The four-week out-of-own tryout of the new work will run May 24-June 19 at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre before reaching the Broadway stage — of a Shubert house to be named — for a July 18, 2005 start.
Based on the Hijuelos Pulitzer Prize-winner "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," the musical follows the same story of two Cuban brothers who travel to New York City in 1949 with dreams of becoming recording stars. The Latin siblings — flashy, guitarist Cesar and his shy trumpet playing brother Nestor — rise to fame from the dance halls to perform as Desi Arnaz's cousins on "I Love Lucy."
The novel was adapted for the big screen into "The Mambo Kings," which starred Armand Assante and Antonio Banderas under the direction of Arne Glimcher. Glimcher now provides book (with Hijuelos) and lyrics for the musical version which features music by Carlos Franzetti — who also scored the film. Sergio Trujillo will serve as choreographer with Glimcher as director.
The design team for The Mambo Kings features Riccardo Hernandez (sets), Ann Roth (costumes) with Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting). Musical direction will be handled by Kevin Stites. A New York workshop of the musical featured Anthony Crivello, Ivan Hernandez, Leah Hocking, Cote de Pablo, Natascia Diaz, Michael Goldstrom, Priscilla Lopez and Alton White. No stars are yet attached to the full production.
"I think it's really a story that is just screaming to be a musical — it has sex and passion and mambo and rhythm and dance," Jordan Roth previously told Playbill On-Line (Sep. 2004).
The staging would mark the first Broadway collaboration between the mother and son producing team of Daryl and Jordan Roth. Daryl Roth was recently represented on Broadway by Caroline, or Change. Other credits include Anna in the Tropics, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? and Beckett/Albee. Jordan Roth has produced The Rocky Horror Show on Broadway as well as The Donkey Show Off-Broadway.
Duluth, Minnesota native Glimcher made his directorial debut with "The Mambo Kings" in 1992. The founder of the Pace Art gallery in New York has also produced the films "Gorillas in the Mist," "The Good Mother," "The Mambo Kings" and "Just Cause" — which he also directed.
Composer Franzetti — also an arranger, producer, pianist and singer — was nominated for a 2003 Grammy for Best Classical Crossover Album and Best Instrumental Arrangement. He won the 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Best Tango Album, "Tango Fatal," an original ballet and a 1997 Grammy Award for "Portraits of Cuba" — which he conducted, arranged and co-produced. He has worked on the films "La Pelicula del Rey," "Q&A," "Misunderstood," "Beat Street" and "See You in the Morning" among others.