The Happiest Song Plays Last OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS




  • TM


Opening Night:
March 3, 2014
March 23, 2014

Theater: Second Stage Theatre / 305 West 43rd Street, New York, NY, 10036


Cousins Elliot and Yaz, having long searched for their place in the community, discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family, both by blood and by love. While Elliot gets a lucky break in the film business, Yaz takes on the role of familial and neighborhood matriarch, nourishing those who pass through her door. Beating to the sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music led by the Grammy-nominated Nelson González, The Happiest Song Plays Last invites you to spend a year with Elliot and Yaz on their journey to peace and purpose in an ever-changing world.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Happiest Song Plays Last

    Home From One War, Back to Another. End of Trilogy, ‘The Happiest Song Plays Last,’ Onstage Now.

    Charles Isherwood

    March 3, 2014: Life will probably never again be a matter of forward, march for Elliot (Armando Riesco), the ex-Marine whose life keeps spinning off new challenges and surprises in The Happiest Song Plays Last, the third in a trilogy of plays by Quiara Alegría Hudes focusing on Elliot’s search for purpose after returning from duty in Iraq. Moving ahead will also be a matter of zigging and zagging for his cousin Yaz (Lauren Vélez), the music professor who is the other central character in this play and its predecessor, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Water by the Spoonful.

  • VARIETY REVIEW OF The Happiest Song Plays Last

    Off Broadway Review: ‘The Happiest Song Plays Last'

    Marilyn Stasio

    March 3, 2014: Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue began the cycle of plays by Quiara Alegria Hudes about a young Marine’s re-entry into the land of the living after a soul-destroying tour in Iraq. Water by the Spoonful, which examines the original source of Elliot’s traumatized psyche, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize. Completing the cycle, The Happiest Song Plays Last adds a few wrinkles to the familiar material, but finally delivers the big reveal we’ve seen coming for a long time. Huge thanks to composer Nelson Gonzalez and superb fellow musicians for the Puerto Rican folk music that elevates the static storytelling to folklore.

  • NEW YORK DAILY NEWS REVIEW OF The Happiest Song Plays Last

    ‘The Happiest Song Plays Last’: Theater review

    Joe Dziemianowicz

    March 3, 2014: In 2011, Elliot (Armando Riesco) is trying to get on by working on a movie in Jordan about the war. As he forges a friendship with an Iraq refugee Ali (Dariush Kashani), Elliot finds himself drawn to Shar (Annapurna Sriram), an Iranian-Egyptian actress. Elliot’s cousin Yaz (Lauren Velez), a music professor, has traded her comfortable high-rise life in Philadelphia for a home in hardscrabble ’hood where she’s made herself an unofficial mother to the nabe’s needy. Yaz finds an unlikely soul mate and romantic interest Agustin (Tony Plana), who’s a couple decades older and a hard drinker.

  • THEATERMANIA REVIEW OF The Happiest Song Plays Last

    The Happiest Song Plays Last

    David Gordon

    March 3, 2014: In 2006, the playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes introduced the theater world to Elliot Ortiz, a 19-year-old man whose life changed irrevocably when he joined the marines to fight for his country in the Middle East. We first met him in Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, a play that opened and closed with little fanfare at the Culture Project and later became a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The first in a theatrical trilogy, Fugue was followed up in 2011 with Water By the Spoonful, a play that opened and closed with similarly modest fanfare at Hartford Stage, but would go on to win the Pulitzer for depicting Elliot's quest to find meaning in his life as a civilian.

  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF The Happiest Song Plays Last

    The Happiest Song Plays Last: Theater review by David Cote

    David Cote

    March 3, 2014: The program for Quiara Alegría Hudes’s final play in her Elliot trilogy, The Happiest Song Plays Last, doesn’t include a family tree. If you missed previous installments (such as last year’s Water by the Spoonful, also at Second Stage), you’ll need to know that Iraq War vet Elliot (the dynamite Armando Riesco) is cousin to Yaz (Lauren Vélez), and that the latter has bought the home where the former grew up. There’s a fair amount of familial (and community) history. But maybe we don’t need an Ortiz genealogical chart; Hudes implies that, in the end, everyone belongs to this teeming brood.



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