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Silueta was inspired by Cuban-American artist, Ana Mendieta. Photo: Power Street Theatre.
Silueta was inspired by Cuban-American artist, Ana Mendieta. Photo: Power Street Theatre.

Power Street Theatre Company’s ‘Silueta’ is screening July 12 through July 18

The company’s first musical explores the connections between North Philadelphia’s Latino and Muslim communities.

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Power Street Theatre (PST), a multicultural performance organization created in North Philadelphia, recently showcased its first musical called, Silueta.

The production began streaming on July 12 at 7 p.m. on YouTube and will continue until Sunday, July 18. Silueta is directed by Rebecca Aparicio, with music and lyrics written by Erlina Ortiz, a co-founder of PST.

The performance was pre-recorded via Zoom.

Tickets are on a pay-as-you-wish basis, so anyone can attend.

The dynamic story follows the life of Dinora, a Cuban-American immigrant, and Khalilah, a Syrian refugee, who befriend one another and move in together during the 2016 presidential election.

The story was inspired by similar events in Ortiz and Gabriela Sanchez’s life growing up in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Both came to the U.S. as children and were forced to adjust to a new world.

The story of Silueta is also inspired by Ana Mendieta, a Cuban-American artist that came to America through Operation Peter Pan, a program operated by the U.S. State Dept. and the Catholic Church, during which thousands of Cuban parents sent their unaccompanied children to America after the Cuban Revolution.

“I became enthralled by Ana's story, she was a 'Pedro Pan' child, sent from Cuba with her sister,” Ortiz said in an interview with AL DÍA News.

Her avant-garde, Earth-body artwork represents the lack of home and identity she had, as Mendieta fled to Iowa with her sister and both tried to reshape their lives.

“Her work explored the themes of displacement, home, ancestry which are themes that resonate deeply with me,” said Ortiz.

The multi-lingual musical has been in development since before the COVID-19 pandemic, but now viewers are able to see visuals of actors finally connecting with one another.

There are many songs part of the musical that were written by Ortiz and Robi Hager, such as “No Más,” a song about taking control of one's life. Others touch on experiences in the Muslim community, including “Habibiti Stay,” a track that dives into the dilemmas of migrating to a new country.

Ortiz and Sanchez wanted to highlight the cultural differences and similarities between North Philadelphia’s rising Latino and Muslim community. 

The musical is two and a half hours long, and by following Dinora and Khalilah’s lives as immigrants, the hope is that many North Philly natives can sympathize with them.  

In addition to the unique storytelling and music, the cast is made up of many talented actors and musicians who come from different parts of the world. Ortiz wanted to add a multicultural cast to highlight the lack of color involved in the arts.

Tickets are still available through EventBrite, and the musical will be streamed from PST’s YouTube channel.

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