Dia de Los Muertos: The Worlds of the Living and the Dead Collide

By Annie Sadovsky Koepf

The Cast of Dia de Los Muertos the Musical photo credit to Ryan Fagan

“If you have children, they will love it. If you don’t, you will love it.”

Having awkward and difficult conversations about many topics are understandably hard for parents and caretakers of small children.  After the last two years, many adults have had to navigate these discussions with young kids, especially regarding the loss of their loved ones. Dia de Los Muertos:The Musical by Michael Martinez now playing at Live Theatre Workshop in the Children’s Theater addresses this topic. ” I wanted to bring death up as a conversation for kids and families because I know how important it was for my family.” writes Martinez as he describes why he wrote the show. His goal is well achieved with a mixture of joy, laughter, excitement, and poignancy. 

Live Theatre Workshop opened the show this past weekend with a one-time fiesta which included face painting, sweets, art activities, and music before the show. It set the tone or the performance. The performers came out and sang one song before we entered the theatre and after the performance, the actors greeted the audience once again. I always love when theatres do this. I for one don’t think it breaks any of the mystery of the theater, but brings the audience into the world of the magic of storytelling.

Magic is what was created by the costumes. I must commend Sophia Nagore for her work as the costume designer. Each character was beautifully complemented and enhanced by her creations. Since the set was simple, the costumes worked to convey the idea of the other worldliness of the setting.

The story takes place on the other side, as Marigold, a young girl, wants to meet her dearly departed turtle. She gets her wish, and with a lovely script, beautiful music, lyrics and dancing, the enchanting story is told. Martinez has developed a play that enraptured every theatre goer in the audience that night. The four-year old in the seat in front of me squealed in delight, and laughed in the most endearing way.

Each role was totally embodied by the actor’s portrayals. Zuleyl Castro as Mictecachuatl commands the stage with her presence at all times. Cecy Abarca is believable and charming as Juana, a young girl. Savanah Martinez as The Ancestors masterfully handled two puppets the entire time, and Eduardo Rodriguez as Grito was charming as a beloved character who was not entirely put together correctly in the after life. Franki Corey-Gelb was present as the non speaking Maigold, but conveyed much by her movement. Kudos to the entire cast.

If you have children, they will love it. If you don’t, you will love it.

Dia de Los Muertos the Musical plays at live Theatre Workshop until November 13th. For more information visit their website at http://www.livetheatreworkshop.org


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