“En un mundo sin reglas”: in a world without rules, “en un pueblo sin esperanza”: in a town without hope, “un nìno escucha la llamada de un héroe”: one boy heeds the hero’s call! Come celebrate our first bilingual adventure story about integrity, justice and the creation of a legend. An NWCT World Premiere!
In the newly-formed state of California, young Diego de la Vega (Michael Kepler Meo) must take up his father’s sword to defend the town of Capistrano from the machinations of its tyrannical Mayor Ramon (John Ellingson). With the aid of his stalwart, but silent side-kick Bernardo (Kevin-Michael Moore) Diego becomes “El Zorrito”, a masked swordsman who thwarts Mayor Ramon’s schemes at every turn. Ramon, frustrated by his henchman Claude’s (Duane Hall) bumbling attempts to capture Zorrito, hires a mysterious warrior from Spain named only “The Beserker”(Paul Susi). Faced with this new foe, as well as a budding romance with the Mayor’s daughter Christina (Sophie Keller), young Zorrito may have finally met his match.
The legend of Zorro has been thrilling children and their parents since 1919 when creator Johnston McCulley penned a five-part serial “The Curse of Capistrano.” Since then, Zorro has inspired 45 film adaptations as well as the famous television series. He remains one of the all-time great iconic heroes with his signature black mask, cape and sombrero cordobés, fighting for truth and justice while making his foes look foolish in the process.
In adapting this story for the stage writer Milo Mowery and composer Rodolfo Ortega are committed to offering an authentic, bilingual experience. This world premiere production offers a story that can be enjoyed in both Spanish and English while drawing heavily upon contemporary musical theater, traditional Mexican folk-dance, and Zorro’s trademark flashy swordplay. As both composer and sound designer, Ortega focused on creating a score that starts out with a contemporary feel and slowly transitions to a more traditional folk-loric sound.
The key to any production of Zorro is the man behind the mask. In the case of El Zorrito, Northwest Children’s Theater was incredibly fortunate to find Michael Kepler Meo. Since his professional debut in 2009, Meo has performed as a principal singer in eight fully-staged opera productions which include companies in Portland, Houston, St. Louis, Wexford (Ireland), Los Angeles, and New York. At the age of thirteen he has been selected as one of Portland’s outstanding young mucicans by maestro Neil Deponte’s MetroArts Inc. With a history of opera, swordplay (he is a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism), and a fluency in Spanish, Michael was the perfect fit for the infamous “Masked Fox”.
Zorrito is aided on his quest by his mother, Esperanza (Veronika Nuñez). As the Senior Bilingual Exhibits Developer at OMSI, and a frequent performer at the Miracle Theatre Group, Veronika is very excited to try her hand at swordplay and Spanish-language musical theater at NWCT. When Zorrito is threatened by the arrival of “The Beserker” Esperanza dons a mask of her own, rallying a chorus of villagers (played by Alberto Romero, Arion Abramovitz, Elizabeth Gibbs, Madison Thompson, Miriam Jaffe, and Pablo Saldana) to rise up and stand by her son’s side.
A clever, expandable set by kollodi brings the town of Captistrano alive, as the simple walls of a study stretch out to become the dramatic arches of the town square where Zorrito makes his stand. Award-winning costume designer Mary Rochon returns with a design that pays homage to these legendary icons while making the young Diego’s classic black garb her own. Dramatic lighting by Jeff Forbes and props by Roger Monroe flesh out a town under siege, and arm the young noble who comes to their rescue.
El Zorrito: The Legend of the Boy Zorro is presented with a generous sponsorship from Kafoury & McDougal, Lawyers for the People. It is produced in part through the support of the Collins Foundation, Regional Arts and Culture Council and Work for Art, James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, and NWCT Donor Circle Members. Over 5,000 school children will cheer Zorrito on during 13 student matinee performances.
*Music by Rodolfo Ortega, Lyrics by Milo Mowery and Rodolfo Ortega. Performed by Michael Kepler Meo.
We are thrilled to be giving away a family four pack of tickets to NWCT’s El Zorrito: The Legend of the Boy Zorro!