NEW YORK (AP) — Tony Valdovinos was solely a sixth grader when he made the choice to affix the U.S. Marines after watching the horrors of 9/11. But the day of his 18th birthday, when he walked right into a recruitment workplace to enlist, he found one thing his mother and father by no means advised him: He was an undocumented immigrant — a so-called “Dreamer”.
Now his life is portrayed in a brand new off-Broadway musical, “¡Americano!,” which started performances this week at New World Stages in Manhattan, the place it opens April 21 after a run at Arizona’s Phoenix Theater Company.
“My story is not unique. My story is that of many individuals in this country who just aspire to do their best for themselves, for their family and loved ones, and their contributions civically back to our society,” Valdovinos mentioned.
“Dreamers” are younger immigrants delivered to the U.S. illegally as kids who would profit from the never-passed DREAM Act, or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which permits them to stay within the nation in the event that they meet sure standards.
“¡Americano!” — starring Sean Ewing as Valdovinos — follows a younger man who was introduced from Mexico on the age of two and was raised in Arizona as a U.S. citizen. His mother and father by no means advised him the reality about his immigration standing as a result of they hoped that it might change by the point he reached maturity.
Frustrated for not with the ability to be part of the Marine Corps, he ultimately finds different, highly effective methods to serve the nation by combating voter suppression and galvanizing a neighborhood to struggle for illustration in authorities.
“When I heard Tony’s story, this was just something that said, ‘This needs to be shared,’” mentioned Michael Barnard, director and co-writer of the guide and producing creative director of the Phoenix Theater Company. “This is a human story, not a political story, and we tried very hard in the show to do that“.
When it premiered it in Phoenix, he said “conservatives and liberals alike seemed to embrace it because it wasn’t about trying to attack them or take either side. It was just: ‘This is what happened to this individual, this is what this individual stands for. Is there not something to be done about this?’”
Ewing, a Colombian-born actor with Broadway credit together with “West Side Story” and “American Grace,” was wanting to work on a brand new play when his agent urged him to audition for “¡Americano!” in Phoenix.
“At first, I didn’t realize the projection of where the show was going. I was like ‘Oh my gosh, new work, that’s amazing.’ And when I read the script, I immediately fell in love. I knew that it was more than just a singular message from one individual, it was a universal message,” the actor mentioned.
He admitted that, initially, he wasn’t “too aware” of the Dreamers scenario, however that now that he’s educated on the matter his main objective is to get the message throughout.
“It’s quite astonishing, puzzling and disappointing that this is still an issue to this level,“ Ewing said. ”I hope that this reaches the ears of so many individuals. This is greater than only a story. It’s a real story that impacts 1000’s of people each day”.
With a rating by Carrie Rodriguez and choreography by Sergio Mejia, “¡Americano!” was conceived and is introduced by Quixote Productions in affiliation with Chicanos Por La Causa, a non-profit shaped in Arizona in 1969 to struggle discrimination in opposition to the Mexican American neighborhood.
Max Gonzales, government vp of the group, is hopeful that the manufacturing’s run in New York City will assist unfold the phrase and encourage folks to do one thing in regards to the problem. He talked about urgent points like getting Dreamers the proper to pay in-state faculty tuition in Arizona, which voters will have the ability to determine this 12 months. Since 2006, undocumented kids who attended Arizona excessive faculties have needed to pay out-of-state tuition charges, making it unachievable for a lot of to get the next training.
“This particular sponsorship really provides us an opportunity to educate a whole new audience, reach out to a different group of people,” Gonzales mentioned of the theater manufacturing.
For Valdovinos, seeing his story on a New York stage is nothing lower than a “huge responsibility.”
“I think that it doesn’t only portray and represent, but it truly cuts through the politics, and it really shows the ambition, pride and commitment of young people in this country that want to not only be successful but contribute to the entire economy and what makes this country strong,“ he said. ”No matter how politically divided we’re, we stand as one. I’ve all the time believed that”.
“¡Americano!” will play a 12-week engagement at New World Stages (340 W. fiftieth Street), till June 19. Tickets vary from $49 to $99 and are on sale at Telecharge.com.
Sigal Ratner-Arias is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner.
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