A message from the creator of
November 15, 2019
BY MARILYN MORALES
From Marilyn Morales, the creator of Always Remember
I lived this.
My beloved family, much like the Santos family in Always Remember, left Cuba with nothing more than the clothes we were wearing and one suitcase of personal belongings for the five of us. This work is dedicated to my parents and to the countless refugees who have made the greatest personal sacrifices for the hope of a better future for their children.
While the story is a fiction, every single scene, dialogue and word in this show comes from my experience or a family member's story – or from well-researched documented accounts. As a narrative of our Cuban culture, I have been writing the story of Always Remember my entire life. And now, with eyes of the world taking a hard look at the Cuban-American experience, the time is now for this to see the light of day.
At intermissions and following showcase performances, I have been deeply gratified to receive very emotional responses from fellow Cuban refugees - as well as those from other countries. I am happy to say that my story appears to be resonating with those who have attended the showcases so far.
From an overarching artistic perspective, I sought to craft this work in the grand tradition of the classic and enduring musicals. This is an honest work, as it is the work of my life - my Magnum Opus. There are 23 songs in Always Remember. The styles that I employ, i.e. guaguanco, mambo, rumba, tango and, contrastingly, salsa, rock ballade, Broadway-style numbers and incidental music have been painstakingly integrated into the fabric of the story.
I am very lucky to have connected with an extraordinary team of artists and technicians, whom have been faithful to the vision of Always Remember. My husband Kirk is my arranging assistant and dialogue consultant. Theatrical consultant Michael Duarte, fine arts specialist Lilia Fontana, actor and director Brad Shank, vocal coach Manny Perez and public relations specialist Arely Ruiz are just the tip of the iceberg of talented and passionate professionals who have advised me on my journey.
My motivation to create Always Remember came from my time in California in the 1990s. I was exasperated from hearing so many uninformed people tell me how "wonderful things are in Cuba." My angst got the best of me, and I decided to communicate the story of many Cuban refugees in the best way I know: through the organic fusion of music, lyrics and story. I longed to create a story, score and set of songs that could stand the test of time against the likes of West Side Story, The Sound of Music, Madame Butterfly and other musicals and operas I cherished from childhood.
In the grander context of my life, the creation of this show is allowing me to express myself in every way possible. I am telling the story of my life and that of many fellow Cubans, and I have created a musical I believe in with all my heart.
I hope to see you on the 2022 Thanksgiving weekend at the live theatrical world premiere of Always Remember!