@Thisfunktional Theater review: Eastside Heartbeats

Eastside Heartbeats, four on the right, talk to record producer and his girlfriend.
(Photo credit: Dorany Pineda)

Written by Jesus Figueroa

Casa 0101 brings fantastic musical "Eastside Heartbeats" telling the story of four young musicians from East Los Angeles struggling in the music industry.

With the true story of Cannibal and the Headhunters to inspire "Eastside Heartbeats," the story takes focus and well develops a storyline and plot.

Jimmy Ramirez, played by Kenneth Lopez, fights with his parents about being in a Latin band in East Los Angeles.

Lopez has a fantastic singing voice, plays a strong character and is suave through most of it. He's a strong lead and is charismatic, which helps to keep the audience's attention.

Jimmy's father, played by Gabriel Gonzales, is the biggest voice against his son's musical endeavor, at times seeming concerned for the happiness of his son.

Gonzales is funny and is able to transform his character from the beginning of the play to the climax. The performance can be a bit over the top at points, but nonetheless is enjoyable.

The rest of the Eastside Heartbeats quartet are background characters who although play a big part are not developed to full characters.

The performances from all four of the group members is fantastic. The songs performed are fantastic and have a 1960s sound.

The story of the "Eastside Heartbeats" has several similarities to "Hairspray." Story similarities are apparent but not overpowering.

The twists through the story are well timed, but the final act seems to start late and be rushed to an end.

This story is fantastic and pays tribute to Cannibal and the Headhunters, who opened for the Beatles in the 60s and gaining notability to the band and the music of East Los Angeles.

"Eastside Heartbeats" premiered to a sold out crowd, which included many notable musicians, and continues through May at Casa 0101.

For more information visit Casa0101.org.

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