Up & Coming Weekly

March 14, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 15 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MARCH 15 - 21, 2023 UCW 15 ASHLEY SHIRLEY, Staff Writer. COMMENTS? Editor@upandcomin- gweekly.com. 910-484-6200 Fayetteville's hottest new bar is coming to town, but only for a limited time. From March 23 to April 9, pa- trons can pull up a seat, tip their hat to the man behind the bar and listen to the sounds of "local color" unfold all around them. ough it can't be found on any map, revelers must look no further than the Cape Fear Regional e- ater stage to find the city's latest watering hole. "Welcome To Arroyo's!" is Cape Fear Regional eatre's new- est production that will take the audience on a music-driven journey through New York's Lower East Side as a brother and sister struggle under the weight of their shared grief and grapple with the complexity of identity. Using hip-hop to weave an intricate tapestry, "Welcome to Arroyo's!" is a "celebration of New York, hip-hop music and culture," explained the play's director, José Zayas. "It takes place at a particular time in New York when things were changing." Originally written by Kristoffer Diaz in 2010, "Welcome To Ar- royo's!" is a coming-of-age come- dy-drama that focuses on a Puerto Rican family, siblings Alejandro and Molly Arroyo, in the wake of their mother's death. Struggling in the aftermath of this tragedy, each must confront the intricacies of grief and the people that come into their lives to help make sense of it. "I think this show will bring audiences a sense of hope," ac- tor Jarét Benét, who plays Officer Derek in the production, shared with Up & Coming Weekly. "Whenever you lose someone close to you, it can take a long time to get over that, but whenever someone passes on, someone new always comes along. I think what the audience will take from that is none of us is struggling alone," he said. As the play focuses heavily on Puerto Rican identity, present- ing a cast that remained faithful to the playwright's intentions and message was paramount to Puerto Rican-born Zayas as a director. "It was very important to be as authentic as possible," Zayas admitted. "ere's so many levels of identity to take into account. When you're casting, you hope to be able to stay true to those rhythms and nuances of culture." For actors Jesse Muñoz and Alondra Belén, who play Alejan- dro and Molly, the magnitude of telling Latinx stories can't be overstated as both share a home- land or cultural similarities to the characters they'll portray on stage. "ese characters were born and raised in the Bronx; I was born and raised in Puerto Rico — my first language is Spanish," shared Belén. "ere are just so many cultural backgrounds to consider; we really want this to be an authentic experience." "Welcome to Arroyo's!" was originally scheduled to run dur- ing the 2020 season. Due to linger- ing concerns about COVID-19, the production was pared down to a virtual reading, where Ashley Owen, CFRT's Marketing Director, fell in love. "is is one of the funniest plays I've ever listened to or watched," Owen shared. "It's a joyful play and would make a great adult night out. is play is so much fun, and that's what people need. If you're 18-55, this is going to be your jam," she joked. In addition to the play's univer- sal themes and unique premise, "Welcome To Arroyo's!" brings Hispanic stories, relationships and struggles to a space they're not often seen — the theater. "e Hispanic population is one of the fastest growing in North Carolina," Owen explained. "It's a part of our city that we recognize and see. We wanted to put on a play for people not used to seeing themselves on stage." To bring home the feel of a neighborhood bar, seating for the play will take place right on stage. For those with a fear of interactive performances, there's no need to worry — the audience won't be called upon to participate. However, CFRT still hopes to fully engage audiences in this per- formance with a slew of exciting touches and special events. e "bar" in Arroyo's will be a fully functioning concession stand where the audience can grab a drink before the show and enjoy one of the many activities sched- uled for opening week. •ursday, March 23: District House of Taps will be in-house to host a complimentary beer-tasting before dress rehearsal. •Friday, March 24: Guests can enjoy some pre-show hip-hop trivia. •Opening Night, March 25: Fayetteville Latin Dance will teach a few Latin dance moves from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. •Military Appreciation Night, March 29: Along with 25% dis- counted tickets for military per- sonnel, a signature drink tasting featuring an Arroyo's-themed drink will be revealed. •Educator Appreciation Night, March 31: Educators will receive a 25% discounted ticket. "Welcome to Arroyo's!" is PG-13 and contains some adult language and themes. Tickets are $15-$28 and can be purchased on the the- atre website https://www.cfrt.org/. Cape Fear Regional eatre is located at 1209 Hay Street. Cape Fear Regional Theatre brings celebration of music, culture and identity to local audiences by ASHLEY SHIRLEY EVENT CFRT presents "Welcome to Arroyo's" March 23 to April 9. Top, left to right: Alondra Belèn as Molly Arroyo, Jesse Muñoz as Alejandro Arroyo, Eva Dorette Merrill as Lelly Santiago. Bottom, left to right: Noam Shapiro as Trip Goldstein, Jarèt Benèt as Officer Derek, and Jason Yanto as Nelson Cardenal. (Images courtesy Cape Fear Regional eatre)

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