Skip to main content

            L to R. Inés Domínguez del Corral (front) and Karen Morales (back)
 Photo Daniel Martinez.
GALA Theatre  serves up a feast for all senses with its season opener Como agua para chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate.  
GALA’s cast and crew magically brings to life this classic with a realistic Mexican home transformed in to a magical place during the time of the Mexican Revolution.  The  eye catching focus is on the ceramic counter to prepare food, complete with grills underneath, that is also used as a table for eating, sometimes as a bed.  This image combines all the necessary nutrients for human life— food and love —in one.
Mariana Fernández’s scenic design thus provides the perfect setting for where we first encounter Nacha, the family cook and Chencha, the maid, mincing onions on the counter which turns into the table where Mama Elena, Tita’s cruel controlling mother, gives birth to her third and ill fated daughter.  
The first aroma of minced onions that make everyone cry will be  Tita’s legacy of a life of tears.
Luz Nicolás as Mama Elena and Teresa Yenque as Nacha portray powerful women, each in her own realm, one Tita’s physical mother and one her spiritual mother.  Karen Morales as Chencha, the maid remains through out, steady and sturdy, through joy and sorrow.
Tita whose talent for blending her emotions at the moment  into her cuisine is beautifully played by Inez Dominguez del Corral. Moyenda Kulemeka’s costumes suit each  character perfectly with a dress for Tita which evokes her wistful loveliness.
Yaremis Félix as feisty Gertrudis and  Guadalupe Campos as somber Rosaura play Tita’s two sisters  How they embrace their lives and their fates in the struggles within the family is telling of the diverse struggles of the nation at a time when traditional mores clash with revolutionary ideals.
Christopher Annas-Lee’s lighting design  for entering the dream world of the characters and Nate Collard’s projections add to the spooky atmosphere necessary to convey the magical story for Nacha and Mama Elena to make their after death interferences in to Tita’s life.
Peter Pereyra is Pedro, the cowardly but forever faithful love of Tita and  Delbis Carona is her devoted suitor Dr. John Brown.  Both are good men and this is enough to make one wonder about  what choice Tita will make in the end after her years of devotion and frustration when Pedro is finally free to marry her.
(So believable is this emotional struggle, that as the end approached,  someone in the audience whispered  very loudly, “Oh, no! Don’t go back to him! ”)
Fight Choreographer Jon Ezra Rubin did an amazing job because most of the scenes are not the usual of men in armor battling with weapons. Rather it is a mother kicking her daughter on the floor and then herself beaten by life, struggling as a cripple, that is most real.  (Amazingly, all actors at the after show party looked quite well.)
Like food, music fills with emotions.  Music and sound design  by David Crandall  was perfectly on track for those moments.  
Kudos also to Karen Romero as voice of the narrator,  Tony Koehler for Property,   Director Olga Sanchez and Technical Director Devin Mahoney.
Many will remember the movie, or have read the book. This United States premier of a staged version brings  all these beloved characters and recipes back—but up close with the magic and realism in the way only live theater can.

Como agua para chocolate/Like Water for Chocolate
Adapted for the stage by Garbi Losada based on the internationally best-selling novel by Laura Esquivel.
From September 6 through October 7, 2018  at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20010. 
For Tickets call (202) 234-7174, or visit 

Popular posts from this blog

               TINA - THE TINA TURNER MUSICAL  at The National Theatre              In the 1970s, I  had spent weeks climbing around ruins in Peru.  I heard music of the Andes all over.  I  was  finally at  Machu Picchu to spend the night so I could get up early  and climb to see the sunrise from the top of the ruins.   As I got to steps by the gatekeepe,  I could hear his boom box blaring across the Andes “I Wanna Take You Higher”  by Tina Turner.   You don’t have to go climbing the Andes to hear her songs — Tina-The Tina Turner Musical  isright here  at the National Theatre, Washington DC,  until  Oct. 23, 2022.    The show has broken all records with the awards it has received since in premiered in April 2018 in London.  No one questions that Tina is a musical legend but  for this show  accolades to  the stars Naomi Rodgers and Zurin Villanueva who alternate in the  spectacular role.   At every performance there will be people  who remember seeing Tina “back when” and


  AT NEW YORK MUSICAL FESTIVAL 2017 Modern day tourists in a sacred spot in Puerto Rico find themselves enthralled in the history of  the place, once the home to Conquistadors who brutalized and extinguished the native people.  Temple of the Souls is the backdrop for this retelling of the classic Romeo and Juliet  story. We know from the beginning that  the end is going to be bloody but the journey to that is filled with lush melodies of the joys of love and delight in life. Noellia Hernandez is enchanting as Amada, the daughter of a mixed blood. Lorraine Velez  as Nana, her nurse/her father’s mistress/and her real life but unrecognized mother, gives a heart stopping performance.   Danny Bolero is powerful as Don Severo who rules everyone Andres Quintero is strong as the native who wins Amada’s love.   Jacob Gutierrez as Nemesio, her cousin and intended spouse is quite dashing.   The ensemble was exuberant in song and dance in what was a two hour no intermi
                                     This  was my Moby Dick Moment! BACKGROUND: Washington National Opera premiered on the east coat the new American opera Moby Dick, February 22 to March 8.  Written by composer Jake Heggie and featuring an English-  language libretto by Gene Scheer based on Herman Melville’s 19th-century literary classic.    I have never read Moby Dick, so I was literally thrown into an ocean on this one:  Where to begin before I went to show? As an aside, most reviews tell you about what the reviewer  saw but first I want to show you what I saw and heard (something that is the miracle of the web that we can not do in print) so I am posting the selections the Kennedy Center put on line.  Watch and Listen WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 1 of 7: Introduction and Prelude: Before dawn, on the deck of the Pequod (audio only) WNO Commentary: Moby Dick 2 of 7: From morning to night on the ocean: The crew and their captain (audio only) WNO Commentar