Lauren Velez, best known for her role as Captain Maria LaGuerta on the hit Showtime series, Dexter, will play the role of Yaz in the upcoming Second Stage Theatre production of The Happiest Song Plays Last, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Quiara Alegría Hudes and directed by Tony Award winner Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Velez replaces the previously announced Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange Is the New Black).
Velez has received several awards, including ALMA Award nominations, with one win in 2009 for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for her work on Dexter. Along with her co-stars Velez received four consecutive nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series. She appeared on HBO’s critically acclaimed show, Oz, and in the TV series, New York Undercover. Her breakout role was in the film, I Like It Like That, which earned Velez an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Lead Actress. Other career highlights include her work with Al Pacino in City Hall and with Meryl Streep in the presentation of the play, Seven for the Women, in the World Conference.
Velez joins The Happiest Song Plays Last with Anthony Chisholm (Radio Golf, Jitney), Dariush Kashani (Homebody/Kabul), Tony Plana (Ugly Betty), Armando Riesco (2ST’s Water by the Spoonful), and Annapurna Sriram (Pericles at Berkeley Rep). The story follows cousins Elliot and Yaz, who, having long searched for their place in the community, discover the joy in coming home again and the comfort of family. The beats of traditional Puerto Rican folk music are led by the Grammy-nominated Nelson González. The Happiest Song Plays Last invites you to go with Elliot and Yaz on their journey to peace and purpose in an ever-changing world.
The production opens on Monday, March 3rd at Second Stage Theatre located on 305 West 43rd street New York City’s Broadway.