I remember it so clearly.......he walked into the Born To Rumba audition, he said, "Hi, I'm Al Rodriguez and I am Marijuana"....and he was. For over 500 performances he entertained sold out houses with his outrageous, over the top antics but most of all with his heart felt performance. Audiences loved him. The fact is we all loved him. To be on stage with Al was deliciously dangerous. He knew that I would let him throw what ever he came up with into his performance and then post-show we would sit down at the Kiev over his staple diet of 2 fried eggs, French fries, the ever present cup coffee and edit. The next night the changes might be put into the show.
As a playwright, one is fortunate to find an actor who can bring to life so brilliantly, so fully realized, what one has written. Al did that for me in spades. For over a decade we worked together on a myriad of projects. Al was always the first at rehearsals, fully prepared and ready to go wherever you asked him to.
He was my muse. It wasn't always easy but I can tell you that working with Al was creatively challenging, brutally honest and a whole lot of fun.
I will miss him, forever.
The following clip is of Al performing a segment from his show stopping "How I Love A Banana" . This analog clip was shot for Japanese television who discovered our little show the third week of performances....way before anyone else did. It was done with a piano track and not much else. Our show got grander, funnier, more polished but at the core there was always Al's performance as the lovable Marijuana. Al was a multifaceted performer, Marijuana is just one manifestation of his tremendous talent.
You never knew Al D? You don't know what you missed......