Where else but Miami could you see a famous Venezuelan actress star in a musical written in Spanish by a Venezuelan playwright, about the life of a world-renowned French cabaret singer? From July 20 to August 6, audiences will be able to experience the world of Édith Piaf like never before when Mariaca Semprún takes the stage at the Colony Theatre for the American premiere of the critically acclaimed musical, Piaf.
After two sold-out seasons in Caracas, Piaf has landed on the shores of Miami Beach thanks to Miami New Drama (MiND), in an alliance with NiTan Tarde Producciones and Clas Producciones of Venezuela. The acquisition of the show coincides with the recent news of Colony Theatre’s first appointed executive director, Florencia Jimenez-Marcos, who joined the team to build on a successful last season.
In a challenging feat for any experienced actress, Venezuela's "Queen of Musicals," Semprún, will be playing the role of Piaf in both English and Spanish performances, all while bringing to life the original script of Leonardo Padrón, a well-known Venezuelan author, writer, and poet. Although the musical was originally written in Spanish in Caracas, Piaf will be performed in English one night each week to welcome a new, English-speaking audience in Miami Beach.
“The audience is going to be primarily Venezuelan, but I want to show the play to a new audience, like to those in Latin America or anywhere," Semprún says. "We are testing the audience here in Miami.”
For the past two months, she has worked tirelessly to memorize the script in English, a language she is not comfortable speaking. “Once the English adaptation of the musical was ready, which was about two months ago, I had to start studying. Hard,” she says. Simultaneously, she has spent six months with a French vocal coach learning to perfect her accent, as each song in Piaf will be sung in French.
During the show, Semprún is expected to sing 18 of Piaf’s most emblematic songs as the audience learns the story of the legendary cabaret singer who seduced generations of music lovers, but grew up in misfortune and ultimately suffered from drugs, war, and sickness. “The musical has accompanying videos and a beautiful stage design as well,” Semprún adds. “We have several live musicians playing with me, and everything is live. Everyone was very pleased with how it came out.”
"Having two brilliant Venezuelans bring to life a French legend onstage in Miami Beach is exactly the kind of magic that happens at the international crossroads that is our city,” Michel Hausmann, cofounder of MiND at Colony Theatre, says. “We are honored to be working with Semprún and Padrón on this American premiere, which will be a milestone contribution in reviving the Colony as a landmark in the city’s cultural landscape.”
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While some actors may find trilingual performances a hindrance, Semprún sees this as an exciting opportunity to perfect her craft. “I feel fortunate to be in a musical like Piaf where I sing Edith Piaf’s legendary musical notes in a diverse city such as Miami,” Semprún says. “It’s not only a big challenge as a singer and actress, but also an opportunity to keep her spirit alive for generations to come.”
As if that challenge weren't enough, Piaf is also a one-woman show. Accompanied by a band and a few others, Semprún will be paying a gorgeous tribute to Piaf’s voice, art, and legacy in three languages, all by herself.
If you’ve never heard of Semprún before, you sure will now.
Piaf. July 20 through August 6 at the Colony Theater, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 800-211-1414; colonymb.org. Tickets cost $50 to $65 via ticketmundo.com. Performances Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m.