Paul Simon Musical The Capeman Stalks Central Park Beginning Aug. 14

By Adam Hetrick
August 14, 2010

The Capeman, Paul Simon's musical about the infamous 1959 New York City gang murders and the community caught in the middle, begins a free, three-performance concert engagement Aug. 14 at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park.

The Public Theater presents the revised concert presentation of Simon's short-lived 1998 musical, which features a libretto by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott. Performances will continue through Aug. 16 at 8 PM.

Helming the streamlined, 90-minute production is Tony Award nominee Diane Paulus, who staged the Broadway revival of Hair to acclaim. Prior to its Main Stem return, Paulus directed Hair in concert at the Delacorte in 2008. That production went on to win the 2009 Tony Award for Best Revival.

Ivan Hernandez stars in the central role of Salvador Agrón (aka The Capeman) with Anthony Lee Medina as Young Sal Agrón. Ruben Blades and Latin pop singer Marc Anthony originated the roles, respectively, on Broadway.

The Capeman also features original Broadway cast members Luba Mason as Mrs. Young, Natascia Diaz as Esmerelda Agron, and ensemble members Myrna Lee Gomila, Frankie Negron and Elan Luz Rivera. Mason originated the role of Mrs. Krzesinski in the 1997 Broadway production. (The roles of Krzesinski/Young have been combined into one character for the Delacorte production.)

Also featured are Obie Bermudez as Umbrella Man (aka Tony Hernandez), Nicole Lequerica as Aurea Agron, Jorge Maldonado as Reverend Gonzalez and Abraham Rodriguez as Santero.

The ensemble includes Bryan Anthony, Xavier Cano, Nina LaFarga, Omar Lopez-Cepero, Cornell McKnight, Luis Salgado and Tanairi Vasquez.

Sergio Trujillo (Memphis, The Addams Family) choreographs the concerts, which boast Grammy winner Oscar Hernandez leading a 12-piece orchestra. Hernandez also served as musical director for the Broadway run of Capeman.

The Capeman has scenic consultation by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Emilio Sosa, lighting design by Peter Kaczorowski and sound design by Acme Sound Partners.

The doo-wop, gospel and Latin-flaired musical tells the true life story of Salvador Agron, a Puerto Rican gang member who murdered two teen-agers in the late 1950s, then underwent a conversion as a poet while in prison.

The Capeman ran only 68 performances on Broadway, earning Tony Award nominations for Best Original Score, Best Orchestrations and Best Scenic Design.

A complete cast album was recorded but never officially released; however, it is currently available for download via i-Tunes. Simon did release the album "Songs from The Capeman" featuring the Grammy winner performing songs from his musical.

The Capeman was most recently seen in the New York area when the Brooklyn Academy of Music reunited Simon, Hernandez and members of the original Broadway cast for a 2008 concert engagement during Simon's residency at the Brooklyn arts venue.

Following each performance at the Delacorte, Puerto Rican singer-songwriter Danny Rivera will offer a special encore.

Tickets are free and are available on the day of the performance (two per person) at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park beginning at 1 PM, or by entering the Public's online ticketing lottery at ShakespeareinthePark.org.

The closest entrances to the Delacorte are located at 81st Street and Central Park West or 79th Street and Fifth Avenue.

The Public is also making reserved seats available for patrons wishing to donate $175, $250 or $500 per ticket. The $500 ticket for the Aug. 16 show also includes a post-performance reception. Paid tickets are limited as a majority of seats are made available to the general public at no cost.

To reserve phone (212) 967-7555. For further details visit PublicTheater.