Our Lady Of The Tortilla and The Rooster And The Egg are among his previous works. Now Havana-born Luis Santeiro, who's also written for TV's "3-2-1 Contact," "Sesame Street" and "Carrascolendas," has collaborated on a musical: Barrio Babies. NY's AMAS Musical Theatre will offer a workshop staged reading of Barrio Babies, to run Sept. 18-27 at the John Houseman Studio Space on West 42nd St.
Santeiro's book and lyrics will be joined to music by Fernando M. Rivas, also Cuban born. Rivas has served as a composer, arranger and producer, including a collaboration with Maria Irene Fornes and Tito Puente on Lovers And Keepers. He's also worked with Miami's Coconut Grove Playhouse and NY's INTAR and Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre.
The musical, which chronicles the adventures of Latino actors and writers trying to break through Hollywood stereotypes, won the 1997 Richard Rodgers Award for a Staged Reading. A tongue-in-cheek piece, the show "pokes fun at how Chicanos are different from Nuyoricans and Cubans -- and why all Latinos are not the same."
Staging the reading will be Susana Tubert a veteran director at Circle Rep Lab, the Women's Project, Seattle Rep, GA's Alliance Theatre and UT's Sundance Institute.
Starring in the muscal are Philip Anthony, Yancey Arias, Annie Kozuch, Olga Merediz, Cordell Stahl and Lisa Lisa (yes, that Lisa Lisa, of the pop group "Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam"). Says playwright Santeiro of the plot, "I had all these standard experiences in California, and I even have transcripts of some of the meetings, which were taped. They were like cheerleading meetings. Some of those lines were amazingly funny, and I've used some in the play. Because they'd say stuff like, `We just love the Latino sensibility in your work; it's what the networks have been dying for.' Two days later they've stopped returning your calls and the project was dropped."
Santeiro, who wishes he could make his living as a playwright but considers himself lucky to have a career writing for television, says his play also makes fun of "the craziness of political correctness and problems it creates."
The multi-racial AMAS is dedicated to bringing people of all races and origins together through the performing arts. Actress Rosetta LeNoire founded AMAS in 1968, and the organization now offers mainstage runs, workshops (of which Barrio Babies is the first for 1997-98), and a "Six O'Clock Musical Theatre Lab" developmental series.
For information on Barrio Babies call (212) 239-4324.
--By David Lefkowitz