Talkin' BroadwayPast Columns

"Hello. May I help you?", said the clerk in Sam Goody's music store. She's wearing a Capeman T-shirt and working in the Video/Jazz/ Soundtrack/Latin section.

A little old man, wearing beads and dressed in white, came in with a large black lady. The beads are meaningful, for they represent Saint Yemaya. The clerk knew immediately that they were members of a religion known as Santeria.

For those of you who are not familiar with Santeria, let me give you a little background. It is a religion that is practiced mainly by Latinos, with its roots in Africa and Cuba. They worship a group of Saints who protect them in exchange for small gifts. Yemaya rules over the ocean surface, and those who wish her protection wear a "collate", a necklace made of beads that represents her. Her picture, in the homes of those who follow her, is often surrounded by shells or other beautiful blue and white objects.

Santeria is often looked on as evil because of some of the more elaborate rituals, especially that of inducting new members, which requires the sacrificing of animals. However, it is not evil or Satan worshiping as some believe. Santeros and Santeras, those who have been initiated, are believed to be very gifted people who can help others. It's widely believed they have curing powers with just their touch, and they also are said to have the gift of vision into the future.

For those of you who saw The Capeman, one of the most common rituals was depicted very accurately. Esmeralda took her son, Salvador, to a Santero to have his future read. The Santero threw twelve shells and read the mouths of the shells which revealed the future of the boy. It was probably the only time Santeria was ever depicted on a stage.

The man in white approached the clerk.

"It's never coming back."

"Uh?...yeah?" said the clerk.

"You realize that it's gone, don't you? What's the point in wishing?"

She then realized that the man in white was referring to her Capeman shirt. She thought he was another of those detractors who say the show was trash, but then she remembered the beads.

"I don't care. I loved it. It was beautiful and moving, and I don't understand why more people didn't enjoy it."

He took her arm, "Let me tell you something. If anyone on Broadway knew anything at all, they would have realized Capeman is the most beautiful and intellectual show to open in over ten years."

He looked at a video screen. "The show was not about Salvador Agron. That show was about us. It was about Santeria. It shows how a common person can rise from the evil spirits to the saints. White people don't understand that. They don't realize that the name Salvador Agron is just a cover for the true meaning of the show. By the way, how is Marc?"

"Who?", asked the shocked but interested clerk.

"Marc Anthony. You know him. You've visited him in his dressing room, and you talked to him a lot at the theater. He thinks about you, so I'm presuming you two had something together. You also gave him a card of Yemaya, which meant a great dealt to him."

The girl just stared at him, for what he said was true. The man in white dropped the topic.

"Do you know why The Capeman closed?", he continued.


"Salvador Agron closed that show."


"Do you have the Paul Simon CD? Isn't it so intriguing to hear Salvador Agron's voice on that recording? He was a very interesting man, you know. I've spoken to him. He died a Catholic gay communist."

"How did you know him?"

"I took the recording of his voice to the front of the theater at the proper time, and I invoked him. I asked him to protect the show. He said he'd do it, unless it didn't attract the proper audience. The show wasn't bringing in the people Salvador expected, so he said he wanted it to end. And the show closed on March 28th."

He went on to tell her that Salvador Agron wanted the Spanish people to see the show. They were going, but not enough of them. Agron also wanted the show to be written in Spanish. He felt it was awkward when it was done in English.

"Only two white people understood the show, and you're one of them."

He continued, "Salvador Agron didn't kill those two boys."

"Who did?"

"Oh, his body did it, but Salvador Agron did not kill those children. 0Saint Lazaro played a part in that. When he was a child, he saw demons all around him. He would tell his parents, but nobody listened to him. So they came closer and closer, and, when he was a teenager, they possessed him. The demons killed those boys, using an innocent child's body. While he was in prison, he became a devout Catholic, and they (the demons) were forced to leave him. He followed the path to the Saints and was free of all evil when he died."

The girl was frightened and intrigued. The man in white selected a video to purchase, and the clerk rang it up and thanked him for his purchase.

The man in white spoke to his lady friend as he was walking toward the door, "Didn't I tell you I was going to meet her today?"

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