From the Director
The history and the journey of LA CASA AZUL, The Musical, began over twenty years ago when I was first introduced to the story of Frida Kahlo by art teacher, Janet Broyles. I was acquainted with the art of Frida Kahlo, but not as familiar with her life. I very quickly became entranced with herwork and was inspired to learn more about her life. I spent two years researching and visiting Casa Azul in Coyoacán, Mexico. I knew immediately that this story had to be set to music.
I spent a year writing the melodies and lyrics to tell the passionate and tumultuous tale of this remarkable woman. I then invited my friend and colleague Kate Ayers to assist in refining and finishing lyrics. Kate and I spent a wonderful nine months working with language to bring the story of Frida Kahlo to life. LA CASA AZUL was then copyrighted in 1997.
Then, life took me different directions, and I was given some amazing opportunities and unique experiences as well as challenges and heartache, but the production of LA CASA AZUL was always in the back of my mind. I knew I would be patient and wait for the time to be right to produce this work.
“The lyric from the show, ‘I paint myself over and over, but nothing replaces my heartache’ is now layered in my life with piercing reality.”Gregory Hancock
On September 21, 2014, the most life-altering event of my world occurred with the sudden and unexpected loss of my mother, Florence Marie Hancock. My mother was a very remarkable woman and always ahead of her time. She was passionate, funny, caring, understanding, wise, gentle, talented, inspiring, kind, and the most loving person I will ever know. My mother was my best friend, my teacher, my business partner, my travel companion, my psychiatrist, my spiritual advisor, and my motivation and inspiration to create art. She traveled with me to the Blue House and became as enraptured with the art and life of Frida Kahlo as I was myself.
Whenever we heard news of a Frida Kahlo exhibit, we would travel to experience it. She was thrilled that I had resumed the project and was looking forward to seeing this dream, so many years in the making, come to life. We were both excited to hear the first rough recording of the orchestra and after picking up the CDs, we listened to the orchestral tracks driving in the car. With each track she would smile, look at me and say, “wonderful”, “beautiful”, “amazing.” It was pouring rain and we just sat in a parking lot and listened to all the music.
Thank you Mama for constantly believing in me, for teaching and showing me the beauty of life, for demonstrating the meaning of selflessness, and for giving me undying love. Gregory Hancock
LA CASA AZUL has now become more personal and has taken on a new meaning and purpose. The story, music and lyrics all resonate with more pain, but also with more beauty. Much like Frida Kahlo, I have taken my physical and emotional pain and turned it into art. This work has become the legacy of my mother and is my great love letter to her, although laced with bittersweet tears. I am grateful to all of the people who have breathed life into this project, but because the most important person of my life is not physically here to celebrate my vision of LA CASA AZUL, it remains bittersweet.
Thank you Kate Ayers for your friendship and your wonderful collaboration. Thank you Nicholas Cline for your exquisite orchestrations and your generous acceptance of revisions. Thank you to Heather Helene King, Martin Casanova, and Anita Lerche Hjorth for your friendship and invaluable assistance during orchestra and vocal recordings. Thank you to Michael Graham and the staff at The Lodge Recording studios for all your talent, organization and work. Thank you to my brilliant collaborators Ryan Koharchik, Beatriz Vasquez, Terry Woods, and Daniel Klingler. All of you elevate my work to new levels. Thank you to my assistant director, Melanie Eakman for your organization and competency. You have evolved into a remarkable and invaluable assistant.
Thank you to those of you who have chosen to remain in my life during my great grief and metamorphosis.
Thank you to the incredible cast of LA CASA AZUL for giving life to my vision and for believing in the power of this work. Over the past few months I have realized there is no such thing as security in life. There are no guarantees for anything. Happiness, success, fame, security, even love, are all fleeting and elusive at best. Our only guarantee in life is death. Recently I was asked why I made a choice to have Death be such a major role in LA CASA AZUL. I replied back that Death was Frida’s closest friend. It was not something she feared but, but welcomed. Death was her constant companion and she embraced and accepted this as her ultimate fate. This is not saying that she did not have great joy, but it was balanced with great sorrow. I have learned to let go of fear, insecurity and doubt, for if security does not exist, why should these things exist?
Thank you Mama for constantly believing in me, for teaching and showing me the beauty of life, for demonstrating the meaning of selflessness, and for giving me undying love. My world is empty without you. My life and art are forever for you.
My life and art are forever for you.Gregory Hancock