Kinan Valdez and Lakin Valdez to Star in La Jolla Playhouse's 'Without Walls' Production of EL HENRY, Running 6/14-29
La Jolla Playhouse announces the cast and creative team for its upcoming Without Walls (WoW) production of El Henry, adapted from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One by Culture Clash's Herbert Siguenza, directed by San Diego REPertory Theatre Artistic Director Sam Woodhouse. Presented in association with San Diego REP, El Henry will run June 14 - 29 (press opening: Friday, June 20 at 7:30pm) at SILO, in the vibrant new East Village neighborhood of Makers Quarter. Tickets to El Henry are $25 and are available by calling the Playhouse Patron Services Department at (858) 550-1010 or online at LaJollaPlayhouse.org.
The cast is highlighted by Kinan Valdez ("El Bravo") and Lakin Valdez ("El Henry"), sons of internationally-renowned writer and director Luis Valdez (Zoot Suit, La Bamba), along with playwright Herbert Siguenza as "Fausto." The complete cast features Parnia Ayari as "Mayan/Smokie," Leandro Cano as "Sir Blunt," Roxanne Carrasco as "Chiqui/Mayor Villa Allegre," Victor Contreras as "Thomas/Police Chief," William Thomas Hodgson as "Johnny," Jyl Haruye Kaneshiro as "Lil Gus/Reporter", Salomon Maya as "Navarro/El Mago," Robert Milz as "Tixoc/Locos R Us/City Suit/Mexiclop," John Padilla as "El Hank," Dave Rivas as "Duke of Earl/Ojo," Jorge Rodgriguez as "Soto Boy/Mexiclop/Mr. V/Wizard" and Bianca Sanchez as "Preciosa/La Gata."
The creative team includes Sam Woodhouse, director; Ian Wallace, scenic/projection designer; Jennifer Brawn Gittings, costume designer; Jennifer Setlow, lighting designer; Bruno Louchouarn, sound designer; Javier Velasco, choreographer; Edgar Landa, fight director; Gabriel Greene, dramaturg; Laura Zingle, stage manager.
"I am thrilled to be able to work with some of the very best Latino actors in California," said Woodhouse. "Herbert Siguenza will be a memorable Fausto, and what a treat to be able cast the brothers Lakin Valdez and Kinan Valdez as the rival warriors, who have a spectacular one- on-one battle at the climax of the story."
"Sam has assembled an astounding cast and creative team for El Henry, many of whom hail from San Diego - demonstrating the true community spirit of this latest Without Walls production," remarked Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley. "Partnering with the REP and Makers Quarter on this project has been extremely rewarding and we can't wait to see the show come to life at SILO in the East Village next month."
In EL HENRY, it's the year 2045 in a huge, run-down metropolis called Aztlan City (formerly San Diego), where political apathy and corruption run the city while violent barrio families run the streets. It's a harsh new world where Hispanics, Mexicans and Chicanos rule as the majority in this new society abandoned by Anglo America. When El Hank, the ambitious leader of all the barrios, finds his street kingdom threatened by El Tomas and his hot-headed son El Bravo, he seeks the help of his brave and charismatic son El Henry. But El Hank finds his son wrapped up with a bunch of low-life thieves and drunkards headed by the lazy Fausto. Written in a unique poetic cadence called Cal?, which mixes urban Spanish and English slang, this world-premiere adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One explores the universal themes of this classic through the lens of Mexican-American machismo.
Herbert Siguenza (Playwright) is a founding member of Culture Clash, the country's most prominent Chicano/Latino performance troupe. The group's work has been produced by the nation's leading regional theaters, including La Jolla Playhouse, Mark Taper Forum, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center and Goodman Theatre in Chicago, among others. Along with partners Richard Montoya and Ric Salinas, Siguenza has performed and/or co-written: American Night, The Mission, A Bowl of Beings, S.O.S.-Comedy for These Urgent Times, Unplugged, Capra Clash, Radio Mambo: Culture Clash Invades Miami, Bordertown, The Birds, Nuyorican Stories, Anthology, Mission Magic Mystery Tour, Anthems: Culture Clash in the District, Chavez Ravine, Senor Discretion Himself, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, Zorro in Hell, Water & Power, Peace and Palestine New Mexico. In 2003, Siguenza wrote and starred in Cantinflas! He is currently touring his one man show A Weekend with Pablo Picasso which was developed at the San Diego Rep. He recently performed Big Daddy in Cat on Hot Tin Roof at the Perseverance Theatre in Alaska.
Kinan Valdez ("El Bravo") is a neo-fusionist theatre artist combining elements of mythic storytelling, physical movement, popular music and visual pageantry to create theatrical spectacles for the 21st century. A theatre director and playwright by trade, he is a 20-year ensemble member of the world-renowned theatre company El Teatro Campesino and currently serves as the Producing Artistic Director. During his tenure, he has focused on the creation of a new works laboratory dedicated to the research and development of epic theatre spectacles premised on the dynamic fusion of popular performance forms, indigenous rituals and site-specific pageants. Aside from working in the theatre as a director and playwright, Kinan is an actor, an awarding-winning filmmaker, and an educator at the University of California Santa Cruz.
