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Spanish language theater project

May 11, 2003|Don Shirley

Can plays in Spanish attract big audiences in well-known Southland theaters? Producer Mark Edelman says si.

He's presenting "Cartas de Amor," an adaptation of A.R. Gurney's popular "Love Letters" in Spanish, with telenovela stars Saul Lisazo and Kate del Castillo (both were in Televisa's "Derecho de Nacer") as the aristocrats who conduct a lifetime of correspondence.

It's a project of Teatro Latino, a new wing of Edelman's Kansas City-based Theater League, which produces English-language musicals series in Long Beach, Pasadena and Thousand Oaks, among other cities. "Cartas de Amor" will play two of the league's usual huge venues, the Terrace Theater in Long Beach on Saturday and Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Sunday.

Edelman plans to bring the show to other Southland venues -- some of them smaller, for longer runs -- in coming months. "Cartas" already played in San Diego and Phoenix and has dates in Texas and San Jose this summer. Assuming he can lure a Spanish-speaking audience to these venues, most of which haven't hosted much theater in Spanish, he'll mount other Spanish language plays in full productions, as opposed to the staged reading of "Cartas."

The play has been adapted from the original and from a version that played Mexico City. The characters are now from Veracruz and Mexico City instead of the Northeastern U.S. Edelman's own Spanish is "halting," he said, but a Spanish-speaking foreign exchange student who's living in his home this year translated some of his business conversations.

-- Don Shirley

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