Regional Theater Review: SOMEWHERE (Old Globe in San Diego)

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by Milo Shapiro on October 7, 2011

in Theater-Regional

THERE’S TALENT SOMEWHERE IN THIS FAMILY

With West Side Story lighting up Broadway only blocks from their home, the Candelarias are inspired that Chita Rivera has cracked open the doors of opportunity for Latino performers like siblings Alejandro, Francisco, and Rebecca.  As Tony and Maria sing, “There’s a place for us…somewhere.”

The Old Globe’s Somewhere gives us a thoughtful, moving, and poignant look into the lives of Puerto Rican Americans in New York City in the late ‘50s.  At the heart of the family is mother Inez (Tony winner Somewhere by Matthew Lopez at The Old Globe – with Priscilla Lopez – Regional Theater Review by Milo ShapiroPriscilla Lopez). For her there are only two true sources of pleasure: musicals (she’s seen Ethel Merman’s Gypsy twenty times) and promoting her adult children’s show biz careers.  Inez wants a world always set to music, for it will drown out whatever she cares not to think about – especially the fact that, in one week, the family home has a date with the wrecking ball.

Somewhere by Matthew Lopez at The Old Globe – with Priscilla Lopez – Regional Theater Review by Milo ShapiroPlaywright Matthew Lopez (real-life nephew of Priscilla and author of The Whipping Man, last year’s Old Globe West Coast premiere, which later moved to Off Broadway) juxtaposes the fictional Candelaria family’s general problems with a true NYC event:  in 1959, urban planner Robert Moses demolished 14 blocks of buildings to make way for Lincoln Center.  Over 16,000 residents and 600 businesses were displaced.

Inez will not even acknowledge this reality, much less prepare for it. It is left to talented Alejandro (Jon Rua), the one child of her three that is cursed with practicality, to step in and take charge.  Somewhere by Matthew Lopez at The Old Globe – with Priscilla Lopez – Regional Theater Review by Milo ShapiroFather Pepe is off in California with dreams of Hollywood stardom in his eyes, forcing the son to give up his dreams and make sure somebody pays the rent. Rua captures his character’s angst without hammering us over the head with it: he craves to perform but is forced back into the tedium of the daily grind.

Alejandro’s semi-talented, eternally-optimistic older brother Francisco (Juan Javier Cardenas) is content letting Alejandro do the heavy lifting. While Cisco’s talent is questionable, Cardenas’ is not.  Had the entire evening not been so satisfying, his physical comedy might have stolen the whole show.  The Somewhere by Matthew Lopez at The Old Globe – with Priscilla Lopez – Regional Theater Review by Milo Shapiroaudience rightfully cheered an exuberant four-minute monologue wherein he mimed every part in a play he is reading. Sweet sister Rebecca (Benita Robledo) shows us early on when she dances that she, indeed, may be the one in the family with real talent.

While you’ll have to see for yourself whether “there’s a place” for Alejandro, Francisco, and Rebecca, there’s definitely a place for the brightly written and acted Somewhere at the Old Globe’s White Theater this fall.

milo @ stageandcinema.com

photos by Henry DiRocco

Somewhere
scheduled to end on October 30
for tickets, visit http://www.theoldglobe.org/

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