In Zona Pop CNN we remember what Maestro Ventura was like thanks to the Dominican actor and producer Antonio Melenciano, who in 2012 produced the play “Johnny, the musical”.
(CNN Spanish) -
(CNN Spanish) -
Dominican singer Johnny Ventura received one of the most important tributes in life, being able to see his story on stage in "Johnny, the musical."
The creator of this staging is the Dominican actor and producer Antonio Melenciano who, from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, spoke with Zona Pop to tell what it was like to work closely with the singer known as “El Caballo Mayor”.
"Johnny, the musical" premiered on July 26, 2012 at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Santo Domingo and it was Johnny himself who collaborated to see his own life on stage.
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A tribute in life in which he could remember his mother
After having produced musicals in the Dominican Republic such as "I Love RD", "Luther King, todos los colores" and "Tingó", Melenciano had already invited Ventura to them to see their work.
How was the approach to tell your story?
Antonio Melenciano assures that he wanted to pay tribute to him in life: "I always wanted to tell the story of this great music icon. I came over to tell him the idea I had about this musical."
The road was not easy.
After several weeks of conversations and brainstorming, he got their approval.
Melenciano tells us that it was the best experience of my life: “Johnny was a close and wonderful being.
I could connect with people of different generations.
We had many sessions to create the script and to be able to honor him in life. "
Antonio Melenciano, the writer and producer of "Johnny, the musical" with Johnny Ventura on the opening night in Santo Domingo (Photography Aniaris López)
A political defender of causes
Juan de Dios Ventura Soriano, his full name, was a lawyer by profession and managed to combine this career with merengue very well.
"Johnny won the affection of the public as a politician. He was a trustee when our city was not divided. He was a politician for one of the majority parties in the country and at all times he was seen as a defender of causes, of justice, of the legislation and of the same freedom ", affirms Melenciano.
"He was always a singing voice; people saw him as a familiar being because apart from being linked to his music, he contributed to our country, since he was always linked to the best intentions for our country," he adds.
Merengue, from the Dominican Republic to the world
According to Antonio Melenciano, Johnny was the one who made the merengue known to the whole world: "He was a transforming element in the merengue, with his energy and charisma he transformed what was in that moment, turning the merengue that was still into something energetic".
"Once we had a very close and profound conversation about the blackness of our country. Knowing the point of view of an Afro-descendant who has been an icon and reference in the music of Latin America and the world," he adds.
"Johnny Ventura was the first Dominican who took merengue outside of our country and he triumphed. He was the first Dominican to go to the Viña del Mar Festival, in those big festivals nobody knew about merengue and with his charisma and music he was able to conquer people ", concludes the producer.
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