Creator: John R. Lacey
Genre: Drama
Age rating: 17 and older
Tango singer Carlos Gardel & partner Jose "Maestro" Razzano are passionate about "Madame" Malena in Buenos Aires brothels & bars. The menage-a-trois climbs social echelons in Europe, exporting tangos to Parisian High-Society, testing their friendships & loyalty.
Project collaboration: Closed
Synopsis: This is the true story of Carlos Gardel's meteoric rise to fame promoting the low-brow Tango, which gained popularity through his efforts, a French immigrant grown up in Buenos Aires around the turn of the 20th Century, son of an unwed French ironing woman, Bertha. Carlos works in a street corner vegetable shop and dreams about singing, making records like Opera Star Enrico Caruso, starring in Hollywood talkies and singing with the Big Bands. A ladies man, he hungers for Razzano's girlfriend, Malena. Razzano is an established lounge singer in Buenos Aires and Malena is the "Madame" at the neighborhood brothel, where the tango is danced among women waiting for customers. Carlos, a brothel patron, loves to wager on card games and the racetrack and borrows money from everyone he meets. He promises to buy his mother Bertha a house in Argentina and take her back to France to visit her family when he is rich and famous. Carlos finds a poem written by a jailed convict which uses slang and is published in a South American newspaper. He composes music for it and uses the poem as its lyrics, creating the first tango "song". He teams up with Razzano and they create a musical duo. Malena falls for Carlos- the problem is Razzano thinks she is his broad! Razzano develops throat cancer and is jealous of the younger, more talented Gardel, who he believes wants to steal his girlfriend, his act and his fame. Razzano fights with Carlos and shoots him in the leg with a gun.

Carlos, in a leg cast, travels to Paris on tour where he meets Sadie Baron Wakefield, heiress to her Russian Jewish father's tobacco fortune, who bankrolls his recordings and assists him in transforming tango music from guitar instrumentation to a symphonic orchestra sound and introduces him to Europe's High Society. Carlos, loyal to his friends, keeps Razzano on tour as his manager since he no longer can sing. Gardel triumphs singing at the Paris Opera House and goes on to sign a seven movie deal with Paramount Studios, that solidifies his international fame. Carlos fires Razzano as his manager for embezzling funds due to his vice of betting Gardel's aging mother, while visiting her family in France, makes Carlos promise to marry his clandestine girlfriend when he returns to Buenos Aires. Gardel, who has now recorded almost 1000 songs and written 100+ original tangos with lyricist Alfredo Lepera, dies in an airplane accident, after which his fans mourn him throughout the world, claiming Gardel "sings better every day!" His tango recordings and movie legacy continues, forever branding TANGOMANIA!

Latest Work

  • Video 1 - Drama
    Creative Notes:
    Starring: Saratoga Ballantine, Agustin Coppola, Daniel Keough, Victoria Lavan, Barbara Perry and Anibal Silveyra as the immortal Carlos Gardel (with Tango Choreography by Alicia Savio, Production Design by Fabian Lacey, Videography by BigWhiteBazooka Productions and Directed by John R. Lacey)
  • Script 1 - John R.'s Original Draft
    Creative Notes:
    This original script has been selected for WestFest 2012 New Works Festival for performance at Theatre West in Hollywood, California, U.S.A. starring Saratoga Ballantine, Agustin Coppola, Daniel Keough, Victoria Lavan, Barbara Perry and Anibal Silveyra as the immortal Carlos Gardel (with tango choreography by Alicia Savio, Production Design by Fabian Lacey and Directed by John R. Lacey.)