UrbanTheater Company Opens Its 11th Season with The Midwest Premiere of Carmen Rivera’s Obie Award-Winning Comedy, La Gringa

Press contact: Julia Borcherts

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Kaye Publicity September 6, 2016


UrbanTheater Company and Mike Oquendo join forces to co-produce the English language version of the longest-running Spanish play in Off-Broadway history for its 20th anniversary

The Midwest premiere is directed by Teatro Luna founding ensemble member Miranda Gonzalez

Chicago, IL— UrbanTheater Company proudly announces the opening play in its 11th season, the Midwest premiere of La Gringa. This Obie Award-winning holiday comedy by Carmen Rivera has been running continuously Off-Broadway since 1996, making it the longest-running Spanish play in Off-Broadway history. For the play’s 20th anniversary, UrbanTheater Company will produce the English-language version. Miranda Gonzalez, a founding member of Chicago’s only all-Latina theater company, Teatro Luna, directs the production. Mikey O Comedy Productions founder Mike Oquendo will co-produce the show.

“La Gringa is the perfect play to kick off UrbanTheater Company’s eleventh season because it takes the audience on a search for personal and cultural identity, which connects to our mission and history of producing plays which explore and illustrate Latinx life,” says UrbanTheater Company executive director and founding member Ivan Vega. “We’re excited to partner with Mike Oquendo as our co-producer for this show. Mike is a friend and has always been an advocate for UrbanTheater. I respect Mike and his work and everything he does for Chicago and the Latinx community.”

“Since the late 1990s, Mike has been producing more than 80 comedy shows per year, in neighborhoods all over Chicagoland and around the country, which showcase primarily Latinx talent,” Vega continues. “With UrbanTheater Company moving into its second decade of bringing professional theater featuring Puerto Rican works and artists to Humboldt Park, this play is a great opportunity for us both to celebrate and strengthen our relationships with the community by being the first to bring this important–and very funny—play to Chicago and the Midwest.”

La Gringa will be performed at UrbanTheater Company, 2620 W. Division Street in Chicago from November 11-December 11, 2016, with performances on Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are available at www.urbantheaterchicago.org

The UrbanTheater Company 2016-2017 season opens with:

The Midwest premiere of La Gringa

Written by Carmen Rivera

Directed by Miranda Gonzalez

November 11-December 11, 2016

Previews November 7-10, 2016


In this Obie Award-winning comedy about a young woman’s search for her identity, María Elena Garcia goes to visit her extended family in Puerto Rico during the Christmas holidays, excited to connect with her homeland. Although this is her first trip to Puerto Rico, she has grown up with an intense love for the island and even majored in Puerto Rican Studies in college. Upon her arrival, however, she realizes that Puerto Rico does not welcome her with open arms. The majority of the Puerto Ricans on the island consider her an American–a gringa—and María considers this a betrayal: If she’s a Puerto Rican in the United States and an American in Puerto Rico, María concludes, then this makes her a nobody everywhere. Her journey to come to terms with who she is leads María into misperceptions and misadventures. But will an unlikely ally help her find her way to the other side?

Of La Gringa, the New York Times says, “90 minutes of laughter…Carmen Rivera has captured the spirit of the Puerto Rican experience,” and The Village Voicesays, “Carmen Rivera’s deft playwriting delivers María from her personality crisis with spiritual transcendence.”


Carmen Rivera is an Obie Award-winning playwright whose other Off Broadway productions include La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny (2002 ACE Award – Best Production); Julia de Burgos: Child of Water; To Catch the Lightning (1997 Nomination ACE Award – Best Production); The Next Stop (INTAR / Repertorio Español); and Under the Mango Tree (INTAR). She also co-wrote, with Cándido Tirado, Celia: The Life and Music of Celia Cruz, (HOLA Award 2008, Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting), which played Off-Broadway at New World Stages and toured Florida, Chicago, Tenerife, Canary Islands and Puerto Rico. Twelve of her other works have been produced at Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM); Teatro Circulo; SOHO Rep; Nuyorican Poet’s Café; National Public Radio (NPR); UrbanTheater Company in Chicago and many other theaters. She holds an MA in Playwriting and Latin American Theatre from New York University.

Miranda Gonzalez is a founding ensemble member of Teatro Luna, Chicago’s only all-Latina theater company. She and has devised and developed plays since 2000 and has worked as a director since 2010. Her directing and development credits include: Of Princes, Princesses and Other Creatures at the 2010 Goodman Latino Theatre Festival; GL 2010: Not Your Generic Latina at Chicago Dramatists; the 10×10 Festival at American Theater Company; Lullaby at The Greenhouse Theater Center, The North/South Plays workshop at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; Crossed with Teatro Luna, Crime Scene: Chicagowith Collaboraction and solo artist Melissa DuPrey’s Sushi-Frito at Free Street Theater.


Previews: $10

Pre-sale: $15

Walk-up: $20

Students and seniors: $12

60622 zip code residents: $10

Group rates available

Box Office: (312) 767-UTC1; (312) 767-8821 orhttp://urbantheaterchicago.org

Performance Venue: UrbanTheater Company at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St., on the Paseo Boricua in the heart of Humboldt Park (newly renovated)

Performance Times: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays

Teatro Thursdays and Teatro Sundays promotions: 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 and a new initiative called Teatro Sundays Brunch N’ Play which features a $30 brunch/theater package at Nellie’s (2458 W. Division St.) in conjunction with our Sunday performances.

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 Latinx communities and the vehicle of performing arts. UrbanTheater Company 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, visithttp://urbantheaterchicago.org.  Follow UTC on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/UrbanTheater and on Twitterhttp://twitter.com/UrbanTheater

UrbanTheater Company is grateful for the support of Mike Oquendo; The Puerto Rican Cultural Center, the Humboldt Community and our board members, Juan Carlos Linares, Marty McCaffrey and Jerry Conner.

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One response to “UrbanTheater Company Opens Its 11th Season with The Midwest Premiere of Carmen Rivera’s Obie Award-Winning Comedy, La Gringa”

  1. Ruthie Maldonado-Delwiche says:

    Already got my ticket. Won’t miss another play that’s for sure!!!

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