CALLE DE LA RESISTENCIA: EL MUSICAL
CALLE DE LA RESISTENCIA: EL MUSICAL
A much needed, truthful look at Puerto Rico's past & present. Through a message of unity, this musical lifts the voice of every person that's ever been cheated by a failing system. You'll fall in love with the music and feel galvanized to participate in the movement to build a better future for all!
Mission StatementWe are an artist collective choosing to persevere despite a global pandemic to bring you this film that will inspire all Puerto Ricans to embrace their past and take a stand for their future. Queremos revivir las voces del verano combativo y honrar a los que perdimos tras el paso del huracán María.
About The Project
WHY A MUSICAL?
Music has always held a huge space in the hearts of Puerto Ricans. It is hence a natural choice for us to use music to tell this story. The experience of Hurricane Maria is a collective trauma and for many, its wounds are still open. This project hopes to heal and empower our people. Here are a couple of songs that will be featured in the film:
Calle de La Resistencia is the tale of nine Puerto Ricans whose lives are forever changed by Maria, the deadly hurricane that left thousands of families without a home and millions without access to water, food, electricity, medicine, and communications. Two years later, fate brings these nine people together to the epicenter of the protests that ultimately resulted in the Puerto Rican Governor's resignation, symbolizing the triumph (albeit short-lived) of the people over corruption.
Bieké, an independent journalist based in Los Angeles, returns to Puerto Rico to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. His grandfather, Guelo, dies soon after the storm, and Bieké spends the next two years documenting the nation's struggle to recover. He is inspired by his younger sister, Adela, and her girlfriend, Surely, whose relationship symbolizes the political and social change of a progressive and inclusive Puerto Rico. Bieké's best friend, Octavio, is a mortician at a funeral home who struggles to console the living while taking care of the dead. The character named "El Cervecero" fuels the protests with a mixture of beer and social commentary. Tito, a student activist, confronts his father, Justo, a police officer on the frontline at Calle de la Resistencia. Doña Magaly, Bieké's beloved grandmother, is a healing force for her grandchildren and the other characters alike. She and her husband bring the island's ancestry to life at a time when everything is changing.
MOTIVATION & IMPACT
Convinced of the power of art, our team of boricua musicians and actors are joining forces in the most challenging of circumstances to create this musical that will inspire all Puerto Ricans to embrace their past and to take a stand for their future. This film is our way to honor the innumerable lives we lost after Hurricane Maria. It aims at denouncing a history of colonialism and showing to generations young and old that a resilient, united people can overcome anything.
Exactly one year after the protests, however, the situation hasn't improved. Politicians continue to ignore the cry of their people, fomenting old patterns of corruption and deceit. The memories of the revolutionary summer have been eclipsed by the threat of daily earthquakes, a global pandemic, and a steady flow of political controversies. Just months away from a critical election, our leaders persist with politics as usual. This needs to stop!
HOW THE STORY WAS BORN
On July 24th, 2019, Puerto Rico Governor Rosselló resigned, following weeks of public protests triggered by the leaking of hundreds of pages of a group chat in which the Governor and his staff had repeatedly made vulgar, racist, and homophobic remarks about political opponents and victims of Hurricane Maria. Our musical's story was written by Milton Carrero, based on his experience covering both the devastation caused by Maria and the historical protests of July 2019. Of that fateful July 24th, he remembers:
"We had been waiting all day. The Governor was expected to resign at 9 a.m., after more than two weeks of mass demonstrations. But it was close to 10 p.m. and he still hadn't made an announcement. My colleagues and I watched the scene from the balcony of the Center for Popular Culture in Old San Juan, at the intersection of Calle del Corrupto and Calle de La Resistencia. To contain the crowd, the authorities continued to deploy more and more fire power. The tension was incredibly high. The other journalists reached for their gas masks, anticipating an inevitable confrontation with police.
I remember asking myself, 'Why am I here?' I knew I had to document every detail, but the precise answer escaped me at the time. A year later, I now understand. Experiencing those days with the hundreds of thousands who walked as one allowed me to take a sentimental census of my people. The emotions born of the writings on the walls in Old San Juan grew into songs, and from the songs emerged this story."
Producing this project in the middle of the covid-19 pandemic is a deliberate choice. It will provide work to our cast and crew, most of whom are currently unemployed due to the circumstances. It's an act of resistance and courage in and of itself, but it isn't a careless one. Our goal is to create the safest environment possible for our cast and crew. We've come up with a plan that follows the strict guidelines of the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health. We've designated a covid-19 Compliance Officer to enforce all safety protocols. As much as this time-sensitive project is dear to us, nothing takes precedence over our team's health and safety.
