Lauren Vélez Replaces Elizabeth Rodriguez in Second Stage's Happiest Song Plays Last

News   Lauren Vélez Replaces Elizabeth Rodriguez in Second Stage's Happiest Song Plays Last
Lauren Vélez, known for her role as Captain Maria LaGuerta on the Showtime series "Dexter," will play the role of Yaz in the upcoming Second Stage Theatre production of The Happiest Song Plays Last, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Velez replaces the previously announced Elizabeth Rodriguez (Motherf***er with the Hat). 

The production, part of the company's 35th anniversary season, will begin performances Feb. 11, prior to an official opening March 3 at Second Stage's Tony Kiser Theatre in midtown Manhattan.

The cast also includes Tony Award nominee Anthony Chisholm (Radio Golf, Jitney), Dariush Kashani (Homebody/Kabul at BAM, Mark Taper Forum and New York Theatre Workshop), Tony Plana (The Boys of Winter, Zoot Suit, "Ugly Betty"), Armando Riesco (Water by the Spoonful) and Annapurna Sriram (Pericles at Berkeley Rep).

Here's how the play is billed: "Cousins Elliot and Yaz, having long searched for their place in the community, discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family, both by blood and by love. While Elliot gets a lucky break in the film business, Yaz takes on the role of familial and neighborhood matriarch, nourishing those that pass through her door. Beating to the sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music, The Happiest Song Plays Last invites you to spend a year with Elliot and Yaz on their journey to peace and purpose in an ever-changing world."

The Happiest Song Plays Last is the third in Hudes' trilogy of plays that began with Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, a play about a young Marine coming to terms with his time in Iraq and his father's and grandfather's service in Vietnam and Korea. The second play in the trilogy, Water by the Spoonful, received its New York premiere at Second Stage in 2013 and received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Performances will continue through March 23. Grammy Award-nominated musician Nelson González will oversee the production's musical elements and will lead a live band during performances. Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Mike Carnahan, costume designer Karen Perry, lighting designer Rui Rita and sound designer Leon Rothenberg.

Hudes also wrote the book to the Broadway musical In the Heights, which received the Tony Award for Best Musical, a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical and was named a Pulitzer finalist.

Second Stage Theatre is under the leadership of artistic director Carole Rothman. For more information and tickets, call (212) 246-4422 visit

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