Now Playing

Season 15


Written by
Melissa DuPrey

Directed by
Miranda González

OCT 23 & 24, 2021

Andrew Neftalí Perez
Beatriz Jamaica
Brieann Jasmine
Jimmy Mann
Isaly Viana
Maria F. Velazquez
Wendy Mateo

Beatriz Jamaica (Carolina) is native to Chicago and has close ties to her Mexican heritage. She has been acting in theatre for over twenty years being in such productions as Teatro Luna’s Kita y Fernanda and Lullaby, Scrap Mettle SOUL’s Little Victories, Talking Trash and The Whole World Gets Well. Beatriz was also a member of the Latino sketch comedy troupe, Salsation! where she performed in such sketch comedies as The Pinata Strikes Back, The Fanta Menace and The Devil Wears Chanklas. Beatriz has also done film, TV and commercials. You may catch her in “Chicago P.D.,” “Chicago Fire,” “Work In Progress or Utopia.” Her film credits include “On The Downlow,” “Somewhere in the Middle of Sunday and Unexpected.”

Beatriz will continue to act in one form or another for the rest of her life. As always, she thanks
her family for all of their love and support.

Brieann Jasmine (Ifé) grew up in Madison Wisconsin before moving to Chicago where she received her BFA from the Chicago College of Performing Arts. When she’s not acting you can find her hitting the treadmill with her Barry’s Fit Fam, baking vegan banana bread or at the dog park with her puppy, Jane Barkin. She is grateful to her friends and family for their love and support and would like to thank the UTC family for making this the most rewarding experience of her life.

Jimmy Mann (Julian) is beyond excited to be a part of Brujaja! Recent projects you may have seen him in are “It’s Complicated” (Breakyourtype productions), “F.O.P.” (Collaboraction), and “Beau Jest” (Oil Lamp Theatre). In his free time Jimmy enjoys trying to catch all 898 pokemon, making bad jokes with friends, and long walks on the beach. Thanks for watching!

Wendy Mateo (Iya) is a Chicago-based comedian, actor, writer, director and filmmaker. Wendy can be seen throughout the city’s stages (The Lookingglass Theatre, Steppenwolf 1700, The Playground Theater) performing sketch comedy and theater, as well as producing her own content as part of the duo Lolo and Wendy, aka Dominizuelan. The duo are content creators with their own content creation studio Chicago4Real as well as independent projects like the web-series, Dominizuelan Consulate, co-created with Fred Armisen and producer/director, Alice Mathias.

Wendy’s directing credits include the play Not for Sale by Guadalis del Carmen at UrbanTheater Company and with Lolo and Wendy’s films: “Good Mothers” (official selection of HBOs New York Latino Film Festival) “Sunset 1919” written by J. Nicole Brooks, and “Identified” written and directed by Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo. Wendy Mateo, along with Lorena Diaz have recently been named Co-Artistic Directors of Teatro Vista, the Midwest’s only Latiné-founded Equity theater company.

On your TV you can see Wendy in shows like NBC’s “Chicago PD,” as guest star in last season’s Chicago Med, and as “Ronnie” in the upcoming series, “Station Eleven” on HBO.

Andrew Perez (Iyawo) is a Chicago native, born and raised in Logan Square. He graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a BFA in Theatre Performance and is a current collective member at UrbanTheater Company (UTC). Theatre credits include Titus Andronicus (Haven Chicago), Not For Sale (UTC), Letters Home (Griffin Theatre), Ashes to Light (UTC/Destinos Theatre Festival), La Havana Madrid (Teatro Vista), Water&Power (UTC) – Jeff Nominated for Performer in a Supporting Role-Play, Life’s a Dream (UIC), The Secret in the Wings (UIC), Lolita De Lares (UTC), Adoration of the Old Woman (UTC). TV credits include THE CHI (Showtime), EMPIRE (FOX), CHICAGO P.D. (NBC).

Maria F. Velazquez (Zoe) is a lifelong Albany Park Chicagoan. She loves playing country-folk
music and is studying to become an agriculturist. She makes her UTC debut as Zoe. She
thanks director Miranda for inviting her and thanks everyone on cast and crew for
creating a great experience. She dedicates her performance to her wonderful father
Leonel. Previous theater works include Albany Park Theater Project’s Learning Curve and
FEAST, NEIU’s Antigone, and Sandra Delgado’s (the)FAIR. Film credits include Northwestern
University’s “Bravas,” by Erika Rodriguez, and Broad Shoulder Production’s “Stuffing the
Turkey.” You can also hear her at the Chicago History Museum’s Cyclorama and Panorama

Isaly “Isa” Viana (Omi) is a Chicago born & bred actress, artist, coach, and educator represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent. She’s trained at Second City, Annoyance Theater, Acting Studio Chicago, and Green Room. She is excited to work with Miranda Gonzalez & Urban Theater again with the filming of the hilarious & important Brujaja by Melissa DuPrey. As a proud Latina, working with BIPOC folx and/or telling stories centered on BIPOC voices is her priority. She’s been seen on stage (selected credits) in An Xmas Cuento Remix (16th Street Theater), Back in the Day (UrbanTheater), De Troya (Halcyon Theater), as well as on tv’s “Chicago Med.” When not acting, she is a full time special education aid and slam poetry coach. She is also the first person to serve herself food at the party, while everyone else is being too modest.

