“Eastside Heartbeats” is one of the few musicals ever written set in the sprawling Mexican-American communities of Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles. The story takes place during the summer of 1965, when the Beatles and Motown acts were releasing singles of ever-higher quality, thrilling East LA’s teenage audience. In the midst of this environment, charged with the passion and energy of youths claiming a new cultural space, four young men, the Eastside Heartbeats, are desperate to make a record. The leader of the group, Jimmy Ramirez, is a 24-hour-per-day soul music machine, exploding with charisma and rhythm.
But his dad doesn’t share Jimmy’s dream. In fact, Carlos Ramirez wants his son to quit music altogether, and get a real job fixing cars. Carlos is a stubborn and proud first generation Mexican immigrant who despises rock and roll and rhythm and blues. The two of them fight their own version of the culture wars, with a generational and inter-ethnic twist. Carlos hates the stuff that Jimmy plays, and Jimmy hates the stuff that Carlos plays. These angry and determined men have reached a musical impasse, with no resolution in sight.
“Eastside Heartbeats” tells the story of four young Mexican-American men trying to make it in the highly competitive music business. In the process, this talented group has to overcome the objections of parents and longstanding cultural and societal biases. Discouraged and deflated, they are on the verge of quitting until their manager receives a fateful telephone call.