LA POSADA MAGICA, presented by the Hispanic Arts Theatre in Association with the Coronado Playhouse, is a funny and sweet journey that is a nice reminder that magic, faith, and community can help anyone, no matter what their journey.
LA POSADA MAGICA is a magical, musical version of the Latino custom of Las Posadas. Las Posadas are a novenario (nine days of religious observance) celebrated chiefly in Mexico and by Mexican-Americans in the United States, beginning December 16 and ending December 24. Consisting of a parade where friends and neighbors dress in robes and travel around their community in honor of Joseph and Mary’s journey through Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.
This show centers around Gracie (Vanessa Orozco), who is mourning the loss of her baby brother. She stays home as her parents go to church as she can’t face the church or her faith yet, but finds herself in charge of giving a bag of clothes to the posada that is coming through. When they arrive, led by Horacio (Alex Guzman) dressed as one of the wise men, she dutifully gives the bag of clothes, and they light a candle in her honor. Gracie finds herself joining the posada, still grieving and annoyed that the posada won’t extinguish her candle at her request. So she decides to cause some mischief and ruin the posada for the others.
Orozco, as Gracie has a lovely voice and has a warm stage presence. Her grief and confusion feel real, as does her sass and her mischief. Guzman, as Horacio the leader of the Posada is funny, and engaging which draws the audience in to participate in this posada’s journey (everyone sing!)
The rest of the Posada and the cast are made up of a charming cast of characters that are so likeable it’s easy to want to join them on their journey.
Mari and Jose (Tamara Sofia Rodriguez Mehl and Benjamin A. Mendoza) are husband and wife who have the parts of Mary and Joseph on this Posada. Mehl has a great voice and Mendoza is very funny as the husband roped into this event.
Refugio (a fantastic Michael S. Garcia), a teen with a 50’s heartthrob persona and a Chargers video he can’t seem to lose.
Marc Caro-Willcox and Sebastian Montenegro are funny and a bit scary as duel characters of posada participants, and some mischievous spirits that want Gracie to further stray in her journey.
Debbie Nicastro and Elizabeth Jimenez are funny as posada participants who can’t resist the lure of See’s Candy (really, who can?), and as the Widow’s Sandoval and the Rocking Sisters.
Directed and Choreographed by Carlos Mendoza, this show is tightly paced, well-choreographed (particularly the numbers with Caro-Wilcox, Montenegro, and Orozco), and keeps a balance of celebration, sentimentality, and sadness without dipping into the saccharine. Any time it felt like it as reaching the tipping point into mournful, or scary, it would come right back to funny to keep the balance.
The music, led by Joshua Carr is fun and festive and supports the cast beautifully. Andres Mendoza is on stage as part of the posada and provides the show with some beautiful guitar accompaniment.
Like A CHRISTMAS CAROL before it, LA POSADA MAGICAL is a charming blend of magic, faith, joy, and misfortune to show that life is meant to be lived and celebrated with those in your family and community.
LA POSADA MAGICA is playing at the Coronado Playhouse through Sunday, December 17th, with multiple shows on Saturday and Sunday. For ticket information go to www.coronadoplayhouse.com
For more information on the Hispanic Arts Theatre go to www.hispanicartstheatre.com