Before it ends on March 23, please try to see The Happiest Song Plays Last at Second Stage Theater.  This past week, I had the chance to see this play by Quiara Alegria Hudes, who won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize.  What I found so energizing is that the play is rooted in Latin culture and uses that as a launching pad to tell a moving and powerfully layered story.

What’s it about?  Here’s the description:

Cousins Elliot and Yaz, having long searched for their place in the community, discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family, both by blood and by love. While Elliot gets a lucky break in the film business, Yaz takes on the role of familial and neighborhood matriarch, nourishing those who pass through her door. Beating to the sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music led by the Grammy-nominated Nelson González, The Happiest Song Plays Last invites you to spend a year with Elliot and Yaz on their journey to peace and purpose in an ever-changing world.

Because it’s the third in a trilogy of plays, The Happiest Song Plays Last features characters that have appeared in Hudes’ Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue, a play about a young Marine coming to terms with his time in Iraq and his father’s and grandfather’s service in Vietnam and Korea, as well as her 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Water by the Spoonful.


Armando Riesco (Elliot), Annapurna Sriram (Shar) and Dariush Kashani (Ali)

Recognizable cast members include Tony Plana (from Ugly Betty), Anthony Chisholm (Radio Golf, Jitney, and HBO’s Oz) and Lauren Velez (Showtime’s Dexter).  It’s directed by Tony Award winter Ruben Santiago-Hudson, who was most recently seen in AMC’s Low Winter Sun.

The other thing that will hook music lovers is the presence of Nelson Gonzalez on the creative team.  Gonzalez is a Grammy-nominated musician who is widely considered a master of the Cuban Tres guitar.  Not only is he the play’s musical director, he leads the trio that performs throughout the play.

Tickets for the play are $75 and can be purchased by phone (212-246-4422) or via the Second Stage site.

ALSO: $30 UNDER 30 YOUTH ADVANCE TICKETS AVAILABLE – patrons age 30 and under may purchase a limited number of specially-priced $30 tickets in advance.  Proof of age must be shown at the box office.


Lauren Velez (Yaz) and Tony Plana (Agustin)

Thanks to Lynn Nottage for the heads up on this!

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