The Syracuse stage will present the world premiere of the Cumbia hip-hop musical SOMEWHERE OVER THE BORDER
Syracuse Stage offers a rare opportunity to see a world musical premiere when Brian Quijada’s “Somewhere Over the Border” takes the stage from February 23 through March 13. Tickets and information at www.syracusestage.org and at the Box Office (315-443-3275). The world premiere is being co-produced with the Geva Theater Center in Rochester, New York, and Teatro Vista, Theater with a View in Chicago.
“Somewhere Over the Border” is based on the true story of Quijada’s mother, Reina, and the trip she took from El Salvador to the United States as a teenager on her own in the 1970s. playwright explained that at 16, Reina became pregnant and had a baby she named Fernando. Soon after, Reina left El Salvador hoping to cross the US-Mexico border in hopes of finding a better life for herself and her baby. She thought she would be gone for a few weeks. It took ten years before she could return to El Salvador and bring Fernando to the United States
Although he had known about his mother’s journey all his young life, Quijada didn’t learn many of the details until adulthood. During a long telephone conversation, Reina told her the whole story of her trip through Guatemala and all of Mexico, of the people she met along the way, of taking three nights to cross the desert and of crossing the border hidden on the back of a pickaxe. -up truck. As he listened, he realized that the story she was telling him reminded him of a famous story, “The Wizard of Oz”.
Quijada describes “Somewhere Over the Border” as a mix of the story of his mother’s journey and “The Wizard of Oz”. The structure borrows from the famous musical, and the characters Reina meets on her journey are inspired in part by the real people she met and the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion. The wizard they are looking for who will grant their wish to cross the border is El Gran Coyote de Tijuana. The music embraces a variety of styles ranging from Cumbia to Hip Hop to Musical Theatre. Quijada said he considers “Somewhere Over the Border” to be very close to the tradition of American musical theater.
“Much of the show’s music is representative of the music of the region,” Quijada said. “We tried to infuse even the instrumentation with the music of the specific region it’s in and keep everything under the musical theater umbrella. ‘Somewhere Over the Border’ is a nod to ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’, so it has the style of the American musical. It’s a very traditional and accessible form.”
The mix of musical styles not only helps locate Reina throughout her journey, but it keeps the experience fresh for the audience, Quijada explained. “As it goes up, the music changes, so it’s really cool, not only to watch it in a dramaturgical way in terms of the influence of the music, but it’s also really fun because you hear always something new along the way,” he says.
A cast of six and a four-piece live band bring “Somewhere Over the Border” to life. All are new to the Syracuse scene and have deep and extensive experience from Broadway to regional theater to performing with musical greats like Aretha Franklin and Tito Puente.
Also new to the Syracuse scene are director Rebecca Martínez, music director Julián Mesri and members of the creative team: set designer Tanya Orellana, costume designer Asa Benally, lighting designer Jennifer Fok, playwright Kristin Leahey and associate director Sofia Ubilla. Syracuse Stage veteran Jacqueline R Herter is the sound designer.
“I am thrilled to welcome so many inventive and inspiring artists to Syracuse Stage,” said Bob Hupp, Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage. “We are honored to be part of the creation of ‘Somewhere Over the Border’ and to share our first world musical premiere with Central New York. There are universal truths revealed in this very personal story. This journey is what makes live theater such a special and unique experience.”
In a note she wrote for the show’s program, Martínez highlighted the qualities that strike her in Reina and so many others who have left their homes and risked dangerous journeys to find a better life for themselves. and their children: determination, resilience, courage, love, hope and joy.
Quijada shares his perspective and notes that “Somewhere Over the Border” recounts the three most difficult times in his mother’s life: leaving Fernando, spending three nights crossing the desert, and reuniting with Fernando after ten years.
“There’s a lot of sadness associated with these stories, a lot of death,” he said. “But there is also joy. It’s important to remember that each of these stories begins with hope.”
At the gate, spectators aged five and over will be required to present proof of full vaccination, or for those not vaccinated, a negative Covid-19 test result. For children under five, proof of a negative test is strongly encouraged but not required for theater entry.
A valid negative Covid-19 test must meet the following conditions: A negative PCR test from a healthcare provider within 72 hours of entry for the event you are attending or a negative Antigen test from a healthcare provider healthcare within 6 hours of entering the event you are attending.
Vaccination verification accepted in one of the following forms: physical vaccination card, New York State Excelsior Pass, digital vaccination cards through your home health service, or photo of vaccination card. Fully vaccinated means that 14 days have passed since receiving the second dose of FDA or WHO-licensed double-dose vaccines or 14 days have passed since receiving the single dose of licensed single-dose vaccines by the FDA or the WHO.
Without proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 test, customers will not be allowed to enter the building.
Masks are mandatory at all times for everyone, regardless of vaccination status, except while eating or drinking in designated areas. Food and drink will not be permitted in the auditorium.