Eugene O’Neill Theater Center welcomes new musical Azul to campus for development

Following its virtual development as a part of the 2020 Summer Season, the new musical Azul will receive an in-person developmental process on the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center campus this September.

Azul has a book by Melis Asker and Tatiana Pandiani, music by Jacinta Clusellas, and lyrics by Jacinta Clusellas, Melis Aker, and Tatiana Pandiani. The writers will spend nearly two weeks at the O’Neill with a professional cast and creative team to further explore the piece. While on campus, they will have the full support of the Literary Office and the rest of the O’Neill staff to aid in their creative process. The residency will end with an invited presentation, where the creative team will be able to learn more about how an audience responds to the musical.

“Azul is a musical that once you experience, you never forget,” says Alexander Gemignani, Artistic Director of the National Music Theater Conference. “Much like its three brilliant creators, Jacinta, Melis, and Tatiana, Azul is full of virtuosity, poetry, heart and authentic beauty. Having been with us for the virtual version of NMTC in 2020, I am beyond thrilled to welcome the team back, this time with cast and musicians, to continue developing this gorgeous and essential work.”

Inspired by Rubén Darío's poetry and short stories, Azul is a bilingual musical that weaves together two distinct realms to question the place of art in a capitalist society and explore how memory and imagination reshape immigrant identity. In an epic world of magical realism, Bluebird, a hungry and idealist poet, seeks a better life in a new land. In a mundane post 9/11 and present-day Jackson Heights, Rita, a composer, struggles to forgive her father, understand her roots, and reconnect to a land she has never known.

The cast will include Katerina McCrimmon (Broadway’s The Rose Tattoo) as Rita/Blue Bird, Robi Hager (Broadway’s Doctor Zhivago, How to Succeed…, Spring Awakening) as Young Garcin, Martin Sola (Broadway’s On Your Feet!, La Boheme, Coram Boy) as Rey Be, David Louis Merino (Rent 20th Anniversary Tour) as Sebastiano, and Alex Paez (Off-Broadway’s Americano!) as Older Garcin. Adriana Medina Santiago (Christmas in July), Florencia Cuenca (Off-Broadway’s A Never-Ending Line, Children of Salt), and Henry Gainza (Broadway’s Mr. Saturday Night, On Your Feet!) round out the ensemble. Additional casting to be announced.

The piece will be directed by Rebecca Martínez. The rest of the creative team includes Lexy Leuszler as Dramaturg, Ben Moss as Music Director, Federico Diaz as Associate Music Director and the guitarist, and Raphael Torn as the percussionist. Casting is by Michael Cassara.