Debut of Groundbreaking Musical About a DREAMer Shatters Arizona Box Office Records Attracts Diverse Audiences; Next Stop New York City For ’29 Hour Read’ on April 17th
(PHOENIX) — A world premiere musical in Phoenix has set box office records and attracted younger and more diverse audiences with its uplifting story and original and compelling music.
Americano! — the groundbreaking new musical — has completed a record setting 27-show run on February 23rd at The Phoenix Theatre Company, breaking all-time, state box office records for an original musical production.
Americano! also attracted a more diverse audience, upward of 30 percent of those attending the musical were Latino or African American breaking the traditional mold of theater fans.
Americano! premiered January 29th and ended its very successful Phoenix debut with an extra Sunday night closing show added to meet strong ticket demand and the string of 10 sold out performances that concluded the run.
Americano! eclipsed previous state box office records held by Dream a Little Dream — a musical based on the hits of the ‘The Mamas and The Papas’ — for an original musical production.
The Mamas and The Papas had 11 Top 40 hits and were a worldwide band compared to the new work that was and is Americano!. The production also eclipsed the 2016 box office of In The Heights at The Phoenix Theatre Company for its four-week run there.
The next stop for Americano! will be a ’29 Hour Read’ on April 17th at the New World Stages in New York City. Broadway veteran Ryan Conway has been hired as the General Manager. Most of the cast and band from the Phoenix production will be traveling to New York with a casting director hired for the balance.
“We are overjoyed at the record-setting reception Americano! received from the community. The most rewarding part for me has been to witness how this musical’s telling of Tony’s story is not only emotionally connecting with audiences, but how it’s also offering us an opportunity for a healthy and compassionate dialogue concerning immigration, DREAMers, and what it means to be an American – which is so hard to come by in these divisive times. We are excited for the next chapter, which will be to share Tony’s story with New York and beyond, starting with a ’29 Hour Read’ in April,” said Carrie Rodriguez, the show’s composer.
Besides the box office record 9,048 people saw Americano!’s 27 shows.
Americano! is the true-life story of Antonio Valdovinos, a DREAMer who grew up in Phoenix and learned of his undocumented status on his 18th birthday when he tried to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. Valdovinos wanted to serve his country after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“We are so proud that Americano! emotionally connected with such a diverse audience during our run in Phoenix. Our story, our message and our music resonated with the Latino community, with African Americans and with students and other young people concerned about what will happen to DREAMers like me. But we presented all this with a positive focus on family and love — including love for our country,” Valdovinos said.
The positive reviews and reception for Americano! came from both sides of the political aisle. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, praised the musical along with Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton and Ruben Gallego (all Democrats). The show ran just as the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding the fate of DREAMers such as Valdovinos and the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program protecting them from deportation. A Supreme Court decision is expected in June and immigration will a top issue in the 2020 elections including the race for President.
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego also proclaimed February 23, 2020 as ‘Americano! The Musical Day’ in the city of Phoenix. And the next day, the San Francisco Giants welcomed the cast of Americano! on the field before their spring training game with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“This artistic gem is truly an ‘only in Phoenix’ story. In our city we have overcome economic downturns, political strife and natural disasters. Nothing has stopped Phoenicians from surmounting these challenges because like Tony Valdovinos Phoenix’s residents are determined to achieve their goals and dreams,” Mayor Gallego said in her proclamation announcement.
Tony Award-winning producer Ken Davenport is Americano!’s Executive Producer. Davenport has produced 20 Broadway shows. He won Tony Awards for Kinky Boots and Once on This Island.
Americano! was one of the centerpieces of The Phoenix Theatre Company’s 100th Anniversary. Michael Barnard, The Phoenix Theatre Company’s Producing Artistic Director, is Americano!’s director. Barnard also wrote the original musical with Jonathan Rosenberg. Former New York Times reporter Fernanda Santos and Phoenix playwright James Garcia have joined the production as creative consultants. Americano! was produced by Scottsdale public relations executive and entrepreneur Jason Rose.
Americano! features 20 original songs composed by acclaimed singer, songwriter Carrie Rodriguez. Nine of those songs were released on January 24th as a concept album from Time Life Records. A portion of the proceeds from the album are going to the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund.
Americano!’s arranger is Sergio Mendoza from the border town of Nogales, Arizona Mendoza is a member of the Grammy nominated band Calexico and pioneering group Orkestra Mendoza.