The Howard – Theater Review – “Kiss My Aztec! – Hartford Stage

Reviewer:           Howard Steven Frydman aka “The Howard”

Production:        Kiss My Aztec!

Theater:             The Hartford Stage

Book:                  John Leguizamo and Tony Taccone

Music:                Benjamin Velez

Lyrics:                David Kamp, Benjamin Velez and John Leguizamo

Director:            Tony Taccone

Choreographed by:   Mayte Natalio

The Howard’s Exhale – “Praise the Heaven’s Above – “Aztec!” is  a Class Act – An Absolutely Az-mazing Stage Jubilee of Latino Culture!

Huzzah!!! “Pasarlo Pipa!” I am having a great time and in absolute heaven with John Leguizamo’s amazing new Musical Comedy celebrating Hispanic and Latin Culture- “Kiss My Aztec!! WOW!! Friends – “Aztec!” is a joyful technicolor- “Sunday Come to Meeting” Extravaganza, a totally “L.O.L.” (laugh out loud) and “R.F.B.” (ready for Broadway) filled production with vibrant songs and dance numbers that will have you on the aisles doing the merengue. “Aztec” is a zany mixture of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “West Side Story” – with a touch of historic whimsy thrown in to boot. Having its East Coast Premiere and featuring the Pre-Broadway full cast – “Kiss My Aztec” is a “not to be missed” summer tryst at Connecticut’s premiere theater – Hartford Stage. “Kiss My Aztec”? Nah! We humbly kiss the hand of comedy legend and playwright, John Leguizamo – folks you will laugh your derriere off – see it before it goes to Broadway!  It’s A Class Act!!

John Leguizamo

Friends- what caught my eye, firstly, besides the technicolored Aztec inspired costumes and graffitied backdrop by Scenic and Costume Designer Clint Ramos (me thinks a Tony is on its way Clint), is our jubilant cast – All – I say All our talented cast members, many who portray numerous characters throughout, are having a Pachenga (party) on stage, they are loving performing for us and it certainly translates to a most appreciative audience!! I usually wait till the end of my review to mention cast- but when one sees greatness, when the vocals and choreography is outstanding,  ya just got to mention these remarkable Actors ASAP so here it goes – The cast includes Krystina Alabado, Angelica Maria Beliard,  KC Dela Cruz , Chad Carstarphen  Nicholas Caycedo , Eddie Cooper , Richard Ruiz Henry, Z Infante , Jesus E. Martinez, Maria-Christina Oliveras,  Britany Nicole Williams, Geena Quintos, Desiree Rodriguez, Matt Saldivar, and that “Klown Prince” – Joel Perez with his sock puppets “Machu” and Picchu”.  I don’t know when I have been so overjoyed in such a long time seeing such a “well-tuned cast” perform. By the way cast members- the next time I see you, it will hopefully be at the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade telecast performing “White People On Boats”.

Maria-Christina Oliveras in KISS MY AZTEC! 

Meet the Aztecs- they’re a page right out of history, circa 1600, Spain and their conquistadors, yep they came by boats, have come a knocking on the doors of Mesoamerica – looking to conquer this New World, a world with their own culture, laws, religious customs and rituals – be careful not to volunteer for the “ritual of the Corazon” by the way. Though defeated they are not out for the count- a resistance is forming! Holy Star Wars! The troop of Aztec resistance fighters await a sign – a RED SUN – which will signal a time to defeat the evil Viceroy and his Spanish Stormtroopers, and the opportunity to reclaim their land and culture. May the Cuarto be with them!!

Joel Perez and the cast of KISS MY AZTEC! 

Hey Chica- Hey Chico! At the heart of this story is romatica – a love story between a Warrior Rebel fighter “Colombina” (portrayed by Krystina Alabado) and her Comic hand puppet wearing Sidekick “Pepe”, (Joel Perez), who seek to unlock their love for each other (song-Chained Melody), while plotting and planning to take down the evil Spanish Viceroy’s (Matt Saldivar) citadel and return their beloved land to their people-the Aztecs. Along the way to the “big rumble in the jungle” we meet an assortment of zany characters including, the Mystic Aztec Witch Tolima (Maria-Christina Oliveras), Pilar  (Desiree Rodriguez)- the “hot to trot” daughter of the Viceroy – (please note – I would love to see Pilar with more of  singer/guitarist “Charo” personality- “Cuchi Cuchi), the Viceroy’s duplicitous son Fernando (Z Infante) -a  wannabe gold lame pop star, and those two deliciously delightful hand puppets – yep the infamous “Machu” and Picchu”.

Krystina Alabado and Joel Perez in KISS MY AZTEC! 

And now to the coveted “Howard Noticed You Awards” – they may not be “Tonys” but to get a “Howard” means you are talented and deserve proper notice. Please note this ENTIRE cast is extraordinary, yet we give special accolades to the following “oh so creative” cast members: Joel Perez as “Pepe” you sir are comedy personified- I so enjoyed your comedic escapades on stage – hard work does pay off!! Miss Maria-Christina Oliveras as the Aztec Witchipoo – you are absolutely enchanting! and lastly the gentleperson who “steals the show” whenever they appear on stage- Z Infante – you are a star indeed- we so enjoyed your thrilling “King of Pop” performance.

Z Infante, KC Dela Cruz, Angelica Beliard and Geena Quintos in KISS MY AZTEC! 

Music Filled, with memorable tunes – everything from Hip-hop, salsa, funk, gospel, ranchero to merengue, and oh those remarkable gala costumes to an evening of extraordinary performances. “Kiss my Aztec!” broadens our world and opens our minds – this production has it all and is simply not to be missed! Enjoy!

Krystina Alabado, Angelica Beliard, Geena Quintos, Desireé Rodriguez, KC Dela Cruz in KISS MY AZTEC! 

Running Time: Approximately 2 hours, 30 minutes, including one intermission. Content Advisory: this production contains bawdy humor, adult themes and language, haze and strobe lights.

Kiss My Aztec! – The production is set to run through June 26 with performances Tuesday through Thursday at 7:30pm; Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm; and Sunday matinees at 2pm. There are 2pm matinees on Wednesday, June 15 and Saturday, June 11 and 25. The Open Captioned performance is Sunday, June 19 at 2 pm. The Audio Described performance is Saturday, June 25 at 2 pm.

Tickets for Kiss My Aztec! are $30-$100 with discounts for students and groups. Tickets can be purchased by visiting HartfordStage.org, by calling (860) 527-5151, or by visiting the Hartford Stage Box Office at 50 Church Street, Hartford, CT from noon to 5pm.

Howard Steven Frydman is General Manager and Executive Director of BATV – Channels 5, 95 & 96 and a member of the CCC. Please feel free to contact Mr. Frydman with your thoughts and ideas at TheHoward24@gmail.com.

About The Howard

The Howard - Reviews, thoughts and ideas
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