Avenida Corrientes The Broadway of Argentina
When I say “musical theatre” what is the first thing that comes to your mind? New York, New York, right? Whether you’ve been there or not, the image in your head is Broadway Street and its lights and all that jazz. I have had the luck to visit NYC and I can tell you, that is exactly the image you’ll get in your head. I think that by now, it is common knowledge that Broadway is the Mecca of theatre, especially musicals.
Now, with the passing of the years, almost unexpectedly, Buenos Aires has developed its very own entertainment business to a very professional and prestigious level, having offered several of the most important Broadway shows to the Argentine public. And curiously enough, Buenos Aires is now the city with the most number of theatres (not bluffing, it’s a fact!). Just as NYC has a theatre district, Buenos Aires has Calle Corrientes.
The first precedent of a big Broadway musical in our city was Beauty and the Beast, back in 1998, and it was a hit. Two hundred thousand people, kids and adults, were mesmerized by the quality of the production, which was identical to the original show except for adapting the script and lyrics to the Spanish language.
For me, it all started in 2006 with Sweet Charity. Florencia Peña, a well known local comedy actress, had been cast as Charity and I wanted to see her in it. I had no idea what Sweet Charity was about and I had no knowledge of Broadway shows (in my defense, I was very young and the world wasn’t as globalized as it is now). Needless to say, I was instantly drawn to it and ended up going to see it three times!
After that, there came great hits like Les Misérables, Chicago, Phantom of the Opera, Hairspray, Piaf, The Sound of Music, Spring Awakening, Avenue Q and more.
It’s like we are collecting the musicals, we have to have them all! On that note, Mamma Mia! is opening this year and there are already rumors for future productions like The Lion King and Peter Pan. To prove my point, right now you can see the production of Next to Normal at Teatro Liceo. There are also several original musicals going on like Excalibur, based on the tale of King Arthur; or Judy, or Freddie, which both are musical tributes to Judy Garland and Freddie Mercury, respectively.
If you are in the city for a while and are looking for something other than tango shows, I’d highly recommend you to check out if there are any theatre productions you might want to see, and while you are at it, practice your Spanish listening skills! Here’s a link to the La Nacion’s theatre guide for the ongoing plays.
Agustina Fanes, the passionate theatre person Study Abroad in Buenos Aires