Olney Theatre to stage Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical

Olney, MD – January 8, 2016 – Olney Theatre Center, a Mid-Atlantic destination for extraordinary theater performance and education, in co-production with New York’s Tectonic Theater Project, welcomes legendary director and Tectonic Artistic Director Moisés Kaufman, Grammy-winner Arturo O’Farrill, and Broadway phenomenon Sergio Trujillo for the world premiere of Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical. The production runs February 10 through March 6 on the Mainstage.

Directed and co-written by Tony® Award-nominee Moisés Kaufman (33 Variations, Gross Indecency, The Laramie Project Cycle), with heralded Cuban-American playwright Eduardo Machado, and music adapted from Bizet’s opera by two-time Grammy Award-winner Arturo O’Farrill, this Carmen brings the action of one of the most sensual stories of all time to Cuba on the verge of revolution in 1958. The star-studded creative team, along with Kaufman at the helm as director and Broadway’s Sergio Trujillo as choreographer (Jersey Boys, Memphis, On Your Feet), turns Bizet’s passion-fueled opera into a sexy, swinging Afro-Cuban Jazz musical. Kaufman’s Carmen is a gun-runner for the rebels, who falls fiercely in love with José, a Batista loyalist. When Cuba’s boxing legend Camilo returns to Havana, Carmen and José’s love falls tragically apart.

“When Moisés called me about his dream of bringing Carmen to 1950s Cuba, I jumped at the idea, which was so prescient and fascinating,” said Olney Theatre Center Artistic Director Jason Loewith. “Little did I know he’d be working with Grammy-winner Arturo O’Farrill, whose Afro-Latin jazz-infused score has completely reimagined Bizet’s famous opera with everything from meringue and salsa to Cuban be-bop, traditional Cuban son, and the driving percussion of congas and bongos, and Sergio Trujillo, one of Broadway’s busiest choreographers, whose recent smash On Your Feet is taking New York by storm. These are some true theater geniuses at work.”

Broadway’s Christina Sajous (American Idiot, Baby It’s You!, Spider-Man Turn off the Dark) leads the cast as Carmen, and is joined by Broadway leading men Caesar Samayoa as Camilo (Sister Act, The Pee-Wee Herman Show) and Brandon Andrus (Side Show) as José.

Rounding out the cast are George Akram, Sumayya Ali, Michelle Alves, Skizzo Arnedillo, Moses Bernal, Ronald Bruce, Tiffany Byrd, Briana Carlson-Goodman, Karla Choko, Nick Duckart, Nurney, Alejandra Matos, Calvin McCullough, Jose Ozuna, and Kara-Tameika Watkins.<

The creative team also includes Christopher Youstra (Music Director), Narelle Sissons (Scenic Designer), David Lander (Lighting Designer), Clint Ramos (Costume Designer), Robert Kaplowitz (Sound Designer), Michael Korie (Special Advisor), Jason Loewith (Dramaturg), and Josiane M. Lemieux (Production Stage Manager).

Carmen: An Afro-Cuban Jazz Musical was commissioned, developed, and co-produced by Tectonic Theater Project, with support from The National Endowment for the Arts. This production is sponsored in part by Eugene B. Casey Foundation and production sponsors Mita Schaffer and Tina Martin.


Based on the opera by Georges Bizet
Book by Moisés Kaufman and Eduardo Machado
Lyrics by Moisés Kaufman
Music Adapted by Arturo O’Farrill
Choreography Sergio Trujillo
Music Direction by Christopher Youstra
Directed by Moisés KaufmanFebruary 10 – March 6Performances are Wednesday-Saturday at 8pm; matinees on Sunday at 2pm; Saturday matinees at 2pm on February 20 and 27, and March 5. Wednesday matinees at 2pm on February 17, and March 2.

Tickets are $38-$75. Discounts available for groups, seniors, military, and students.


A Conversation with Moisés Kaufman: From the groundbreaking The Laramie Project Cycle to the Pulitzer-winning I Am My Own Wife, Tony® Award-nominee Moisés Kaufman has brought seminal questions about sexuality and gender-identity to the forefront in American theater through three tempestuous decades.  Join Kaufman and Artistic Director Jason Loewith for a wide-ranging discussion about his life, his passion for theater that advances cultural conversation, and the artistic path that brought him to adapt Bizet’s famed opera Carmen as an Afro-Cuban Jazz musical.  Free for Olney Theatre Center Members; $5 for Theater Professionals; $10 for General Public. Saturday, February 13 at 5pm.

  • Audio described performance for the blind and vision impaired:  Wednesday, February 25 at 8pm. Provided by the Metropolitan Washington Ear.
  • Post-show discussions: AfterWords: Saturday, February 20 after the 2pm performance; Saturday, March 5 after the 2pm performance.


Olney Theatre Center is an award-winning, nonprofit, Equity theatre. Our mission is to produce and present extraordinary theatre and performance from our four-theatre campus for an ever-more diverse set of audiences in our community, and to educate the next generation of theatremakers to follow in our footsteps. We strive every day to unleash the creative potential of our artist and audiences, and in so doing, become Maryland’s premier center for theatre performance and education. In the past two years, Olney Theatre has had six world or regional premieres, including Andrew Hinderaker’s Colossal (2015 Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical), and Jennifer Hoppe-House’s Bad Dog. (2015 Steinberg Award nominee). Olney’s shows and educational activities are accessible, affordable, provide a thought-provoking and enjoyable theatrical experience, inspiring people to exchange ideas and enriches the community.

Located just north of Washington, D.C. in arts-rich Montgomery County, Maryland, Olney Theatre Center offers a diverse array of over 300 professional productions year-round. It is situated on 14 wooded acres in the heart of the beautiful Washington-Baltimore-Frederick “triangle,” within easy access to all three cities, and is also home to National Players, America’s longest-running touring company.  Olney Theatre Center is led by Artistic Director Jason Loewith and Managing Director Debbie Ellinghaus. For more information, please visit www.olneytheatre.org.

Follow Olney Theatre Center on Twitter @olneytheatre and on Facebook at facebook.com/olneytheatre.


Tectonic Theater Project is dedicated to developing innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, and fostering an artistic dialogue with audiences on the social, political and human issues that affect us all. Our goal is to develop and present new work that brings together a broadly diverse spectrum of artists and audiences to explore and embrace theater together, as both an entertaining art form and a personal resource.

Founded in 1991 by Moisés Kaufman and Jeffrey LaHoste, Tectonic is an award-winning company whose plays have been seen by millions of people around the world. The company is behind such plays as The Laramie Project (2002 Humanitas Prize, 4 Emmy nominations, GLAAD Media Award, HBO film); Laramie Project: Ten Years Later; Gross Indecency: The Three Trials Of Oscar Wilde (Lucille Lortel Award, Outer Critics Circle); I Am My Own Wife (Pulitzer Prize, Tony Award-Best Play, Obie Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award); El Gatos Con Botas (Puss in Boots), an opera based on the classic fairy tale by Charles Perrault and featuring innovative Bunraku-style puppetry by London’s Blind Summit Theatre; 33 Variations, starring Jane Fonda (Tony Nom.-Best Play); and, The Tallest Tree In the Forest, which recently had its NYC premiere at BAM.

Artistic Director Moisés Kaufman and members of Tectonic travel to schools and communities nationwide teaching the company’s unique method of theater-making – Moment Work – giving artists the tools to integrate Moment Work’s vocabulary into their own creations, to achieve works of power with lasting resonance. Our first manual on Moment Work will be published by Random House in 2016. Visit us at www.tectonictheaterproject.org.