The new incarnation of the 1943 work is directed by award-winning British director Christopher Renshaw. Cuban playwright and poet Norge Espinosa Mendoza penned the new Spanish script and lyrics. Tony Award winner Alex Lacamoire, the orchestrator, arranger and musical director of the Broadway hit Hamilton, has created new orchestrations and arrangements for the production in collaboration with Edgar Vero. The score is characterized as utilizing authentic Cuban musical sounds including Mambo, Danzón, Cha-Cha-Cha, Salsa and Rumba.
According to an Equity casting notice, the tour will open in Paris at the Théâtre du Châtelet, with dates to follow at the Cologne Philharmonic in Germany and London at Sadler's Wells Theatre. The Paris premiere runs April 6-30, 2016. Additional dates have not been revealed. It is produced by Jon Lee, BB Promotion GmbH, and Renshaw.
While the production has been conceived as a bilingual adaptation, the Paris premiere will be presented entirely in Spanish. Book writer and lyricist Stephen Clark is credited with the bilingual version.
An initial Spanish-language version of Carmencita Jones was staged in an abandoned docks building in old-town Havana in June 2014. "We wanted to make it as authentically Cuban as possible," Lee previously told Playbill.com. "We developed a really authentic Cuban take on all the music and all the choreography. The music sounded really beautiful in Spanish. We are trying to keep it all authentically Cuban... all the dance, all the music, all the arrangements, but putting in English parts of the script in this new version."
Hammerstein's original idea was to adapt Bizet's opera Carmen as a Broadway musical, supplying English lyrics to Bizet's musical themes, and translating the libretto and the location from Seville, Spain, to the American South, where the Spanish characters became African-American characters. The new adaptation moves the action to pre-revolutionary 1958 Cuba.
Cuban choreographer Roclan Gonzalez Chavez has created the dance sequences for the production.
Here's how it's billed: "Can Bizet's famous opera, Carmen, be adapted for the modern world? Oscar Hammerstein II did it in 1942 with the Broadway hit Carmen Jones, which Preminger in turn adapted for the screen in 1954. The work now becomes a Cuban musical, the first of its kind, still based on Bizet but in Spanish and set in Havana, on the eve of the Cuban revolution. Today, Carmencita is still working in a cigar factory, but the Habanera has returned to its country of origin!"