From the conga line to West Side Story to Ricky Martin, we invite you to a lively conversation that explores how popular performance prompted American audiences to view Latinos as a distinct (and distinctly non-white) ethnic group.
Latin Numbers is a work of performance history, examining the way in which Latino actors on the twentieth-century stage and screen communicated and influenced American ideas about race and ethnicity. Herrera’s book tracks the conspicuously “Latin” musical number; the casting of Latino actors; the history of West Side Story; how Latina/o performers confront stereotypes; and the proliferation of the gay Latino character in the AIDS era. With a flair for storytelling and a unique ability to see the deeper meanings embedded in popular culture, Herrera creates a history that will appeal to popular culture enthusiasts, theater aficionados, and those interested in the cultural history of Latinos.
“Latin Numbers is the breakout book of the year, and its impact will be significant. Brian Herrera, one of the most interesting contemporary voices in American studies and in theatre and performance studies, writes with intelligence and wit… His book transforms our knowledge of Latino popular culture as it introduces new ways of understanding the history of Latinos in the United States.”
—David Román, University of Southern California, author of Performance in America: Contemporary U.S. Culture and the Performing Arts
Brian Eugenio Herrera is Assistant Professor of Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. Stacy Wolf is also Professor of Theater at the Lewis Center for the Arts. She is the author of Changed for Good: A Feminist History of the Broadway Musical, and of A Problem Like Maria: Gender and Sexuality in the American Musical.