UrbanTheater Company Announces 2016 Season


January 13, 2015

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to include the Midwest premiere of José Rivera’s Adoration of the Old Woman, and a 20th anniversary production of Lolita de Lares, by Migdalia Cruz, which made its world premiere in 1995 with Latino Chicago Theater Company

The 10th anniversary season is funded by Chicago Community Trust

UrbanTheater Company also announces:

Juan Castañeda named UTC artistic director

New ensemble members Tony Bruno, Nydia Castillo, Guadalís Del Carmen, Melissa DuPrey, Tamika Lecheé Morales, Andrew Neftalí Perez and resident dramaturg Liza Ann Acosta

UrbanTheater Company is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

Chicago, IL— UrbanTheater Company proudly announces its 10th anniversary season, which features works that highlight the company’s decade-long commitment to bringing professional theater to a multicultural community and pay tribute to pioneering ensemble Chicago Latino Theater Company. The season will be performed at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division Street in Chicago.

The 10th anniversary season includes the Midwest premiere of Adoration of the Old Woman, written by Academy Award-nominee and Obie Award-winner José Rivera and directed by UTC artistic director Juan Castañeda; and the 20th anniversary production of Lolita de Lares, written by Migdalia Cruz, which was commissioned developed and produced at Latino Chicago Theater Company in 1995 as a world premiere directed by Edward Torres.

“These plays are the perfect productions for UrbanTheater Company’s 10th anniversary season because they connect our history, our mission and our deep roots in the Chicago theater community to our future,” says UTC executive director and founding member Ivan Vega.

“For the past ten years UrbanTheater Company has made professional theater accessible to the public, specifically on Paseo Boricua in the Humboldt Park community. We’ve produced more plays written by Puerto Rican playwrights than any other company in Chicago and will continue to “bring the streets to the stage”  in our second decade by showcasing Latina/o playwrights and actors in works that explore and illustrate Latino life and history.

“Adoration of the Old Woman celebrates our successful history of presenting works by José Rivera (among many other playwrights) and strengthens our connection to the community by being the first to bring this important–and very funny—play to Chicago and the Midwest. And Lolita de Lares pays tribute to an important milestone in Chicago theater history from 20 years ago, with themes that still resonate with audiences today.”

The UrbanTheater Company 2015-16 season is:

The Midwest Premiere of

Adoration of the Old Woman

Written by José Rivera
Directed by UTC Artistic Director Juan Castañeda

February 12 – March 13, 2016
Previews February 9-11, 2016

In this searing, magical-realist, coming-of-age drama from two-time Obie Award-winner and Academy Award-nominee José Rivera (References to Salvador Dali Make Me Hot; Marisol; The Motorcycle Diaries), a rebellious New Jersey teenager encounters family secrets, political turmoil, an alluring ghost, a haunted bed and a love triangle of her own when she is sent to rural Puerto Rico to live with the elderly great-grandmother she’s never met—and whose language she doesn’t know how to speak. Adoration of the Old Woman marks UrbanTheater Company’s third production of Rivera’s work, following Brainpeople in 2010 and the Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated Sonnets for an Old Century in 2011.

Juan Castañeda (Director/UTC Artistic Director) is a graduate of the Theatre School at DePaul University and the Artistic Director for UrbanTheater Company. He directed the company’s 2014 production of Julia de Burgos: Child of Water (by Carmen Rivera) and the 2013 production of First Class (by Cándido Tirado, which was selected for inclusion in the 2014 Theater on the Lake series). He also co-directed UTC’s 2014 production of Devil Land (by Desi Moreno-Penson) and the 2011 Jeff-recommended production of Sonnets for an Old Century (by José Rivera). Other credits as a director, assistant director, stage manager and actor include: Steep Theatre, Teatro Vista, Halcyon Theatre, The People’s Theatre Company of Chicago, Chicago Dramatists, EX-Pats Theatre, The Mammals Theatre, Hobo Junction Productions, Chicago Fusion Theatre, Splitpillow Productions, Fine Print Theatre Company, Clockwise Theatre and La Molecula Artistica.

