One month after the opening of Forever Tango on Broadway,
the editors of El Firulete were the guests of Luis Bravo to attend the
Tuesday night performance at the Walter Kerr Theatre. Like many of our
friends, we too have attended numerous performances of this show during
the 94 week run in San Francisco. Yet, as we walked the half block from
Broadway on 48th St. with our friend Larry Sexton, a talented floral designer
with a curiosity for the Tango, it felt as if we were going to see the
show for the first time
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Lines forming outside the theater greeted us as we passed a street
vendor offering a very fancy souvenir program. Soon we were ushered to
our seats and we could not help but to notice the excitement already building
in the audience. On that Tuesday night the place was packed. Then the lights
went out and stars on a black sky became the backdrop for the eleven piece
orchestra directed by Lisandro Adrover, with veteran Victor Labayen at
his left, Fernando Marzan on the Steinway, Mario Araolaza on the keyboad,
Silvio Acosta on the bass. Completing the ensemble, the bandoneons of Hector
del Curto and Carlos Niesi, the violins of Humberto Ridolfi and Rodion
Boshoer, the viola of Oscar Hasbun and the cello of Dino Quarleri. As they
began the Prelude of the bandoneon and the night, Diego DiFalco emerged
from a giant bandoneon and met sultry Miriam Larici who materialized from
the darkness and joined Diego in a metaphorical scene that symbolizes the
ideals of men of the night searching for the elusive women of their dreams.
We've seen Miriam with Sandor and Fabio before. On this night, working
with Diego she looked as poised and committed to her role as we've ever
seen her. We realized how talented and hard working she is, and how much
power she projects to mesmerize the audience with her feline movements
charged with sensuality and passion.
As the show progressed through the brilliant renditions of the orchestra,
the riveting dancing of the various couples and the engaging singing of
Carlos Morel, it was evident that Luis Bravo had done his homework. From
the lighting to the costumes to the choreography to the staging, this was
a show that felt very much at home on Broadway. The audience loved it.
The dancers looked in top shape and it was evident that they had worked
very hard to reach a point where they were connecting to the audience in
every step they took.
Jorge Torres and Karina Piazza, newlywed and enjoying this moment
of their young lives; Carlos Vera and Laura Marcarie very solid in their
personal interface; Sandra Bootz and Gabriel Ortega elegant and flawless;
Claudia Mendoza and Luis Castro pulling off incredible stunts while role
playing on stage with unmatched precision; Cecilia Saia and Guillermo Merlo
combination of stunning beauty and physical prowess; Marcela Duran and
Carlos Gavito breathtakingly playing with lights, colors, body language
and the audience's imagination; and Nora Robles and Pedro Calveyra tasteful
and dignified fluidity of movements. They all received the generous approval
of the audience and gave us an evening to remember.
Hard as it is to single out a performance when there is so much talent
on stage, we were totally taken by the intensity, power and delivery of
Marcela Duran. She originally appeared in San Francisco with Roberto Tonet,
El aleman, in a very sober rendition of A Evaristo Carriego. Later when
Gavito joined her, his personality and physical appearance produced a more
elaborate piece of choreography and gave Marcela the chance to grow into
the character while at the same time her dancing and acting skills exploded
to the point that she could dance with a lamppost and make it sweat.
Perhaps, this is also a credit due to Luis Bravo's vision, who seems
to have allowed the women in the cast to grow to their full potential.
Miriam's closing scene, an act we've seen many times before, looked as
original, powerful and loaded with details and nuances that say a lot about
her talent and her dedication to excellence.
Closing our eyes at various points of the show, we tried to understand
what this all means to a public and a media so foreign, so far away from
the streets and corners of Buenos Aires, the Paris of South America where
the Tango is a way of life for those who are born, live and die there.
We wondered if some New York critics realize that by writing unkind words
about something they hardly comprehend, they played to the notorious Argentino
pastime of discounting the success of their countrymen abroad. Hopefully,
the extension of the show until January 1998, the pleased audiences at
the Walter Kerr and the assembly of two additional companies may drive
the message home that Forever Tango is something to be very proud of.