‘Heartbeats’ brings energy to stage

By Dorany Pineda

The highly energetic musical, “The Eastside Heartbeats: A New Rock ’n’  Roll Musical,” opened to a sold-out show on Cinco de Mayo at Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights.

“The Eastside Heartbeats” is brought to life by the phenomenally talented cast of actors.

The play tells the story of a singing and dancing quartet of young men from East Los Angeles, who dream of making it big in the music world.

The leader of the group, Jimmy Ramirez, played by Kenneth Lopez, is not content with their regional success, and neither are the other members.

What follows is a song and a record that catches the attention of one of the biggest and most influential bands in the world.

Lopez’s portrayal of Jimmy really captured the audience’s attention, and his talent was met with a resounding applause that felt electric.

Lopez’s  ability to sing, dance and simultaneously act out all the elements of the musical with vitality is outstanding.

Other notable performances are that of Gabriel Gonzales, who plays Jimmy’s father, for his great singing voice and his fully-realized performance as an overbearing, critical father, and Diana Castrillon, who plays his mother and captivates the audience with her angelic voice and acting.

“The Eastside Heartbeats” fully captures the era of the 1960s with an original compilation of rock ‘n’ roll and the passionate sounds of Mexican-American musicians during that time.

The gifted musicians who make up the live, on-stage band completely revitalized the music of that generation.

The rock ’n’ roll musical, directed by Steve E. Feinberg, is inspired by the true story of the 1960s East Los Angeles Chicano rock band, Cannibal and the Headhunters.

At the peak of their success, the Chicano musical group opened for The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl in 1965.

Together with the lyrical craftsmen and the the musicians, actors, directors and producers, “The Eastside Heartbeats” is a fun, emotional, stellar production that left my heart feeling full.

“The Eastside Heartbeats” runs through May 29 at Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights. For tickets and additional information about the production, visit www.casa0101.org.

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