at the Aurora Fox Arts Center

by Jordan Rodriguez

Immigrant. The Wall. Deportation. Family separation.

These words are becoming all too familiar in American discourse, and at The Aurora Fox Art’s Center a new musical has made its Colorado premiere exhibiting the obstacles some families in America are truthfully living through.

“Miss You Like Hell” is a beautiful yet harrowing story of an estranged mother and daughter who are navigating not only universal family growing pains, or the diverse terrain of a cross-country road trip, but also a broken bureaucracy which we know as the American immigration system. Mother and daughter hit the road together and find themselves in the midst of an adventure neither of them will ever forget. Encountering many new friends along the way, each endearing character exhibits just how beautiful and necessary diversity truly is.

Beatriz (played by GerRee Hinshaw) is a free-spirited, somewhat wild, Latina woman.  The production begins with her arriving in Philadelphia to enlist her moody and intellectual daughter, Olivia (played by Adriane Leigh Robinson) to embark on a road trip intended to mend some of their damaged relationship. Although Olivia is unaware at first, Beatriz is speeding back to California so that she can also make it to a vital Immigration hearing on time. En route, some necessary baggage is unloaded as the two process their ill-fated past. Finally, through the highs and lows of their trip, mother and daughter find themselves in a new relationship that is stunning to see actualized on stage.

Director, Helen R Murray, should be so proud of what her and her team have brought to Denver theater. This musical, touching on deep themes of love and family, inspired me to go back to my hometown and learn to make tamales with my grandma. Some of the songs in this show were so moving and intimate that memories of loved ones were bubbling at the surface of every score.  While the two lead actresses were absolutely stunning to watch and listen to on stage, their small “ensemble” really rose to the occasion of supporting this story. Whether it be the tamale vendor, Manuel (played by Runner Francisco) who stole your heart with his own love story, or the comedic relief of Pearl (played by Jasmine Jackson) who had some of my favorite moments of leading the cast in a surprisingly seductive song about the joys of Yellowstone Park, the teamwork of this cast was blatantly obvious.

This show is a MUST SEE for Colorado theater lovers. In a time of dangerous and divisive rhetoric, this “untraditional love-story” will touch your heart with the reminder that love knows no borders and can cross any barrier. Hinshaw and Robinson will blow you away with some of the most affecting ballads I have ever heard on stage and the other cast members will leave you hungry for another helping of this production …or perhaps for some of grandma’s tamales. At any rate, do yourselves a favor and get to The Aurora Fox Art’s Center to be a part of this premiere. ”Miss You Like Hell” will run from now to October 13, you do not want to miss it.


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