Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-03-16



German Santiago: Tales from the 'West Side'
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times

This article shared 5890 times since Wed Aug 3, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

German Santiago—who plays Bernardo in the current touring production of West Side Story—just arrived in Chicago. Along with a background in Broadway that includes shows such as Evita, South Pacific and The Music Man, he also has television and movie experience. In West Side Story, German is the leading "Shark" in the water.

Windy City Times: Hola, German. How long have you been touring with this show?

German Santiago: It has been for about eight or nine months.

WCT: I just spoke with Rita Moreno today and she wanted me to send you and Michelle Aravena, who plays Anita, her best wishes.

GS: Amazing. It is funny because people say Michelle is channeling Rita Moreno.

WCT: I can hardly wait to see that. You play a Puerto Rican but you are actually from Mexico City, correct?

GS: Yes, I was born in Mexico City. When I was six years old my parents brought me to the States. I lived in Houston, Texas up until about six years ago when I moved to Los Angeles.

WCT: Did you study theatre in Texas?

GS: I studied musical theatre and acting. I went to a school close to Houston. It was a state school called Sam Houston State University. At that time they had the only musical theatre program in Texas so I decided to go for it and they offered me a scholarship. I didn't grow up with a lot of money so I took what was offered.

WCT: You have played Pepe in West Side Story before but what led you to the touring show?

GS: To be honest with you, I didn't audition for the New York cast because I didn't know about the audition. I had taken a break from theatre and was in L.A. pursuing my TV/film career. That was the direction I was going and where I want to end up no matter what. I had stopped dancing for about five years. My agent came across the audition and he told me about it on a Friday, the audition was on a Monday. After auditioning in LA then they asked me to fly to New York to meet the director, producer and writer. They offered me the role on the spot.

WCT: I heard a dialect coach helped the cast speak a little more Puerto Rican.

GS: Some of us speak Spanish but we are from different Latin American backgrounds. We all had to sound like we were from the same place. The coach refined everybody into one dialect. She was great to work with.

WCT: Is the character Bernardo similar to you in any way?

GS: No. I am a pretty chill guy. I have a lot of patience. I am on the quest for Zen where Bernardo is not. He's very aggressive and volatile. He's in an environment where he constantly has to watch his back. In his time period you didn't know if people were looking at you in a certain way because you are Puerto Rican and have brown skin, especially in the neighborhood he is in.

If he resembles anything close to me then I would say he is similar to one of my brothers. One of my brothers got into gangs when were growing up. I was involved but never got initiated thank goodness. I saw my brother almost get his head blown off with a gun. This was not why my parents came to this country so I dove a hundred percent into my schoolwork. Eventually I became involved in theatre.

WCT: That's a big journey.

GS: It is. When people look at me or talk to me they would never think that is where I come from. Experiences like that change you. You have a different appreciation of life when a lethal weapon is pointed at your head.

WCT: With West Side Story, people can still relate to the gangs and violence.

GS: Of course, it is still going on. People can relate to three big things in West Side Story. Loving someone with the deepest foundation of your core, prejudice, for not being liked for something they are and third for their love not being accepted by someone else, whether a family member or a friend.

WCT: There have been a few changes in the show?

GS: The biggest change is there is Spanish in the show. It is only about ten percent of it. It is mostly when the Puerto Ricans are around each other. Audiences will still understand what is going on in the scene and what they are talking about. It won't lose them but at first might surprise people. People might be looking for subtitles but they aren't there. It will seem more authentic though with Spanish a part of it.

WCT: How was making the movie Every Little Step?

GS: It was an interesting experience. What you have to remember is with movies they are at the mercy of the editors. It is always interesting to see the final cut versus what actually occurred. It really helped me grow in many ways.

WCT: You got to be on the television show Medium with Patricia Arquette.

GS: She's fantastic and a sweetheart. It was nice that it was a season finale episode. Everybody was cool on set.

WCT: What was the difference of doing that and a novella on Telemundo's La Ley Del Silencio?

GS: [Laughs] It is not that much of a difference it is just in Spanish. It is a little bit different style of acting. I always think when you are around fun good people then its all great.

WCT: Was that filmed in L.A.?

GS: No, first in Houston then in Florida.

WCT: And Dante's Cove?

GS: My favorite part Dante's Cove was staying in Hawaii. I only had ten days of shooting in a span of five weeks the rest of the time I got to play. It was like a paid vacation.

WCT: Do you get tired of all of this touring and traveling?

