REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

Clemente: The Legend of 21

Written & Directed by Luis Caballeronightblue & Artocarpus

Produced by Nightblue and ArtoCarpus

At Stage 773, Chicago

Failure to disclose that the show is mostly in Spanish doomed the production for many

I reread all the press materials again looking for a statement that 70% of Clemente: The legend of 21 is totally in Spanish but I couldn’t find such a notice. If so, I probably would not have attended the show if I knew it was mostly in Spanish. The tediousness of having to read the super titles of the spoken Spanish together with the salsa-oriented songs, that were NOT translated and were poorly sung and dances made me question why anyone would create a musical, especially one with recorded music about a baseball player? Trues, Roberto Clemente was a trailblazing Latino baseball player and great hitter with a strong arm who I saw beat the Cubs many time in his 18 year career (1955-1972). But I can’t understand why anyone would make a musical of his life?

nightblue & artocarpus

Also, why would anyone produce the show mostly in Spanish WITHOUT informing potential audiences? And, just to further irritate audiences, the two narrators who spoke English with a thick accent mumbling too softly and running-their-words-together were completely unintelligible further frustrating the American audience. Add bland songs poorly sung  and danced and NOT translated making the show unfolded as a long first act.

The songs added nothing to the bio of the baseball legend and the use of his young nick name, ‘Momen’ only served to confuse who was the young Roberto since he had a brother near his age.

I was so upset at the lack of stage worthy elements, strange directorial decisions, and mid numbing actions that I left the show after the first act for only the third time in over 3,400 show that I’ve reviewed.  Be warned that this show is mostly in Spanish and the English parts are harder to understand because of the lack of enunciation – at least the Spanish dialogue has super titles and, thankfully, the terrible songs were not translated. Why Nightblue co-produced this show is a mystery. The great Roberto Clemente deserves a better tribute.

Not Recommended

Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: August 22, 2014

For more info checkout the Clemente: The Legend of 21 at

At Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont, Chicago, IL,  call 773-327-5252,, tickets $35, Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2hours, 20 minutes with intermission, through September 14, 2014


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