Think you know the Mission and its history? You might discover something new at the Brava Center for Theater and the Arts when El Son de la Misión re-opens for a two-night on Friday, Nov. 11.
The show is a musical and theatrical exploration and expression of the history of the Mission, with a particular focus on activism through the ages, beginning in 1960.
El Son, a product of collaboration between the Community Music Center and a plethora of other musical and community groups in the neighborhood including local bands Soltron and Bayonics, has been shown before. But it’s back, with some additional elements meant as a nod to movements and people neglected in the first version.
One notable addition is the venerable Mexican singer Juan Gabriel, who died August of this year and was widely assumed to be gay, though that assumption came with it own complications. Carlos Barón, the director of El Son, is already developing the costume, voice and character he will don to slip into the shoes of “El Divo de Juárez”.
Also new in this iteration of the show is a hip-hop element. Manolo Davila, a member of the local band Soltron, has developed lyrics that draw on the Bay Area hip hop culture of the 80s and 90s. Jessica Resinos will supply the visual element with her dance group the Rising Rhythm Project.
For Barón, the story is important and nurturing young potential talent a key element, but the show is also about showcasing high quality music and performance. He calls being surrounded by the show in full swing “intangible payment.”
“Nothing beats it. So in the middle of all this BS living in this country… To know that we have that, and that’s a certainty, that’s a good thing,” he said. “It makes me feel good, and I think people who go see the show, that’s the way they’ll feel after the show. Hopefully they’ll feel inspired, they’ll feel good.”
The second Son de la Mision is also supported by 3 Lopez Productions, the company that was founded by “The Sherriff’s Wife” and actress Eliana Lopez and her brother. John Calloway, an educator in local schools and San Francisco State University, composed and arranged the music. Carlos Barón, who also teaches at San Francisco State, wrote and directed the play. Francisco Herrera, Greg Landau and John Santos are guest composers.
Tickets are $15-20 and are available here.