My heart is broken upon hearing the news of the passing of Doreen Montalvo. I met Doreen in Philadelphia over 20 years ago. We were both auditioning for Man of La Mancha. It was between the two of us as to who would play Aldonza. Doreen gave the best audition I had ever seen and I was sure she had the part. Oddly the role went to me. The next year it was down to the two of us again as to whom would play Petra in A Little Night Music. I gave the best audition of my life and you guess it Doreen won the role. We looked nothing alike, I was a redhead and fair, Doreen, exotic and smoldering. We became friends and mutual admirers of each other’s work.
Five years pass and I was working at Sam’s in the theatre district and we reconnected. Doreen was with Mike Mann at the time and the two of them use to come into Sam’s. She was doing readings for this show, in which she dragged me to every reading. The show was In The Heights.
From In The Heights Doreen’s career flourished, she went onto perform at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre in new musicals, showing off her gorgeous vocals. She made it to Broadway with In the Heights, On Your Feet and was soon to be seen in Mrs. Doubtfire as the network executive Janet Lundy. In the show Giant Doreen fulfilled a dream of working with Michael John LaChiusa.
On TV she was in Smash, One Life To Live, Law and Order, The Good Wife, Elementary and Madam Secretary.
Doreen’s solo album “American Soul/ Latin Heart” distributed by Broadway Records brought her joy. Her song Te Sone written by Jaime Lozano from the album was pre selected for 2017 Latin Grammy consideration. Other recordings include Disney’s Moana, 3 Broadway Cares Christmas Albums, Dare To Go Beyond, for Revolucion latina, the original cast recording of In The Heights, Giant, “Desiree, Frida, and in 2004 released her solo debut cd, “Volvere” with Meme Solis. Which was selected for 2005 Latin Grammy and American Grammy consideration.
Doreen will live on in her appearances in Jon M. Chu’s In The Heights and Steven Spielberg’s movie adaptation of West Side Story which have not been released.
Doreen suffered a stroke a month ago. She was only 56.
Our prayers go out to Mike and her family who she loved so much, to Jamie Lozano who she worked with, recored with and cherished his talent. Doreen, I will never forget our friendship and what an amazing light you were.