April 11 will be opening night for References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot, the Jose Rivera play which began previews March 20 at the Public Theater's Shiva Theater. The play was to have opened on April 9, but sickness has alternately layed low certain members of the cast. Both Rosie Perez and John Ortiz were afflicted. The April 4 performance was canceled due to Perez's sickness. Kristine Nielsen, Carlo Alban, Kevin Jackson and Michael Lombard are also in the cast. Jo Bonney directs.
Rosie Perez was first noticed for her volatile portrayal of Spike Lee's girlfriend in the director's "Do the Right Thing." She went on to star in "White Men Can't Jump" and "Fearless." On stage, she's acted in the New York and L.A. productions of The Vagina Monologues.
Ortiz is enjoying a big season. His star turn in the Off-Broadway success Jesus Hopped the A Train was highly acclaimed. He is also well versed in the work of Rivera, having appeared in the playwright's Cloud Tectonics at Playwrights Horizons.
Nielsen played a crazed matriarch in Betty's Summer Vacation and a jailed princess in The Green Bird. Dali was presented by South Coast Rep in California in January 2000. The play is set in the desert of Barstow, California, where Gabriela, the wife of career soldier Benito, dives into a surreal fantasy world during her husband's prolonged absences, and imagines the mating rituals between a coyote and a cat. The fantastical plotline is not surprising to anyone familiar with the magic realism of such Rivera works as Cloud Tectonics and Sueno. The latter played Off-Broadway's MCC Theatre last season.
—By Robert Simonson