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The family meets the boyfriend in Cabaret’s ‘Christmas, Contigo’

The world premiere of "Christmas Contigo," a play with music, will be performed at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre Nov. 18 to Dec. 31.
Courtesy photo Carlos-Zenen Trujillo, a Cuban-American playwright, now lives in Oregon.

The lechón is roasting, the yuca bubbles and the flan is steaming in the oven. You can smell the tantalizing aromas coming from the kitchen as you’re seated for a performance of “Christmas, Contigo” at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland.

The world premiere of the new play by Carlos-Zenen Trujillo will be performed at the dinner theater now through Dec. 31. It’s a play with music. “Lots of it,” said Valerie Rachelle, co-owner of the Cabaret with husband, Rick Robinson.

“Since the play takes place in Florida and centers around a Cuban family, our menu will have some wonderful Cuban dishes for our audiences to explore,” she said.

“The menu will be heavily influenced by the play,” Robinson said. “The playwright himself has contributed ideas.”

The menu will include dishes like lechon y yuca (roasted pork and cassava), ropa vieja vegano y maduros (shredded jackfruit and plantains), and fricasé de pollo y maduros (slow cooked fricasseed chicken and plantains). Sides will include Cuban-inspired rice and beans.

The play’s story is about a holiday family reunion with an unexpected twist.

All the trappings of Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) await Iris Delgado-Piñeira on her trip back to her family home in Hialeah. Only this year she’s bringing a surprise, her boyfriend and soon-to-be fiancé, Bryan, to meet her parents and her aging grandmother — just another ingredient in the chaos before Christmas.

“We invite audiences to join the Delgado-Piñeiras as they fall in love, reconnect, rediscover traditions and prepare a Christmas Eve for the ages,” Rachelle said.

Playwright Trujillo was born in Bejucal, Cuba, and has been an Oregonian since 2006. He was scheduled to appear in Oregon Shakespeare Company’s “Bernhardt/Hamlet” in 2020 before the season was canceled due to the pandemic.

He was featured by the 2021 Ashland New Plays Festival as one of five Emerging Playwrights. The SOU BFA grad has acted in several regional theater productions, written several plays, and has dramaturgy and directing experience.

The cast includes Al Espinosa with nine seasons at OSF; Jezabel Montero, a Cuban-American actor, writer, director and producer; Angela Hernandez, who acted at SOU and was an OSF acting trainee; JL Rey, a New York actor, director and teacher; Savanna Padilla, who acted at SOU and was an OSF acting trainee; Dan Lin, with regional theater experience and who was cast in OSF’s 2020 “Peter and the Star Catcher”; and Alina Cenal, a Cuban-American actor, dancer, director and writer.

Show times are 1 p.m. for matinees and 8 p.m. for evening performances.

Patrons have the option of arriving early for dinner, with menus varying over the run of the show and reservations required. Appetizers, desserts and drinks are also available before the show and during intermission. Food and drink are optional and not included in the price of a ticket.

Tickets are $43 for A level seating, $39 for B level, and $29 for C level. Masks are required except when dining. Proof of vaccination or a recent negative test is required.

For more information and to order tickets, go to oregoncabaret.com or call the box office at 541-488-2902.

You can reach Ashland writer Jim Flint at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.