Hijuelos' Pulitzer-Winning Novel May Become Mambo Kings Musical on Broadway

News   Hijuelos' Pulitzer-Winning Novel May Become Mambo Kings Musical on Broadway
The Mambo Kings — a musical version of Oscar Hijuelos' novel — may be headed to a Broadway stage in the near future, Playbill On-Line has learned.

Producers Daryl and Jordan Roth are auditioning Latin actors for "a six-week fully staged workshop with a subsequent Broadway production," a casting notice reveals. Presentations are set for the final week of July.

The musical is based on the Hijuelos Pulitzer Prize-winner "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love" which follows the 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 dancehalls 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 — who will direct the stageshow — also provides book and lyrics for the musical version which features music by Carlos Franzetti — who also scored the film. Sergio Trujillo will serve as choreographer.

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. The staging would mark the first Broadway collaboration between the mother and son producing team. Daryl Roth is currently represented on Broadway by Caroline, or Change. Other recent 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.

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