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Huntington Theatre Premieres Melinda Lopez's Adaptation of Lorca's 'Yerma' in May

Wednesday Apr 24, 2019

The Huntington Theatre Company premieres a timely and essential adaptation of Federico García Lorca's 1934 play "Yerma," a tragic tale of one woman's desperate yearning to start a family.

Adapted and translated by the winner of the 2019 Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence, Melinda Lopez transforms this classic work to resonate with modern audiences. Lopez delves into the heart of a hard-working rural community, revealing that in times of desperation, there can be beauty, and even laughter. Directed by Obie and Norton Award winner Melia Bensussen, "Yerma," a play with music, features local Boston musicians playing original flamenco-inspired music by Broadway composer Mark Bennett. Performances begin at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA (527 Tremont Street, Boston) May 31 and will run through June 30. Tickets are on sale now to the general public.

Yerma, a young wife, wants nothing more than to have a child and become a devoted mother. As she watches her friends start their families, she begins to question her own value as a woman. Her desperate desire turns into an all-consuming obsession with devastating consequences. Beloved by Boston audiences, Huntington Playwright-in-Residence Melinda Lopez reinvents Lorca's classic masterpiece, infusing this searing drama with flamenco-inspired music and heart.

Lopez first encountered Yorca's work while visiting her aunt in Spain as a teenager. She was struck by how in tune "Yerma" was with a woman's primal desire to have a family and the struggle of wanting something that fate will not allow. Lorca's play channels tragic heroines like Antigone and Medea, transcending generations and culture to reveal the pain of circumstances where hope is the central antagonist. Lopez's interpretation invokes the strength and spirit of these women and the communities that surround them.

"Melinda Lopez brings such resonance and poetry to Federico García Lorca's Yerma — hers is the best English translation I've read," says Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois. "We are thrilled to bring together two of the Huntington's most trusted artists, our playwright in residence Melinda Lopez and director Melia Bensussen, to create this new, visceral, and music-infused production of Lorca's timeless work. Their collaboration promises to lift up the of the essential story of a woman unravelling under the pressures of society, religion, and nature."

Making her Huntington debut as the title character Yerma, is the 2019 recipient of Lincoln Center Theatre's Emerging Artist Award, Nadine Malouf (American Conservatory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, The Public Theater). Also making their Huntington debuts are Christian Barillas ("Ronaldo" on ABC's "Modern Family," Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Pasadena Playhouse) as Juan; Alexandra Illescas (Boston Conservatory, Front Porch Theatricals, Off the Grid Theatre Company) as Veronica; Norton Award winner Evelyn Howe (SpeakEasy Stage Company, Shakespeare and Company, Showtime's "SMILF") as Marta; and Ernie Pruneda ("Sister Act" on Broadway) as Victor. Returning to the Huntington are Alma Cuervo ("The Miracle" at Naples, Broadway credits include "On Your Feet!," "Cabaret," "Beauty and the Beast") as Incarnacion; Norton Award winner Marianna Bassham ("Romeo and Juliet," "Becoming Cuba" "Luck of the Irish") as Maria; and Jacqui Parker ("A Civil War Christmas;" "Breath, Boom") as Dolores. Yerma also includes on stage performances by local Boston percussionist and Berklee College of Music alum Fabio Pirozzolo with renowned flamenco guitarist and Boston Conservatory graduate Juanito Pascual.

Yerma will include choreography by Misha Shields ("Ripcord," "A Doll's House," "Milk Like Sugar" at the Huntington); music and co-sound design by Drama Desk Award winner Mark Bennett (Broadway credits include "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," "The Coast of Utopia"); set design by Cameron Anderson ("The Niceties" and "Becoming Cuba" at the Huntington); costume design by Olivera Gajic ("Curtain Call" on Broadway, Vineyard Theatre, Classic Stage Company); lighting design by Brian J. Lilienthal ("Awake and Sing!" at the Huntington, Merrimack Repertory Theatre) and co-sound design by Brendan F. Doyle (Lyric Stage Company, Company One). Production stage manager is Kevin Schlagle and stage manager is Jeremiah Mullane.


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