EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
Below are excerpts from the March 30, 2017 Baltimore Sun review of Los Otros.
Everyman Theatre has assembled terrific performers and showered classy production values on the ambitious musical "Los Otros." All of that quality onstage goes a long way toward making up for the occasional disappointment with the piece itself.
Commissioned by Everyman Theatre, this is a "re-imagined" version of a work first staged in Los Angeles five years ago with a score by Michael John LaChiusa, book and lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh.
Told in flashback, "Los Otros" ("The Others") contains dual stories of a white woman and a Latino man in Southern California. We learn how each became aware of — and twined with, in various ways over the course of their lives — the "other" people, who were different culturally, socially, economically.
The time frame is late 1930s to mid-1990s, but, given the pronounced feeling of us-vs.-them-ness in our culture right now, there's no mistaking how deeply pertinent the musical feels.
That's not to say this is a political piece. At heart, it's a love story, with layers, coincidences and connections that add intriguing twists. (The final twist, which would require a major spoiler alert to discuss in detail, is almost too pat, but proves quite disarming.)
An engrossing theatrical experience, bolstered at every turn by two Broadway veterans...
Fitzhugh's dialogue for both characters rings true (some of the plot is autobiographical). Her conversational lyrics veer into the banal in places, but often reveal a fine poetic touch and well-timed humor — a song referencing the O.J. Simpson trial dares to rhyme "Fritos" with "Judge Ito's" and gets away with it.
LaChiusa's sophisticated, well-crafted score opens with a taut, mood-setting prelude — new for this production — spiced by unsettled harmonies and hints of Latin rhythms. (With echoes of Rossini, who famously wrote overtures to some of his operas at the last possible minute, LaChiusa composed his prelude on the cusp of opening night.)
There is a colorful mix of genres throughout "Los Otros" as LaChiusa deftly evokes the various decades referenced in the text. The songs are written mostly in a conversational style that complements the frequent interspersing of dialogue with the music.