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Roxana's Tango

by Jennifer Wesnousky
June 30, 2007
American Theatre of Actors' Chernuchin Theatre
314 W. 54th St.


New York, NY 10019
212-868-6666
The classic tango show: the immigrant ingénue, naïve and subject to ridicule before being forced into prostitution. The ensuing love triangle with men squabbling for her affections within a general framework of good vs. evil. The tragic finale. While most tango aficionados have seen it dozens of times in its various incarnations, Angel Garcia Clemente's "Tango y Más" dance company's production of "Roxana's Tango" at the American Theatre of Actors from June 27 to July 1, 2007 sure did make it enjoyable to watch, imbuing it with a life of its own through its talented, eclectic cast of local tango (and salsa) dance characters.

Mariana Parma brought convincing duality to the title role, meshing innocence and aversion to her colleagues' lascivious lives with her own sizzling sensuality. Whether executing countless salsa spins, unleashing her high, controlled extensions or performing a bikini-clad, pseudo-belly dance, Parma's versatility and emotional and physical commitment to her work were ever intriguing. As both director and a dancer in the production, Garcia-Clemente portrayed tango's dark side with intensity and charisma while his archrival, "good guy" Jason Colacino's strong classical background shone through his performance with a broad stylistic array and powerful yet subtle presence.

The show's strong supporting cast kept it moving with a variety of production pieces in different settings, as well as numbers which showcased particular pairs. In a tango birthday party segment, tangueros Garcia-Clemente and Mariana Fresno and Oliver Kolker and Silvina Valz showcased tango's playful, social side while Ronen Khayat and Cecilia Saia, whose vast onstage experience made her a particular joy to watch, brought intensity and flying, serpentine legs to the tango table. On the salsa side, set in a "House of Ill Repute," chorus standout Franklin Ayala and his statuesque partner, Andrianna Kourdi, incorporated a clean, jazzy feel into their frisky yet sultry numbers, while Duplessey Monic-Walker, partnered by Braniff Pinzas, shook her scantily clad stuff unapologetically through their raw, in-your-face routines. Kelvin Roché and Lori Ann Greenhouse then gave the show a slightly different spin with their intricately graceful Cha Cha and Rhumba.

True to the translation of the company name ("Tango and More"), the show successfully turned a trite tango story into a colorful, multi-dance feast for the senses, creating a well-paced, professional production. Utilizing his extensive experience in performance, choreography and stage direction, Garcia-Clemente assembled the right combination of individually and collectively captivating solos, duets and production numbers as well as a cast of well-rounded performers who poured their hearts, souls and bodies into "Roxana's Tango."

Produced by: Edith Shapiro
Choreography by: Angel Garcia-Clemente
Directed by: Royce M. Becker and Angel Garcia-Clemente
Asst. Choreographers: Jason Colacino and Mariana Parma
Set Design by: Jorge Paula and Miho Koshido
Light and Sound Design by: Willy Mosquera
Stage Manager: Ray Rosario
The Cast (in alphabetical order): Franklin Ayala (Chorus), Lee Bradley (Chorus), Jason Colacino (Alejandro), Mariana Fresno (María), Angel García-Clemente (Fernando), Lori Ann Greenhouse (Chorus), Luz-Mary Harris (Mother), Ronen Khayat (Ricardo), Oliver Kolker (Jesús), Andrianna Kourdi (Chorus), Mariana Parma (Roxana), Braniff Jesús Pinzas (Jorge), Kelvin Roché (Chorus), Cecilia Saia (Soledad), Edith Shapiro (Madam Mimi), Silvina Valz (Carmen), Duplessey Monic-Walker (Showgirl).
'Roxana's Tango,' presented by Tango y Mas. Pictured is director/choreographer Angel Garcia-Clemente and Mariana Parma.

"Roxana's Tango," presented by Tango y Mas.
Pictured is director/choreographer Angel Garcia-Clemente and Mariana Parma.

Photo © & courtesy of Marty Sohl


Angel Garcia-Clemente with Mariana Fresno.

Angel Garcia-Clemente with Mariana Fresno.

Photo © & courtesy of Marty Sohl


Angel Garcia-Clemente and Mariana Fresno

Angel Garcia-Clemente and Mariana Fresno

Photo © & courtesy of Marty Sohl

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