TheatreWorks Closes the Curtain on SUNSETS AND MARGARITAS 4/4
Cadillacs, caballeros, and some outrageous visitations combine for one spectacular birthday party when TheatreWorks, the nationally acclaimed theater of Silicon Valley, will end the West Coast premiere of the zany new comedy, SUNSETS AND MARGARITAS, by José Cruz González on April 4th.
This colorful comic confeccíon is the rollicking story of the faint-hearted Gregorio as he takes on his father, the mucho macho (and slightly senile) Papa Calendario, with some assistance from a few heavenly apparitions.
Gregorio Serrano has his hands full with his overly assimilated family. So when his father, Calendario crashes his cherished red Cadillac through the wall of his restaurant, it's pretty clear that it's time to settle papa into a senior living center. But is it just Papa Calendario, or is Gregorio's whole family spinning out of control? From his lesbian Republican daughter and her still unnamed infant (Ashleigh, Amber, or Courtney are strong contenders), to his wheelchair bound, fashion designing, Chicano activist son, to his own erratic visions of the Blessed Virgin and frequent episodes of hyperventilation that make paper bags a must-have accessory, maybe a little bit of "loco" runs in the family. SUNSETS AND MARGARITAS premiered at the Denver Center Theatre Company the spring of 2009, where the Denver Post called it "pure escapism...with great comic gusto."
José Cruz González (playwright) has written many plays rooted in Latino culture and magical realism. Born to migrant workers in Calexico, California, González learned at a young age how to tap into the vast world of his imagination. From his grandfather, who would regale the family with stories and riddles as they worked on The Farm, he learned the power of storytelling. His plays include Invierno, The Heart's Desire, Tomás and the Library Lady, and September Shoes. A collection of his plays, Nine Plays by José Cruz González: Magical Realism and Mature Themes in Theatre for Young Audiences was recently published by University of Texas Press. González is passionate about encouraging new generations to create new works of their own. He is a professor at Cal State Los Angeles, where in 1997 he founded The John Lion New Plays Festival. González has written for "Paz," the Emmy Award-nominated television series produced by Discovery Kids. He was a recipient of a 2004 TCH/Pew National Theatre ResidenCy Grant. In 1997 he was awarded an NEA/TCG Theatre Residency for playwrights. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and TYA/USA, an Associate Artist with Cornerstone Theater Company (CA), and Playwright in Residence with Childsplay (AZ).
Director Amy Gonzalez returns to TheatreWorks to direct SUNSETS AND MARGARITAS, where she has previously directed Anna in the Tropics; The Last Night of Ballyhoo; Psychopathia Sexualis; Moon Over Buffalo; Voir Dire; Broken Eggs; Our Lady of the Tortilla; and New Business. She has also directed for San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, New Mexico Repertory Theatre, El Teatro Campesino, Teatro Visión, and Eureka Theatre. Gonzalez served as literary manager and resident director for the Eureka Theatre Company and as associate artistic director for El Teatro Campesino; she has been active in new play development at South Coast Repertory Theatre, Midwest PlayLabs, New Dramatists, and San Jose Repertory Theatre's New America Playwrights Festival. She received an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship and holds an MFA in Directing from University of Washington in Seattle.
TheatreWorks has assembled an extraordinary cast for SUNSETS AND MARGARITAS, featuring Daniel Valdez as Papa Calendario Serrano in his TheatreWorks debut. Valdez began his remarkable career as an actor, composer, and performer with activist Cesar Chavez and the United Farmworkers Union. On picket lines and at rallies in support of Chavez, he honed his theatrical skills through "teatro," a genre of street theater. As one of the founding members of El Teatro Campesino, he appeared in both the Broadway hit (1979), and later Chicano film classic (1981), Zoot Suit, for which he also wrote original music. In 1987, Valdez and his brother Luis wrote and produced the life story of Ritchie Valens, La Bamba, in which he also appeared. His first solo album, Mestizo (1973) was the first Chicano album to be issued by a major record label, A&M Records. In 1996 Valdez composed the score for the IMAX film Mexico, which traces Mexico's history from the Mayan civilization to the present. He worked with the San Diego Repertory Theater and Southwestern College in 1997to re-stage Zoot Suit in the first revival since its creation 20 years before. In June of 2000, he reprised his role as musical director at the Goodman Theater in Chicago for their production of Zoot Suit. He frequently works with community-based organizations and schools as a positive role model for Latino youth.
Broadway and regional veteran Roxane Carrasco joins the cast as Luz in her TheatreWorks debut. Carrasco starred as Velma in Chicago at the Shubert Theater on Broadway, as well as in the first national tour of the show. Other national and international tour credits include Anita in West Side Story, and roles in A Chorus Line and Fame. She was a featured dancer in the Golden Gate Theatre's production of The Mambo Kings, and played Chardonnay, a recurring character in the 2006 season of As the World Turns. Regional credits include Anita in West Side Story at Northshore Music Theatre, as well as roles at San Diego Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, and The Old Globe Theatre.
Tommy Gomez returns to TheatreWorks as Gregorio, where his previous credits include Anna in the Tropics and Psychopathia Sexualis. Additional regional credits include productions at Purple Rose Theatre, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, BoarsHead Theatre, The Old Globe Theatre, American Conservatory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and California Shakespeare Festival. Dena Martinez returns to TheatreWorks, where she was recently seen in Distracted. Additional regional credits include productions at San Jose Repertory Theatre, A Traveling Jewish Theater, Marin Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Campo Santo, El Teatro Campesino, San Francisco Mime Troupe, and the Magic Theater.