The University of Richmond Free Theatre & Dance will be hosting a four-day premiere starting Nov. 17 at the Modlin Center For The Arts of the musical “Miss You Like Hell” directed by professors Patricia Herrera and Dorothy Holland.
The new musical is written by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Quiara Alegría Hudes with music by singer-songwriter Erin McKeown. The story follows a cross-country road trip of a mother, Beatriz, and her daughter, Olivia.
Sophomore Will Hoffman, who will play Higgins, explained that he committed to being a part of the musical because of the uniqueness of the plot and the cultural focus on Latinx heritage.
“The musicals here are kind of like unicorns,” Hoffman said. “They only happen like once every two years.”
Sophomore Sydney Tellis plays the lead character Olivia and expressed how her grandma’s Cuban roots drew her to want to be a part of a Latinx musical. Tellis acknowledged the importance of the plot in regard to the state of both the nation and UR’s campus today.
“I feel like even if you don’t know a lot about immigration and what’s been happening, or like Hispanic culture, you really get the feelings that we try to show,'' Tellis said. ”There’s just so many dimensions to the show, that it’s just, it’s just great.”
Sophomore Melanie Sanchez plays the mother, Beatriz. While hesitant at first, Sanchez gravitated to the Latinx storyline and took the chance and auditioned, not expecting to get such a huge part. She continued to express the irony of being cast in the role she did.
“I’m playing the person I have conflict with… this is interesting because I’m literally playing in a sense my polar opposite because Beatriz is not like me, at least in some aspects of her personality and story,” Sanchez said.
The beauty in theater is to be able to step out of yourself and play different personas, Sanchez said.
Sanchez urges UR members to come to see the musical because of the focus on Latinx immigration and deportation, issues many UR students don’t think about in their day-to-day lives, she said. Even with a focus on tough realities, the musical aims to communicate uplifting messages simultaneously.
“To me, the biggest message of the musical is how regardless of where you are in the world, love beats borders,” Sanchez said.
All three performers expressed passion and excitement for the premier of the show and hope to transfer that energy to audience members.
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“I have full confidence in everyone in the cast,” Tellis said. “I also have full confidence in myself.”
The musical weaves in bits of culture from the cast members making the show that much more irreplicable, Hoffman said.
“It’s what makes this specific version of ‘Miss You Like Hell,’ our version, those connections just mean that much to the show,” Hoffman said.
Free tickets can be acquired through the Modlin website.
Contact lifestyle writer Genice Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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