‘¡Americano!’, an Off-Broadway Musical by and for DACA Dreamers

Image courtesy of ¡Americano!

They say that life inspires art, and real-life experiences can often lead to the most impactful and beautiful works of creative genius. Maybe it’s because they’re driven by a purpose and a passion that can’t be faked, but the magic happens when a life-changing experience motivates an artist to tell their story.

This is precisely what is at the heart and soul of “¡Americano!, The Musical”. The Off-Broadway Room tells the story of life of Antonio “Tony” Valdovinos, a Mexican-American who discovered on his 18th birthday that he was born in Mexico and was an undocumented immigrant.

Tony’s secret was revealed when he attempted to enlist in the US Marine Corps to defend his country, a dream he had clung to since the September 11 attacks when he was only in 6th year.

But on his 18th birthday, Tony’s parents finally told him the truth and his life changed forever.

Like many others dreamers, Tony grew up unaware of his undocumented status. Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, Valdovinos was determined to enlist his entire childhood and high school years. He had never imagined that he could be an undocumented person, a Dreamer, and that his truth could stand in the way of all his hopes for the future.

Now, his moving story and journey has become “¡Americano!” A musical presented by Quixote Productions and Chicanos Por La Causa. This Arizona-based nonprofit organization works to end discrimination against the Mexican American community.

Valdovinos also serves as a consulting producer for the show, and he knew he was involved in something big when the concept was first presented to him.

“I was approached by these creatives who wanted to write the story of an immigrant. They had read an article about me. I met them and told them my whole life story,” he said. The Shubert Organization. “Imagine someone calls you out of the blue, then a year later you hear 20 songs involving the most intimate details of your life? These incredible artists were pouring their best talent into representing some of my most personal challenges.

It was an empowering experience that was well worth the emotional effort.

“This trip is worth it to share the story of dreamers and what their families are going through. And now to see our story open in New York is a dream I never even considered dreaming. I hope ¡Americano! will inspire, unite and bring a smile to the audience.

“Americans !” doesn’t just tell the story of an immigrant and what it means to be an American. It sheds a very personal and real light on what the Dreamers go through on a daily basis.

At a time when immigration is at the center of political debates and can sometimes seem frustrating, confusing and so complicated, this show tries to make it more human.

Ameri-Chicana singer-songwriter Carrie Rodriguez and choreographer Sergio Meji lend their talents to the show, using music and movement to highlight America’s melting pot and the many ways immigrants help open up the way to this country.

As the show’s limited 12-week engagement ends on June 19, stay tuned for more dates.

You can also stream the original “¡Americano! concept album on Amazon Music, Apple Music and Spotify.