You gotta love summer in the city — so much to do and so many hours of daylight and warm weather to do it. While many people run for the hills (literally) and escape the concrete jungle of Manhattan in favor of cooler, breezier, less crowded surroundings, we have good news for anyone sticking around NYC this July. As temperatures heat up in the city, there is also a hot new show opening off-Broadway and it’s generating a lot of buzz thanks to the star power of famed Telemundo actress Kate del Castillo.
Castillo — who is famous for her role as Teresa Mendoza in Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur series — will star in the off-Broadway production of Isaac Gomez’s The Way She Spoke as the next Audible Theater production at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York’s famously vibrant, diverse and cultural downtown neighborhood. And when we say it’s generating buzz, we mean a LOT of buzz in all the best ways. While the show is set to begin previews on July 8th, with opening night set for Thursday, July 18th, the early reviews are clear: this is a must-see show.
The Minetta Lane Theatre may be small in size, with just under seats 400 seats in the entire theater, but The Way She Spoke and Castillo’s performance are far from small, in fact, they are undeniably powerful and will change the way you think and the way you share your own truths. Here’s what you need to know about this deeply moving play.
The Way She Spoke is a One-Woman Show
The play chronicles an actress who enters a theater, picks up a script, and begins to read a story that reveals “disturbing and haunting accounts of the murder of thousands of women in Juarez, Mexico and one playwright’s journey of discovery and responsibility.” As she reads and recounts those traumatic details, lines begin to blur and intense, provocative questions are raised. The show is based on a series of intimate interviews, according to Audible’s description, and this one-woman play centers around the notion of speaking truth, and the power that comes from the journey to self-discovery.
The play is produced by Isaac Gomez, an award-winning Chicago-based playwright originally from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Additional talent on the creative team include: Riccardo Hernandez (scenic design), Emilio Sosa (costume design), Lap Chi Chu (lighting design), Elisheba Ittoop (sound design), and Aaron Rhyne (projection design).
“We are thrilled to produce Isaac’s deeply moving play at the Minetta Lane Theatre as well as make it available to millions of Audible listeners around the world,” said Kate Navin, Audible Artistic Producer. “Kate del Castillo’s raw and inspiring performance is sure to captivate our live audiences in New York City and resonate with Audible members everywhere.”
Kate Del Castillo isn’t simply cast in the leading role; she’s cast in the only role of this one-woman show. Which means that the entire plot, the emotions, the monologue, the underlying messages are all dependent upon her performance. That’s a lot of pressure to carry on one’s shoulders, but we’re fairly confident that Castillo is up to the task.
Kate del Castillo, The Latina Powerhouse You Need To Know
Kate del Castillo is not new on the entertainment scene. In fact, before she earned her starring role in the Telemundo series La Reina del Sur, Castillo was considered telenovela royalty in her native Mexico. While she may be best known for her TV role as Teresa Mendoza, she’s appeared in several Hollywood films, off-Broadway shows, television series and even web-novelas as well.
Before her groundbreaking success in American film and television roles, Castillo had more than a decade of fame in Mexico, making her one of the most sought-after talents on Mexican television. She has starred in Spanish-language work as well as bilingual productions, and has grown her multinational presence over the years. While she’s found success since her teens, it was her turn as Teresa Mendoza on La Reina del Sur that really catapulted her to fame in the US and turned her into a global cultural phenomenon.
And she’s using her fame to change the way that viewers, fans and critics perceive Latina women.
First of all, Castillo in her role as Teresa Mendoza has helped to redefine the role of female lead in the telenovela genre. Her character is flawed but also powerful and in control. She makes bad decisions but she also fights for what she believes and doesn’t let anyone dominate her. She falls in love with the wrong men, drinks and swears and smokes weed, and she does what she needs to do to survive. Above all, she is human, and she is not the stereotypical Latina woman.
“Being Latina in Hollywood is hard,” Ms. del Castillo said in a NY Times interview. “Every time I do a movie, an American movie, it’s like, ‘You have to dye your hair. It has to be black,’” she said. “It’s like, ‘You know we have salons in Mexico? And we have real blonde people in Mexico, with blue eyes.’” Prior to this role, her roles in Mexico often required she play the part of the submissive woman, the virgin or the good girl. She proudly now portrays the role of a strong woman prepared to protect herself and prove herself in a man’s world.
Telemundo’s La Reina del Sur series debuted back in 2011 to rave reviews and a loyal and passionate fan base. The show followed the story of Teresa Mendoza, a naive Mexican woman who gets mixed up in the world of international narcotics trafficking, and through a series of unfortunate events rises to become the most powerful drug trafficker in southern Spain. The long-awaited sequel to the series takes place 8 years after the events of the first season, and appropriately was filmed and broadcast 8 years after the first season wrapped. The current season of the telenovela, which debuted in April 2019, is produced as a joint venture between Telemundo Global Studios and Netflix with a big budget, and so far it seems like the return of the show has been wildly successful.
The numbers don’t lie. La Reina del Sur is the best performing series in Telemundo’s history with an average of 3 million viewers per episode, according to Telemundo. The premier of the second season alone is shattering records. The first episode ranked as the No. 1 broadcast television show in the U.S. at 10 p.m. among the coveted demographic of adults 18-49, averaging 1.26 million viewers – more than double Univision’s audience.
She’s Taking Her Talents Back to The Stage
Previously Castillo starred in another off-Broadway show, Los Monólogos de la Vagina (The Vagina Monologues) at the Westside Theatre in 2014. While many of her roles in recent years have been on television or in films, including the upcoming film Bad Boys For Life starring Will Smith (to be released in 2020), her turn in this one-woman-show is a new, and self-described scary experience. “Every time I think about it, I get goose bumps and start to sweat,” she said in the NY Times interview. But “fear needs to be cannibalized to stay alert, it can’t paralyze us,” she said. We could not agree more and we can’t wait to see where this new challenge takes her, and us with her on the theatrical journey.
Can’t make it to New York City? That’s no problem, thanks to Audible. As with other Audible Theater shows at the Minetta Lane Theater, the production will also be recorded and released as an audio play that Audible subscribers can listen to at home. While the theater only seats about 400 attendees per show, and performances will take place in July and August (July 18th is opening night), Audible Theater will extend the reach of this play to millions of listeners around the world.
Visit Audible Theater for more information on pre-ordering and downloading this play, and others. And if you happen to be in New York City this summer and you’re lucky enough to witness the magic of The Way She Spoke in person, check out the performance schedule below.
WEEK OF JULY 8: Monday-Saturday at 8PM; Matinee on Saturday at 2PM.
WEEK OF JULY 15: Monday-Wednesday at 7PM; Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Saturday at 2PM and Sunday at 3PM. Thursday, July 18 is opening night.
WEEKS OF JULY 22, JULY 29, AUGUST 5, AUGUST 12: Tuesday and Thursday at 7PM; Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 8PM; Matinees on Wednesday and Saturday at 2PM, and Sunday at 3PM.