American Night: The Ballad of Juan José

by , | Read by Richard Montoya, Keith Jefferson, Todd Nakagawa, Sean San Jose, Kimberly Scott, Herbert Siguenza, Tom Virtue, Libby West, Caro Zeller

Published by L.A. Theatre Works

In this wild satire, Mexican immigrant Juan José has a feverish dream while studying for his American citizenship exam. He meets a parade of characters ranging from Sacagawea to Teddy Roosevelt to Jackie Robinson, who take him on a mind-bending, hilarious, and poignant trip through American history.

An L.A. Theatre Works full cast recording featuring:
Keith Jefferson as Ben Pettus/Others;
Richard Montoya as Juan José the First/Others;
Todd Nakagawa as Johnny/Others;
Sean San José as Juan José;
Kimberly Scott as Viola Pettus/Others;
Herbert Siguenza as Neil Diamante/Others;
Tom Virtue as Harry Bridges/Others;
Libby West as Mrs. Finney/Others;
Caro Zeller as Lydia/Others.

Additional voicing by Devon Sorvari.

Original sound design by Cliff Caruthers. Directed by Shana Cooper. Recorded in Los Angeles before a live audience at The James Bridges Theater, UCLA in May of 2014.

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AudioFile Review

American Night: The Ballad of Juan José

Laughter and applause fill this theatrical look at American history from the perspective of a Mexican who is cramming for his citizenship test. Policeman Juan José, who fled on foot to the U.S. to escape corruption and drug wars, is haunted by Teddy Roosevelt, Sacajawea, Bob Dylan, Jackie Robinson, Violet Pettus (an African-American nurse during the 1928 flu pandemic), Emmett Till, and union leader Harry Bridges, all played with over-the-top accents and comedy by cast members of Culture Clash. Pop references from musicals like THE BOOK OF MORMON, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, and WICKED, as well as anachronisms like Roosevelt texting, add to the hilarity. The historical selections are sharp, pointed, and thought-provoking. The musical selections, news bites, and delivery make for a performance that simply gets better with each listen. D.P.D. © AudioFile 2017, Portland, Maine


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