Frida comes to Broadway
Jaime Lozano arrived in New York in 2007 without speaking English. Today, he is a renowned composer who will bring a musical about Frida to Broadway.
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Much has been said, produced and written about the figure of Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderón, her artistic legacy, her sensitivity towards Indigenous culture, and her feminist vision. She excels in adversity, facing pain, knowing love, and healing from heartbreak.
She was born in 1907 and died in 1954. Her artwork continues to be exhibited in museums and galleries around the world. Now, it has also inspired FRIDA, The Musical, which is coming to Broadway thanks to an artistic team led by American playwright Neena Beber and Mexican composer, director and arranger Jaime Lozano.
This musical is not the first of its kind to showcase Frida’s legacy, but it is the only one that has the approval of the artist’s family, according to Lozano in an interview with AL DÍA.
A Mexican native from Monterrey, Lozano got his BFA in Music and Composition from the School of Music at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and scored a full scholarship to New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he has the distinction of being the first Mexican to be accepted and earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Graduate Program in Musical Theatre Writing.
Recently, Lozano performed his concert "Jaime Lozano and the Familia: Songs by an Immigrant," with sold-out shows at Two River Theatre, Joe’s Pub, The Green Room 42 and Feinstein’s/54 Below, in which he highlights the immigrant experience in the United States.
Jaime’s plays have been performed at venues like The Minskoff Theatre (Broadway), The Lucille Lortel Theatre (Off-Broadway), The Pearl Theatre (Off-Broadway), and The Triad Theatre.
He says he arrived in New York City “for the first time in 2007 without speaking English. From day one it has been my goal to write and tell different stories, related to my country, my culture, my journey as an immigrant, and the challenges we live in this country. Always using my music, the music of my Mexico and the music of Latin America”. He also says: “I am one of the few Mexican musical theater composers doing musicals in New York.”
What does it mean to participate in a musical like FRIDA?
It is a great pride to write this story, but a great responsibility. When the news broke, I immediately started receiving messages from actors, composers and directors very enthusiastic about the project. Frida coming to Broadway means Mexico on Broadway; so other artists see that we can tell our stories and reach the most important stages in the world.
Imagine, now having the opportunity to address the history of the most important Mexican artist in the world.
How this musical will contribute to the worldview of Frida?
We are very blessed to have the support of the Kahlo family. We are basing the musical on a beautiful book, very close to the family: Frida íntima, written by Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, Frida’s niece, daughter of her sister Cristina, and who lived with Frida and Diego Rivera in Casa Azul for many years. This book gives us a very different point of view, it presents us a very cheerful Frida, who liked to sing all the time, human and generous.
We are used to seeing her paintings in which she portrayed so much pain and how difficult was her life. But Frida loved to live with all the challenges she faced. We want to portray this great human being in a three-dimensional way. Of course, there was pain, sorrow, and difficult moments, but her life was full of joys, triumphs, and joy. I believe that by portraying this human Frida we will get even closer to her.
How will the process of creating and staging FRIDA?
The process of bringing a musical to the stage is very long. There are musicals that take seven years to get to Broadway. We have to decide which moments we want to tell and how to connect everything. Both the writing and the production process is long and slow, but we hope to get to a world premiere in a couple of years.
Her heiresses Mara Romeo and Mara de Anda have been very helpful in learning more about her story. Frida is Mexico, she represents us and we want this musical to represent us around the world.