Selena Forever

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Selena Forever
Music Fernando Rivas
Lyrics Edward Gallardo
Book Edward Gallardo
Basis 1997 film Selena
Productions 2000 US tour
2001 Los Angeles

Selena Forever is an American stage musical, based on the film Selena, that tells the life of the famous Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez. The musical has been staged under two titles. The first, Selena Forever, was conceived with book and original lyrics by Edward Gallardo and original music by Fernando Rivas, as well as additional songs that were originally performed by Selena herself. The musical premiered at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium before launching on an ill-fated 30-city tour. The musical was then restaged as Selena: A Musical Celebration of Life in Los Angeles.


In 1999, a new Broadway bound musical entitled Selena was announced to premier in San Antonio in March 2000 to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Selena's death. Broadway producers Tom Quinn, Jerry Frankel, Peter Fitzgerald and Michael Vega were soon on board to stage the musical.[1][unreliable source?] Later, librettist and lyricist Edward Gallardo was brought on to write the show's book and lyrics. Fernando Rivas was to compose the show's songs.

In 2000, Selena Forever was first produced for a 30-city national tour with a budget of over $2 million. After a national casting call, the producers cast Veronica Vasquez to portray Selena. The role was alternated by Rebecca Valdez.[2]

The musical previewed on March 21 and opened on March 23 at the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium.[3] It opened to mostly positive reviews.

The tour continued throughout Texas, including Corpus Christi and Houston along with four other stops. However, due to financial problems and poor ticket sales, the rest of the tour was canceled.[4] The show closed on April 30 at the Rosemont Theatre in Chicago after performing in only in six cities. The tour, in total, ran from March 21 through April 30 after four previews and 56 regular performances. A cast recording was never produced.

Following the abrupt ending of the tour, in March 2001 Selena Forever was rewritten, reproduced and renamed under the title Selena: A Musical Celebration Of Life.[5] Originally the show was to be directed by Daniel Valdez, who would also perform as Abraham. After a falling out with the producer, he left and was replaced by choreographer Miranda Garrison.[6]

With a $1 million budget and after a week's delay, the production began previews on March 28, 2001 and opened on April 19, at the James Doolittle Theatre (now the Ricardo Montalban Theatre) in Los Angeles, California. Despite receiving harsh criticism, the show became a box office success. It was expected to close on May 27, but due to extremely high ticket sales, was extended by two weeks. The production closed in November of that same year, after over 200 performances.


Selena Forever was received positively by some critics.[7] Deborah Martin of the San Antonio Express stated that the show would "appeal to hard-core Selena fans and musical theatre fans who are looking for something new." Ramiro Burr of Billboard magazine said that the show's musical numbers "deliver the hardest punches." Linda Emmerick of the Chicago Sun-Times noted the performance of the cast. Veronica Vasquez and Margo Reymundo, who played Selena's mother, were given critical acclaim for their roles. Mario Tarradell of the Dallas Morning News was less positive. He felt that the "legend is lost" in the production, despised the show's musical numbers, and felt that Selena and Broadway don't mix. However, he praised the cast's performances.

Musical numbers[edit]


Character Original tour Revival Description
Selena Quintanilla-Pérez Veronica Vasquez Veronica Vasquez Central figure, a young Texas girl whose father discovers that she has an incredible singing voice. Her family includes her father, Abraham; her sister, Suzette; her brother, A.B.; and her mother, Marcella. She marries Chris Pérez and her fame grows. She is eventually shot by Yolanda Saldívar, an unseen character in the show.
Abraham Quintanilla, Jr. Daniel Valdez Mike Gomez Central figure, Selena's overprotective but caring father. He discovers her captivating voice when she is nine, opens a restaurant and forms the band Selena y Los Dinos. When the restaurant fails, they get a bus and travel all over Texas performing. He is angered when he learns that Selena and Chris are married, but later accepts it and welcomes Chris.
Marcella Quintanilla Margo Reymundo Marta DuBois Selena's trusting and lovable mother. When Selena is in a tight spot, Marcella comforts her, especially when she has problems with Abraham. She has always accepted Chris and Selena's getting together. She may get frustrated and angry with Abraham, but her love for him is true.
Chris Pérez David Casavona Aaron Lohr Selena's husband. He originally joins the band as a replacement guitarist, but soon falls in love with Selena. After an argument with Abraham, Selena and Chris rebel and get married. Abraham later accepts that Chris is now part of the family.
A.B. Quintanilla Maxx Gabriel Gonzalez Selena's brother, the bass guitarist for the band and the writer for most of her songs and music. He is the typical brother who watches out for his sisters. He becomes furious when he discovers Chris and Selena have married, telling Chris he is going "to die today".
Suzette Quintanilla Liza Ybarra Liza Ybarra Selena's sister and the drummer for the band. She and Selena have a strong relationship, share secrets and help each other out. Suzette marries Billy soon after Selena and Chris get married. Suzette has always accepted Selena and Chris being together, but she is protective over her sister.
Young Selena Denise Stefanie Gonzalez, Lorissa Chapa Natalie Herra Selena at age nine.

Tour schedule[edit]

Original tour[edit]


  • 2001 Doolittle Theatre: March 28 - November 12 (Hollywood, California)


  1. ^, April 13, 2011
  2. ^ Selena musical to be staged here in April, September 18, 2010 Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ Crowd enjoys preview of Selena Forever, September 18, 2010 Archived May 15, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Producers cancel national tour of Selena Forever, September 18, 2010 Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Celebration Selena, September 18, 2010 Archived May 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ [1], April 21, 2011 Archived November 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Gallardo, Edward Selena (Page 1), September 18, 2010 Archived April 6, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Selena Forever Schedule, September 18, 2010 Archived May 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]