Mama Was a Spitfire: Melanie Rey Musical A Life…A Broad Begins at NYC's Greenwich Street Jan. 31 | Playbill

News Mama Was a Spitfire: Melanie Rey Musical A Life…A Broad Begins at NYC's Greenwich Street Jan. 31
A Life…A Broad (Mi Vida En Jira), a new rock musical seen in several Off-Off-Broadway engagements, settles into a Sunday and Monday schedule at the Greenwich Street Theatre starting Jan. 31 toward an opening Feb. 6.
Melanie Rey in A Life
Melanie Rey in A Life Photo by Carol Rosegg

In the Moment Productions is presenting the autobiographical solo vehicle for bilingual actress Melanie Rey, who wrote book and lyrics - music is by Rob Arthur -for the 90-minute journey.

"A Life…A Broad is about the mother/daughter dynamic of an illegitimate Latina-American and her hot and bothered, head-turning Mother," according to production notes. "Melanie's fresh take on one woman's adventures are set to a musical score that runs the gamut from flamenco to rhythm and blues."

The show features 12 original songs played by a five-piece on-stage band headed by musical director Rich Mercurio on drums. The musicians - Marcus Wolf on lead guitar, Denise Puricelli on keyboard, Chris Smylie on bass and Tom Murray on sax - play a variety of roles in the musical.

The musical's dramaturgical director is Ellen Beckerman, with film by Benjamin Lobato.

Rey, who was raised in Detroit, Houston, San Diego and Chicago, moved to New York in 1995. She began working in community theatre in Southern California as a child, graduated from the University of Illinois and earned her Equity card at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre. She made her SAG film debut in Charles Correll's "Deadly Desire" opposite Kathryn Harrold and Jack Scalia. She has appeared Off-Broadway with the Soho Rep, 78th Street Theatre, and the Metropolitan Playhouse as well as at the Old Globe Theatre, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Louisville Children's Theatre and San Diego's Lamb's, Shakespeare Festival and Ensemble Arts Theatres. Her first play to be written and produced in New York City, The Sexy Truth/La Verdad de Edelia, was produced by Mark Anderson at the 78th Street Theatre Lab as an Equity Showcase. The play's success and extended run encouraged her to write her second play in 1997: Frenesi/Sex Matters: A Play About Not Getting Any…, which ran at Broad Street's Audart Gallery for five months. She began writing the book and lyrics for A Life…A Broad six years ago with composer Rob Arthur. All of Rey's plays are based on her cultural heritage and bilingual up-bringing. Rey said in production notes, "I am the illegitimate daughter of a single mother. My grandparents worked as itinerant farm laborers. My earliest memories are of constantly moving from Texas to Michigan, surrounded by other illegitimately born cousins, in an extended family of American-born grandparents whose first language was Spanish. Our numerous aunts and uncles struggled to distance themselves from their heritage in an effort to mesh with '60s mainstream white America. My family's ancestry was made up of people either pure Cherokee Indian, pure Spaniard or a hybrid-Mexican American bloodline that had never even set foot in Mexico."

A Life…A Broad, performed in "Latin-flavored English," began Off-Off Broadway at the 78th Street Theatre Lab in 1999 where it ran for four months. It has been seen at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, West Bank Cafe and most recently at Stage 36 where it was extended several times.

Composer Rob Arthur currently plays with the hot rock band Five For Fighting, worked with Joan Osborne, Kate Pierson and Bo Ramsey, co-produced Keri Noble's record "Fearless" on Manhattan/Blue Note and, as a record producer, has sold two million records for the Compass label. He won a Clio Award for his work in advertising.

Tickets are $30 with $15 tickets available for senior citizens and students with valid ID. Performances play Sundays at 3 & 7 PM, Mondays at 8 PM.

The Greenwich Street Theatre is at 547 Greenwich Street between Charlton and Vandam Streets in West Soho.

For additional information or reservations call (212) 252-2439 or visit

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