Friday, November 22, 2019
Spotlight On...Jaime Lozano
Hometown: Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. It’s in the north of Mexico. Around 3 hours driving from Texas.
Education: BFA in music and composition from the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León and a MFA in musical theatre writing from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Select Credits: Children of Salt (NYMF Best of Fest 2016), The Yellow Brick Road (Off-Broadway), A Never-Ending Line (Off-Broadway), and many to come.
Why theater?: It’s a fun story. I didn’t meet theatre till I was 18 years old. I don’t remember to have any memory about theatre when I was a kid. I actually when kid wanted to be a lawyer and then I applied for criminology school. I was about to get in and last minute a decide to wait. Then with no reason I thought that maybe music could be a good idea, I love singing at church as a teenager and learned to play guitar in choir. I had my first formal music lesson at college when I was 18 and a few months later I auditioned for Jesus Christ Superstar. I got into the pit choir and my life changed forever. Now I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I strongly believe musical theater is the most powerful way to tell stories. The way music and words can work together to serve a story, to deliver a message and get straight to the heart of an audience member is for me magical. Theatre can change the world and can saves lives.
Tell us about Songs by an Immigrant: Songs by an Immigrant at The Green Room 42 is a concert I have put together with an amazing group of Broadway and Off-Broadway performers, all Latinos, that I like to called my “familia.” I have the honor to have this wonderful people singing my songs, songs written originally for other musical and also some new songs from an upcoming album actually named Songs by an Immigrant. As a writer and composer I like to tell stories close to me, things I feel related with. I have to tell my own stories and all these songs are stories about “someone” immigrant experience. Songs about struggling with the language (as you can see), about being in the middle of two cultures, about missing your homeland, about missing your family; songs about what it means to wake up in a strange land and trying to make it yours. We have had already this concert sold out at Two River Theatre in NJ and at Joe’s Pub with different guest performers and even when some of the songs are the same, having a different singer bringing it to life is a completely different experience. Everyone as an immigrant by themselves or coming from an immigrant family bring so much to the stories I want to tell. And I love collaborating with them and discovering new things about my songs.
What is it like being a part of Songs by an Immigrant?: I feel a great responsibility with my people; with my Latino musical theatre community, with my family, with the audience. I believe diversity needs to come from the stories and beyond of trying to fit in stories already written and told we need to create new one. We need to write new stories. I want my people to originate new characters. I’m proud and thankful to be living these times, to be able to create a change with my work, even if is a small -almost invisible- change. I’m thankful for the people before me whom have opened doors for me and the people now around me, I just hope this is just the beginning of many more immigrants singing their songs, our songs.
What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: To be honest with you I enjoy all kind of theatre. I believe there’s theatre for all kind of audiences and with different goals. I can enjoy a very commercial piece and also a very theatrical experimental piece. But definitely that theatre that speaks to me is the one that take risks, that challenge the actors and the audience. I’m not looking anymore for stories told in a clear way, I prefer stories told in a creative, theatrical, smart, different way. I guess that’s why many of my favorite shows are flops. I love when the writers, the director and the actors shows their vulnerability and their imperfections on stage. Because at the end that’s what we are imperfect human beings playing to create, and those imperfections make us perfect in our very own particular and specific way. Overall I love honest theatre. And this inspire me, looking at people taking risks while doing art inspires me. Also my talented friends inspire me. More than inspiration I like to call it motivation, it is something more concrete than abstract. My wife that is super talented and hard worker and I admire a lot as a storyteller is a motivation for me every single day. Nice people also is a motivation for me, knowing people who has dared go to beyond and achieve things they never dreamed of. People is my motivation.
What’s your favorite showtune?: That’s a hard question. I have many favorite tunes. It wouldn’t be fair to mentioned just one. From the classic one I love: “All the Things You Are”, “They Can’t Take that Away from Me” and “So in Love.” Some Sondheim: “Move On,” “Losing My Mind.” More contemporary: “It All Fades Away,” “Meadowlark.” And of course I have some favorite of my shows, Hehehehehe.
If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: Actors, definitely Hugh Jackman is in my list. Also Raul Esparza, Glenn Close. Writers, I would love to set music to some Lin-Manuel lyrics or collaborate with Jason Robert Brown in some way. I have my bouquet list with artists from all fields.
Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: Playing the old version of me maybe Jim Carrey. But talking about diversity I think it would be Mexican actor Diego Luna. I love or very large titles or one word titles: “The guy who was always wrong and never stop smiling.” Or maybe just “Grateful.”
If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: Gospel at Colonus, The Capeman. I told you I love flops.
What show have you recommended to your friends?: Lately, Hadestown, I love its theatricality. Hamilton, I love how everything works great together: writing, orchestrations, choreography, designing, etc.
What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Kick lines in musicals. Does it count?
What’s up next?: Playing with my son. Enjoying my family. Writing with my wife. Writing and rewriting. I’m adapting an opera doing new Latino orchestrations. I’m opening a new show in Florida next year. Hopefully opening a show in NYC. Taking my music to London, having a concert there. Writing and rewriting. Orchestrating. Making lot of mistakes. Learning.
Jaime will perform Songs by An Immigrant at The Green Room 42 on Sunday, November 24th at 9:30pm.
For more on Jaime, please visit www.jaimelozano.net