Cast (* denotes UrbanTheater Company member)

Nydia Castillo*; Melissa DuPrey*; Debbie Baños; Andrew Perez*; Armando Reyes

Production Team (* denotes UrbanTheater Company member)

Juan Castaneda (Director)*; Daena Ramos (Assistant Director); Liza Ann Acosta (Dramaturg)*; Ivan Vega (Producer)*; Tony Bruno (Production Manager)*; Rebekah Brock (Stage Manager); Ivy Reid (Lighting Consultant)*; Johnny Moran (Fight Choreographer); Esteban Andrés Cruz (Ensemble Coach)


Fredy Rocha (Costumes); Amy Couey (Props)*; Noel Spence (Set); Rebbeca Bartle (Lights)

The UrbanTheater Company 2015-16 season concludes with:
The 20th Anniversary production of

Lolita de Lares

Written by Migdalia Cruz
Directed by Marcela Muñoz

June 10-July 10, 2016
Previews June 6-9, 2016

This colorful, insightful, surrealist political drama from National Endowment for the Arts and Kennedy Center fellow Migdalia Cruz (El Grito del Bronx; Fur) explores—through the points of view of 50 different characters—the remarkable, real-life story of Dolores (Lolita) Lebron, a Puerto Rican Nationalist Party member who served 22 years in prison for spearheading a 1954 armed uprising in the U.S. House of Representatives. In 1995, Latino Chicago Theater Company commissioned Lolita de Lares from Cruz, who was a playwright-in-residence from 1991-1998.

Marcela Muñoz (Director) is the Co-Artistic Director and Managing Director of Aguijón Theater where her directing credits include Yerma, The House of Bernarda Alba, Blood Wedding, Johnny Tenorio, Perversions, Even a Sparrow Leaves its Nest, Monday Falls on León Rodríguez, Antigone, The Passion According to Antígona Pérez, Querido Voyeur, Blowout and La Chunga among others; Kita y Fernanda for Teatro Luna; Ferdinand the Bull for the Goodman Theatre; and La Posada Mágica for Teatro Vista. Her many acting credits include regular roles with Aguijón and works with other Chicago companies such as Teatro Luna, Teatro Vista (ensemble member), Victory Gardens Theatre and Goodman Theatre. As an actress and director she has participated in international theatre festivals in Peru, Argentina and Colombia and also dedicates herself to theater/acting education and the bilingual translation (Spanish/English) of dramatic works. She is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.


Previews: $10
Pre-sale: $15
Walk-up: $20
Students and seniors: $12

Group of 10 or more: $12

60626 zip code residents: $10

Box Office: (312) 767-UTC1; (312) 767-8821 or http://urbantheaterchicago.org
Performance Venue: Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St., on the Paseo Boricua in the heart of Humboldt Park (newly renovated)
Performance Times: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays

Teatro Thursdays promotion: In 2014, UrbanTheater introduced Teatro Thursdays in partnership with Division Street Business Development Association (DSBDA) which features a $30 dinner/theater package at local restaurants in the Humboldt Park community in conjunction with our Thursday performances. During the run of Adoration of the Old Woman, Thursday theatergoers can enjoy dinner at La Havana Cafe (2525 W. Division St.) prior to the performance. 

UrbanTheater Company’s 10th Anniversary Season

This year, UrbanTheater Company celebrates its 10th season of producing professional theater. As we approached this milestone, we discovered ourselves looking back at our role in important conversations about history, diversity and the arts, as well as the history of Latino theater in Chicago, and looking ahead to how we can continue to fulfill our mission as we transition into our second decade. So, to celebrate this landmark anniversary, we’ve handpicked two exciting, provocative plays that explore Puerto Rican history through a contemporary lens which also showcase UrbanTheater Company’s strengths and our ensemble members’ talents.

Juan Castañeda named UTC artistic director

UrbanTheater Company literary manager Juan Castañeda has accepted the role of Artistic Director. Juan joined the UTC in 2010, and has worked as a director with Urban. In the spring of 2013, Juan was able to further develop his role as literary manager by curating UTC’s first annual R.A.W. (Real. Aggressive. Writing.) staged reading series. UrbanTheater Company founding Artistic Director Ivan Vega moves into the role of Executive Director.

