True story of an Arizona ‘Dreamer’ inspires world-premiere musical at Phoenix Theatre

A brand-new musical based on the true story of an Arizona “Dreamer” will be the centerpiece of the Phoenix Theatre Company’s 100th-anniversary season.

“Americano!” — which recently had a workshop production at the company’s annual Festival of New American Theatre — is about the life of Tony Valdovinos, who was born in Mexico but grew up in metro Phoenix and didn’t know we wasn’t a U.S. citizen until he turned 18 and tried to join the Marines.

With ambitions to make a national impact with a feel-good musical about a hot political topic, Phoenix Theatre will debut the show on Jan. 29, 2020, as part of a season that mixes recent Broadway hits (“Kinky Boots,” “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”) with classic titles ranging from “The Sound of Music” to “The Rocky Horror Show.”

“It’s a very relevant topic, and nobody’s been writing about it in the world of musical theater,” longtime artistic director Michael Barnard said. “It’s an Arizona-grown story, so that’s kind of cool, and I think it’s important to try to put a spotlight on a population of individuals who have been misunderstood. This individual, Tony, is so committed to this country and so believes in this democracy. …

“The arts try to speak to the times that they were written and created, they’re almost like a commentary to our history, so it seems particularly important that a piece like this come out at this time in our history.”

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