NEW YORK (AP) — The singer known as the Gentleman of Salsa is temporarily turning to tango: Gilberto Santa Rosa will make his Broadway debut in the musical "Forever Tango," which returns to New York in July for a 10-week stand featuring some of the Puerto Rican singer's hits.
"I haven't stopped jumping, screaming and pinching myself because I still don't believe it," five-time Grammy Award winner Santa Rosa told The Associated Press on Monday. "I am as anxious as one can be ahead of a project like this one: super-astonished, super-surprised and all the supers you can imagine."
Producers of the revival of Luis Bravo's show said Tuesday that it will open July 9 at the Walter Kerr Theatre and Santa Rosa, the singer of such salsa hits as "Medias negras," ''Perdoname" and "Amor mio no te vayas" will spend three weeks as a guest vocalist. Future singers will be announced later.
The show traces the art form's birth on the streets of 19th-century Buenos Aires to its more modern manifestations. Throughout, men and women hook legs, parry and thrust in a sexual battle of wills.
"Forever Tango" originally opened on Broadway 1997 and earned multiple Tony nominations. It returned for a limited four-month engagement in 2004.
Santa Rosa said that while he is an expert at the salsa, he can understand the tango's appeal. "I love tangos but most tangos are sad and my songs — the most popular — are sad too! So I am a broken hearts specialist, no matter the rhythm or genre."
While the world knows he can definitely dance salsa, many might wonder if Santa Rosa can do the famous South American dance. He said he hopes he won't have to, but laughs that he might be up for it.
"I took tango lessons many years ago and it is one of the most difficult dances that there are," he said. "I did it for a show we were doing in Puerto Rico and it was a crash course. I had a lot of fun but it was very hard."
With 16 dancers and an 11-member orchestra, Santa Rosa hopes he doesn't disappoint. "I will give my all so us salsa-singers will be well represented in this tango environment," he assured.
Follow Sigal Ratner-Arias on Twitter at https://twitter.com/sigalratner