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General Admission: $18
Students and Seniors: $13
The National Hispanic Cultural Center and Camino Real Productions, LLC are pleased to announce the world premiere of Secret Things, by award-winning playwright Elaine Romero. The play will open on Thursday, July 25 for a three-week run at the Wells Fargo Auditorium at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, followed by two additional weekends of performances at Teatro Paraguas in Santa Fe.
Set in the 1990s, Secret Things tells the story of Delia, a writer for Time magazine sent on assignment to her native New Mexico by her skeptical editor to do a story that will quash the rumors he has been hearing about Jews settling in New Mexico in the 16th century to escape the Spanish Inquisition and practicing their faith in secret for centuries. In the course of her research, Delia begins having strange thoughts and dreams, and is transported to a secret, mythical land called Sephardia, where she finds herself in a search for ultimately discovers her own family’s hidden past.
Playwright Romero is not a native New Mexican, but her grandmother was born in Barelas just blocks away from the National Hispanic Cultural Center. In the 1990s, her encounter with State Historian Stanley Hordes, the leading expert on the subject of Crypto-Jews in New Mexico, eventually led to the realization that her own New Mexican ancestors had been Crypto-Jews. Secret Things, published a decade later, is the result. Camino Real Productions’ artistic director, Linda López McAlister, has been interested in the topic of Crypto-Jews since a conversation with Albuquerque entertainer and producer Chuy Martínez some years ago. She mentioned to Martínez that her grandmother’s maiden name was Velarde, to which he replied, to her amazement, “Oh, you must be Jewish,” and explained that the town of Velarde in northern New Mexico had been a center of Crypto-Jewish life.
Secret Things is directed by Valli Marie Rivera, whose earlier New Mexico-related productions have included Rudolfo Anaya’s plays Bless Me, Ultima and, most recently, Rosa Linda. She also directed Elaine Romero’s ¡Curanderas! Serpents of the Clouds at the Santa Fe Playhouse in 2006. Casey Mraz is composing an original musical score for the production based on Sephardic and Ladino songs and melodies. The cast of well-known New Mexico actors includes Salomé Martínez-Lutz, Mario Moreno, Michelle Otero, Harry Zimmerman, and Benjamin Liberman; set and lighting design are by Josh Bien, and costumes by Jaime Pardo.