Mexican Heartthrob Raul Mendez Will Open the McCarter Season

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Raúl Méndez will soon make his American stage debut as Father Monroe in Nilo Cruz’ Bathing in Moonlight at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre.  Méndez may be known best for his television performance as Chacorta in Telemudno’s Señor de los Cielos. He can also be seen on two Netflix series: as the unstable antagonist Joaquin on Sense8, and as President Gaviria on Narcos. We had the opportunity to speak about working with Emily Mann, playwright Nilo Cruz, and what the future may hold for him.

What character do you play? Are you Father Monroe? What role does he play in the drama? Is he one of those hunky, irresistible priests?

Yes, I am a priest in the play. It’s a totally different direction for me professionally. I’ve often played the bad guy, the cowboy, the lover, even a president, but I have never before played a priest. I was excited by the challenge. I have posted a few rehearsal photos on the internet, so that is where you saw me dressed as a priest. I can’t really discuss too much of the plot. As for me being hunky and irresistible, I would not know. That is for someone else to say. Without giving too much away, I do get the opportunity to work closely with Priscilla Lopez, an amazing actress. She appeared in Anna in the Tropics, Nilo’s Pulitzer-prize-winning play, and In the Heights.

Does appearing onstage in an English-language play pose many problems for you?

I am excited by the amazing challenge it presents. It is something totally new. Performing in English is a challenge, but I do have so much help. With an amazing director like Emily (Mann), it is much easier. The other actors are there as well. As we rehearse the play, it comes together for all of us. We’ve had a few weeks of rehearsal, so we will be ready for the public.

Have you ever worked with Nilo Cruz, or heard about his work?

No, I have never worked with him before, but have looked forward to the opportunity to do so one day. He is an amazing talent. Of course, I have met him and he has been an amazing help. Nilo is a great talent and I am privileged to be in one of his plays. I do know this, I do hope that Bathing in Moonlight will be a great success here at the McCarter, and my sincerest hope is to one day take the production to other places, perhaps even to international theatre festivals.

What does the future hold in store for you?

I would first like to work on the play here, and as I have said, take it around the country and internationally. Much also depends upon whether or not my television series will be renewed. I play the part of the president, so that will be something I will need to factor into the year. Of course, I would welcome the chance to work with Nilo and Emily again, and to appear in more English-language projects.

Bathing in Moonlight, by Pulitzer Prize winner Nilo Cruz, will be directed by Emily Mann,  
September 9 – October 9 at McCarter’s Roger S. Berlind Theatre. For more information, visit their website: or their main site,

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