Broadway’s Robi Hager Prepares for Industry Workshop of LITTLE DUENDE, a New Musical about the Border Crisis

-Courtesy of Bryan Buttler Media Relations

Mexican-American musical theatre writer and performer Robi Hager (Broadway’s Spring Awakening, How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Bye Bye Birdie, Doctor Zhivago; National Tours of Fun Home and Spring Awakening) is preparing for the industry workshop premiere of his original musical Little Duende.  The new musical, with book and lyrics by Georgina Escobar and music and lyrics by Hager, will have an industry reading presentation at Open Jar Studios, 1601 Broadway 11th Floor, New York on October 3, 2022.

Little Duende is dedicated to those who are forced to escape violence in search of a better life and to those who have lost their lives because of it,” notes Hager.  “It has been an honor to develop this new musical with my collaborators, and our October reading presentation is the next step in bringing this important story to the stage.”

Using fairy tales and mythological themes, Little Duende explores the border crisis, dual citizenship, and the consequences of a dark family secret. In the magical land of Elflán, life and beauty flourish. Adelita is an adventurous and curious young elf eager to find what lies beyond the horizon. When the evil spirit of La Mancha kidnaps her mother and destroys her home, Adelita is forced to travel north to the land of the Hadaseñas in hopes of being reunited with her again.

Shortly after moving to the US from Mexico City at the age of fourteen, Hager’s passion for the arts grew rapidly and developed into a career choice. In addition to his Broaway and National tour credits, he is an active and engaged composer of new works.  Hager wrote the songs “Quiero Soñar” and “Maduros” with Alex McCabe, which appeared in films Top Five and Can You Ever Forgive Me. His concert Robi Hager: So Far, which featured all of his original musical compositions, was part of the Arden Theatre Company’s 2021 virtual season.

Little Duende was one of two musicals accepted for the 2021 NMTC at The O’Neill Center and was also featured as one of eight musicals in the 2021 NAMT festival in NYC. His other musical Siluetas was selected for this year’s NMTC ‘22 at The O’Neill Center and is being developed with Power Street Theatre Company in Philadelphia. Robi is the composer and producer of LGBTQ musical Basic Witches, for which he received a 2018 Barrymore Award nomination for best original score. He’s been commissioned by the Arden Theatre Company to write a new children’s musical based on the legends of King Arthur.

Escobar is a queer Mexican playwright and maker of sci-femme narratives, ultra-humanistic mythos, frontera-funk stories, and Latinx futurity plays. She works textually and visually with plasticity, mobility, wabi-sabi, and the Latin American perspective in drama. She is a MacDowell Fellow, a Djerassi Artist, Fornés Writing Workshop fellow, and the recipient of the Kennedy Center Darrell Ayers Playwriting Award (2011). She received the Outstanding Service to Women on the Border award in 2004 for her work as co-producer of the VDAY: Spotlight on the Women of Juárez Campaign starring V (formerly Eve Ensler), Jane Fonda, and Sally Field.

Her work has been featured in the Kilroy’s List, The Texas Review, Los Bárbaros, McSweeney’s Anthology, and New Passport Press. Her plays appear in books including “Scenes for Latinx Actors,” “Lighting The Way”, and “El Fuego: Fueling the American Theatre with Latinx Plays.” She has written articles as a lead contributor for American Theatre Magazine, Industry Magazine, HowlRound, Culturebot, Extended Play, TCG Circle, No Passport Blog, and Café Onda, among others.  Her plays have been produced across the USA and internationally in México, the UK, Denmark, and Sweden. Artistic homes and presenters include INTAR (Off Broadway), New York Children’s Theatre, Dixon Place, Clubbed Thumb (EWG), Lincoln Center (Director’s Lab), and Bushwick Starr in New York, Two Rivers (NJ), Milagro (PDX), Aurora Theatre (GA), and the University of Texas at El Paso. Her plays include Then they forgot about The Rest, Stone Heart (Kilroy’s), Ash Tree (Darrel Ayers Award), Sweep, and Species:Human.

The Little Duende workshop reading is directed by Rebecca Aparicio, with music direction by Jesse J. Sanchez.  Casting director is Michael Cassara, CSA.  Cast will be announced at a later date.  The presentation is currently seeking donors through its Fractured Atlas campaign: more information can be found here

For more information on Little Duende, visit the show’s website at littleduende.com.

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