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Latino Daily News

Friday February 18, 2011

Spanish-Language Play “La Barberia” has Heart, Culture, and Laughs

Spanish-Language Play “La Barberia” has Heart, Culture, and Laughs

Photo: "La Barberia"

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Set in a New York predominantly-Dominican neighborhood, a new play is getting a lot of buzz.

“La Barbería” is a Spanish-language play was being previewed Off-Broadway at New World Stages in New York, and premiered Thursday for an open-ended run.

The play starring Manny Pérez and stand-up comedian Ruperto Vanderpool, is centered around the easily recognizable open-‘til-1 a.m. Latino barbershops where anything and everything is talked about, and argued over.

Co-producer and co-author David Maldonado said that the plat aims to connect oldschool and modern Latino cultures and issues.

“It’s a play about a Dominican family,” said director Waddys Jáquez. “But it’s also about how all Latin American immigrants fight to get something in this society.”

The two-act play is set entirely in El Mago (The Magician) barbershop, and as each character is introduced they each have a small song and dance number, with music and lyrics by Jáquez.

The story’s central conflict is whether shop owner Beny (Pérez) should sell his building for millions and leave the close-knit neighborhood, or stay and remain “Washington Heights’ best barber.”

Overall, the play touches on themes of “family ties, cultural identity, immigration, race, gentrification of the neighborhood, and the implications of Latino flight out of it.”