Photo Flash: In Rehearsal for ANOTHER WORD FOR BEAUTY at The Goodman Theatre
Goodman Theatre begins the new year with a new music-and-movement-filled play: Another Word for Beauty, a world premiere by Academy Award nominee José Rivera(The Motorcycle Diaries) inspired by an annual beauty pageant at El Buen Pastor womens prison in Colombia. Directed by Steve Cosson and featuring seven original songs by Grammy Award winner Héctor Buitrago, the show was developed through a co-commission between the Goodman and Cosson's New York-based theater company The Civilians. The artists traveled to Bogotá to interview the prisoners prior to the pageant, creating a fictionalized but based on true events look at the lives of these women-including their flaws and failures, but also humanity and potential-and the annual event intended by their jailers to motivate and rehabilitate them. A predominantly Latina ensemble cast of 11 brings these women to life: Stephanie Andrea Barron (Yolanda), Helen Cespedes(Xiomara), Monique Gabriela Curnen (Marilin/Magnolia), Dan Domingues(Danny/Maurico/Arturo), Danaya Esperanza (Luzmery), Zoë Sophia Garcia (Nora),Marisol Miranda (Carmen/Tatiana/Elisinda), Yunuen Pardo (Jeimi), Socorro Santiago(Ciliana), Heather Velazquez (Maikelyn/Eva) and Carmen Zilles (Isabelle). Visit the Press Room for more information and bios.
Another Word for Beauty runs January 16 - February 21 in the Albert Theatre. Opening night is Monday, January 25. Tickets ($25 - $75; subject to change) are on sale now at GoodmanTheatre.org, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn).Another Word for Beauty is the recipient of a grant from the Theatre Commissioning and Production Initiative of Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and an Edgerton Foundation New Plays Award. Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is the Major Corporate Sponsor, and PwC LLP is the Corporate Sponsor Partner.
"José Rivera's raucous, moving and exhilarating new play takes us to a world where the concept of 'beauty' may seem unlikely-and reveals images of beauty, physical and otherwise, that none of us has ever imagined," said Artistic Director Robert Falls. "We welcome José back to the Goodman, where his plays have appeared over the past two decades, and are thrilled to work, for the first time, with director Steve Cosson and The Civilians-a remarkable company that creates provocative theatrical art out of real-life events. It's exciting to also welcome Grammy Award-winning musician Héctor Buitrago, who is as known for his work with the groundbreaking band Aterciopelados as he is for arts activism. His infectious score adds to the indelible portrait Another Word for Beauty offers."
For a few days every year, El Buen Pastor's female inmates-offenders from all sectors of Colombian society, from murderers to streetwalkers to political dissidents-compete for the title of "Señorita Simpatía" in an annual beauty pageant honoring the Virgin of Mercy. Most days, the inmates endure the dangers and indignities that accompany incarceration; during the pageant event, however, El Buen Pastor becomes a place of celebration, transformation and hope, with the prospect of victory a bright moment in lives otherwise marked by poverty, brutality, marginalization and destruction. While the pageant's parade of glamorous gowns, exotic headdresses and rhythmic dances provides a distraction from daily suffering, its real impact on each woman is more than skin deep.
"Several years ago, the Goodman took a leap of faith and teamed up with my company, The Civilians, to make José's play possible," said Director Steve Cosson. "Working with Colombian theater artists, we met and interviewed extraordinary women at El Buen Pastor, and the pageant itself was one of the most alive, vibrant and competitive performances I've ever witnessed. I'm thrilled to bring that energy to the stage here in Chicago and to realize José's deeply human play with this remarkable cast and design team."
Photo Credit: Liz Lauren
Diego Salcedo, Mike Przygoda, Javier Saume and Ruben Gonzalez
Steve Cosson, Jose Rivera
Zoe Sophia Garcia (Nora), Danaya Esperanza (Luzmery), Helen Cespedes (Xiomara),Yunuen Pardo (Jeimi), Stephanie Andrea Barron (Yolanda), Monique Gabriela Curnen(Marilin/Magnolia), Marisol Miranda (Carmen/Tatiana/Elisinda) and Carmen Zilles(Isabelle)
Hector Buitrago, Mike Przygoda