Olney Theatre Center, a Mid-Atlantic destination for extraordinary theater performance and education, in co-production with New York’s Tectonic Theater Project, welcomes legendary director and Tectonic Artistic Director Moisés Kaufman, Grammy-winner Arturo O’Farrill, and Broadway phenomenon Sergio Trujillo for the world premiere of Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical. The production runs February 10 through March 6 on the Mainstage.
Directed and co-written by Tony® Award-nominee Moisés Kaufman (33 Variations, Gross Indecency, The Laramie Project Cycle), with heralded Cuban-American playwright Eduardo Machado, and music adapted from Bizet’s opera by two-time Grammy Award-winner Arturo O’Farrill, this Carmen brings the action of one of the most sensual stories of all time to Cuba on the verge of revolution in 1958. The star-studded creative team, along with Kaufman at the helm as director and Broadway’s Sergio Trujillo as choreographer (Jersey Boys, Memphis, On Your Feet), turns Bizet’s passion-fueled opera into a sexy, swinging Afro-Cuban Jazz musical. Kaufman’s Carmen is a gun-runner for the rebels, who falls fiercely in love with José, a Batista loyalist. When Cuba’s boxing legend Camilo returns to Havana, Carmen and José’s love falls tragically apart.
“When Moisés called me about his dream of bringing Carmen to 1950s Cuba, I jumped at the idea, which was so prescient and fascinating,” said Olney Theatre Center Artistic Director Jason Loewith. “Little did I know he’d be working with Grammy-winner Arturo O’Farrill, whose Afro-Latin jazz-infused score has completely reimagined Bizet’s famous opera with everything from meringue and salsa to Cuban be-bop, traditional Cuban son, and the driving percussion of congas and bongos, and Sergio Trujillo, one of Broadway’s busiest choreographers, whose recent smash On Your Feet is taking New York by storm. These are some true theater geniuses at work.”
Broadway’s Christina Sajous (American Idiot, Baby It’s You!, Spider-Man Turn off the Dark) leads the cast as Carmen, and is joined by Broadway leading men Caesar Samayoa as Camilo (Sister Act, The Pee-Wee Herman Show) and Brandon Andrus (Side Show) as José.
Rounding out the cast are George Akram, Sumayya Ali, Michelle Alves, Skizzo Arnedillo, Moses Bernal, Ronald Bruce, Tiffany Byrd, Briana Carlson-Goodman, Karla Choko, Nick Duckart, Nurney, Alejandra Matos, Calvin McCullough, Jose Ozuna, and Kara-Tameika Watkins.
The creative team also includes Christopher Youstra (Music Director), Narelle Sissons (Scenic Designer), David Lander (Lighting Designer), Clint Ramos (Costume Designer), Robert Kaplowitz (Sound Designer), Michael Korie (Special Advisor), Jason Loewith (Dramaturg), and Josiane M. Lemieux (Production Stage Manager).
Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical was commissioned, developed, and co-produced by Tectonic Theater Project, with support from The National Endowment for the Arts. This production is sponsored in part by Eugene B. Casey Foundation and production sponsors Mita Schaffer and Tina Martin.