Since 1968 (when President Lyndon Johnson began the observance for a week, which was expanded to 30 days, from September 15-October 15, by Ronald Reagan in 1988), Americans have celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month to recognize the importance of the Hispanic/Latino population to the United States and its history. This year’s theme, “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” created by Victor Anthony Zertuche (Attorney-Advisor at the US Environmental Protection Agency) under the auspices of NCHEPM, considers how great tomorrow can be by holding onto resilience and hope, appreciating the contributions Hispanics have made in the past and will continue to make in the future, and reminding everyone to stand strong and united.
Zertuche noted, “The past year has been one unlike any in recent memory. For so many of us our lives have changed; we’ve celebrated life’s milestones at home or spent holidays alone. But despite how our world has changed, we’ve kept our eyes on the horizon – we’ve held onto our hope. This theme celebrates our Hispanic heritage and our resilience. It provides us the opportunity to reflect on those who came before us and held onto hope to create a better tomorrow. It inspires us to recognize that we are stronger together and reminds us that although we are apart, with hope, we are not alone.”
Musician, composer, music director, arranger, orchestrator, musical producer, and vocal coach Jaime Lozano, born in Monterrey, Mexico, and based in NYC, is honoring all that and more in his headliner debut at Feinstein’s/54 Below on Thursday, September 23, with Jaime Lozano & The Familia: Celebrando the Hispanic Heritage Month. In his engaging signature style, his concert addresses the meaningful theme of the immigrant experience in the United States through stories and songs, created in collaboration with some of the most exciting Latinx musical theater writers of today – Neena Beber, Georgie Castilla, Nancy Cheser, Michael Cooper, Florencia Cuenca, David Davila, Mark-Eugene Garcia, Marina Pires, and Noemi de la Puente – and featuring favorites from his album Jaime Lozano & The Familia: Songs by an Immigrant, released digitally by Broadway Records in October 2020.
The resonant subjects of the narrative set list include the hard personal challenges of finding a new home, learning a new language, dealing with discrimination, trying to fit in, pursuing the American dream, being in love, growing older, and missing your native land. But in keeping with the ever-amiable Lozano’s uplifting spirit and winning personality, it’s also a vibrant and reaffirming show about diversity, inclusion, building bridges instead walls, and enjoying the reciprocal love and support of your new-found family.
“It is our responsibility to create shows that tell our stories and celebrate who we are,” said Lozano. “As immigrants building a new life in a new place, we have learned that coming together as a community is coming HOME.”
For his premiere at Feinstein’s/54 Below, Lozano (who is one of the selected artists in the 2020-2022 Joe’s Pub Working Group residency) will be joined on stage by his “Familia” – a lineup of some of the most acclaimed Latinx performers from on and off Broadway, including Javier Ignacio (Company), Florencia Cuenca (A Never-Ending Line), and Marina Pires, Omar Lopez-Cepero, and Arianna Rosario (all from On Your Feet!), among others. The singers will be accompanied by Lozano on piano, leading the all-Latino band of Joel Mateo on drums, Rubén Rodríguez on bass, and Jholey Garay on guitar.
Jaime told me that, “After some very challenging few months as artists, I feel so grateful to be back in front of a live audience doing my Feinstein’s/54 Below debut with my Familia. I am so honored to be joined by this amazing group of performers and musicians – all Latinos/Latinas/Latine – and to be able to tell my stories. It is the time for our stories to be told by us and to be heard by the world.”
Jaime Lozano & The Familia: Celebrando the Hispanic Heritage Month plays on Thursday, September 23, 9:45 pm (doors open 9 pm), at Feinstein’s/54 Below, 254 West 54th Street, cellar, NYC. For tickets (priced at $30-$65, plus a $25 per person food and beverage minimum), call (646) 476-3551, or go online.
Feinstein’s/54 Below is committed to the health of its performers, staff, and audiences and has created a Safety Plan to ensure safe conditions along with optimum performing conditions. The new policies require that performers, production, kitchen, and dining room staff, as well as all audience members, show proof of vaccination to enter the premises. Based on CDC and New York State guidelines at the time of performance, safety protocols and seating capacity may change and policies may be adjusted as is appropriate.
Prior to his appearance on September 23, Lozano can be seen providing musical direction for the ¡Viva! Broadway concert When We See Ourselves on September 18, 5-6:30 pm, on stage at Duffy Square. Part of the Times Square Curtain Up! festival to welcome the return of live Broadway performances, the free program will highlight the joy, diversity, and extensive contributions of Latin and Hispanic Broadway artists throughout the decades. Among the stars scheduled to perform are Daphne Rubin-Vega, Robin de Jesús, Bianca Marroquín, Ana Villafañe, and more. Along with Lozano, the creative team includes Luis Salgado (director and choreographer), Gabriela Garcia (associate director and choreographer), Eric Ulloa (writer), and Sergio Trujillo (creative consultant).