A Truly Sensational Masterpiece

Excerpts from Tom Alvarez’s review on July 13th 2019.

Click to read the full review by Tom Alvarez from ON THE AISLE with Tom Alvarez.

[Frida] Kahlo’s life certainly contained a great deal of material from which to draw. To tell that story and set it to music would require extraordinary ingenuity and skill. Fortunately for all of us, [Gregory] Glade, who also produced, choreographed and designed costumes for the show, was up to the task ……..With some wise choices in actors and by assigning a director with fresh eyes to the show, he has refined and improved on what was already a substantial work of art. The adjustments have made his masterpiece truly sensational….

New York-based Georgina Escobar, a Latinx who is an artist and playwright, did an outstanding job of directing “LA CASA AZUL,” placing her own stamp on the show through her cultural sensibilities.

Turning in a towering performance as Frida was Val Nuccio …… A fine actor and equally talented vocalist with a gorgeous tone, Nuccio effectively portrayed the fiercely independent, volatile, yet sensitive Frida….

…. Actor-singer-director-teacher JL Rey also showed a high caliber of acting and vocal skill in his role as [Diego] Rivera, the boisterous, larger-than-life muralist, …. Together, he and Nuccio were effective in conveying chemistry between them as the colorful couple.

The statuesque and lithe Abigail Lessaris, who danced the role of La Muerte …. was magnificent as Frida’s constant companion, Death, who protectively hovers over her throughout her entire life, in a loving, non-menacing way ….

The show …. is more an operetta than a traditional musical. Glade’s score …. is enhanced by the exquisite orchestrations of Nicholas Cline. At times sweeping and grand, I heard elements of Corrido, Ranchera, Mariachi and classical music in the lush score.  It also has a Sondheim quality …. making it poignant and mesmerizing ….

What did constantly hold my attention, besides the show’s captivating performances, were its first-rate technical elements …. Glade’s pitch perfect costumes reflect a kaleidoscope of color and the lighting of lighting designer extraordinaire Laura Glover’s is dazzling….