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Arts Beat: Historic and hysterical musical stops in Hartford before Broadway

“Kiss my Aztec!” » The new musical with book from comedy legend John Leguizamo and acclaimed director Tony Taccone, hits the Hartford stage June 1-26, en route to Broadway. Benjamin Valez and David Kamp provide music and lyrics; Taccone will be directed and choreographed by Mayte Natalio. The musical, which traces Latin American history from the 16th century, received rave reviews while touring California. The San Diego Union Tribune calls “Kiss My Aztec” “‘In the Heights’ crashing into ‘The Book of Mormon’ somewhere along ‘Avenue Q.'” “Kiss My Aztec!” was originally commissioned by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The world premiere was produced by the Berkeley Repertory Theater and La Jolla Playhouse. For more details: www.hartfordstage.org.

Awards Season Update: Tony Award nominations will be announced today. The 75th Tony Awards will be presented on Sunday, June 12 at Radio City Music Hall. For a full list of nominees: www.tonyawards.com/nominees. During this time, at Lucille Lortel Awardrecognizing excellence in Off-Broadway theatre, Shannon Tyo won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lead Performer in a Ma-Yi Theater Company Play and The Public Theater’s production of “The Chinese Lady,” which won saw the light of day at Barrington Stage in 2018. And keep your eye out for James Jackson Jr., currently starring in Broadway’s new musical “A Strange Loop.” Jackson graduated from Westfield State University.