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Water & Power – Midwest Premiere

Written by Richard Montoya
Directed by Richard Perez

A gripping drama about ambitious Mexi-Rican twins from Humboldt Park who fight for their people and ultimately their very lives. 

June 20-July 22, 2017

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Water & Power is the winner of the 2006 Ted Schmitt Award presented by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle for the world premiere of an outstanding new play.

Water & Power is modern noir. What emerges from the long shadows of a rainy night is as mysterious as what will never see the light of day. Who is the Power behind the Power? How does Water flow in Chicago? Who controls the streets, cops, gangs or gangsters in suits and ties? Nothing is concrete in Chicago, except The Loop, and more funerals for young Black Men…

“Originally performed by the award-winning Chicano/Latino performance troupe Culture Clash at the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in July 2006 under the direction of Lisa Peterson.”

“Admirers of the group’s unique blend of Chicano-inflected, spoken-word-erupting performance art needn’t worry that they’ve lost sight of their signature gifts. “Water & Power” daringly tries to bundle these elements into a theatrical experience that veers inevitably toward tragedy.” – The Los Angeles Times

Richard Montoya (Playwright) is a founding member of the historic performance trio Culture Clash. Born in San Diego, California, Richard was influenced by his family’s involvement in matters of civil rights to pursue a career in political and social activism, and chose to accomplish these goals through writing original works and acting in plays and films concerned with matters of culture, racism, and Latino identity in the United States. His plays have been produced by Arizona Theater Company, Yale Rep, Campo Santo, Goodman Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, and Arena Stage, among many others. He made his feature filmmaking debut as a director with a big screen, Edward James Olmos-produced adaptation of Water & Power starring Enrique Murciano and Clancy Brown. Montoya’s second film, the documentary Carlos in Wonderland, about the legendary Chicano painter Carlos Almaraz, and co-directed with Elsa Flores Almaraz, is currently in post-production.

Richard Pérez (Director) is an award-winning actor, director, and educator. He is the recipient of the Theatre Communications Group’s New Generations/Future Leaders Fellowship, which took him to Chicago Dramatists as its first Associate Artistic Director in 2009. Prior to that, he was the Producing Artistic Director of the Bloomington Playwrights Project in Indiana for seven seasons. In that time he oversaw the production of over thirty new plays, with at least sixteen of those being world premieres. His directing credits include Roustabout, Miss Julie, Urinetown, All My Sons, True West, Hurly Burly, The Mercy Swing (New York Fringe Festival) and Nocturnal (part of the Kennedy Center’s New Visions/New Voices Festival). Chicago credits include Fucking A for UTC and Invasion of Skokie for Chicago Dramatists. As an actor, he has appeared as Councilman Ortiz on Boss, with Kelsey Grammer, as well as roles on Chicago Fire and Chicago Med.


Mike Cherry (The Fixer), Juan Delgado (Asuncion García/Ministro/Vendor), Dennis García (Water), Gabriel Elias González (Deer Dancer/Gibby/Gabby), Andrew Neftalí Pérez (Notre/Sur), Ivan Vega (Power) 


Liza Ann Acosta (Dramaturg), Antonio Bruno (Co-Producer/Production Manager), Sara Carranza (House Manager/Props), Kelsey Cox (Costume Design), Meghan Erxleben (Lighting Design), Karolyn M. Gil (Box Office), Brandon Gomez (Box Office), Miranda González (Artistic Director/Co-Producer), Caswell James (Set Design), Perry Landes (Sound Design), Jacqueline Marschke (Stage Manager/Co-Production Manager), Richard Perez (Director), Fredy Rocha (Costume Designer)

Water & Power Digital Program

Suggestion Donation: $20

Box Office: (312) 767-UTC1; (312) 767-8821
Performance Venue: 2620 W. Division St., on the Paseo Boricua in the heart of Humboldt Park
Performance Times:  7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays

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Special Event: Latin Standards – Two Nights Only in Chicago (June 2 & 3)!

