'Pedro Pan', a musical about Cuban children coming to the U.S. without their parents, resonates today
By: Carmen Pelaez, NBC News
“There’s an idea that you can't be sympathetic and have opinions about the law. They don’t have to be at odds," said Rebecca Aparicio.
"We can be at odds about immigration law and not be at odds about children being separated from their families. However you feel about immigration law, I totally validate that and we can have a discussion about it," Aparicio said.
"But for children to be separated from their parents, I think we can all agree that that’s wrong. I think that seeing that experience reflected on a stage can create some empathy," Aparicio said. "You’re tied to your community, but you have to stand up for what’s right.”
NEW MUSICAL "PEDRO PAN" SPEAKS TO THE PLIGHT OF IMMIGRANT CHILDREN
By: Retta Blaney, National Catholic Reporter
NEW YORK — As a child, Rebecca Aparicio was fascinated by one particular piece of her mother's jewelry: gold stud earrings that were uneven, not perfectly round, and represented the story of a life being broken apart and remade.
Now she is bringing together the personal and the historical in "Pedro Pan," a musical about immigration and family that will be presented in this summer's New York Musical Festival. She wrote the show's book, and her husband, Stephen Anthony Elkins, wrote the music and lyrics.
photo by: Michael Kushner
The New York Musical Festival announced that Pedro Pan is the recipient of the 2017 NYMF Developmental Reading Series Award, given out at this year's gala on November 12. The musical features a book by Rebecca Aparicio, and music and lyrics by Stephen Anthony Elkins.
"Based," according to a press release, "on the real-life events of Operación Pedro Pan, a young boy is sent to the U.S. to escape the growing dangers of post-revolutionary Cuba. To survive, Pedro must learn a new language and a new culture — while hoping to someday be reunited with his parents. With a score featuring the percussive rhythms of Havana to '60s New York soul, Pedro Pan examines what it means to be a displaced immigrant in America."
As a result of the award, Pedro Pan will be automatically accepted into NYMF's Next Link Project next season and receive a $5,000 subsidy toward their participation, entrepreneurial training, and networking opportunities. The writers also benefit from several months of ongoing dramaturgical support from NYMF's programming department.
THEATRE IS EASY REVIEW
BY ANTONIO MININO, 8/18/15
BEST BET FOR FRINGE NYC 2015
The New York International Fringe Festival does not kid when it says “Moments Made Here.” They must have picked their slogan after including Pedro Pan as part of this year’s line-up. Pedro Pan is a new lively and sincere musical for the whole family that will fly by and leave you wanting more.
Pedro Pan is able to entertain and educate young audiences, and prove the universality of an issue that many believe only affects certain communities.
The harmonic blend of Cuban rhythms and musical theatre styles in the music and lyrics by Stephen Anthony Elkins are deliciously on point and will keep your feet tapping, when not tugging at your heartstrings.
There’s no reason why we should not see the words Pedro Pan light up a Broadway marquee in the near future. As Pedro himself says: “This is where my story begins.”
MANHATTAN WITH A TWIST
By: Nelson Diaz-Marcano 8/26/15
4 out of 4 Stars
Based on the largest exodus of minors in the western world known as “Operation Pedro Pan,” the story written and directed flawlessly by Rebecca Aparicio follows one of these children from Cuba to New York.
.Pedro’s journey is full of life, heartbreaks, and music. And what incredible music it is. Being from the Caribbean myself, the music hit hard. It had so much love for its culture, for the story, and more importantly, it created the nostalgia that only one that has been ripped from their home can understand.
Stephen Elkins’ music and lyrics elevate the production and its instrumental in making us believe the urban fairy tale. I couldn’t help but smile, even when the songs made me want to cry, for example in “Fly,” a song in which Pedro’s parents (played by Aparicio herself and Bobby Gámez) are saying goodbye to him; a melancholic song that will make your heart break and at the same time fill you with hope.
For a show to transcend the normal fate of an off-Broadway theater musical and go into the history books by being part of Broadway it has to have the crew in this kind of sync. And when everything else works like this, in tune with each other, the only way to go is up.
Since Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In The Heights, I have not experienced a show about Hispanic culture that captures the essence as well as this one.
The duo of Rebecca Aparicio and Stephen Elkins are on the way to the big stages and marquee names, and this production proves that. Don’t miss where they started. But more importantly, don’t miss a show that resonates with today’s political climate at the same time that it touches on individualism and the uniqueness of one’s self.
By: Leta Tremblay 8/22/15
Pedro Pan opens in Havana with bright colors, upbeat Cuban music, and a cast of seven performers dancing and singing like a cast of thirty. This high energy and joyful opening number already gives a taste of what this new musical will look and feel like on the bigger Broadway stage.
Which is fitting because Rebecca Aparicio (book and direction) and Stephen Anthony Elkins (music and lyrics) have beautifully woven together a larger than life story inspired by Operacíon Pedro Pan. Aparicio and Elkins cleverly capitalize on this reference to the story of Peter Pan by inviting us into the experience of one child, Pedro, as he flies away from the only home he’s ever known to his own Neverland, the island of New York City.
The depth of story telling is brilliantly enhanced by engaging multimedia images and video projected onto folding screens at the back of the stage bringing life to a modest set. Together with Elkins enchanting score, they transport us viscerally into the experience of the moment.
Pedro Pan is a well crafted and excellently executed theatrical experience capitalizing on a familiar children’s story to draw us in and bring attention to an important moment in U.S. history. We are with Pedro every step of the way through his journey, even the most difficult moments, as he searches for a new place to call home.