An electric Latin beat can wake up the dead…well, not quite!
Most assuredly, however, the power of that syncopated rhythm coming from those congas, bongos, claves, and tamboras will get you moving. And when “Rock With You” starring Seaon Stylist-Bristol opens at El Portal Theatre on December 23, be ready for a powerhouse of energy that boldly communicates soulful Latin grooves. The show is a tribute to the Michael Jackson; however, this tribute takes on a totally Latin spin.
When Jackson died on June 25, 2009, Bristol, like the millions of other fans around the world, was devastated. Yet, just as the King of Pop was being laid to rest, Bristol became inspired. Over the next several months, he began creating his show, combining his talent and years of experience as a dancer, choreographer, actor and singer.
Jackson, “a genius” as Bristol calls him, had impacted Bristol throughout his life. He also was familiar with how fellow-Latinos had been deeply influenced by the musical great. Thus, Bristol was intent on developing a show that would re-orchestrate Jackson’s music, incorporating a distinctly Latin sound. Working with Grammy-nominated producer Rebeca Mauleon, who is also an internationally recognized and accomplished musician, bandleader and composer, Bristol accomplished his goal. This will be the first time that the show has been produced in Los Angeles; during the development phase, it was performed in New York and Germany, and most recently in San Francisco.
“Rock With You” is a stage production complete with live musicians and sixteen dancers who will charge up the night. Bristol performs with two back-up vocalists, while the Los Angeles Harmony Girls’ Choir rounds out the show. Besides a compilation of Jackson’s hits, including “Remember the Time,” “Can You Feel It” and “Human Nature” amongst others, the show has Bristol’s rendition of “Smile”, one of Jackson’s favorite songs, as well as a Christmas song.
For Bristol, arriving at this point in his career has proved to be more than a bit interesting. As a youngster growing up in Guyana, on the north coast of South America, Bristol’s family was poor. Since they didn’t have a television, a young Seaon used to peek through a neighbor’s window to catch a glimpse of the mysterious box. Generally, his neighbor responded by pulling the curtains shut.
But one day, things were decidedly different. That same neighbor invited Bristol and family into her home. It was the first time that he got close to a television set. On the small screen was Michael Jackson. From that moment on, Bristol was a faithful fan.
As his admiration for Jackson grew, Bristol recalls that when he was eight years old, he wanted so much to communicate with the mega-star, that the youngster called Jackson’s fan club and “demanded” to speak with Jackson. Flabbergasted, the fan club employee was at a loss for words. At the time, Bristol was too young to know much about how things work in show business.
As the years came and went, Bristol’s life dramatically changed. He eventually moved to New York City and attended New York University (NYU) where he studied finance. Yet, his real passion was to become an entertainer, and he soon decided to follow that dream.
Salsa dancing proved to be one of his most admired talents, allowing him to travel around the world to such cities as Berlin, Hong Kong, Paris, Tokyo, and more. Recently, while he was in San Francisco, he met Helen Azevedo, co-producer of this production of “Rock With You”. It was through their partnership that Bristol was enabled to bring his tribute to fruition.
Just as all things Latino continue to enrich our culture, Justin Bieber's new song “Latin Girl” is all the buzz even before it's been released. Bristol’s timing in bringing his show to Los Angeles does more than just illustrate his insight. It confirms what we all innately knew; the Latin beat will always be “Hot, Hot, Hot”!
(El Portal Theatre is located at 5269 Lankershim Blvd. in North Hollywood, 91601 “Rock With You” runs Thursday, December 23 thru Sunday, January 2 (including New Year’s Day) Showtimes: Tuesday thru Friday @ 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays @ 6:00 & 9:00 p.m.; Sundays @ 3:00 & 7:00 p.m. Or click here to buy tickets.)