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World premiere comedy ‘The Cruise’ by Jonathan
Ceniceroz kicks off 2017 season at The LATC
LOS ANGELES (Feb. 7, 2017) — The Latino Theater Company kicks off its 2017 season exploring themes of identity and its relationship to history with a new socio-political comedy set on board a luxury ocean liner. The world premiere of The Cruise by Jonathan Ceniceroz opens March 16 at The Los Angeles Theatre Center. Low-priced previews begin March 10.
The setting — a decadent Caribbean cruise obliviously sailing through waters bloodied by the region’s dark Colonial history — becomes a metaphor for the fractured political, cultural and sexual identities of its passengers. Ric Salinas (Culture Clash) heads the cast as enrichment lecturer Ramón, who may not be exactly who he seems — to us, or to himself. Kenneth Miles Ellington Lopez (Latino Theater Company’s A Mexican Trilogy) plays James, Ramón’s aspiring writer son, long estranged from his father and from his Latino heritage. Carolyn Almos (Sacred Fools, Burglars of Hamm) portrays the nouveau riche Judith, intent on using her newly inherited wealth to further a conservative political agenda, while Gary Lamb (Coeurage Theatre Company’s Urinetown) is Howard, Judith’s hedonistic second husband. Rounding out the cast, Brian Wallace (Cash on Delivery at the El Portal) takes on flamboyant Boyd Mathiessen, the cruise director who threatens to reveal secrets from Ramón’s past. Heath Cullens (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) directs.
“I wanted to explore the sense of dislocation that so many of us feel in today’s society,” explains Ceniceroz. “Ramón and James are third and fourth generation Latinos who have lost touch with their heritage. We don’t usually see the immigrant experience from that perspective – the assimilated, ‘pocho’ point of view. But I don’t think that a sense of fractured identity is limited to any one demographic. It’s a universal issue that everyone can relate to. And it all takes on a new resonance in the age of Trump.”
“Jonathan tackles a lot of big issues in this play, like politics and identity, but it’s all wrapped up in a very simple story about a father and son,” says Cullens. “The reason The Cruise is so effective is because its core is so human, emotional and true. Plus… it’s very funny!”
The creative team for The Cruise includes set designer Brittany Blouch, lighting designer Justin Huen, sound designer Ivan Robles and costume designer Manee Leija.
Jonathan Ceniceroz stands out as a unique voice in the field of Latino writers because many of his themes investigate the point of view of the “pocho,” or assimilated, Latino in U.S. culture. Born and raised in a comfortable and Anglo-dominant suburb of Los Angeles, Jonathan’s worldview is one of “otherness” within exclusivity. It would take years of personal and artistic development to understand the context of his position within society, evidenced in his earliest work, Lupe, Now!, a radical re-imagining of the Virgin of Guadalupe story which launched his career in playwriting. Several plays followed, most notably The Blind Woman from Veracruz, Strange Brew and The Blessing of the Animals. Jonathan’s work also expresses an unapologetic view of contemporary gay life, reflecting on its own otherness and exclusion as well as its inherent warmth and humanity. These plays encompass The Drowning of Natalie Wood, BIG BRO/lil bro, Burning Palms and Hole in the Boy. Collectively, his theater work has been produced and developed by the Mark Taper Forum, New York Theatre Workshop, South Coast Rep, the Drama League, Company of Angels, Odyssey Theatre and Chalk Repertory, among others. For film, he has written the Swiss/U.S. shorts Mousy Brown and Der Fisch. He is a former Van Lier Fellow at New Dramatists and a participant in the CTG Writers Group and the Playwrights Union, a Los Angeles writers collective. Jonathan is also an alum of the National Hispanic Media Coalition TV Writers Program, where he wrote a popular episode of Castle and the original Latino drama 7 Mares. He holds writing degrees from UCLA and Brown University.
Heath Cullens recently directed the first season (15 episodes) of Great Minds with Dan Harmon where he had the opportunity to work with Jack Black, Nick Kroll, Sarah Silverman and Jason Sudeikis among other comedy luminaries. Prior to that, he directed half of the 11th Season (five episodes) of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and several episodes of Deadbeat for Hulu. Along with his work in TV, Cullens produced and had a supporting role in the Lionsgate-released feature Armed Response with Cary Elwes, Ethan Embry, Michael Gladis and Alan Arkin. Cullens wrote, directed and starred in an award-winning short, Well Enough Alone, as well as several popular sketches for the website “Funny Or Die.” Before transitioning to TV and Film, Cullens spent several years as part of the New York theater scene where he worked with notable theaters such as New York Theatre Workshop, Playwrights Horizons, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Urban Stages and the Keen Company. He is a recipient of multiple directing awards, a Drama League Directing Fellowship and he is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Cullens received his MFA from Brown University.
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. Each production in its 2017 season was selected to explore themes of identity and its relationship to history. Now in its 31st year, LTC has operated The Los Angeles Theatre Center, a facility of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and a landmark building in Downtown’s Historic Core, since 2006.
Performances of The Cruise take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from March 16 through April 9, with one additional performance on Monday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. There will be four preview performances, on Friday, March 10 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 12 at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, March 14 at 8 p.m.; and Wednesday, March 15 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $22 – $38. The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to http://thelatc.org/.
Details for Calendar Listings
World premiere of The Cruise — Los Angeles-based playwright Jonathan Ceniceroz’s comedy, set on board a Caribbean cruise ship, explores the fracturing of political, cultural and sexual identity in today’s society. Directed by Heath Cullens (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
• Written by Jonathan Ceniceroz
• Directed by Heath Cullens
• Starring Carolyn Almos; Gary Lamb, Kenneth Miles Ellington Lopez, Ric Salinas, Brian Wallace
• Produced by The Latino Theater Company
Previews: March 10, 12, 14, 15
Performances: March 16 – April 9
• Monday at 7:30 p.m.: April 3 ONLY
• Tuesday at 8 p.m.: March 14 ONLY (preview)
• Wednesday at 8 p.m.: March 15 ONLY (preview)
• Thursdays at 8 p.m.: March 16 (opening night), 23, 30; April 6
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: March 10 (preview), 17, 24, 31; April 7
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: March 18, 25; April 1, 8
• Sundays at 3 p.m.: March 12 (preview), 19, 26; April 2, 9
The Los Angles Theatre Center
514 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles CA 90013
• To purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to http://thelatc.org/
• For group sales, call (213) 489-0994
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• Metered parking available on streets surrounding the theater.
• Parking lots range in price from $6 – $12.
• Take the Metro: nearest stop is Pershing Square (two blocks west of The LATC).