"Kiss My Aztec" is a hit at La Jolla Playhouse!

Thrilled that “Kiss My Aztec” finally opened at La Jolla Playhouse and that the critics and audience seem to be having a blast! Shout out to my peerless collaborators John Leguizamo, Tony Taccone, and David Kamp. We still run until October 13th, so be sure to check it out if you’re going to be in southern California before then!!

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Some review highlights:

San Diego Union-Tribune

“A little like “In the Heights” crashing into “The Book of Mormon” somewhere along “Avenue Q.”

“The show has the vibrant musical diversity (and welcome multi-ethnic mix) of that first show; the R-rated impudence and unfettered showiness of the second; and, along with the buoyant spirit, the fuzzy puppets of the third.”

 “Don’t Tell Me What I Can’t Do” (one of scads of strong tunes by the gifted young composer Benjamin Velez)

Times of San Diego

“cheeky, salty, irreverent, playfully wicked (even a little scandalous)”

 “The most potent musical numbers bookend the piece and provide the most resonance with today”

“You have to be impressed by the palpable energy and ebullience on display”

Broadway World

“fun folklore fantasy that entertains as it touches upon issues that still resonate today.

 “This musical has a feverish energy, and biting commentary”

 “funny, high energy, bold and brash, deliberately challenging”

 “Music by Benjamin Velez, and lyrics by David Kamp, Velez, and Leguizamo have created genre-hopping song infused with salsa, jazz, hip-hop, and more. It's a fitting mix for a show about forced integration of diametrically opposed forces that the show doesn't fit any one musical style.”

Talkin Broadway

“the best part of the show is the songs. Benjamin Velez's music is a rich mix of styles. The melodies please the ear and energize the action”

"Borderline" featured in The Day - at the O'Neill National Musical Theater Conference

Aryanna and I are so thrilled to be able to workshop “Borderline” at the O’Neill this summer, and had a great feature done about us and the show in the local paper! Check it out on their site HERE.

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Thank you to everyone who made this show possible! Including our fabulous director Jaki Bradley, our incomparable music director David Gardos, our brilliant dramaturg Carrie Chapter, our incredible stage manager Lizzy Lee, and the O’Neill’s Alexander Gemignani and Lexy Leuszler for giving us the opportunity in the first place!

"Kiss My Aztec" Casting Announced!

I couldn’t be more thrilled to have our world premiere cast in place for “Kiss My Aztec”. This crazy talented group of superstars will be doing both the Berkeley and La Jolla Productions and I’m excited we get to birth this baby together! Come see us this summer and fall if you’re on the west coast!

Check out the write up on Broadway World at this link.

Tickets are available at Berkeley Rep’s site and will hopefully go on sale for La Jolla soon!

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Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows 2018/2019

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I’m thrilled to be joining the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows program for the 2018/2019 year along with my Borderline collaborator Aryanna Garber! Led by Fellows Program Chairs Michael Korie, Laurence O'Keefe, Diana Son, and Sheri Wilner, I’m excited to be joining this community of artists to workshop new material for the next year.

Check out the announcement on Broadway World!

"KISS MY AZTEC" World Premiere Announced for Spring 2019!!

I'm so excited that this musical I've been working on for over 4 years with Book writer John Leguizamo and Co-lyricist David Kamp (previously "Pain In The Aztec") is finally making it to the stage! The incredible Tony Taccone is bringing our musical to Berkeley Repertory Theater for his final season and it's going to be lit! Check out the write up in Playbill and stay tuned for more updates. 

"Borderline" Studio Tracks Live!

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Our Studio Recording of "Borderline" demos have been featured by the Associated Musicians of Greater New York, Local 802 AFM, along with a shout out to our Music Director Dan Green! Thanks again to the Weston Playhouse for producing this recording along with Grammy winner Kurt Deutsch of Sh-K-Boom Records and our sound engineer Angie Teo.

Check out the article on their website, and listen to the demos HERE where you can hear the incredible work of our performers Margo Seibert, Derrick Baskin, Stephen Bogardus, Leo Ash Evens and Katie Thompson. And of course thanks to our Director Michael Berresse and Steve Stettler of Weston who made it all possible!

"Pain in the Aztec" first reading!

Excited to share that our first reading of "Pain In the Aztec", produced by the Public Theater, was a success! With Book by John Leguizamo, Music by myself, Benjamin Velez, and Lyrics by John, myself, and David Kamp, this draft has been in development since 2014 and it was wonderful to hear it out loud for the first time!

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Thanks to David Gardos, our incomparable Music Director, and our stellar cast: JOEL PEREZ, CARIDAD DE LA CRUZ, CHAD CARSTARPHEN, JESSE J. PEREZ, ELISEO ROMAN, MARIA ELENA RAMIREZ, SOL MARINA CRESPO, JUSTIN GREGORY LOPEZ, and our fabulous Director Tony Taccone! 

Excited for what's next!

Borderline selected for 2018 Weston New Musical Award!

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I'm honored to share that Borderline has been selected as the 2018 recipient for the Weston Playhouse New Musical Award! Aryanna and I are incredibly excited to get to showcase music and book from the show at two concerts up in Weston and one in NYC.

We're lucky to have an incredible team helping us bring these concerts to life!

Weston Associate Artistic Director Michael Berresse will direct the project with Music Director Daniel Green. The cast includes Margo Seibert (Boardwalk Empire, Broadway’s ROCKY) as Anna, Derrick Baskin (25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, MEMPHIS), Stephen Bogardus (BRIGHT STAR, WHITE CHRISTMAS), Leo Ash Evens (SCHOOL OF ROCK), and Katie Thompson (City Center’s PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES).

Check out their website for details!

NAMT Cabaret 2017!

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I was lucky to be a part of the recent NAMT Conference (National Alliance for Musical Theater) as part of a mid-day cabaret where Katie Hathaway and I presented 4 songs from Afterland and Starblasters alongside our infinitely talented cohorts, Ben Moss and Emily Skeggs!

Video coming soon, but enjoy this adorable picture of the four of us next to our billing in the meantime!

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"Erica Save Me" @ 54 Below!

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Excited that "Erica Save Me" from Starblasters was performed at 54 Below on September 7th as part of the 3rd Annual Harvard/Yale Cantata, with alums from Columbia and Princeton partnering up with Harvard/Yale respectively this year to showcase wonderful songwriting work from alums of all four schools! I'm lucky to have Harvard grads Yasmeen Audi and Ben Moss performing the song and they absolutely knocked it out of the park! Thank you to Fernanda Douglas for music directing and accompanying.

Check out the video below!