Mozart has a new address in this timely update of The Marriage of Figaro…with an “illegal” twist!
Undocumented workers Figaro and Susana can’t wait to get married, but on their way to the altar they’ll have to navigate a world of lecherous bosses, Botoxed starlets, bumbling human traffickers, ambitious hip-hoppers, and pothead gardeners… not to mention a whole lot of sexting… in a wild adventure that recasts the classic opera as a madcap comedy about citizenship in today’s America. Featuring totally contemporary characters and a completely new English (and “Spanglish”) libretto that marries up-to-the-moment punchlines with a note-for-note recreation of “the most perfect opera ever written,” ¡Figaro! (90210) transforms the original into an accessible musical comedy that is as funny and relevant today as when it first premiered more than 200 years ago.
“In this version, fearlessly written by Vid Guerrerio… the stakes could not be more current, clear or urgent. That ¡Figaro! (90210) remains uproariously funny under the cloud of such serious matters speaks to Mr. Guerrerio’s ingenious text.”
“Figaro 90210 is hands-down the best operatic update I have seen” -Placido Domingo
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¡Figaro! (90210) is a multicultural adaptation of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro set in present-day Los Angeles that recasts the lead characters as undocumented workers on a Beverly Hills estate, transforming the original farce about property rights in pre-revolutionary Europe into a thought-provoking musical comedy about citizenship in 21st Century America.
Figaro and Susana are undocumented workers about to get married in a small ceremony on the Beverly Hills estate of their employers, real estate mogul Paul Conti, and his former TV star wife. The morning of the wedding, Figaro is shocked to learn that Conti’s offer to sponsor a visa for Susana so she can stay in the country may be contingent on her sleeping with him.
Their wedding faces further complication in the shape of Ms. Soon-Yi Nam, a Korean business-woman who helped smuggle Susana over the U.S. border in exchange for two years of service in her garment factory. Figarogot Susana out of the contract by promising to pay the balance due: now Soon-Yi has shown up with her heavy, the Armenian Mafioso Babayan, to collect.
As in the original, madcap comedy ensues, largely thanks to Li’l B-Man, an aspiring hip-hop star and the 15 year-old son of Conti’s personal assistant, who manages to get into compromising situations with every woman in the house; this includes Mrs. Conti, whose mission to win back her husband’s affection will stop at nothing, as well as the Conti’s moody daughter, who shares her mother’s flair for the melodramatic.
By the end, happiness reigns and order is restored, but it is an order wherein Figaro and Susana stand as American citizens and equals with the rest of the polyglot cast.
The primary objective of ¡Figaro! (90210) is to make what has been called “the most perfect opera ever written” accessible to today’s multicultural audiences. Featuring totally contemporary characters and a completely new English (and “Spanglish”) libretto that marries up-to-the-moment punch lines with a note-fornote recreation of Mozart’s original music, ¡Figaro! (90210) transforms The Marriage of Figaro into an accessible musical comedy that is as funny and relevant today as when it first premiered more than 200 years ago.
Inspired by the revolutionary spirit of Beaumarchais’s play, ¡Figaro! (90210) also seeks to help audiences appreciate the audacity and impact of the original by highlighting parallels between the past and present, especially with regard to issues of citizenship, equality and social justice that are at the center of so much debate in today’s America.
These serious themes, however, play out through context alone; action and dialogue are fast-paced and funny, matching the grace of Mozart’s evanescent music. Like the original, ¡Figaro! (90210) sees politics primarily as the framework for farce, and lets the surprise revelation that Figaro is not ethnically Mexican at all, but rather the U.S. born son of Korean/Armenian parents who lost him on vacation in Tijuana, make it clear how arbitrary many of our notions of citizenship are, without ever stopping the forward rush of action.
There are no villains in ¡Figaro! (90210), just flawed and funny people: Paul Conti’s “indecent proposal” to Susana isn’t a quid pro quo, but a desperate attempt to reconcile his humanitarian instincts with his conservative politics; Soon-Yi’s adventures in human trafficking turn out to be the result of her well-intentioned, but wildly misguided attempts to locate her long-lost son.
Like the original, the message of ¡Figaro! (90210) is that our shared humanity unites us, no matter what we look like, what language we speak, or where we happen to have been born.