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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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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Kaye Publicity September 6, 2016

URBANTHEATER COMPANY OPENS ITS 11th SEASON WITH THE MIDWEST PREMIERE OF CARMEN RIVERA’S OBIE AWARD-WINNING COMEDY, LA GRINGA

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

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

Buy Tickets »

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 


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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 


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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. 


TICKETS

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 »

 

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Window Signage

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!

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.

Synopsis:

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!

Closing Weekend Is Completely Sold Out!

Thank you for your interest in UrbanTheater Company! Please sign our mailing list, friend us on facebook, twitter and instagram to find out more about season 11.