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Latino Theater Company looks back and ahead
with ambitious 2020 season of plays and events
LOS ANGELES (Feb. 11, 2020) — The more things change — the more they stay the same. L.A.’s Latino TheaterCompany explores the political and cultural climate in 2020 with an eclectic season of productions that looks back at our history and ahead to our future: revivals that reflect the company’s past work and the tumultuous fight for Chicano civil rights; contemporary work that explores today’s issues; and unique offerings by two guest artists from Spain. In addition, the company will present two free film series, the company’s annual free play reading series, and, in December, for the 18th consecutive year, the beloved site-specific holiday pageant La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin at L.A.’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. All performances and screenings, except La Virgen, take place at The Los Angeles Theatre Center, a five-theater complex located in a landmark building in Downtown’s Historic Core.
The season kicks off on April 16 with a revival of La Victima, presented in collaboration with students from UCLA’s School of Theater Film and Television and the East Los Angeles College Theater Arts Department. A groundbreaking look at the history of Mexican-U.S. immigration from the intimate perspective of two families, La Victima was created in 1976 by El Teatro De La Esperanza, a company that helped define Chicano theater and an entire generation of theater professionals — and it was also the first show ever produced by the Latino Theater Company, in 1985. Infused with humor, music and dance, this production makes the story of the Villa and Mendoza families, an epic that spans four decades, available for a new generation. The bilingual production incorporates a mix of English, Spanish and “Spanglish” that can be understood by all audiences. (April 16 – May 3: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.)
Also opening April 16, and running concurrently with La Victima, are two dance/theater productions by Spanish dancer, choreographer and performance artist Marta Carrasco that will play in repertory: Perra de Nadie is a tale of female empowerment about a woman who belongs to no one; Jo, Dona. A Lili Elbe is Carrasco’s personal tribute to Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery. Carrasco’s work, which is characterized by an expressionist and grotesque aesthetic, is highly original and performed without dialogue. (April 16 – May 3: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.)
Performances begin May 16 for the Los Angeles premiere of Just Like Us, written by Karen Zacariás and directed by José Luis Valenzuela. What makes us American? Based on Helen Thorpe’s bestselling book, this documentary-style play follows four Latina teenage girls in Denver, two of whom are documented and two who are not, through young adulthood. Their close-knit friendships begin to unravel when immigration status dictates the girls’ opportunities — or lack thereof. When a political firestorm arises, each girl’s future becomes increasingly complicated. (May 16 – June 7: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.)
One week later, May 21 sees the return of Spain’s celebrated Kulunka Teatro with their Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award-winning production of André & Dorine, a poignant depiction of love and aging disrupted by Alzheimer’s. If you missed it before, here’s your chance! Three actors portray more than 15 different characters, using masks, gesture and movement to tell the story of an elderly couple — André with his typewriter, Dorine with her cello — and how they relive and reinvent their love together as the disease becomes a permanent part of their relationship. (May 21 – June 7: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.)
June brings the world premiere of SHE, an award-winning coming-of-age drama by Los Angeles-based emerging playwright Marlow Wyatt. Growing up in the 1970s in a small town filled with poverty and neglect, 13-year-old SHE escapes by re-imagining her reality through poetry. Her dreams take flight when she is presented with the opportunity to attend the prestigious Vanguard Academy. Forced to make her own way, she soon discovers that dreams cost… and you don’t always pay with money. Imani, artistic director of the Richard Allen Center for Culture and Art in N.Y.C., directs. (June 6 – June 28: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.)
A 30th anniversary production of August 29, named for the date in 1970 when Los Angeles Times columnist Ruben Salazar was killed while covering a large Chicano-led anti-war demonstration in East L.A., opens, appropriately, on Aug. 29. A university professor relives those late 1960s, early 1970s movement days while writing a book on the life of Salazar, who comes to life to help her recall the past and to challenge her to renew her activism. The play was written and first produced by members of the Latino Theater Company, then known as the Latino Theater Lab, in 1990. Directed by Alberto Barboza. (Aug. 29 – Sept. 20: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p,m)
In The Last Angry Brown Hat by Alfredo Ramos, opening Sept. 5, four former members of the Brown Berets, a 1960s militant Chicano civil rights organization, reunite after the funeral of a pal. Willie’s brown beret has been stored away in a chest in his welding shop, along with a ton of memories from the “Chicano Power” movement of the ’60s and ’70s. When he and his friends open the chest, the past comes tumbling out. Together, they confront the dichotomy between their youthful anger and radicalism, and their current, more conformist lives filled with adult responsibilities. (Sept. 5 – Sept. 27: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.)
