Steven Bauer to join the ‘Que Pasa U.S.A.?’ cast for its stage debut

We are all happy to see more of the original Peña family reuniting on stage for the theatrical reboot of the beloved series.

Carlos Frias reports at

Say hello to my little friend: Steven Bauer joins ‘Qué Pasa’ reboot

Qué Pasa, Steven Bauer?

The seasoned Hollywood actor, made famous as Manolo in the pop culture classic “Scarface,” has signed on to the theatrical reboot of the iconic public television show where he got his start, “¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?”

Bauer, 61, will reprise his role as Joe Peña in “Qué Pasa, U.S.A. Today … 40 Years Later,” set to open at the Arsht Center May 17, the show’s executive producer said. Bauer, who remains part of Showtime’s “Ray Donovan” cast, made the announcement official at a press conference Wednesday.

“This is not just a show to me. This is a play about our lives,” Bauer said, his eyes filling with tears as he recalled a show that captured the Cuban immigrant experience of the 1970s, which for many in Miami, was as much documentary as drama.

Adding Bauer means the stage production can wrap its story around the next generation of “Qué Pasa” characters, who were the teenagers on the 1970s television show.

“My idea is to bring the story back for future generations, like ‘Star Wars,’ or ‘Batman.’ It’s continuing the franchise,” producer Nelson Albareda said. “He was the missing link that we needed for we needed.”

Bauer will join actresses Ana Margo, who played his sister Carmen on the show, and Connie Ramirez and Barbara Ann Martin, who played her Catholic school friends. Together, they can stitch together a story that picks up with the teens as parents.

Bauer hinted that the aged Joe Peña will have lived a life very similar to his own: “I’ve been a gypsy. And that’s Joe’s story also. That’s what I want to bring to the role.”

The role is homecoming of sorts for Bauer, who is still known in Miami by his given name, Rocky Echevarría. He has not acted in South Florida since leaving for Hollywood in the early 1980s and later starring in “Scarface” in 1983. During the new play’s run, Bauer will host a series of workshops at The University of Miami, where he studied theater, with local high school and college acting students, similar to “Inside the Actor’s Studio.”

“It’s all about this city. Miami is home,” said Bauer, who visits Miami regularly and whose mother, who still lives in his childhood home in Westchester, smiled at him from the audience at the press conference.

The original “Qué Pasa” was a cult classic and the first fully bilingual sitcom in television history. It told the story of the Peña family, recently arrived from Cuba in the late 1970, as they faced adjusting to a new culture and language in Miami.

It first aired in Miami but eventually aired on more than 150 PBS stations across the country and hailed by everyone from the New York Times to Los Angeles Times as better than most commercial sitcoms like it.

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2 thoughts on “Steven Bauer to join the ‘Que Pasa U.S.A.?’ cast for its stage debut”

  1. Not interested. The conduct and attitude of the local PBS station that originally aired (and profited big time) from the TV series is absolutely unacceptable, and I’m not paying the Arsht Center a penny to see any show there. Among other things, it has seen fit to present, twice, in Miami, the known Castro minion Omara Portuondo, who has blood on her hands as one of the signers of a 2003 public letter supporting the summary executions of three Cuban men of color (like she is) for the “crime” of trying to escape from Massah Castro’s slave plantation, as well as supporting the notorious “Black Spring” of that year. Thanks, but no, thanks.

  2. As if to prove me (even more) right, later this month the Arsht Center will be presenting Cuban jazz musician Chucho Valdés, another “official” artist of Castrogonia who, like his counterpart Omara Portuondo, also signed that infamous 2003 public letter basically justifying not just oppression and violation of basic civil rights on the island but actual murder of three men of color (like Valdés) whose “crime” (trying to escape from Massah Castro) didn’t even remotely merit a death sentence. But maybe we should all overlook it, since everyone knows that “those people” exist to be spit upon by they who know best–and needless to say, the more we tolerate such insulting disrespect, the more we’ll get spit upon.

    However, it bears noting that the muy destartalada Portuondo, who practically defines the word esperpento, and Chucho (whose father Bebo, a great musician, got the Celia Cruz treatment in Castrogonia because he defected to exile in 1960) both played Obama’s White House. Imagine that.

    And by the way, here’s a nice touch: one of Chucho’s guests at his Arsht Center concert will be Cuban singer Aymée Nuviola, who will also be participating in the upcoming Kennedy Center propaganda music festival in DC, presumably as a representative of the “diaspora” (links below)

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