The Mambo Kings Wooing Possible Nestor for Upcoming Musical Broadway Debut

News   The Mambo Kings Wooing Possible Nestor for Upcoming Musical Broadway Debut
Actor-singer Jaime Camil is in talks to star in the upcoming Broadway-bound musical staging of The Mambo Kings, according to a production spokesperson.
Jaime Camil in a production of West Side Story at the Insurgentes Theater in Mexico City
Jaime Camil in a production of West Side Story at the Insurgentes Theater in Mexico City

The forthcoming musical version of Oscar Hijuelos' Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Mambo Kings will begin previews at the Broadway Theatre July 18 and open Aug. 18 following a four-week out-of-own tryout, May 24-June 19, at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre.

Based on the Hijuelos Pulitzer Prize-winner "The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love," the musical follows the same 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 dance halls to perform as Desi Arnaz's cousins on "I Love Lucy."

Mexican-born Camil has enjoyed a singing career in addition to his acting work. As an actor, he has appeared on stage as Bernardo in the Gerardo Quiroz production of Amor Sin Barreras (West Side Story) at the Teatro Pedregal and Teatro Insurgentes, on television in the soap opera, "Mujer de Madera" and in such films as "Zapata" and the upcoming "Siete Dias (7 Days)."

Daryl Roth and Jordan Roth will produce The Mambo Kings which capitalized at $12 million.

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 now provides book (with Hijuelos) and lyrics for the musical version which features music by Carlos Franzetti — who also scored the film. Sergio Trujillo will serve as choreographer with Glimcher as director. The design team for The Mambo Kings features Riccardo Hernandez (sets), Ann Roth (costumes) with Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting). Musical direction will be handled by Kevin Stites.

A New York workshop of the musical featured Anthony Crivello, Ivan Hernandez, Leah Hocking, Cote de Pablo, Natascia Diaz, Michael Goldstrom, Priscilla Lopez and Alton White. No stars are yet attached to the full production.

"I think it's really a story that is just screaming to be a musical — it has sex and passion and mambo and rhythm and dance," Jordan Roth previously told Playbill On Line (Sep. 2004).

The staging will mark the first Broadway collaboration between the mother and son producing team of Daryl and Jordan Roth. Daryl Roth was recently represented on Broadway by Caroline, or Change. Other 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.

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.

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