The experienced actor and playwright Waddys Jáquez is working on what constitutes a great professional and personal challenge: staging a musical in honor of the Mirabal Sisterswhich is planned to be presented in August of this year, in a setting yet to be defined.
It was his friend, the New York music producer Pablo García, who asked him a few years ago to get involved in this great challenge, but at that time it did not materialize.
“He came with the idea of doing that musical, but at the time, three years ago, I told him I was involved in other things, but I started to investigate anyway. I looked for books, reports and finally I thought that we could tell that story again, but tell it with another aesthetic, with many truths that have not been explored as much, especially by the youth”, he commented when granting an interview to Diario Libre.
The playwright considered that many young people are unaware of the great courage that Minerva, Patria and María Teresa Mirabal faced against the tyranny of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo. “That was a historic moment that is part of the foundations of our democracy, that fight had great value.”
“Steel Butterflies” gives the title to the story of the Mirabals, with which they intend to make presentations abroad.
He advanced that it is the first work in the genre that will deal with the sisters who were assassinated by the Trujillo tyranny, which will include recognition of the men and women of the June 14 Movement.
Jáquez, who made his professional debut on stage in 1998, trusts that Dominican society can assess the dimension that the project in development deserves.
“We are creating a show for the Dominican Republic and the world. It is our history, but it is the history of Latin America, the history of dictatorships, abuse against women, empowerment and many other things. The stories of the dictatorships are the same and any population understands them”, commented the artist.
“Steel Butterflies” will be released the last week of August, in principle they will have eight presentations in Santo Domingo and then they will go to Santiago. Later they will travel abroad, and when they conclude their international agenda they will return to the country to spend a season on the anniversary of the murder of the Mirabal sisters.
At the moment he did not want to reveal if the musical will be at the National Theater or at the Palace of Fine Arts.
A big challenge
“This is one of the most important jobs of my entire career, because one thing is to build a musical theater show, to make the audience go on that magic carpet in which they enjoy, but to make this musical represents the elaboration of a document historical for our country, it is something that is priceless and a great challenge, a commitment to history”.
Waddys Jáquez announced that, since they started working on the musical, everything has been visually documented, because they want to make a documentary that will be shown on television at the appropriate time.
Among the collaborators to make the musical possible, he cited, among others, the relatives of the Mirabal sisterswho have given him great support.
The actor and theater director has long lived in New York. There he has developed his artistic career and in that struggle he has made friends in the entertainment circuit of the great American city.
He has the relationships to knock on doors for Broadway theaters to embrace”Steel Butterflies”. “We are already translating this musical into English because New York City is in our sights very closely, so we have made contacts for those purposes. This goes a long way, but I cannot give more details, ”he pointed out.
Opening to Latin talent in New York
Latinos have entered the entertainment industry in the United States with force. On that he considered that the focus of attention is on being able to appreciate Latin American talent, which in his opinion has always been present.
“Today, when talking about musical theater, it is impossible to do so without mentioning my dear friend Lin Manuel Miranda, who with In the heights made a Dominican or Upper Manhattan story, managing to position not only Latinos on Broadway, but to carry the flag Dominican there. Lin is a very creative man, who also made the musical Hamilton, with which he won several awards. In other words, he is doing a job with the participation of many Latinos. It seems incredible to me that this half-island always sticks out its face to shine in the world.”
“There are people who are popular at any price. In my case, it is more important that they respect me than that half the country knows me. I have the recognition of the people and I appreciate that”actor, producer
Absence of Dominican culture in NY
For the cultural manager, a task is needed that projects Dominican culture in the United States, especially in New York City, where the largest number of Dominicans reside.
When making an analysis of the promotion of national artists there, he considered that not much progress has been made despite having entities such as the House of Dominican Culture or the Commissioner of Culture.
“Unfortunately we haven’t made much progress. It is necessary to work from the Culture Commissioner, from the House of Culture. There are no projects that unite Dominican artists, it is not to make a work or an exhibition, it is to give it character because we have many talented people in the United States. When that is done, Dominican art, and therefore the country, will be recognized in the United States.