New Company Members

UrbanTheater Company is delighted to welcome seven talented Chicago theater artists into the family:

Antonio Bruno has designed sound for UTC’s Cuba and his Teddy Bear, First Class; Devil Land and Julia De Burgos: Child of Water and will serve as production manager and resident sound designer for Adoration of the Old Woman.

Nydia Castillo has been an Aguijón Theater ensemble member since 2001, where her acting credits include Monday Falls on León Rodríguez, The Virtuous Burglar, The House of Bernarda Alba, Yerma, Eréndira, Las Soldaderas, Antígona, Within, Querido Voyeur and Blowout! Other stage credits in Chicago include Blood Wedding with La Molécula Artística, and in Puerto Rico, where she worked as a runway model and radio personality, her acting credits include: Puerto Rico Fuà, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Fela!

Guadalís Del Carmen is an ensemble member of Aguijón Theater, where her debut play, Blowout, received its world premiere. As an actress, she starred in Julia de Burgos: Child of Water with UrbanTheater Company and has also worked with Batey Urbano, People’s Theatre and Colectivo El Pozo and understudied at Court Theatre for Water by the Spoonful. She is also a participant in ALTA’s El Semillero Playwright program.

Melissa DuPrey is an actor and comic whose solo show, SEXomedy, is Chicago Reader Recommended, a Member’s Pick, and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York. Her second solo show, SUSHI-frito, has also been critically acclaimed as part of MPAACT’s Signature Series for solo artists. She made her Goodman Theatre in the world premiere of Luna Gale (Lourdes), and reprised that role in the show’s Los Angeles premiere. She was selected as a new talent for the 2014 ABC Diversity Showcase and is currently the Producing Associate with Pegasus Theatre Chicago and an artist-in-residence at Free Street Theatre. As a teaching artist, she partners with such programs and institutions as After School Matters, The Lyric Opera, and The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance.

Tamika Lecheé Morales made her UTC debut in Julia De Burgos: Child of Water; Sabina Berman’s Between Pancho Villa and a Naked Woman/Gina. José Rivera’s, Cloud Tectonics/Celestina Del Sol, John Enright’s Ready or Not/ Norma and Jocasta in Luis Alfaro’s, Oedipus El Rey (understudy). She is also currently developing her autobiographical play, The Nuyorican, through the Victory Gardens Theater Access Project.

Andrew Neftalí Perez is earning his BFA in Theatre Performance at University of Illinois Chicago where he is also an award-winning member of the Movimiento Latino dance team.

Liza Anna Acosta is the resident dramaturg with UrbanTheater Company and an ensemble member of Teatro Luna where serves in both literary and theatrical capacities. She is an Associate Dean and professor at North Park University.

UrbanTheater Company now has 501(c)(3) status

In 2015, UrbanTheater Company was awarded 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization which qualifies the company to apply for many arts grants, permits a tax exempt status, enables supporters to deduct donations from their income taxes and provides additional resources to assist in furthering its mission of bringing dynamic, relevant works to the community.

About UrbanTheater Company

Founded in 2005, UrbanTheater Company is committed to the creation and exploration of urban-inspired works that convey, illuminate and empathize with the human experience.

As a platform for multicultural representation in the performance arena, UrbanTheater Company serves as a bridge between Chicago’s urban and Latino communities and the vehicle of performing arts. UTC engages itself in the work of community responsibility and strives to raise awareness and contribute to the important conversations concerning many of the social issues facing our diverse backgrounds.

For more information about UrbanTheater Company, visit http://urbantheaterchicago.org.  Follow UTC on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UrbanTheater and on Twitter http://twitter.com/UrbanTheater

UrbanTheater Company is supported by a generous 10th anniversary season grant from The Chicago Community Trust. UTC is also grateful for the support of Genesis Theatrical Productions and its artistic director, Elayne LeTraunik; our Season 10 Legacy Award Honorees Mike Oquendo, José E. López and Idali R. Vega; and our board members, Juan Carlos Linares, Marty McCaffrey and Jerry Conner.

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