The Arrabal Creative Team

MAY 12, 2017

Get to know a bit more about the minds behind the production

The Arrabal Creative team in a discussion panel


“We wanted to find a language in dance parallel to what we were trying to do in music. I thought Arrabal was a fantastic opportunity to bring our music together with this choreography in a story that had some weight and that really represented Argentina.”

Composer of the Oscar-winning scores of Brokeback Mountain and Babel, and recipient of 15 various Grammy awards since 2002, Gustavo Santaolalla is a world-renowned musician and co-founder of the triple-platinum band Bajofondo. Arrabal features a score created from Bajofondo’s music, performed live by a band affectionately referred to as the “Bajofonditos.” Sometimes categorized as “electronic tango,” Bajofondo’s music blends traditional tango music with elements from other genres including blues, jazz, rock, and electronic music.

SERGIO TRUJILLO, Director & Co-Choreographer

“I thought that it was important for me as an artist to tell stories that are specific to South America, and the desaparecidos are part of the tapestry of Argentinian political history and culture. Arrabal dramatizes an experience similar to what other countries in South America have gone through.”

Born in Colombia, Sergio Trujillo is a Canadian dancer-turned-director and choreographer. He is an Olivier Award winner for Memphis (2015) and Tony Award nominee for On Your Feet! (2016). In 2011, Trujillo had the honor of having four shows simultaneously running on Broadway: Memphis (Best Musical Tony Award, as well as Olivier Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk and Astaire Award nominations), Jersey Boys (Best Musical Tony Award, Olivier Award winner, Greenroom Award, Drama Desk, Dora, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations), The Addams Family, and Next to Normal (recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize).

JULIO ZURITA, Choreographer

“We lived very close to those things—I saw things in the streets when I was just a boy. When I was five years old, the military stopped a bus I was on. They yelled at all the men to get out, and then they pointed at me and said, ‘You, too.’ They made us line up facing a wall, and they searched us all for weapons. That’s what that time period was like. I remember it well… And since then in our country, at least until 2015, there’s been a struggle for human rights, and a struggle to bring to trial those responsible for these crimes against humanity.”

Winner of the 2003 Capezio A.C.E. award for his co-direction and co-choreography on Cirtango, Argentinian choreographer Julio Zurita has performed in numerous tango houses and international festivals both in Argentina and around the world, in cities including Barcelona, Granada, Seville, Toulouse, Paris, Brussels, and Frankfurt, as well as in Uruguay, the United States, and Tunisia. He has choreographed productions including Tangos of Love Lost and Animal Porteño, and did the general direction and choreography for the production of Broadway Nights in Lima. In addition to serving as choreographer for Arrabal, Julio also performs the role of Rodolfo



“There have been moments when I’ve said, ‘If I could just have the actors say one line I could solve a problem that otherwise I cannot figure out how to solve.’ But we’ve obeyed our rule not to include dialogue, although Arrabal has quite a complicated, muscular narrative. There’s a misperception that musical book writing is mostly about writing the scenes between the songs. The book writer’s primary job is to create the structure that supports the story. So, in this particular case, the story is told without words, but creating the structure, in partnership with my collaborators, has been the fundamental task. It’s been a challenge, but it’s been an enormouslysatisfying one.”

Three-time nominee for a Tony for Best Book of a Musical (Pacific Overtures, Big: The Musical, and Contact) and book writer for winners of the Tony for either Best Musical or Best Musical Revival (including Anything Goes, Contact, and Assassins), John Weidman wrote the book for Arrabal. During the composition process, Weidman wrote many of the scenes in English; they were then translated into Spanish, and those translations were used as a model for how to shape the scenes through choreography.


Prepared by Jen Worster, a second-year dramaturgy student at the A.R.T. Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Translation contributed by Zack Reiserand Pablo Hernandez Basulto.

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