4 Guys Named José …
and Una Mujer Named Maria
Musical in 2 acts. Book and Song Selection by: Dolores Prida; Conceived by: David Coffman and Dolores Prida; Director's Book by: Susana Tubert. Lyrics by: Various; Music by: Various
Musical Supervision and Arrangements by: Oscar Hernandez
John Houseman Theater, Off-Broadway - 21 April, 2000. Transferred to the Blue Angel Theater, opened 18th September, 2000, Closed 4th March, 2001
Four young Latino men have a chance meeting at Burrito World in Omaha and discover they share the same name! Even though their ancestral roots are different (one is from Puerto Rico, one is from Cuba, one is from Mexico and one is from the Dominican Republic), not only do they share a common name, they share a common dream: to stage a show of Latin standards that puts forth a positive image to counteract Latino stereotypes. Enter Maria, a beautiful woman who provides a romantic interest as the gentlemen vie for her attentions.
Performed in Spanish and English, 4 Guys Named José… And Una Mujer Named Maria features some of the most evocative Latin music ever written (including such standards as La Bamba, Guantanamera, I Like It Like That and Bésame Mucho) sung in four and five-part harmony. The show is brimming with the zest of life intrinsic to the Latino culture.
Jose Cubano, Jose Domincano, Jose Mexicano and Jose Boricua met in Burrito World in Nebraska. They decided that since they each love to sing and dance so much they should put on a show of the golden oldies they learned from their parents. The local Veteran’s Hall is thus transformed into a tropical paradise. The 4 Guys introduce themselves and their onstage band, El Trio Los Omahaenos. With 'Maria Bonita' they expect the entrance of their fifth performer, Maria. She doesn’t arrive. The men panic until they hear activity offstage. They again prepare for Maria’s entrance. She arrives. But she is the wrong Maria. This Maria begins her wild story: the original Maria, her roommate, could not make the show and she’s taken her place but her boyfriend dumped her that day, so she’s a mess. With she culls sympathy from the audience and the 4 Guys about her broken heart. Jose Cubano, however, scolds them. They are not following what has been scripted for the show. They shoo Maria offstage so that she can get into costume and entertain the audience as to how they all met at Burrito World.
When Maria returns, Jose Cubano gives Maria cue cards to keep her on track. She takes the first opportunity not to follow them. Jose Cubano gently guides her back to the script.
The company gives the history of Latin music and prepares the audience to hear lyrics in both Spanish and English. This leads into 'Frenesi', a song about passionate love. They fall into a Spanish lesson game with the audience.
Next, the 4 Guys give a lesson to the audience in Latin Dance which begins with 'Cumbia' and goes into a Cuban Conga, a Merengue of Santo Domingo, and Salsa. Maria jumps in. But the men have not rehearsed a dance number with the other Maria. Eventually, they permit her to join them. Something about her dancing entrances the men. They are all smitten with her. Now begins a competition for Maria’s affections. Maria is cast as the muse. She begins and is soon serenaded by the 4 Guys. Maria expresses her present distaste of romance which leads into the men wooing her. Maria has had enough. She sings about enforcing her cynicism of love and romance.
At opening Maria is dressed as a traditional peanut vendor. The 4 Guys join her. Changing tone, the company performs the traditional Puerto Rican plena featuring Maria as a Puerto Rican girl leaving New York. Jose Boricua tells the audience of his family’s immigrant history. Jose Cubano, Jose Mexicano and Jose Dominicano also tell about their homelands.
Maria then goes off-script for a third time to wonder aloud if the man who just dumped her still thinks of her fondly. The 4 Guys quickly get her back on track. The men then fight over Maria’s attention. Each Guy is convinced that Maria carries his particular Latin heritage. Maria, however, gives them the truth - she is from LA. One by one, each Jose tells the truth of his origin as well. The 4 Guys ask Maria to make a choice between them. To their great surprise she chooses the band’s piano man, Jose de Nebraska! Mariasings in celebration.
- Feel It - 4 Guys
- Perfidia - Maria
- Then & Now Medley - 4 Guys, Maria
- La Cumbancha - The Company
- Nonsense Songs - The Company
- Mambo Fuego - The Band
- Las Mulatas Del Cha Cha Cha - 4 Guys
- Amor, amor - Maria and Company
- Te Quiero dijiste - Jose Dominicano
- Besame Mucho - Jose Cubano
- Quien sera/ Quizas, Quizas, Quizas - Jose Boricua/Jose Mexicano
- Es Mentiroso - Maria and Company
- La Manisera - Maria and Company
- Nostalgia Medley – 4 Guys
- Mi tierra - Maria and Company
- Rhythm Divine - Maria and Company
- Maria Medley - 4 Guys
- Piensa En Mi - Maria
- Bang Bang - The Company
All five characters are, as we find out at the end of the show, born in the U.S.A. - they are Americans of Latin American descent. They do not have funny Frito Bandito accents. They speak regular American English sprinkled with Spanish words and phrases. They don't all have to be good looking and buff, but each must have charming qualities all his own. (Some of the characters’ attributes may change based on casting.)
- JOSE CUBANO Older, suave (preferably a baritone). Tends to lecture and to take control of the situation. At times he gets carried away with flowery, long-winded speeches. Teaches Spanish at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. Born in Miami. the show was his idea...or so he likes to think.
- JOSE DOMINICANO Handsome, all business but fun. He's a computer programmer at Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company. Born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Although he's sexy, he's not always aware of it. He's a true romantic, in the old-world sense of the word.
- JOSE MEXICANO Younger, sweet, with show-business ambitions. He's a waiter at Burrito World in Lincoln, Nebraska. In the summer he plays "the villain" in the melodramas presented at the Mahoney State Park (which is located between Lincoln and Omaha.) Born in Chicago.
- JOSE BORICUA Handsome, a lady's man, streetwise. A little vain and definitely a show-off. He's a youth counselor at Boys Town in Omaha. In his youth he was a "bad boy" himself. He was born in Brooklyn, New York.
- MARIA A beautiful sultry Latin siren. Sharp-tongued and no-nonsense, She feels somewhat uncomfortable playing the "beautiful Maria" role -- but this does not stop her from always singing her heart out. She's obsessed with the man who dumped her. She's all the MARIAs and none of the MARIAs. She has a multicultural background. She was born in Manhattan and raised in Minneapolis.
Orchestrations by Oscar Hernandez