Party Play: "American Mariachi"

Beth Fhaner
 | Sep 18, 2019

Playwright José Cruz González’s American Mariachi, a big-hearted comedy with live music, opened to an enthusiastic and appreciative audience on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, on the Segerstrom Stage. American Mariachi kicks off SCR’s 2019-20 season.

SCR’s production of American Mariachi marks a homecoming for González, as he launched the theatre’s Hispanic Playwrights Project in 1986 and led it for many years afterwards. As part of SCR’s Dialogue/Diálogos, he was commissioned to write The Long Road Today/El Largo Camindo de Hoy, a site-specific play performed in 2014 that featured stories and actors from the communities of Santa Ana. González has long been an advocate for Latinx voices, and we’re thrilled to have him back at SCR with American Mariachi.

Under the expert direction of Christopher Acebo, the entire ensemble delivered extraordinary performances while transporting the audience to the mid-1970s. Led by Diana Burbano as Amalia Morales and Gabriela Carrillo as her daughter, Lucha, the talented cast also includes Alicia Coca, Sol Castillo, Satya Jnani Chavez, Mauricio Mendoza, Marlene Montes, Luzma Ortiz and Andrew Joseph Perez. The action is supported throughout by the outstanding ​music of the onstage mariachis: Esteban Montoya Dagnino (​trumpet), Sayra Michelle Haro (​violin/Tia Carmen), Antonio A. Pró (​guitarrón), Ali Pizarro (​vihuela) and Adam Ramirez (violin).

American Mariachi was heartwarming and hilarious,” said Joseph C. Hensley, with Corporate Honorary Producer U.S. Bank. “Its story line dealt with progress and cultural change, family and dreaming big. I laughed ‘til I cried!”

Guests who attended the cast party on Ela’s Terrace were welcomed to a bright and inviting scene. Linen-covered cocktail tables displayed a variety of hues ​and created a fun and festive vibe. Colorful floral arrangements also added to the cheerful ambiance. ​Mariachi group, Son de Kalavera, provided live entertainment for guests and even inspired some First Nighters to get out on the dance floor. 

The Little Onion Mexican Restaurant provided the catering ​with a menu inspired by Mexican cuisine​. ​Partygoers feasted on an array of delectable hors d’oeuvres such as beef taquitos, ceviche and other small bites. Mouthwatering desserts such as coco flan and tres leches cake provided a sweet finish.

From the bar, the signature cocktail was dubbed “Luchita Bonita Margarita”—a delicious beverage named for the main character’s nickname—and comprised of El Mexicano Blanco Tequila (our official First Night tequila sponsor/show sponsor), lime juice and triple sec.

First Night theatregoers were thrilled to have the opportunity to meet the director, playwright, the entire cast and mariachis during the after-party. As guests mingled with fellow ​attendees into the evening, much appreciation and acclaim continued for the cast and creative team of American Mariachi, José Cruz González’s vibrant, spirited comedy about young women who dream big and embrace the transcendent power of music.

Would you like to see a larger version of the slideshow? ​Watch it here.

Learn more about American Mariachi and buy tickets.