Paco Ojeda Begins Three-Part Exploration of Puccini’s Opera, La Bohème, and the Musical Rent

Having presented and produced over fifty music appreciation lectures along with a dozen tribute concerts in several Puerto Vallarta stages, local musicologist Paco Ojeda is now turning his attention to two works, one century apart: Giacomo Puccini’s opera, La Bohème, and Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, Rent. “Both were premiered less than a week apart in February 1896 and 1996, respectively, and one is inspired by the other,” he explains. “So it made perfect sense to inspire new audiences with fresh connections to both works.” 

This will be made possible by screening both works as part of The Boutique Community Theatre’s “Dinner and a Movie” presentations, hosted by Paco. La Bohème will be screened this Sunday, January 13 and Rent will be screened on Sunday, February 10, both at 5 pm. In addition, as part of his monthly series of music appreciation series, Paco will present “A Man, A Woman, A Candle,” a lecture connecting both masterpieces, on Saturday, January 19 at 6 pm. “Both works’ two central characters fall in love with one another in a torrid romance that begins with a burnt candle that needs to be lit,” he explains.

Billing his music appreciation lectures as “edutainment,” Paco relies on audio and video clips to connect audiences with a broad range of musical styles, instruments and musicians, often inviting guests to perform a song or two in order to enhance the experience. “As much as we are regarded as a vacation destination, I am quite certain that there are many people in our community that are looking for ways to nurture their minds, souls and curiosity through ongoing cultural and educational experiences.” 

Occasionally, the lectures are enhanced through the participation of local musicians and performers as will be the case with “A Man, A Woman, A Candle. Local actor/director/performer Alain Perreault and Cesar Bravo of Princesas Desesperadas will perform a selection from Rent, while singer Kathy Overly will perform an aria from La Bohème, all accompanied by Jean-Guy Comeau at the piano.” All but Cesar Bravo joined Paco in a well-attended tribute to Frank Sinatra this past December at The Boutique.

“Helping those around me connect with extraordinary music is a truly empowering thing,” Paco explains. “I am thrilled with all the opportunities that The Boutique Community Theatre provides to anyone looking to broadening their comfort circle on and offstage.”

SCREENING: La Bohème, 2017 Royal Opera Production, Sunday, January 13 • 5 pm

LECTURE: A Man, A Woman, A Candle, January 19 • 6 pm

SCREENING: Rent, Live on Broadway, Sunday, February 10 • 5 pm

Attending all three events is highly recommended.

Paco Ojeda is The Boutique Community Theatre’s Publicity Manager. A Puerto Vallarta-based freelance communicator, he writes news and stories for Puerto Vallarta’s English-speaking community at his blog, paco-ojeda.com.

Josie MacGillivray to Make Directorial Debut with Dark Comedy, The Clean House

The Boutique Community Theatre is known for creating opportunities for all members of the local community to experience every aspect of theatre production, from lighting to stage design, acting and so forth. Josie MacGillivray, who moved to Puerto Vallarta five years ago, became involved with The Boutique early on after her arrival and after participating in several productions, is making her directorial debut this week with The Clean House, a dark comedy by Sarah Ruhl.

“I feel both excited and nervous at the same time,” she muses. “I have a wonderful cast and a wonderful play, so I’m confident of the outcome.” Like many others before her, she began visiting Puerto Vallarta over a decade ago, progressively extending her stays until she made the move from Victoria, Canada, five years ago.

When asked how she became involved in theater, she laughs. “I had never dreamed I would have anything to do with theatre!” One day she found herself standing on the beach looking at the ocean when Catherine Caldera—who is also involved with The Boutique—invited her to audition for the female version of Neil Simon’s 1965 comedy, The Odd Couple. At the time, Josie agreed to come to rehearsals and read the part until an actor was found for the role. As is often the case at The Boutique, she ended up playing the role. “I was so pleasantly surprised at my ability to memorize the lines and how at ease I felt onstage with other actors,” she recalls.

Once bitten by the theatre bug, she became increasingly involved in other productions by different directors at The Boutique, resulting in her first major role in Jack Sharkey’s comedy, Par for the Corpse, directed by Barbara J. Harris last year. “It was Barbara who took note of my attention to detail and suggested I try directing a play.”

Josie had originally considered the idea of bringing back The Odd Couple to the stage, but a local director encouraged her to move beyond her comfort circle and take a risk with a different play altogether. She is quick to admit that The Clean House is not a play commonly associated with first-time theatre directors, but is thoroughly enjoying the challenge. “I was fortunate because I was able to cast it well, having worked with most of the actors in Par for the Corpse. They are all very talented, and we have become good friends.”

Sarah Ruhl’s 2005 Pulitzer Prize in Drama Finalist play The Clean House is a dark comedy about loss, love, change and redemption that centers around Matilde, a quirky Brazilian maid that would rather be a comedienne instead of spending her life cleaning other people’s houses. Four other characters come into play in this unique comedy is quick to remind us that there is humor even in life’s messiest moments.

Dividing her Puerto Vallarta time between theater and teaching yoga, Josie is quick to acknowledge how The Boutique Community Theatre has had a positive impact on her life. “I had no idea that I would love theater so much. I had never explored my creative side, so it’s allowed my right brain to step forward, giving a special meaning to the months I spend in Puerto Vallarta each year.”

Paco Ojeda is The Boutique Community Theatre’s Publicity Manager. A Puerto Vallarta-based freelance communicator, he writes news and stories for Puerto Vallarta’s English-speaking community at his blog, paco-ojeda.com.