Saturday, January 28

Becoming Chavela heads to Edinburgh Fringe for 3 nights only

Becoming Chavela is an award-winning docu-cabaret performance of the life and music of Chavela Vargas set within the art world and social milieu of mid-century Mexico City when it was the cultural capital of Latin America.” Iconic, trailblazing lesbian Mexican singer, Chavela Vargas, muse to Oscar winning Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar, was, in his words, a “volcano.” Edgy and fearless, she gained entry into the exciting mid-century Mexico City artistic scene through her friendship with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. Forgotten for years, she experienced an artistic rebirth in her early 70’s and continued to sing until her death at the age of 93. Chavela constantly broke with social, cultural, and gender norms, defying conventions and living her tumultuous life on her own terms. Ahead of her times, Chavela’s trailblazing story touches on gender issues, gay rights, immigration and Mexican culture. Songs of lust and longing and stories of her friendships with Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Liz Taylor and Pedro Almodóvar will intrigue and entertain you.

Stephanie Trudeau has been an actress and singer for over 40 years, performing in NYC cabaret, Off-Broadway and regional theatre. Recently she had been developing a program of songs written by women, notably Spanish songs her Puerto Rican mother loved that were written by great Latina songwriters including Maria Grever, Maria Teresa Lara, Maria Teresa Vera and Consuelo Velazquez. She discovered Chavela Vargas and as her research on Vargas broadened and deepened, she decided to refocus the project into a program focused exclusively on this artist. Becoming Chavela emerged as part bioplay and part homage–a cabaret show enriched with biographical narrative and enactment, Mexican songs and illustrated with multimedia. Ms. Trudeau says, “I’m Puerto Rican, but I feel this Mexican singer in my bones.” She adds, “What I love about her music is its primal power. It’s heart-breaking. I had to sing these songs. I had to tell Chavela’s story.”

The piece, written and performed by Ms. Trudeau, is more than just a musical cabaret based on the songs of legendary Mexican singer Chavela Vargas. It is also a documentary theatre that traces the famed ranchera singer’s artistic evolution and the key relationships of her life, including those with her musical mentor, Jose Alfredo Jimenez (perhaps the greatest composer of ranchera songs), the painters Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, and notably Pedro Almodovar, who enabled her comeback at age 72 after a 15-year battle with alcoholism.

Written by Stephanie Trudeau, Directed by Joyce Callo, Guitar: Diego Cebollero

Artist’s website:  


Playing at theSpace on North Bridge from the 5th-7th August at 21:10 daily. Running time: 60 minutes