UrbanTheater Company Presents
Marga Gomez’s

Written/Performed by Marga Gomez
Directed by David Schweizer

Two Nights Only in Chicago!

Friday, June 2
Saturday, June 3
$15 suggested donation
Proceeds to benefit UTC programming

2620 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622


In her 12th solo play “Latin Standards” Marga Gomez performs the loving, funny and true story of perseverance and creative addiction passed down from immigrant father to lesbian daughter. Mixing nostalgia, urgency and comic edge Gomez portrays herself as a driven adult child of a Cuban entertainer. Defying reason she attempts to produce a hipster comedy night at a struggling Latino drag queen club during San Francisco’s gentrification crisis. Between vivid portrayals of characters from 1960’s Manhattan to present day San Francisco, Gomez ponders the ballads (or Latin Standards) penned by her late father Willy Chevalier: a comedian/producer/entrepreneur and composer of dance tunes that revealed in jealousy and obsession. Latin Standards premiered at the Public Theater’s “Under The Radar Festival in 2017 and received a New York Times ‘critics pick’ for its “winning heart and humor.”

Marga Gomez is the GLAAD Award and LA Theater Ovation Award-winning writer/performer of 12 solo plays which have been presented at The Public Theater, La Mama ETC, Dixon Place, Highways, Bootleg Theater, nationally and internationally.

The SF Weekly named Gomez one of “2016’s Artists To Watch.” Huffpost named her an “Agent of Change” in 2015. She has been described as “deliciously cheeky and incendiary” by the New York Times. She was an original member of the Latino ensemble Culture Clash. Her acting credits include Off-Broadway and national productions of The Vagina Monologues with Rita Moreno and Vicki Lawrence and roles in HBO’s Tracey Takes On… and Warner Brothers film’s Batman Forever and Sphere. Gomez can be seen in season two of the Netflix series “Sense 8”

Marga Gomez also tours nationally as a stand-up comedian and is known for being one of the first openly lesbian performers in the business. She has appeared on LOGO’s One Night Stand Up, Showtime’s Latino Laugh Festival, Comedy Central’s Out There and HBO’s Comic Relief at the invitation of Robin Williams who called her “Amazing… a lesbian Lenny Bruce.” She has been a guest on leading comedy podcasts Marc Maron’s WTF, The Keith and The Girl Show and Kevin Allison’s Risk. She has been featured at numerous comedy festivals including SF Sketchfest, Montreal’s Just For Laughs, South Beach Comedy Festival, Vancouver Comedy Festival and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Marga also teaches solo performance in classes and online and is a tenured Artist-in-Residence at Brava Theater, San Francisco. Selections from Gomez’s work have been published in several anthologies including Extreme Exposure (TCG Books), HOWL (Crown Press), Out Loud & Laughing (Anchor Books), Contemporary Plays by American Women of Color (Routledge), When I Knew (Harper-Collins) and Out of Character (Bantam Books.) She was born in New York City to entertainers in the Latino community and currently resides in San Francisco. Her website is margagomez.com

Areyto – First Annual Barrio Legend Award

UrbanTheater Company and Mike Oquendo invite you to the first annual Areyto, Barrio Legend Award on Thursday, November 17 to honor Carmen Rivera, playwright of LA GRINGA for her contribution to the arts. The event will be hosted by Mike Oquendo (Mikey O Comedy Show) and Ivan Vega (UTC Executive Director).

$30 Ticket includes:
Vino, Coquito, Flan y Antojitos
Paranda by Too4G
Plus tickets to a performance on 11/20 or 11/27

Space is limited!

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

Press contact: Julia Borcherts

(773) 878-0722                                                



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.”

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La Gringa is the longest-running Spanish-language play in Off-Broadway history celebrating its 20th anniversary

November 11-December 11

Extended by popular demand from January 12-28, 2017!

Performances in English

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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?

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


Carmen Rivera (Playwright) 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. Read More 


Miranda Gonzalez (Director) 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: Chicago with Collaboraction and solo artist Melissa DuPrey’s Sushi-Frito at Free Street Theater. 


