Casting shakeup! Dexter favorite Lauren Velez will assume the role of Yaz in the forthcoming Second Stage production of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ The Happiest Song Plays Last, replacing previously announced star Elizabeth Rodriguez (The Motherf*cker with the Hat). Directed by Tony winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson, The Happiest Song Plays Last begins performances February 11, with an official opening night set for March 3 at off-Broadway’s Tony Kiser Theatre.
Velez previously appeared off-Broadway in Intimate Apparel and in the national tour of Dreamgirls. She also understudied the role of the Witch in Broadway’s Into the Woods. She played Captain Maria LaGuerta for seven seasons on TV’s Dexter. Her additional film and TV credits include Oz, New York Undercover, I Like It Like That and City Hall. Fun fact: Velez’s twin sister Loraine, also a Broadway alum, has appeared in Rent and Dreamgirls.
In addition to Velez, The Happiest Song Plays Last also stars Anthony Chisholm, Dariush Kashani, Tony Plana, Armando Riesco and Annapurna Sriram.
The final play of Hudes’ Elliot trilogy, The Happiest Song Plays Last tells the story of cousins Elliot (Riesco) and Yaz (Velez), who discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family, both by blood and by love. When Elliot gets a lucky break in the film business, Yaz takes on the role of familial and neighborhood matriarch, nourishing those that pass through her door. Featuring the sounds of traditional Puerto Rican folk music, The Happiest Song Plays Last is the story of a year in Elliot and Yaz’s life.