In the fifth episode of Starlight’s second season of Raise Our Voices, Guadalupe Valdes-Diaz shares a stunning performance of “Breathe” by Lin Manuel Miranda from his Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights.
“In the Heights was the first musical that truly celebrated the Latine community,” Guadalupe said. “It not only talked about the struggles of being an immigrant and in our community, but also about celebrating who we are, where we come from, and the hundreds of stories we have to tell.”
"Breathe” highlights the importance of representation in theatre—something that Artistic Advisor Delano Mendoza hopes to elevate through Guadalupe’s performance.
“Everyone has a voice,” Delano said. “Everyone’s voice is important. When we use our voice to tell our stories, we change the world.”
Guadalupe was born in Puebla, Mexico, and has been living in the United States for 15 years. Now, she has been living in the U.S. for longer than she lived in Mexico.
“It’s interesting to think what my life would have been if I never left Mexico. My story, like many, puts me in limbo,” Guadalupe said. I’m not from here or there but I have roots in both places.”
Like the character Nina in the musical, Guadalupe had to drop out of college due to financial and personal reasons. She related to the character, but during rehearsal for Raise Our Voices, Guadalupe took an even deeper dive into the lyrics of the song with her Artistic Advisor, Delano Mendoza.
“We found ways for, even with the sadness of the song, her and her character to celebrate all of the work that has brought them this far,” Delano said. “She was able to add even more depth and emotional precision to the song, with gorgeous acting and vocal moments throughout.”
“Theatre is important for so many reasons. For me it was there when I needed it most,” Guadalupe said. “It celebrates our stories, our differences, our similarities and our humanity.”
In her performance pursuits, Guadalupe strives to grow and learn from the people around her and wants to help the arts community be more inclusive and create art for and by everyone. She would love to continue performing and find the opportunity to direct.
“Guadalupe is one of the kindest people I know,” Delano said. “Her heart is pure gold, and she works hard for what she believes in. She is a powerful artist with a voice that deserves to be heard by all! This will not be the last time you see or hear from her—I can bet on that!’