Preview | ‘Miss You Like Hell’ at Santa Barbara’s Center Stage 

Out of the Box Theatre Company Takes Us on a Musical Road Trip

‘Miss You Like Hell’ from Out of the Box Theatre Company is at Center Stage November 4-13 . | Photo: Courtesy

Beatriz and her teenage daughter, Olivia, embark on a cross-country road trip in Miss You Like Hell, a new musical produced by Out of the Box Theatre Company, directed by Samantha Eve. This mother and daughter duo haven’t seen each other in several years, and their already tenuous relationship is further burdened by Beatriz’s undocumented status and impending deportation. With book by Quiara Alegría Hudes (who also wrote the book for In the Heights, and the Pulitzer Prize–winning play Water by the Spoonful) and music by folk-rock artist Erin McKeown, Miss You Like Hell is a tour through America that celebrates love, diversity, and the unification of families — whether their separation is due to physical or emotional distance.

While this musical does broach immigration issues, at heart it’s a story about the complexities of familial bonds. “Olivia is a strong-willed, intelligent girl whose difficult experiences have taught her to build up walls to protect herself,” says Larissa Mehlig of her character. “Her motivation is to regain the strength she used to find through the love of her mother, and see if it is possible to mend the parts of her that have been hurt or find the power to grow from them.” 

Michelle Hernandez, who plays Beatriz, describes her character as “a loud and proud Latina woman whose circumstances and choices have led to a complicated and strained relationship with her daughter. Beatriz is a whirlwind of excitement, passion, and fun, but we discover she is hiding some very serious secrets that expand the rift between her and Olivia.”

Miss You Like Hell runs at Center Stage Theater from November 4-13. Audiences can expect music at the nexus between folk, rock, and contemporary musical theater. Featuring a cast of colorful characters from across the country, this musical journey invites audiences to “bring your drama; let’s hit the road!”

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