GS: It all depends. I like to have a place called home but it is a challenge for all of us on the tour traveling so consistently. When you do six weeks of one week shows then it does take a toll on you. Tour life is not for everybody!

West Side Story runs through Sunday, Aug. 14, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. Visit for tickets and show times.

This article shared 5890 times since Wed Aug 3, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

About Face to run immersive comedy about climate-change activism 2022-05-27
- About Face Theatre brings its 27th season to a close with a world premiere comedy created by and starring the About Face Youth Theatre ensemble. Gayme Changers will run June 18-24 at The Den Theater, 1331 ...

Gay News

THEATER Steppenwolf's gay-themed 'Choir Boy' to run June 16-July 24 2022-05-26
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company will run the Tony-nominated play Choir Boy. by Oscar-winning Steppenwolf ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight), on June 16-July 24. Directed by Kent Gash, the production features ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Seagull 2022-05-25
- Title: Seagull. Playwright: Anton Chekhov At: Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.; Tickets: $20-$88. Runs through: June 12 The final test of success for any undertaking lies in how well it accomplishes its intended purpose. ...

Gay News

THEATER Lesbian-cruise drama 'Seven Days at Sea' running thru June 5 2022-05-25
- Light and Sound Productions is running the world premiere of Seven Days at Sea, written by Martha Hansen and directed by Margaret Knapp, through Sunday, June 5, at The Edge Theater, 5451 N. Broadway. The performance ...

Gay News

THEATER Musical 'Get Out Alive' running July 8-Aug. 7 2022-05-23
- Haven will continue its 2021-22 season with Nikki Lynette's multidisciplinary afrogoth musical Get Out Alive, co-directed by Roger Ellis and Lucky Stiff, which features the writer and her personal journey with mental health. The production will ...

Gay News

Billy Masters: Theater 2022-05-23
- "Well, thanks Colin. That's the end of my career. Because you know, that role really should have been mine."—Rupert Everett tells Piers Morgan his reaction when he heard Colin Firth would play the lead in Tom ...

Gay News

PREVIEW Here comes the sun: Summer plays are blooming indoors and outside 2022-05-22
- There were times when we thought that the sunshine would never return, but despite climate change and contagion, there's no stopping summer—and while we usually associate expanded daylight hours with outdoor activities, a number of theaters ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Broadway, JoJo Siwa, WEHO Pride, 'Jurassic World,' Madonna 2022-05-22
- The Broadway League announced that all 41 Broadway theaters in New York City have extended the current mask requirement for audiences through at least June 30, Playbill noted. Charlotte St. Martin, president of The Broadway League, ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Chinese Lady 2022-05-22
- It began in 1834 as an advertising gimmick: In order to promote sales of their Far East Oriental imported goods, the Carnes Brothers procured their company a real-life spokesperson. This was the teenage Afong Moy, known ...

Gay News

THEATER Season of Concern to present 'Jerry's Girls' on June 27 2022-05-21
- "Jerry's Girls: A Benefit for Season of Concern" will take place Monday, June 27, at 7:30 p.m. at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Season of Concern Chicago is dedicated to providing financial assistance to ...

Gay News

Quiz program 'Wait, Wait' to start taping June 16 at the Studebaker 2022-05-16
- Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, NPR's weekly hour-long quiz program, will resume live audience recordings Thursday, June 16, in a new Chicago home: the historic Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building, 401 S. Michigan Ave. ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer playwright, LGBTQ+ films, BMI Pop Awards, new superhero 2022-05-15
- Jeremy O. Harris, the queer Tony-nominated author of Slave Play, has been named the presiding playwright for the 2023 Yale Drama Series Prize—one of the theater world's most prestigious playwriting honors, Deadline noted. Harris joins the ...

Gay News

THEATER 'The Secretaries: A Parable' running through June 11 2022-05-12
- First Floor Theater returns to live production with the world premiere of company member Omer Abbas Salem's The Secretaries: A Parable following the script's 2021 development as part of Goodman Theatre's Future Labs. The production will ...

Gay News

THEATER Underscore's 'Notes & Letters' running through May 28 2022-05-12
- Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its 10th-anniversary season with the world premiere of the musical Notes & Letters, which features book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak (she/her) and is ...

Gay News

FILM 'The Adventures of Priscilla' to show nationwide on June 2 2022-05-11
- Iconic Events Releasing will kick off Pride Month with a special nationwide rerelease of MGM's classic 1994 Australian film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Screenings will take place in select theaters nationwide on ...


Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.