It is said when Alfonso Menéndez was handed over the direction of the Habana Vieja amphitheater in 1996, his responsibility was agreed for just some days.
Since its inauguration in 1936, that building had been used for some concerts carried out by some local dance music bands, the National Concert Music and the presentations of some icons of the Cuban culture like the singers Rita Montaner, Benny Moré, Rosita Fornés, María de los Ángeles Santana and foreign singers such as Pedro Vargas and Libertad Lamarque.
In addition, there were also a few plays carried out there like the one entitled´ Fuenteovejuna´, ´Romeo and Julieta and Madre Coraje´ which had as the main characters Raquel Revuelta, Roberto Blanco and José Rodríguez, respectively.
The citizens from Havana city and visitors should have known that place was a space for the dramatic arts throughout all the symbolic extension that leads into the musical theater. Therefore, once Alfonso was handed over his responsibility in 1996, there was a priority that was about returning its previous essence to that theater.
Over two decades later, that institution keeps a prestige with a history of up to 686 related shows and a stock of 950 costumes , footwear, props and set design. It is precisely about thirty of those pieces of clothes which are on display in the exhibition entitled´ Vistiendo el musical´ from September 1st through the 30th to be opened to the audience at the Casa de la Obra Pía cultural house from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (local time).
The show is complemented with 27 photos of Alexis Rodríguez which reflexes some characters of emblematic productions of the company such as the ones entitled´ La viuda Alegre´, ´El Jorobado de Notre Dame´, ´La Bella y la Bestia ´, ´El Rey León´, ´Cats´, ´Aladino y los Miserables.´
”This exhibition is dedicated to Roddy Pérez who is an excellent designer who passed away, sadly. The costumes, which were made and even some of them designed by him, are a great part of what we can currently see in that exhibition, besides, there are 22 years of my work at the amphitheater shown where there have been manufactured more than one thousand costumes, along with 26 musicals with 50 costumes used in each of them.” Alfonso Menéndez said in the opening day.
The ´Vistiendo el Musical´ exhibition sums up the 48 shows of the play entitled ´El Fantasma de la Ópera, the rain that fell over the actors and the audience in 2008 through one of the productions of the play entitled´ La Bella y la Bestia´ and the then daily hard effort in terms of finding buttons, threads and zippers, the wisdom about designing the proper costumes, the sweat by the young amateurs and professional actors who represented the amphitheater from Havana Vieja (Old Havana) and the unlimited artistic direction carried out by Alfonso Menéndez.
Those costumes have the undeniable feature of the human will as all the magic of the nights of Havana city are part of them when they revives again and again, when the local cannon ceremony is carried out outdoor, the musical theater.
By Laura Barrera Jerez