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Argentinian musician lands dream role in ‘Hadestown’ at the Straz

Belén Moyano, a violinist, will perform in the award-winning musical in Tampa.
Belén Moyano plays the violin in "Hadestown," a musical that has won eight Tony Awards.
Belén Moyano plays the violin in "Hadestown," a musical that has won eight Tony Awards. [ Foto: Cortesía Charles-Ericks ]
Published Nov. 29, 2022

In 2019, Belén Moyano and her husband saw “Hadestown” on Broadway.

She sat with him upstairs in the very last seat. “Way up in the theater,” she said.

“At the end of the show, I told my husband that I am going to be in this production,” said the Argentinian musician. “I saw myself represented. There were so many amazing women of color, playing instruments, doing all of this stuff that I did.”

At the beginning of 2020, she auditioned for “Hadestown.” But the pandemic came and there was no work in the arts. The production called her in 2021.

“I auditioned by Zoom; my husband (who is a musician and composer) was listening and when I finished on the call he was crying and told me, ‘If this role is not yours then it was not the time, because you are perfect,’” Moyano recalled.

Three days later, she signed a contract for “Hadestown,” a musical that will be presented at the Straz Center from Tuesday to Dec. 4. Hadestown has won eight Tony Awards and a Grammy Award. The work intertwines two mythical tales, that of the young dreamers Orpheus and Eurydice, and that of King Hades and his wife, Persephone.

“Hadestown” is a story of hope that even in the dark of night the soul always finds a way to go out and look for the light, Moyano said.

Related: ‘The spark that Tampa needed’: How Judy Lisi’s Straz Center changed a city
Argentinian musician Belén Moyano will star in "Hadestown" at The Straz Center in Tampa from Tuesday through Dec. 4.
Argentinian musician Belén Moyano will star in "Hadestown" at The Straz Center in Tampa from Tuesday through Dec. 4. [ Foto: Cortesía ]

“It is this idea of hope that everything can be achieved,” she said. “We sing it from beginning to end. It is very beautiful, so I think this is the biggest reason why the musical has won so many awards.”

It will be the first time Moyano has visited Tampa, but she said she knows the city’s history because through a composer friend, Dan Furman, she had the opportunity to be part of one of the initial stages of a musical, “Ybor City,” about a strike at a cigar factory and how immigrants came to Tampa.

Moyano’s talent was nurtured in her hometown of Buenos Aires. In Argentina, when she was 6 years old, her mother realized that her daughter loved music and started her in piano lessons. But her mother was unable to continue to pay for lessons and Moyano had to drop out.

She came to the United States when she was 9 years old.

“As soon as we moved to the United States, that was the first thing my mom was interested in, she wanted me to learn (music),” said Moyano, who started playing the violin at age 11. She then learned the cello, guitar, viola and accordion.

At age 13, Moyano began singing and dancing on stage. She went to college in Utah, where she studied singing.

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“I never thought I was going to be a professional actress,” she said. “But I kept auditioning for different plays that people invited me to. I started working professionally at 18 and then I moved to New York.”

When she arrived in New York, it took her about six months of auditions and perseverance until she landed a job.

“It’s hard to get a good contract, but it’s not impossible,” Moyano said.

“I never had the opportunity to feel or know that I was highly valued in the theater,” she said, adding that she thought her chances would be limited.

“It wasn’t until Lin-Manuel Miranda was presented on Broadway with ‘In the Heights’ ... it began to open my mind, and instead of always putting myself in roles that were written only for Latinos, I began to have more opportunities,” said Moyano.

Related: Tampa’s Spanish Lyric Theatre brings ‘In the Heights’ to Ybor

Want to go?

When: Tuesday to Dec. 4

Where: The Straz Center, 1010 N Macinnes Place, Tampa

Cost: Starting at $70.50

More information: Strazccenter.org or 813-229-7827