwarted, submerged, and ultimately released by music.
Broken-hearted in Provincetown after falling in love during the summer of 1940, Williams left for Mexico that August. The music he heard there, often on the street or around the corner out of sight, connected to him in deep way, beyond words. For decades he included such music in his stage directions. According to playwright, Gregg Barrios (Rancho Pancho, TW Fest 2008) one of Williams’ great pleasures was to hear his lover, Pancho Rodriguez, sing these Mexican songs.
Mexican musical star, Armando Arrocha (The Addams Family, Mama Mia!), performs the English words and Spanish songs from Tennessee Williams plays, accompanied on the piano by Mario A. Cabuto.
About the Cast
About Armando Arrocha
Born in Mexico City, Armando Arrocha was always encouraged to pursue his dreams, which came true in 2002 when he had his first professional theatre debut on stage in Les Misèrables.
Afterwards, he participated in the Mexican edition of other Broadway shows such as Fiddler on the Roof, Beauty and the Beast and MAMMA MIA!. He has been on stage with great actors such as Jesús Ochoa, Susana Zabaleta and Marisol del Olmo.
He has been able to develop his passion for teaching as a vocal coach and singing teacher for different television programs and reality shows, such as "La Academia," and "Soy tu Doble," broadcasted both nationally and internationally by TV AZTECA.
Arrocha says he brings his soul to the stage to “win people’s hearts with my voice, ignite the passion on the scene. Music, singing, acting, are conductors that set alight the spirit and give meaning to one’s existence.”
About Mario A. Cabuto
Mario started his formal training in music in 2002 at the Conservatorio de las Rosas in Morelia, Mexico. There, he got his professional degree in piano performance under the guidance of the teachers Olga Chkourak (from 2002 to 2004), Davide Borin (from 2004 to 2005) and Alexander Pashkov (from 2005 to 2010). In 2004, he co-founded La Sonrisa Vertical, a progressive rock band, as part of his diverse interests in music.
He’s been awarded with the prize for individual development by the government of the state of Baja California, Mexico. He had performed as a soloist and as part of ensembles at the V Festival Internacional de Música Contemporánea (Morelia, 2009); Festival Arte Joven 2010 at Conservatorio de las Rosas; and Festival Internacional de Música de Morelia (2010), with cellist Dmitry Volkov.
In June of 2015, he just got his Masters Degree in Musicology at UNAM. Nowadays, he is a faculty member at the conservatory “Vida y Movimiento” and the music department of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, both in Mexico City.