Award-winning '¡Americano!' musical sets its sights on Broadway

By Kirsten Dorman
Published: Monday, November 14, 2022 - 9:01am
Updated: Monday, November 14, 2022 - 9:55am

Americano!" production
Phoenix Theatre Company
A production of "Americano!" by Phoenix Theatre Company in February 2020.

The "¡Americano!" musical has its roots in Phoenix, but its sights set on New York. 

The musical is is based on the true story of Antonio Valdovinos de la Mora, an undocumented immigrant in Phoenix who became a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He and Sean Ewing, the actor who plays him onstage, will accept two awards from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors on Monday.

"¡Americano!" will receive awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance by Ensemble Cast. The show is also nominated for a Drama Desk award for its music.

Over the course of three months, the all-Latino cast of "¡Americano!" put on 86 performances on the off-Broadway stage. Having Lin-Manuel Miranda and former President Barack Obama in the audience during that run was surreal, said lead producer Jason Rose.

"Lin-Manuel Miranda went to Tony Valdovinos," Rose recalled, "and he said, 'What is it like to have a musical written about your life? I never had the chance to ask Hamilton.' And we all just fell over laughing."

Just as surreal, Rose said, is the musical receiving this level of recognition.

"These are people who know what it takes to excel on a stage," Rose said. "For them to recognize Americano is tremendous validation, tremendous gratification."

Rose said he can't imagine how Valdovinos must feel accepting the Outstanding Production award.

"This is a kid from Phoenix, Arizona, who was called cold one day to have a musical produced about his life," Rose said of Valdovinos. "And there he’ll be on Monday night, accepting an award in New York City by a major Latin organization. What a tribute."

Rose called the cast who portrayed Americano's story and their passion for the show "unbelievable." He added that everyone involved with the musical is thrilled with the recognition.

"When you look at what ¡Americano! was and is, it's a statement on diversity on that stage," Rose said. "To get recognized in New York by such a significant organization is a tribute to everything the show is about."

Rose says it’s also tremendous encouragement, as "¡Americano!" now aims for a Broadway run.

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