Celebrated artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera will sing (as characters) in the upcoming world premiere musical Frida and Diego, playing Dec. 13-21 at, appropriately enough, the Diego Rivera Theatre at City College of San Francisco. Jose Leiva directs the Adair Seldon-Keiko Takeda musical, seen through the eyes of Kahlo.
Framed by Kahlo's 1953 solo exhibition in Mexico City, which was quickly followed by her death, Frida and Diego traces the painter's passionate relationship with muralist Rivera from their first meeting in 1922 through their divorces, their artistic trials and their affairs, including Kahlo's with Leon Trotsky. Because of a terrible accident that stole her ability to have children and ruined her back and pelvis, Kahlo suffered her entire life. In the musical, this brush with death is represented by an actual character, Muerto (meaning "death" in Spanish). The Kahlo's life has been the subject of several plays and the new Julie Taymor film, "Frida."
A jazz musician with a special interest in the music of South America, Cuba and Spain, Takeda is also the composer of the Los Angeles-produced musical Hog Heaven, co-created with lyricist and bookwriter Seldon. Their score to Frida and Diego includes the numbers "Mexico's Eyes," "Murals 'N Walls," "You Must Paint," "Devil Divine," "Senora Diego Rivera," "You Call Yourself a Communist," "I Paint Myself," "One-Woman Show," "Glamorous Industry," "Gringoland," "You're Just a Dirty Communist," "The Blue House," "Let's Begin the Feast," "She's One of Us," "I Need My Frida," "Every Day I Die a Little More" and "Para La Vida."
Teresita Soto is Kahlo with Diego Garcia as Rivera with a cast of 23 playing historical personages like Trotsky, Nelson Rockefeller and Rivera's first wife, Lupe as well as ensemble roles. Dean Loumbas is the choreographer with musical direction by Michael Shahani.
Tickets are $15 and $10 for students. The Diego Rivera Theatre is located at 50 Phelan Avenue at Judson. For reservations, call (415) 239-3100. Frida and Diego is on the web at http://www.fridaanddiego.com.