‘La Usurpadora’ Musical Revives Telenovela & ’90s Latin Music Hits – Billboard

La Usurpadora is hitting theaters in a new musical adaptation presented by Pantelion Films — 25 years after the Mexican telenovela starring Gabriela Spanic and Fernando Colunga aired.



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Directed by Santiago Limón and produced by Matt Walden and Paul Presburger, La Usurpadora: The Musical, similar to the famed 1998 novela, revolves around identical twin sisters Valeria and Victoria who were separated at birth and 28 years later meet and switch lives. The former is humble and kind, the latter is rich and cruel. 

A 13-track soundtrack, executive produced by Grammy- and Latin Grammy-winning producer Sebastian Krys, accompanies the original film.

“Matt Walden called me and said he was turning a telenovela into a musical and I said ‘That’s insane, count me in!’” Krys said during a press screening in Miami on Wednesday night. “It makes sense because the way he would point it is that telenovelas are already over-the-top, so the next logical step is to have everyone singing and dancing.”

Though the film is based in the modern day, its soundtrack pays tribute to some of the biggest Latin hits of the ’90s, including Celia Cruz’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval,” Gloria Estefan’s “Mi Tierra,” Selena Quintanilla’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom,” Ricky Martin’s “Vuelve,” Cristian Castro’s “No Podrás” and many more. 

“We’d go back and forth in finding the right fit musically, lyrically, and then getting the rights,” Krys explains of his soundtrack debut that took more than four years to create. “I’ve worked with a lot of those artists in a lot of their records, like with Ricky Martin and Franco De Vita. I’ve worked with Gloria for 12 years, so doing this soundtrack was a little daunting because I didn’t want to screw the original songs up.” 

“One of the things that I love the most while recording the songs is that he gave us total freedom of feeling the songs our own way,” adds Isabela Castillo, who portrays Valeria and Victoria in the musical. “It was a process of about four months where he gave us the liberty of playing around and experimenting with the harmony and melodies. That’s what you’re going to see here. We have song mashups, different ingredients, and new musical arrangements that these songs didn’t have back in the day. It’s really mind-blowing.” 

Bringing the ’90s hits to life for La Usurpadora: The Musical was an overall joy for the cast, which also includes Alan Estrada, who portrays Carlos Daniel, the love interest of the twins.

“For me, the last 20 minutes of the movie was my favorite to perform,” he says. “I find the mash-up of ‘Vuelve’ and ‘Cosas del Amor’ very exciting and you’ll see many things unfold in that scene. It brings me happiness. At the Los Angeles screening, everyone clapped as if they were watching a play. I’ve never seen that happen in a movie, and I really liked that reaction. As an actor, we want our work to become memorable in some way.”

La Usurpadora: The Musical, whose cast also includes Susana Zabaleta, Jesús Ochoa, Alejandra Guzmán and Spanic, the OG Usurpadora actress, to name a few, premieres Friday in the U.S. and April 12 in Mexico.

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