Finally, October brings a new play by Latino Theater Company’s acclaimed resident playwright, Evelina Fernández. In the world premiere of Sleep with the Angels, Molly is separated from her husband and in desperate need of a childcare provider. Then she discovers Juana standing at her doorstep. Soon, Molly and her kids are swept up into Juana’s magical and charming ways. But, who is Juana, really? (Oct. 17 – Nov. 8: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m.).
Satellite events include the Latino Theater Company’s Mexican Film Series, a series of free screenings set for the last Sunday of every month beginning Feb. 23: Titles from the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema include La otra (1946), directed by Roberto Gavaldón — Dolores Del Río plays a dual role as identical twins, one good and one bad; Su última aventura (1946), directed by Gilberto Martínez Solares — A comedy about a gang of crooks who can’t cash their wining lottery ticket, so must search for an “honorable” person to do it for them; Una familia de tantas (1949), directed by Alejandro Galindo — A romantic comedy about a traditional Mexican family thrown into turmoil when a door-to-door salesman comes to the house to hawk an American vacuum cleaner; El rey del barrio (1950), directed by Gilberto Martinez Solares — A small-time con artist gets more than he bargained for when one of his would-be victims falls in love with him; Sensualidad (1951), directed by Alberto Gout — A drama about the fatal consequences of obsessive passion; La noche avanza (1952), directed by Roberto Gavaldón — A womanizing cad becomes the target of a cunning revenge plot; El rebozo de Soledad (1952), directed by Roberto Gavaldón — A melodrama in which an idealistic city physician living in a rural community ruled by macho customs and feudalistic landowners falls for a peasant woman; Ensayo de un crimen (1955), directed by Luis Buñuel — A twisted tragicomedy on male obsession; Una cita de amor (1958), directed by Emilio Fernández— A powerful film about a woman fighting her rich, established family to marry the man she loves; El Brazo Fuerte (1958), directed by Giovanni Korporaal — A comedy that satirizes the Mexican political system, corruption and abuse of power by officials; and El esqueleto de la señora Morales (1960), directed by Rogelio A. Gonzalez — A horror/crime comedy in which a taxidermist decides to murder his wife after 20 years of a hellish marriage. (Screenings take place in The LATC’s Lupe Ontiveros Cinema on Sundays at 5 p.m.: Feb. 23, March 29, April 26, May 31, June 28, July 26, Aug. 30, Sept. 27, Oct. 25, Nov. 29 and Dec. 27; screening order TBA — check website for schedule.)
A second free series, the Summer Film Series is set for four Sundays in August, with the titles to be announced at a later date. (Sundays at 6 p.m. on Aug. 2, Aug. 9, Aug. 16 and Aug. 23.)
The Latino Theater Company will celebrate with its 14th annual Gala on Saturday, Oct. 10, honoring public figures who have dedicated their careers and lives to servicing the arts in Los Angeles. This year’s LTC’s Marco Antonio Firebaugh Legacy Award will be presented to California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo; the company’s Lupe Ontiveros Dream Award will go to award-winning actress Susan Clark (LTC’s 2013-14 production of Habitat); and the Edith Perez Angel Award will be presented to film producer David Valdés, who serves as president of LTC’s Board of Governors. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Latino Theater Company’s productions as well as outreach programs that contribute arts education and cultural enrichment to our city.
From Oct. 23 through Oct. 25, Latino Theater Company’s annual Reading Series will present readings of seven new plays over the course of one weekend — titles and schedule TBA.
The 18th annual La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin will return on Friday, Dec. 4 and Saturday, Dec. 5. A Los Angeles holiday tradition, the City’s largest theatrical holiday production features over 100 actors, singers and indigenous Aztec dancers as well as children and seniors from the community Join the tens of thousands who have become transfixed by the story of Juan Diego, a simple peasant to whom the Virgin Mary appeared on four occasions in the mountains of Tepeyac near Mexico City in 1531. Adapted for the stage from the mid-16th century text The Nican Mopohua and performed in Spanish with English subtitles, this site-specific epic event is presented by GOYA Foods and produced by the Latino Theater Company at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
In addition to the productions and events listed above, the Latino Theater Company sponsors arts education programs including Play at Work, a free technical training program for high school and college students that takes place each spring and fall, teaching stage carpentry, sound, lighting, and front of house and stage management; and an annual Summer Youth Conservatory, training high schools students in a professional setting with courses in acting, playwriting, dance, voice/speech, theater analysis and movement.
The Latino Theater Company is dedicated to providing a world-class arts center for those pursuing artistic excellence; a laboratory where both tradition and innovation are honored and honed; and a place where the convergence of people, cultures and ideas contribute to the future. Now entering its 34th year, LTC has operated The Los Angeles Theatre since 2006.
For more information about the Latino Theater Company and the 2020 season, call (866) 811-4111 or go to http://thelatc.org/