Have you heard of El Violinista en el Tejado? How about El Rey y Yo? Those are also known as Fiddler on the Roof, and the King and I. Productions you’ve seen in English, and here in Tampa Bay, one of the few places in the country that have done those all in Spanish. The Spanish Lyric Theatre; for 60 years continues to have audience members say Vamos Tampa Bay!
On a stage in Ybor City you can find yourself lost in España.
“We’re showing how Spain was a hundred years ago,” says Diego Iglesias.
Iglesias is the director for the latest Zarzuela from the Spanish Lyric Theatre, La Verbena de la Paloma.
“Zarzuela is like an operetta. It’s like Opera, but acting at the same time from Spain,” says Iglesias.
It’s all in Spanish, but don’t worry, super titles in English can be seen above the stage. Much like an Italian opera, the super titles help the audience follow along.
The Spanish Lyric Theatre has performed not just Zarzuelas, but plays and musicals as well since it’s start 60 years ago.
“We would do different shows in the different socials clubs in Ybor City. So we would perform in Centro Asturiano, The Italian Club, The Cuban Club,” says Cyndee Dornblaser with the Spanish Lyric Theatre.
The troupe turned bilingual years later.
“Once you learn that they don’t just do productions in Spanish, you know they do musicals throughout the year in English and in Spanish. Then it’s like, wow. We need to get the word out to people that this isn’t just for Spanish speaking people,” says Pat Zint, one of the cast members.
Most of the cast are volunteers who do this because they love it.
“I love singing. I love singing and I love the sense of family and community that you build when you’re part of a cast and you work on something for an extended period of time,” says Angelina Samreni who’s also in the cast.
Rehearsals are through and now the director cries out Vamos Tampa Bay!
“C’mon Tampa Bay! Come here to celebrate with us like Madrid 100 years ago,” says Iglesias.