Stop what you’re doing: a musical on Rock’n’Roll icon Ritchie Valens is officially in the works.
On Thursday, Rolling Stone reported that the late Mexican-American star, born Richard Steven Valenzuela, would be the focus of Come On, Let’s Go, an upcoming musical that shares the story of “a Chicano Boy who grew up on the other side of the tracks in California’s San Fernando Valley” and became a music legend by “singing a Mexican folk song with a Fender guitar.”
The musical will be produced by Brad Garfield, while Los Labos’ Louie Perez and David Hidalgo will oversee music and lyrics, Chicano actor and writer Richard Montoya will write the accompanying book and Tony Taccone (Latin History for Morons) will direct.
“I truly want to leave a true picture of Ritchie in the archives of Theatre and the Arts that will cement Ritchie’s Legacy, so he’s never forgotten again,” Garfield, who plans to develop the production in Southern California in 2020 before hoping to take it to Broadway, told the magazine.
The producer also revealed he plans to include never-before-heard music by the Chicano musician.
The Latino Rock’n’Roll pioneer died at the age of 17 in 1959. He, alongside other famous acts Buddy Holly and J.P. Richardson, passed away in a plane crash during an epic joint tour called the Winter Dance Party.
Valens’ impact on rock and roll is fondly remembered in the industry and Latin community, with hits like “La Bamba” and “Donna” serving as playlist staples.
In 1987, the biopic La Bamba, directed by Luis Valdez and also featuring music by the Mexican-American band Los Lobos, released to mixed reviews. With the blessing of the remaining Valenzuelas, Garfield’s goal is to leave “a true picture of Ritchie in the archives of Theatre and the Arts that will cement Ritchie’s Legacy, so he’s never forgotten again.”
It’s been 61 years since Valens passed away, 32 years since La Bamba and 19 years since he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This musical will be a reminder of his work for some and an introductory piece for others.