LEARN TO BE LATINA Plays Milagro Theatre, Now thru 5/31

LEARN TO BE LATINA Plays Milagro Theatre, Now thru 5/31

What would you do if you were told that you need to stop being how you are, looking how you look, and loving how you love? That your style of clothes, and the way you walk and talk are not good. Would you agree? You'll also be told what to do, how to dress and even how to love! Would you do that? It sounds unthinkable in our modern western society, where we have been told so often that being yourself is a good thing, right? Think again. Isn't that what we hear every time we turn the TV on or flip the pages of any magazine? "You have to look like this!" "You must do that!" We may not notice anything odd about this until we come across the smart, critical and satirical portrait of this reality framed in "Learn to be Latina" by Enrique Urueta, playing at Milagro Theatre from today, May 1-31, 2014.

Opening next weekend, the award-winning play takes an outrageous look at many of the realities that we might like to ignore, criticizing many of the stereotypes that, as a society, we complacently accept and even promote. A talented troupe of actors, with director Antonio Sonera, are exploring some of the questions that the script presents with lampoon and irony about personal identity, pop culture and the meaning of Latinidad, finding moments of truth that make Learn to be Latina entertaining, meaningful and the perfect closing production for Milagro's 30th anniversary season.

Acclaimed director, as well founder Artistic Director of Badass Theatre Company, Antonio Sonera leads a group of familiar Milagro faces including Nicole Accuardi (Boleros for the Disenchanted) as the aspiring pop super star Hanan; Orion Bradshaw (Dance for a Dollar); Michelle Escobar (Guapa); Matthew Kerrigan (Lazarillo) and Milagro Artistic Director Olga Sanchez (Oedipus El Rey). This production will mark the Milagro debut of fantastic actors and dancers Kelly Godell, Lauren Mitchell, Sarah DeGrave, Louis Chambers and Cari Spinnler.

ABOUT THE PLAY: Hanan was born to be a superstar! She's fabulously talented, beautiful and determined to get to the top. But for those who want to succeed in a wildly cut-throat music industry competing with reality shows that churn out new "talent" nightly, a few sacrifices must be made along the way. When the record execs demand that Hanan "consider revising" her identity, she accepts the challenge, taking us all on the most outrageous ride imaginable!

This play, skewering everything from pop culture to cultural identity, has won several awards including the first national Great Gay Play Contest!

CAST
Nicole Accuardi.............Hanan
Orion Bradshaw.............Bill / Fight Captain
Kelly Godell..................Jill
Matthew Kerrigan..........Will
Olga Sanchez...............Mary
Michelle Escobar..........Blanca
Lauren Mitchell.............FAD. Girl
Sarah DeGrave.............FAD Girl
Louise Chambers..........FAD. Girl / Dance Capttain
Cari Spinnler................FAD Girl

PRODUCTION TEAM
Antonio Sonera.................Director
Jeff Woods.......................Lighting Design
Rodolfo Ortega.................Sound Design
Mark Haack......................Set Design
Emily Powell Wright...........Costume Design
Chip Sherman...................Dance Choreographer
Kristen Mun......................Fight Choreographer
Nicki D'Amico...................Stage Manager & Props
Julie Rosequist.................Sound Board
Andres Alcala..................Slides & Video production
Estela Robinson...............Production Manager
Eric Lyness.....................Technical Director

SPECIAL EVENTS:

Milagro will host a series program entitled: Learn To Be Latina: Identity Bootcamp to draw the community into conversations about ethnic, gender and sexual identity. The series of post-play conversations with audiences, scholars and local experts to talk about ascribed and self-defined identity and how they impact our livelihoods and our social interactions, with the support of Oregon Humanities.

• Sunday, May 4, 4:00 p.m: Just Who Do You Think You Are?
In Learn To Be Latina, Hanan is re-invented. She changes her name, learns a little Spanish and whole new cultural framework from which to talk about herself, raising questions about the mutability of identity. In art as in life, how is identity accepted, ascribed or re-created? How does it impact how we are treated or treat others? Panelists include: Enrique Urueta, Learn to be Latina playwright; Brenda Ivelisse Associate Dean of Students at Portland Community College-Rock Creek; Victor I. Cazares founding member of New Theater House.

• Sunday, May 11, 4:0 p.m.: Star Maker Machinery
Hanan is "fiercely talented" and "hot, hot, hot". The only thing keeping her from super stardom is her ethnic identity which she must change if she wants to achieve fame and fortune. What does it take to become a superstar in the commercial marketplace? Is it as calculating and manipulative as the play makes it out to be? Are we, as consumers, part of the problem? Panelists: Kathryn C. Oleson, Professor of Psychology at Reed College; Eryn Goodman Casting Director at Cast Iron Studios since 2005; David Cress, award winning producer of Portlandia.

• Sunday, May 18, 4:00 p.m.: It's a Girl!
Gender identification is generally ascribed at birth but this identification may not reflect how a person feels or how they wish to be seen. What is performance identity? When we change gender appearance, how does it transform our relationship with others? Panelists: Kate Bredeson, D.F.A., theatre historian and dramaturg; Kevin Cook aka Rose Empress XLIV Poison Waters, entertainer and LGBT Community Leader; Hannah Kosstrin, Ph.D., dance scholar situated at the intersection of dance, Jewish, and gender studies. WHERE: Milagro Theatre, 525 SE Stark Street, Portland, Oregon 97214

Admission: $15 - $26; discounts for students, seniors, groups of 15+ and advance purchases. Tickets can be purchased from www.milagro.org or 503-236-7253.

ABOUT MILAGRO: For more than 29 years, Milagro has been dedicated to bringing the vibrancy of Latino theatre to the Northwest community. In addition to its national tours, Milagro provides a home for Spanish and Latin American arts and culture at El Centro Milagro, where it enriches the local community with a variety of community outreach projects and educational programs designed to share the diversity of Latino culture.

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