The song “Contender” from Noemi de la Puente and David Davila’s MANUEL VERSUS THE STATUE OF LIBERTY has been awarded a Mikey Award as the song that is most likely to become an audition standard.
Manuel, the hero, is the best student at the Prep School he attends, but he’s also an undocumented immigrant living in hiding. When his mentor asks him why he can’t apply to college, Manuel laments and confesses his dream to live a full life where he doesn’t have to hide from “la migra” (The United States Customs and Immigration Services). The song has music by David Davila and lyrics by David Davila and Noemi de la Puente (who also authored the book).
Gil Perez-Abraham sings “Contender” at the 2015 NYMF Press Conference. Karl Hedrick on piano.
2015 Best Musical Nominee, and Winner of the Social Relevance and Impact award, and the 2014 NYMF Developmental Reading Series, this Latin infused American musical is inspired by the true story of a Princeton Undergrad who was an undocumented child immigrant from the Dominican Republic. When Manuel gets a scholarship to study at Oxford, he’s faced with the realization that he can’t leave the USA. He takes on The Statue of Liberty in the fight of a lifetime; the high-stakes boxing match that is immigration today. Is Manuel worthy? No one is spared in this political comedy that pulls no punches about immigration reform and the American Dream.
Manuel versus The Statue of Liberty has a book by Noemi de la Puente, music by David Davila, Lyrics by Noemi de la Puente & David Davila with direction by José Zayas, choreography by Sidney Erik Wright, and musical direction by Karl Hedrick. Its cast includes Gil Perez – Abraham (Little Fish) as Manuel and Shakina Nayfack (2015 Lilly Award, One Woman Show) as The Statue of Liberty joining, AJ Meijer (Heathers The Musical), Alicia Taylor Tomasko (In The Heights), Anthony Chan (National Tour: Anything Goes), Erika Gonzalez (Shot in the Dark), Michael Marotta (Regional: Tenderly), and Tami Dahbura (National Tour: Memphis). Creative team includes: Zach Blane (Lighting Design), David Margolis Lawson (Sound Design), Jason Simms (Set Design), Lux Haac (Costume Design), Adele Rylands (Fight Choreography).