Following the pre-Broadway premiere of Naomi Wallace's Birdy, the theatre at Durham, North Carolina's Duke University is offering a workshop presentation of Nilo Cruz's new play, Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams Faculty member Jody McAuliffe directs the staging, which opened April 20 and ends its brief, scheduled run April 22.
According to Anna Upchurch, marketing manager for Theatre Previews at Duke, the show has a mix of students and professional actors -- the latter including Karmine Murcelo as Hortensia and Sol Miranda as Luciana. The piece tells of a young woman journalist (Luciana), returning to her native Cuba. A drama with comic moments, the show also contains "dreamlike and surreal elements," according to Upchurch.
Considering the current Elian Gonzalez controversy, the play’s theme is especially timely, as Hortensia is based on the true story of Operation Pedro Pan, in which 14,000 unaccompanied children were airlifted from Cuba to the United States in the early 1960s. Other plays by Cruz, a Cuban exile, include A Park in Our House and this season’s Two Sisters and a Piano Off-Broadway.
Theatre Previews at Duke generally presents one mainstage and one workshop production each spring. Last season's mainstage offering was the musical Eleanor: An American Love Story, co-produced with Ford's Theatre in Washington DC. The show went on to a three-month run at Ford's and has also released an original cast recording. The workshop was of Jose Rivera's References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot.
This season's mainstage offering, Birdy, ran March 7-26 and will likely come to Broadway in the fall (a delay from Broadway plans this spring). Grant Show starred in the drama. For tickets ($6-$8) and information on Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams at Duke University’s Bryan Center, Durham, NC, call (919) 684 4444.
-- By David Lefkowitz