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Beasting Out with Dominican Sisters in Beastgirl


There’s nothing like incense, incantations, and louder-than-mic spirits to evoke folklore. And there’s nothing like three teens teasing, bickering, and reminiscing to give you pangs of sisterhood. There’s also nothing like the merging of the two in a story about Dominican Americans to finally conjure the typical White American girls’ coming-of-age story, à la Now and Then, with characters and a culture steeped in Afro-Latinidad. 

That’s what Beastgirl, a musical for young audiences now showing at Kennedy Center, poetry-slams to life. It’s based on the 2016 chapbook Beastgirl and Other Origin Myths by Dominican American poet, native New Yorker, and longtime D.C. resident Elizabeth Acevedo

The selection of poems strung together for this production isn’t as seamless an arrangement as the rooftop lights on set. C. Quintana’s script plows through a plot where zilch happens beyond sisters calling upon spirits, cheering on and consoling one another. Its main function is as a throughline for the real action: the sharing of afflictions and blessings from and about girls, women, and legendary figures of Dominican descent. 

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