In today's wide-ranging conversation with Bianca Marroquin, one of the issues she addresses is that of language and accent. Growing up near the Texas border, she had the opportunity to learn both languages. So in addition to being the first Mexican woman ever to land a leading role on Broadway, she is also the only one ever to do Chicago in two different languages.
Yet in the 18 years since the Broadway debut as Roxie Hart, she has still faced confusing and ignorant statements from casting directors and reporters, for example, regarding their expectations of what a Mexican is or should be. At the end of this episode I'll shine a spotlight on this week's Hispanic Icon, John Leguizamo, who has a few things to teach us about Latin History.
But first, Bianca and I discuss an issue we are all dealing with as artists: the state of theater and the arts during this pandemic and what that might look like in COVID's aftermath.
Since childhood Bianca's life has been one filled with change. Though she was born in Monterrey, she grew up living on the Mexican side of the border in Matamoros, yet went to school on the Texas side in Brownsville. She first studied dance at the age of three but by high school was also learning flamenco, jazz, and tap. For college she wanted to study in Spain but her father insisted on a technical college in Monterrey, where she majored in Communications with the intention of becoming a reporter.
But she soon found her dancing feet again in a flamenco company as well as various festivals and concerts. She had made a name for herself, so much so that by the time she was doing Roxie Hart in the Spanish version of Chicago in Mexico City, she won best actress and caught the attention of Chicago's Broadway producers. And in 2002 she came to NYC in the show and role that has come to be the one constant in her life.
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