BRUJAJA - Glossary

Pataki (Legends)- term used to describe histories or origin stories passed down through time about an orisha, a custom, or practice.

Boveda- a spiritual arc where glasses of water represent different sects of spirit guides.

Botanica- retail store for spiritual supplies.

Babaloa/babalawo- Literal translation “Father of mysteries”. A Babalawo is an Ifa High priest who works directly with Orula for divination and readings. He is greeted by kneeling and a hand on the floor accompanied with the salutation “Iboru, Iboya, Ibosheshe”.

Iyawo- An initiate who has been crowned and is getting “reborn”. The initiate spends a year and a week in white under guidelines given in the crowning ceremony.

Omi tutu- A petition using coconut, water, a white candle and flowers to an Orisha.

Omiero- An herbal bath created in ceremony used for cleansing and ritual

Orula- Orula is the santo of divinations and the santo of the babalawos and the divination system Ifá which they belong to. Only babalawos are considered as the sons of Orula, and only men can become babalawos. Orula never comes to earth through possessions, but communicates through the babalawos and their divination instruments.

Ochun- Goddess of rivers and lakes. Said to be the ruler of sensuality, love, and fertility. Her colors are Yellow and Gold.

Eleggua- One of the warrior Orishas. Keeper of the crossroads, holder of all keys. Often depicted as a child or an elderly man. There is no ritual, ceremony or feast that can start without his permission or saluting him first. Colors are Red and Black.

Cascarilla- A powder primarily made of crushed and pressed eggshell used to mark and cleanse.

Misa- In Espiritismo, this is a ceremony conducted by mediums to channel spirits. Mediums are placed in a circle to form a current of energy to receive visions and messaging.

“Luz”- is a term to give light onto a medium or spirit for sharing or hearing truth.

Orisha- A deity in the Yoruba religion that governs different aspects of earth and humanity. Many catholic saints have been translated from these original representations.

7 African Powers- The Seven African Powers are seven of the most potent and venerated Orishas. When the Seven are brought together in invocation and prayer, they will do amazing things for their people. The Seven African Powers are these seven Orishas: Eshu/Eleggua, Ogun, Obatala, Yemaya, Oshun, Shango and Oya.


Writer – Melissa DuPrey
Director – Miranda González
Director of Photography/Editor – Matt McCanna
Production/Stage Manager – Michelle Housh
Head Editor – Mariko Charvat
Set Design – Regina Garcia
Asst. Set Design – Lindsay Mummert
Muralist – John Vergara
Technical Directors – Manuel Ortiz, JacoB Mulcahy
Lighting Design – Jared Gooding
Props Design – Lonnae Hickman
Sound Design – Giselle Castro
Dramaturg – Jessica Rodriguez
Casting – Adelina Feldman-Schultz
Executive Producers – Tonio Bruno, Miranda Gonzalez, and Ivan Vega
Photographer/Artwork – Joel Maisonet
Graphic Design/Layout – Elena Magdaleno
Production assistants – yaritza Rodriguez, Ignaik
drummers – Arif Smith, Jean-Christophe Leroy, Marvin Vega 
Dancer/Dance Costume Design – Tiffany Mondy 
Singer – Quincy Raggs 

National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture
3015 W. Division Street
Chicago, 60622


After living above her mother’s botánica her whole life, Ifé, an accidental witch, finally finds her purpose by tapping into her ancestral power to fight the larger fight against oppression and wellness. Written by Melissa DuPrey and directed by Miranda González, Brujaja is a theatrical filmed experience. Presented in English with sprinkles of Spanish.

A Note From The Playwright:

As I pen this very first “Note from the Playwright”, I must first take a breath. 

Creating this play came from a place of needing to see stories like mine on stage. We can talk at length about decolonization, destigmatizing this practice, Black representation, etc. But the truth is… We just need to actually see it on stage. We need to hear our own language. We need to see our worlds portrayed the way we live it. We also need the archive. So many of our stories will live and die with us until we document and capture it. This story was made to pay homage to my Ile, my spiritual home, that is made of some of the most loving people I have ever met during a time where I was literally dying from grief. How I have walked in this journey with my elders, my spiritual family, has been a humbling practice for me, and one of the most powerful human and ethereal experiences I could ever have in my lifetime. What I have learned and unlearned, how I have healed, how I have been reborn as a student of life, has all come from this practice. To honor that world, I wrote Brujaja. 

Artistically, I could not be here with this play if it wasn’t for what I learned while being a member of Teatro Luna, namely, Miranda Gonzalez and Kristian Colón. In this company, I learned the value and process of the autobiographic/ethnographic story. This is how we are able to control our own narratives ethically and authentically. I’m grateful to have had Miranda Gonzalez as my artistic partner for so many years, whose spirit and vision I trust, and who has loved this piece since its inception in 2018. 

