'Pedro Pan', a musical about Cuban children coming to the U.S. without their parents, resonates today By: Carmen Pelaez, NBC News
"We can be at odds about immigration law and not be at odds about children being separated from their families. However you feel about immigration law, I totally validate that and we can have a discussion about it," Aparicio said. "But for children to be separated from their parents, I think we can all agree that that’s wrong. I think that seeing that experience reflected on a stage can create some empathy," Aparicio said. "You’re tied to your community, but you have to stand up for what’s right.”
NEW YORK — As a child, Rebecca Aparicio was fascinated by one particular piece of her mother's jewelry: gold stud earrings that were uneven, not perfectly round, and represented the story of a life being broken apart and remade. Those small objects symbolized a traumatic event in her family's history. What Aparicio didn't know is how much her family's plight was connected to that of thousands of other families. It wasn't until 2013 when searching for a topic for a children's musical she had been commissioned to write that Aparicio began to see the larger picture. Now she is bringing together the personal and the historical in "Pedro Pan," a musical about immigration and family that will be presented in this summer's New York Musical Festival. She wrote the show's book, and her husband, Stephen Anthony Elkins, wrote the music and lyrics.
NEW MUSICAL “PEDRO PAN” SPEAKS TO THE PLIGHT OF IMMIGRANT CHILDREN by Trevor Buffone, The Theatre Times
"It’s a very tough thing to navigate as a writer because when I wrote this story about a young boy experiencing life as an immigrant in America—it wasn’t in the context that it is now. I am reading my script now thinking about these children being held at detention centers and weeping. My parents were able to leave their home in search for freedom with one of their parents by their side and the trauma of that experience is something that has lingered for the rest of their lives. To leave a home never knowing if you will return, if you will ever see your family again, facing a brand new world, and a new language......To also be torn from your parent must be horrifying. Regardless of politics, the thought of a child having to experience that level of trauma is unfathomable."
IDLEWILD MAGAZINE, 2018
NYMF Spotlight 2018, The Interval
What do you hope audiences take away from your show?
A deeper understanding and empathy of the harsh realities of being an immigrant in this country. My parents didn’t have a choice as young children when their parents had to make the tough choice to bring them to the U.S. in the 1960s from Cuba. While they were fortunate to be granted political asylum and came to this country legally, it still was not something my family ever thought they would have to do. The harsh realities of life in communist Cuba, then and now, is also something most Americans are not familiar with. By exploring these issues I hope to shed light on the Cuban-American diaspora and to shed light on the immigrant experience as a whole—not just the Latinx immigrant experience.
Resistance is Fertile: Artists Activate in the Age of Trump BY SCOTT STIFFLER | Chelsea Now
Divisive and downright ugly from the first primary to the final tally, last year’s presidential election had supersized portions of the key ingredients one would expect to find in a meaty theatrical drama: conflict, contrast, and the quest for power. With these elements still very much in play after November 8, the flabbergasted duo behind feminist theater company The Dirty Blondes had no question as to how they would answer the president-elect: cancel the production booked for January, and heed the call of an ominous new muse. With 52 percent of white women having voted for Trump (a demographic both Blondes fit snugly into), “that was a reminder to look at the conversations we were participating in, and whether or not we were leading or listening. So we want to take a step back creatively, and support a space for particularly threatened and marginalized artists to speak.”
Playing the East Village’s Kraine Theater through January 15, “The Resister Project” came together over the past several weeks, as its 49 participants spent much of the holiday season creating nine new plays and seven solo performances based on their experiences before and after the presidential election.
At the helm is Miami-born, Astoria-based musical theater bookwriter Rebecca Aparicio, who is no stranger to the task of bringing disparate voices into harmony.
To be an actual immigrant in this country of immigrants, is to be a sort of an outsider with a foot in the door. We pride ourselves on being the land of the free, but sadly as the last representation matters article explained, it’s been proven through history that we are only to be presented if we are white washed for a general audience. Meet Rebecca Aparicio, the Cuban wonder whose drive to put immigrants and Latinx on the map is only matched by her vision to create work that raises awareness. Having finished a directing observer-ship on the York Theatre‘s production of “Desperate Measure,” Aparicio has gone back to working relentlessly in both producing events that create consciousness, as well as writing incredible historical pieces like the musical “Pedro Pan” and recording an EP with her bluegrass band Wild Magnolias. Ambitious with a big heart, the world would be better off if we had a few Rebeccas instead of one. But alas, we are not that lucky, so get to know the one and only Rebecca Aparicio in the interview below.