Jesse J. Sanchez

Jesse J. Sanchez

Jesse J. Sanchez, a pioneer of new Latinx works in musical theater and plays with music, is a nationally recognized composer, playwright, music director, and Grammy Nominated educator (2014).

He has composed, written, music directed, taught, and performed in theater, film, and music ensembles. Jesse​ is in residence as the Producing Music Supervisor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a Tony...
Jesse J. Sanchez, a pioneer of new Latinx works in musical theater and plays with music, is a nationally recognized composer, playwright, music director, and Grammy Nominated educator (2014).

He has composed, written, music directed, taught, and performed in theater, film, and music ensembles. Jesse​ is in residence as the Producing Music Supervisor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a Tony Award-winning organization that stands as one of the preeminent destinations for American regional theatre.

As a composer, Jesse's works range from original songs, underscore instrumentals, dance arrangements, musical theater, and choral arrangements. He is well versed in a variety of styles including musical theater, salsa, cumbia, hip hop, classical, rock, r&b, jazz, and various world music genres. Jesse's compositions, orchestrations, arrangements and vocal arrangements have been performed across the U.S, including the The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, FOGG Theatre of San Francisco, Arizona Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, Alley Theatre, Arizona State University, West Valley College, Cuesta College Jazz Festival, and the Idaho Music Educator’s Conference.

As a playwright, Jesse's plays and musicals have been performed or developed at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Black Swan Lab), New York Theatre Barn, Arizona Theatre Company (New Works Series), The 24 Hour Plays: Viral Monologues, The Green Room 42 (New Works Series), Arizona State University, and The New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts (New Works Showcase). Jesse has been a semi-finalist for the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference (2019, 2020), National Alliance for Musical Theatre (2020), and Bay Area Playwrights Festival (2019).

He has music directed and music supervised in professional theaters across the country including Roundabout Theatre Company, Hartford Stage, The Alley Theatre, Huntington Theater Company, Arizona Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theater, Theatreworks Silicon Valley, Seacoast Repertory Theater, Bay Area Playwrights Foundation and many more. His work with collegiate programs includes New York University (Tisch), Syracuse University (Soyars Lecture Series), San Diego State University, Santa Clara University, Las Positas College, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and St. Mary's College. Early in his career, Jesse learned and worked with iconic Broadway composers, orchestrators, and music directors. He was on the music team for TONY and GRAMMY AWARD WINNER, Alex Lacamoire and the first national tour of HAMILTON: AN AMERICAN MUSICAL; Dominick Amendum and Stephen Schwartz on the world premiere musical, THE PRINCE OF EGYPT; Greg Anthony Rassen and Paul Scott Goodman on the world premiere musical, A WALK ON THE MOON. Recently, Jesse was featured in the American Theatre Magazine "ROLE CALL: People to Watch" for his role as an accomplished Latinx music director working across the United States in many theaters.

As a professional jazz and salsa musician, Jesse has shared the stage with countless world renown musicians including Terrell Stafford, Natalie Cole, Michael Bublé, Tower of Power, Brubeck Brothers, Dave Brubeck, Paquito D’Rivera, Anat Cohen, Dee Daniels, Dave Liebman, Wayne Bergeron, Steve Smith, Jimmy Heath, Hildemaro, Karl Perazzo, Carlos Xavier Salsa Project, and many others. Aside from jazz and salsa, Jesse has performed in professional musical theater pit orchestras, including San Jose Stage, San Francisco Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and subbing for the National Tour of KINKY BOOTS.

Jesse holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho. While at UI, Jesse studied trumpet under Dr. Vern Sielert, conducting under Dr. Michael Murphy and Professor Alan Gemberling, composition and arranging under Daniel Bukvich. Jesse is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild of America and National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures.

Plays

  • SUEÑOS: Our American Musical
    SUEÑOS: Our American Musical
    A Latinx musical about family and their sacrifices and efforts to raise the next generation.

    ACT I
    The musical opens with Ali Viramontes returning his violin at a performing arts school in Los Angeles because his family is moving to Watsonville, CA. Ali receives a letter inviting him to audition for the national youth orchestra. The familial unit, Alex...
    SUEÑOS: Our American Musical
    A Latinx musical about family and their sacrifices and efforts to raise the next generation.