What you are seeing today is a culmination of the creative vision of the UrbanTheater Collective and the new theater movements coming out of a global pandemic. To realize this play safely, a conversation was had around how we tell this story safely, and how we can flex the barriers of accessibility through new technology and conventions. I am so proud of what UrbanTheater Company has created with an incredible team of designers, visionaries, and artists. This is why it will always be one of my artistic homes. 

Thank you for supporting this play. Thank you for supporting UrbanTheater Company. Thank you for listening. 

Screening Dates/Show Times
Sat (10/23) – 5pm & 7pm
Doors open at 4:30pm & 6:30pm
Sun (10/24) – 3pm & 5pm
Doors open at 2:30pm & 4:30pm

Run Time
90 Mins

General Admission $32.50

Free Parking Available | Vaccination cards required for entry or recent covid test results


about the writer & director

Melissa DuPrey

Melissa DuPrey


Melissa DuPrey (Playwright) is a multidisciplinary artist with roots from Humboldt Park, Chicago. After earning double Bachelor degrees from the University of Houston, she returned to Chicago to join the all-Latina theatre company, Teatro Luna. Her one-woman show, SEXomedy (2012), was developed during their monthly series for women of color in the arts and received a Chicago Reader Recommendation, a Member’s Pick, and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York. The popular show spurred a progressive sequel, SEXomedy 2.0, which debuted at Steppenwolf Theater in April 2019. Her second solo show, SUSHI-frito, has also been critically acclaimed as part of MPAACT’s Signature Series for solo artists. In 2014, she was selected as a new talent in the ABC Diversity Showcase in New York City. DuPrey is also a community organizer and spiritualist who also launched The Good Grief Project- an extension of the social justice component from her play GOOD GRIEF where communities of color are connected to local, accessible and multidisciplinary mental and spiritual wellness practitioners of color. Her full-length play BRUJAJA was selected as part of 16th Street’s New Play Pop Up Reading Series for 2019 and is slated for a world premiere in 2021 with UrbanTheater Company. She has performed stand-up comedy in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. She is a featured actor in the Emmy-nominated web-series Brown Girls and has many regional and non regional theater credits in Chicago. She can currently be seen as DR. SARA ORTIZ on “Grey’s Anatomy” (Season 17 and 18). Other TV credits include a recurring appearance on “Empire” (FOX), and guest appearances on “The Resident” (FOX), “Chicago P.D.” (NBC), and “The Chi” (Showtime). Film credits include: Relative (2022), Long Division (2022), Cherry (2020), Two in the Bush (2017), The Way We Speak (2014) and Bromance (2014). As a musician and active member of her community, she is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture by way of the folkloric music, Bomba y Plena, with AfriCaribe and Las BomPleneras. She is currently a collective member at UrbanTheater Company and Artistic Associate at Sideshow Theater.


“The NALAC grant will support research investigating the use of different therapeutic practices as a form of diagnosing and breaking cycles of intergenerational trauma. DuPrey will work from a lens of harm reduction and restorative justice. For DuPrey, “art as social justice is active and imagines solutions along with asking the hard questions.”- Scapi Magazine


“DuPrey’s work is sharp, wildly comedic, centering on disenfranchised voices, and in itself: an act of radical love.” -Broadway World 


“Melissa is living proof that women of color will make windows where doors have historically been shut in their faces.”- Newcity Magazine

Miranda González

Miranda González


Miranda González (Director) is a producer, playwright, director, activist, and Chicago native. She is the Producing Artistic Director at UrbanTheater Company (UTC) in Humboldt Park and part of The Nova Collective, a diversity equity and inclusion consulting firm. She was a founding ensemble member of Chicago’s All Latina theater company Teatro Luna and has devised and developed plays since 2000. She is a two-time 3Arts and ALTA nominee and a recipient of the International Centre for Women Playwrights 50/50 Award. Her most recent play, Back In The Day: an 80’s House Music Dancesical, premiered at UTC as part of the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance’s 2019 Destinos Festival. Previous directing, writing, and script development credits include Ashes of Light by Marco Antonio Rodriguez, La Gringa by Carmen Rivera, Of Princes and Princesas by Paola Izquierdo at the 2010 Goodman Latino Theatre Festival, Lullaby by Diane Herrera, Crossed, GL 2010, The North/South Plays a workshop at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; F.O.P. and Crime Scene Chicago with Collaboraction; and Melissa DuPrey’s Sushi-Frito at Free Street Theater. She is also an Executive Producer for the web series 50 Blind Dates with Melissa DuPrey and has written for web series Ruby’s World Yo created by Marilyn Camacho, Season 1 episode 3, and Season 2, episodes 1-4.


2620 W. Division St.
Chicago, IL 60622
312 767-UTC1


Monday - Friday: 10am – 5pm
Weekends: 10am – 9pm
Holidays: Closed

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