Josefina López’ “Trio Los Machos” Explores Machismo, Music & Exploitation of Bracero Program

“Cantamos el corrido del Bracero
Somos mas que brazos
Somos corazón….”

Playwright Josefina López once again captures her soulful magic in Trio Los Machos, a play that revisits the life journey of three men who forged a friendship in their youth and takes them on a 50-year life odyssey. A simple story of a bond so strong that decades later, in the autumn of their lives, the men face the stark realities of getting old—and for aging Mexican machos, not an easy reality to accept.

Trio Los Machos returns for a Father’s Day weekend opening: June 17, 18 and 19, 2016 at the Casa 0101 Theater located in Boyle Heights. An audience pleaser, Trio Los Machos is the perfect gift to bring the family, especially parents and elders. Play runs through July 10th.


López presents the tale of Nacho (Daniel E. Mora), Lalo (Héctor Márquez) and Paco (Henry Aceves Madrid), three aging musicians who play the best of the legendary “Trio Los Panchos” classics at local cantinas (bars). Theirs is a journey borne out of a mutual love of music and a deep dislike of the inhumane treatment caused by the exploitation of the 1942 Bracero Program.

The three men are each so different yet they found common ground on the agricultural fields having been brought in as part of the U.S. Mexican Farm Labor Agreement with Mexico. Most of us, especially Latinos know about the Bracero Program, some of us even have elder male family members who came here through this program. But like all of López’s plays, there is always something new to learn.

One powerful scene is when the young laborers are stripped of their clothes; forced to stand side by side, naked and then inhumanly sprayed with chemicals to disinfect them. It is such a formidable moment that one can’t help but think of the Jews being sprayed during the Holocaust. It is a profound historical reminder of the labor long and treacherous hours they were forced to work, paid 30 cents per hour and then to further be cheated by the bosses, who deducted additional fees, justifying that it was the social security deduction.

The Bracero Program brought millions of Mexican guest workers to the United States, starting in August 1942 and ended more than four decades ago in 1962. It is the largest U.S. contract labor program ever enacted. It was called “Bracero” because it means manual laborer or “one who works with his arms,” and during the current immigration reform rhetoric, it has been discussed to reenact by some politicians.

Old Machos and Young Machos L to R (front): Ruben Morales, Ray Rios, Giovanni Verduzco, Stephani Candelaria L to R: (back): Danny Edward Mora, Hector Marquez, Henry Madrid Photo Credit: Larry Costales

Three young friends meet under dire work circumstances, soon discover they could sing and make more money playing in public venues than laboring in the fields. Hence, Trio Los Machos rose above the agricultural fields to entertain the workers.

Cantamos el corrido del Bracero
Somos mas que brazos
Somos corazón
Cantamos el corrido del Bracero
Somos mas que brazos
Somos corazón
Tanto desprecio
Tanta humillación
Siendo simientos
De esta nación
–Original song written by Josefina López for Trio Los Machos

Josefina López, a woman known for her feminist views, wrote Trio Los Machos as a tribute to her father, a former bracero and music lover. “Although I had so many conflicts with my father for his macho views, I felt that as a feminist I wanted to reconcile with his machismo through this play,” stated López. “And, in doing so, I recognized the value of his sacrifices and how sometimes machismo is the way a man survives when he is being dehumanized.”

JosefinaLopezLópez’ play is a love letter to her father and the interwoven musical tribute to Los Panchos is a beautiful homage to him. So what was it like for the main Latino actors to work on a Josefina López play?

“Josefina for so long has been a strong voice for our community,” said actor Daniel E. Mora who portrays Nacho. “Honored to once again work with her and support and interpret her passion. And by doing so, I feel that by portraying characters she creates, I too in some way am also contributing to society and the Latino community.”

Henry Aceves Madrid (Paco) found a connection to his character. “Paco fits me well in that he is a man that expresses considerable sensitivity and is more emotional than his nemesis, Nacho,” Madrid explained. “Yes, Paco chases women, was married, and stands up for himself, but at the same time, is thoughtful, more expressive, responsible, loves creativity, music, writing, and a deep camaraderie and loyalty to his compadres Nacho and Lalo. They are family.”

Suffice to say, neither actor is intimidated to work with such a strong feminist like López, because both credit the strong women who helped raise them for the balanced harmony and joy in their personal lives.

Trio Los Machos is a timely musical and bravo to Lopez for bringing us a part of history that we should all know about and respect. “When politicians use immigrants as scapegoats and talk about how we immigrants rob this country, I like to remind them of our contributions,” López stated.

A poignant tale of three men, who found peace, unity and fought loneliness by listening to heartfelt songs by the Mexican trio group “Trio Los Panchos.” Fifty years later, they find themselves questioning the choices they had made. Will the friendship survive? When tragedy strikes, their friendship gets tested like never before.

Trio Los Machos opens: June 17, 18 and 19, and runs through July 10, 2016 at the Casa 0101Theater located in Boyle Heights.

Trio Los Machos cast:
Older Machos: Héctor Márquez (Lalo), Daniel Edward Mora (Nacho), and Henry Aceves Madrid (Paco). Young Machos: Estuardo Muñoz (Lalo), Ruben Morales (Nacho), and Giovanni Verduzco (Paco), along with Claudia Duran (Rosario), and Sephani Candelaria (Aurelia).

TICKETS: $20 General Admission, $17 Students, Seniors and Groups of 10 or
more, $15 for Boyle Heights residents with I.D.

PURCHASE: Contact the Box Office at (323) 263-7684, or online at Email: Advanced reservations are highly recommended.

Playwright: Josefina Lopez
Director: Edward Padilla
Assistant Director: Angel Lizarraga
Producers: Emmanuel Deleage, Rafael Calderon, Edward Padilla
Stage Manager: Cristina “Crispy” Carrillo
Assistant Stage Managers: Estibaliz Giron, Sophia Sanchez
Set Design: Cesar Retana Holguin
Light, Tech Designer: Kevin Eduardo Vasquez
Costume Design: Carlos Brown
Graphic Designer: Gabriela Lopez de Dennis
Music Consultant: Jesus Martinez
Publicists: Espada, Herrera and Associates


Please follow and like us:


Elia Esparza is a leading expert in communications and journalism targeting the burgeoning Hispanic market and has produced and written dozens of articles. President and CEO of Always Evolving PR and a Communications Specialist, Elia, incorporates her 18 years experience in the areas of entertainment and education public relations, and marketing. promotions, market research and translations (Eng/Span).

One thought on “Josefina López’ “Trio Los Machos” Explores Machismo, Music & Exploitation of Bracero Program

Comments are closed.