General Admission: $20

Senior and youth discounts are sold out for the extension.
All sales are final. There are no refunds.

Box Office: (312) 767-UTC1; (312) 767-8821
Performance Venue: 2620 W. Division St., on the Paseo Boricua in the heart of Humboldt Park
Performance Times:  7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays; 3 p.m. Sundays

Buy Tickets »



La Gringa Auditions

La Gringa by Carmen Rivera is the longest running off-broadway play written by a Latina playwright and we’re thrilled to be presenting the Midwest Premiere in association with Mikey O Comedy. UTC is seeking Latinx identified actors to be considered for the opening production of season 11. See information below for details.


La Gringa is about a young woman’s search for her identity. Mari­a Elena Garcia goes to visit her family in Puerto Rico during the Christmas holidays and arrives with plans to connect with her homeland. Although this is her first trip to Puerto Rico, she has had an intense love for the island and even majored in Puerto Rican Studies in college. Once Maria is in Puerto Rico, 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 Mari­a considers this a betrayal. If she’s a Puerto Rican in the United States and an American in Puerto Rico, Maria concludes that she is nobody everywhere. Her uncle, Manolo, spiritually teaches her that identity isn’t based on superficial and external definitions, but rather is an essence that she has had all along in her heart.

Character Description:

MARIA – 22, Puerto Rican-American woman, born and raised in New York City. She’s considered a “Nuyorican.” Maria is young and naïve.

IRIS – 24 Maria’s cousin. She is very extroverted and a bit jealous of her cousin Maria.

NORMA – Late 50’s, Maria’s aunt iris’ mother Manolo’s sister, She never pursued her dreams and lives with bitterness and resentment in her spirit.

MANOLO – Late 60’s, Maria’s uncle. Manolo had dreams of pursuing acting when he was young. Although he is very ill and near death he possesses a very lively spirit and a great sense of humor.

VICTOR – Norma’s husband Early 60’s he possesses a great deal of positive energy. And has a huge capacity for love.

MONCHI- A neighbor 24 years old. He has an entrepreneurial spirit – he started his own farm and falls in love with Maria.

Audition Date: Audition: Wed. Sept. 7th; Callbacks: Thurs. Sept 8th

Audition Time: 5pm to 10pm

Audition Location: Auditions will be held at UrbanTheater Company located at 2620 W. Division St.

Equity/Non-Equity: Non-Equity

Pay: Stipend

Type/Restrictions: Seeking Latinx identified actors.

Time Commitment: Rehearsals begin Oct. 1, Performances are Thu-Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 3pm from Nov. 11-Dec. 18 (No Thanksgiving day performance). Some daytime performances. Dates TBD.

Material To Prepare: Please submit by email to Ivan Vega at casting@urbantheaterchicago.org with subject titled La Gringa with Headshot / Resume for consideration. Sides will be provided.

A Note of Gratitude from Executive Director, Ivan Vega

Our revival of Migdalia Cruz’s “Lolita de Lares” was a big success! Close to 800 people came out to see our production. On behalf of UrbanTheater Company and the cast and crew, we thank each and every one of YOU for ensuring our 10th anniversary season ended on a high note! We’re honored to have been able to breathe life into this beautifully complex and timely play about a beautifully complex and courageous woman; Lolita Lebrón.

This production has been a gift to us, to the Humboldt Park community and to many others who were able to experience this piece of untold Puerto Rican/US history. The positive response from our audience has been overwhelming. Many of you even pleaded for an extension. As much as we would have wanted to extend we couldn’t but will definitely explore the possibility of a remount. Special thanks to The Chicago Community Trust for helping make season ten possible. A big thank you to our community partners at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center La Bruquena and Nellie’s Restaurant. Teatro Thursdays and our new initiative Teatro Sundays Brunch N’ Play were a hit! To our amazing director, cast and crew who worked tirelessly, thank YOU! Your work was absolutely beautiful!

This Fall: The Midwest Premiere of La Gringa by Carmen Rivera Tirado, in collaboration with Mikey O Comedy!