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4 Guys Named Jose and Una Mujer Named Maria

O’Connell and Company has made its move to ECC North Campus in Williamsville, and has opened an appealing revue called 4 Guys Named Jose and Una Mujer Named Maria.

While the show does make use of every cheesy device ever contrived for a grade B revue—an unlikely middle American locale, the need to put on a show despite unexpected last-minute production problems, complicated relations among the participants, etc.—this little revue has a great deal of heart. The four Joses, each representing a different Latin American country, joined by a singer named Maria, go through a songbook of Latin American cross-over hits, from “Babalu” to “Perfidia,” to “Besame Mucho,” to “La Bamba” to “Living La Vida Loca.”

Along the way we explore love, loss, nostalgia for one’s homeland, and the sheer joy of song.

The agreeable cast is headed by Victoria Perez (as la mujer named Maria) and Rolando Gomez as the Cuban Jose. Each gives a strong and wonderfully comic performance.

Pedro Rodriguez projects a winning presence as Jose Boricua (i.e. as the Puerto Rican Jose), and dances and sings well.

Rafael Perez (Jose Dominicano) and Pedro Rodriguez (Jose Mexicano) add cheerful and upbeat enthusiasm.

This feel-good show is propelled along by wonderfully inventive and playful choreography by Carlos Jones who makes the cast look good at every moment. Jones allows the company to overcome occasionally weak vocals with exuberant charm and joie de vivre. The evening moves briskly and is aided additionally by costumes by Todd Warfield that make everybody look terrific. A skilled onstage Latin band adds sabor.