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About This Team
Music, Book & Lyrics
Milton Carrero is an independent journalist and a singer-songwriter. As a special correspondent for the Los Angeles Times in Puerto Rico, he covered the aftermath of Hurricane María in 2017 as well as the historical protests at Calle de la Resistencia in 2019. He has published two albums as a performer: Transparente y Desnudo and Inside a Cave, which was funded through a Kickstarter campaign and recorded at the legendary caves of the Sacromonte neighborhood in Granada, Spain. He is the co-host of Jazz Inverso, a weekly poetry radio show, on which he has interviewed some of his personal music heroes including Paco de Lucía, Ziggy Marley, Anoushka Shankar, Roy Brown, Residente, Miguel Zenón, El Gran Combo, and Inti-illimani, among others. He has a Master's Degree in Journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and currently resides in his hometown of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, with his wife and three children.
Maritxell Carrero is a film, television, and theater actress. She most recently portrayed Anabella de Leon in the L.A. Theatre Works national tour of Seven, commissioned by Vital Voices. She was the lead actress in Peter Sellars' opera The Indian Queen, recipient of five 2015 Golden Mask Awards. In addition to acting, she is also a singer-songwriter and a staple in the Bomba community, the Afro-Puerto Rican music genre. Maritxell holds an MFA from UC San Diego and is the writer/producer of A Revolutionary Mystic, a biographical one-woman show retracing the life of famed Puerto Rican activist Lolita Lebrón. She was part of the multicultural production of All My Sons at Hollywood's Matrix Theater, winner of the 2012 NAACP Image Award for Best Ensemble. She is based in Los Angeles and is the proud sister of the writer.
Denise Blasor is the former Artistic Director of LADiversified and is currently Associate Artistic Director of The Bilingual Foundation of the Arts. She’s appeared extensively on stage as an actress, recently in The Madres at Skylight Theatre and in Chicago at Victory Theatre. Other theatre credits include world premieres of Juana La Loca, June in a Box, Heart Song, Ten Tiny Love Stories, Los Muertos, Wild in Wichita, Dark, her adaptations of House of Bernarda Alba, The Three Sisters, and Blood Wedding. As a director in Los Angeles, some of her past favorites include Fefu and Her Friends (named Best Play by the L.A. Times), Blade of Jealousy, No Exit, Wild in Wichita, Ghost of Lote Bravo, Marisol, Anna in the Tropics, and Cristo Vive. In film and televeision, she has appeared in the recurring role of Doña Rosa in Snowfall, as Ceci in Disney's Coco, in A Place Among the Dead (directed by Juliet Landau), Noriega, God’s Favorite (with Bob Hoskins), and Death in Granada (with Andy Garcia). She’s a recording voice artist and her film, Dentro De La Casa De Bernarda Alba, was nominated as Best Short by the Imagen Award Foundation.
Chafik "Chill" Lahzami
Known as "Chill," Chafik is from Tunisia by way of Switzerland, where he grew up. He's the founder and CEO of Rollin' Dice Productions, a company active in the fields of localization and post-production as well as music production. In film and TV, he has overseen the successful completion of over 30,000 localization projects for clients such as Warner Bros., Sony, Fox, Disney, Netflix, Paramount, Sundance, Amazon, and IFC Films. As a music producer, he's collaborated with a variety of artists such as funk legend Roger Troutman, along with Grammy® winners Dee Dee Bridgewater, Michael Brecker, and Youssou N'Dour. Through its team of songwriters, producers, and engineers, Rollin' Dice has worked on over 300 music projects ranging from R&B to Pop, Jazz, Soul, Electronica, and Hip Hop.
Juan A. Matos
Musical Director, Producer & Arranger
Originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, Juan Andrés Matos is a Los Angeles-based composer and pianist. He began his music studies at the Escuela Libre de Musica in Ponce, before attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Instituten Der Jazz & Rock Schulen in Germany, and the Cornel School of Contemporary Music in Los Angeles. Since 2012, Juan has written music for numerous features including Puerto Rican film Yo Soy Un Político (HBO GO) and the short-film musical Talk About It featuring Maia Mitchell from Freeform's Good Trouble. In 2019, Juan composed a Latin American orchestral album, which he recorded and conducted at Abbey Road Studios in London. Juan has worked as a keyboard technician and synth programmer for the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra and Broadway shows such as Hamilton, Kinky Boots, Amelie, and Grey Gardens.
Producer & Arranger
Ramon Velarde is a Los Angeles-based guitarist, composer, and producer who originally hails from Guadalajara, Mexico. He began his music career in Mexico and became a Warner Mexico recording artist in 2001. In Los Angeles, he earned his M.A. in Contemporary Performance Guitar in 2014. He writes, produces, and performs music for artists, television, and advertising. He co-wrote "Olvídame" (2015) for Elis Paprika, as well as the first single of Maria León's solo career, "Amor Ilegal" (2017). Ramon's work has been featured on TV shows such as From Dusk Till Dawn, Pretty Little Liars, Mayans, and Party of Five, along with advertisements for companies including Spectrum, Dignity Health, and Curaçao.
Vanessa Ortiz Avilés (@voa787)
Original Poster Art
Mazen El Alaili (betherebefunky.com)
Crowdfunding Video Editing