Lakin Valdez ("El Henry") is an actor, writer, and director. Born and raised in the extended family of El Teatro Campesino, he served as the company's Associate Artistic Director from the years 2000-2005. Since 2004, Lakin has written, directed and performed in over a dozen plays, culminating in work that reflects the rich history and vibrant culture of the Latino/Chicano community. He is the recipient of two NPN Creation Fund awards, a Zellerbach award, and an NEA Access to Excellence award for his generative work. As a stage actor, Lakin has performed with Campo Santo, San Jose Rep, San Diego Rep, Goodman Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, L.A. Theatre Works and El Teatro Campesino.
Sam Woodhouse (Director) co-founded San Diego REPertory Theatre with D.W. Jacobs in 1976, and has since served as its Producing and Artistic Director. He has worked as a director, producer or actor on more than 250 REP productions. Mr. Woodhouse has performed as an actor on The REP stages in The Seafarer, in the title role of King Lear, Proof, Hamlet, and with the San Diego Symphony Orchestra in the title role of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat. His most recent directorial work with The REP includes: Detroit, Venus in Fur, In the Heights, Federal Jazz Project, Clybourne Park, The Who's TOMMY, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, Superior Donuts, Hairspray, boom, The Threepenny Opera and Water & Power. In 2011 he directed American Night: The Ballad of Juan José for the Denver Center Theatre Company. In 2003, he was awarded the Patte? Shiley Award for Lifetime Achievement by KPBS and the prestigious Alonzo Award by the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Mr. Woodhouse is the founder of The REP's Calafia Initiative, a multi-disciplinary artistic initiative that brings together unlikely partners to create new works that speak to the future of our bi-national region. In 2006, he and Jacobs were honored with the Craig Noel Award by the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle for 30 years of artistic dedication to downtown and diversity.
Makers Quarter is located in San Diego and is comprised of several blocks, spanning 14th Street to 17th Street, Broadway Avenue to G Street, the five plus block neighborhood in East Village. By creating a centralized live and work community, Makers Quarter will be an economic generator, where jobs, people and commercial activities along with the arts, culture and events thrive together in a self-sustaining community. Makers Quarter embraces - and is implementing - the principles of the I.D.E.A. District, a powerful conceptual framework for East Village. Through community events and gathering venues such as the community garden Smarts Farm and SILO in Makers Quarter, the growth of Makers Quarter will be an incremental progression that will reflect the community goals of a new neighborhood. For more information visit: makersquarter.com.
San Diego REPertory Theatre (San Diego REP) produces intimate, exotic, provocative theatre. Founded in 1976, San Diego REPertory Theatre is downtown San Diego's resident theatre, promoting a more inclusive community through work that nourishes progressive political and social values and celebrates the multiple voices of the region. The company produces and hosts over 300 events and performances year-round on its three stages at the Lyceum Theatre. Since moving to the Lyceum, the REP has produced 47 main stage productions by Latino playwrights, and more than 44 world premieres. The company has received more than 200 awards for artistic excellence from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle, Patté Theatre Awards, NAACP, Backstage West, Dramalogue, and StageSceneLA. In 2005, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle presented the REP with the Craig Noel Award "For 30 Years of Artistic Dedication to Downtown and Diversity." San Diego REPertory Theatre feeds the curious soul. To learn more about San Diego REPertory Theatre, to purchase tickets, or make a donation, visit sdrep.org. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SanDiegoREP).
Initially funded by a generous grant from The James Irvine Foundation, Without Walls (WoW) is La Jolla Playhouse's acclaimed site-specific theatre program designed to break barriers by moving beyond the boundaries of a traditional four-walled theatre space. Over the past five years, the Playhouse has commissioned and/or presented works by local, national and international theatre artists in locations throughout the San Diego community. Previous WoW productions include Susurrus at the San Diego Botanical Garden in Encinitas; The Car Plays: San Diego in the Playhouse parking lot; Sam Bendrix at the Bon Soir at Martini's Above Fourth in Hillcrest; Accomplice: San Diego in Little Italy, as well as the four-day Without Walls Festival in October, 2013 that garnered major national attention and critical acclaim. Underscoring the theatre's mission of providing "unfettered creative opportunities for the leading artists of today and tomorrow," coupled with the idea that the Playhouse is defined by the work it creates, not the space in which it is performed, WoW is designed to offer theatrical experiences that venture beyond the physical confines of the Playhouse's facilities.
The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating some of the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including the currently running hit Jersey Boys, as well as Memphis, Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations, Bonnie & Clyde, Chaplin, Peter and the Starcatcher and Hands on a Hardbody. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-art theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.