    ACT I
    The musical opens with Ali Viramontes returning his violin at a performing arts school in Los Angeles because his family is moving to Watsonville, CA. Ali receives a letter inviting him to audition for the national youth orchestra. The familial unit, Alex, Lupe, Desiree and Ali, continue their move to the family home in Watsonville and work in their family’s strawberry stand where they are greeted by the eccentric Tía Linda (“HERE WE ARE”). During Desiree and Ali’s first day at their new school, they meet Francesca and Jamie in orchestra class. Ali shares with his new friends his dream of one day writing symphonies (“THEY WILL SEE”). Over Labor Day weekend, Jamie, Ali, Francesca and Desiree meet in the strawberry stand. Jamie shares with the friend group his dreams to become the first black president of the United States and all the changes he will make in the world (“WALK IN MY SHOES”). October. Father Tom and Alex discuss Alex’s anxieties about providing for his family. Ali enters with his violin and when Alex discourages him from pursuing music, Father Tom reveals that Alex played in the church orchestra when he was younger. This revelation leads to a confrontation between Ali and Alex where the violin is thrown to the ground (“TO WIN YOU”). November. Linda announces that she is meeting with real estate developers in Mexico who want to buy the strawberry stand and land. She promises the family that she would never sell without their permission and convinces the entire family to come along on vacation (“ACAPULCO”). December. After gym class, Jamie, Ali, Francesca and Desiree agree to meet at the strawberry stand after school to work on their orchestra quartet assignment. Desiree teases Francesca about the crush she has on Ali. (“BIG BROWN EYES”) Later that night, with Jamie and Desiree having abandoned them, Francesca and Ali are alone at the stand. Francesca and Ali drink together as a celebration of their “3 month friendaversary.” The two end up kissing and stumble to the back of the stand together. Later that month, Ali is confronted by Francesca at Christmas mass and demands to know why he has been ignoring her for the past month. Ali brushes past her to get to confession with Father Tom where he reveals that he slept with Francesca and that he didn't actually feel an attraction towards her. Father Tom tells him it’s a phase and Ali leaves the church determined to tell the world who he is. (“FOUR WALLS”) When the family and Ali’s friends gather at the Viramontes’ house for New Years Eve, Linda reveals that when the family was in Acapulco, she tricked Lupe into signing the papers to sell the strawberry stand by getting her drunk. Before Lupe can react, Ali comes out as gay. Francesca confides in Desiree that she is pregnant. (“LIVE FOR TODAY”)

    ACT II
    Set 17 years after the first act. September. Ali gets Lupe to cover his shift at Vinny’s, the restaurant they both work at, so he can play with the mariachi and make more money to send to his teenage daughter, Sandra. Lupe talks with Father Tom about family troubles and her granddaughter’s potential as a writer. There’s a flashback. (“WITH HER HEART IN MY HAND/HERMOSA”). October. After Sandra’s 17th birthday party, Sandra, Alex and Lupe argue about obligations to family and legacy. Sandra sings about her splintered family (“PERFECTLY IMPERFECT”). November. At Jamie’s house in the middle of the night, Jamie lectures Ali about taking responsibility for his daughter and all he’s missed out on (“DADDY’S GIRL”). December. Linda pays a surprise visit to the family house, and the sisters argue and attempt to reconcile about the strawberry stand and keeping their family’s legacy alive (“ACAPULCO (REPRISE)”). January. Back at Vinny’s, Francesca, arrives at the restaurant to meet with Lupe after having been gone for many years. Lupe reveals she has cancer. They are interrupted by a phone call from Alex who says that one of Sandra’s essays about the strawberry stand has been published in the local newspaper. Francesca and Sandra reconnect briefly and Lupe starts treatment and passes away (“BIG BROWN EYES/LIVE FOR TODAY (REPRISE)”). Lupe’s funeral, Alex talks about the life of Lupe and makes a vow to keep the family together. (“TOO SOON”). Sandra shows up at Jamie’s house and confronts Ali about his absence from her life. Sandra brings Ali one of his old songwriting notebooks. Sandra asks Ali to mend things with Francesca. He sings a song that he wrote for Francesca right after they met (“WON’T BE FOUND”). Ali gets a phone call and learns that Alex submitted one of Ali’s old pieces to the Santa Cruz Pops and it was accepted for production. Febrero. The family gathers around the Viramontes’ table to open all of Sandra’s college acceptance letters. They are overwhelmed with pride when she is accepted to her dream program at New York University. (“FINALE/THEY WILL SEE (REPRISE)”).