CASA 0101 Theater Presents the World Premiere of Josefina Lopez's QUEEN OF THE RUMBA

The show will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. for a Five-Week run, September 22 – October 22, 2023.

By: Sep. 05, 2023
CASA 0101 Theater Presents the World Premiere of Josefina Lopez's QUEEN OF THE RUMBA

CASA 0101 Theater will perform the World Premiere production of Founding Artistic Director, JOSEFINA LOPEZ’S QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, A Play With Dance, directed by Corky Dominguez starring actresses, Paloma Morales (as Alicia Parlá) and Angel Juarez (Young Alicia Parlá), in the titular character of the play.
Other featured members of the cast include:  Kenia Romero Mauricio Marte, Lolita Lozcano, Adam Jacobo, Peter Laboy, Vivian Marie Lamolli, Sammy Montero, Maricella Ibarra, Victoria Tamez and Melvin Ward.
QUEEN OF THE RUMBA will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. for a Five-Week run, September 22 – October 22, 2023 in the newly dedicated Gloria Molina Auditorium at CASA 0101 Theater, 2102 East First Street (at St. Louis Street), Boyle Heights, CA  90033.  Opening Night is Friday, September 22, 2023 at 8:00 p.m.  For further information, please visit  Click here to view dance rehearsal for QUEEN OF THE RUMBA:

QUEEN OF THE RUMBA is inspired by a true story of – Alicia Parlá – a 21-year-old Cuban-American girl who set the world on fire with the Rumba back in the 1930s.  The story begins when Alicia, now a mature woman of 89, is diagnosed with cancer.  Set in Miami, FL and Havana, Cuba, in the past and present, Alicia Parlá refuses to stay in the Miami hospital cancer ward she is in because she claims she is ready to die, and that she has had a happy and full life.

Alicia’s physician, Dr. Sanchez, insists she stay overnight for observation.  At night she hears a young girl, Sofia Manzano, a 19-year-old Panamanian-American crying because she too has a terminal illness with just less than two months to live.  Alicia tries to cheer Sofia up by sharing her story of how she went from a precocious young girl who came to the U.S. from Cuba, and ended up introducing the U.S. to the dance style, the Rumba, while having an amazing dance career that took her to Paris and many other exciting places.

Alicia teaches Sofia that when you live in the moment, as she did when she danced, you can live forever.  In sharing her story she reveals her one true regret – not following her heart by going with the man she loved because he was poor and a black Cuban.  She had to marry well in order for her white Cuban family to accept her.  Sofia realizes that although she is going to die she can do it peacefully now because she will not die with regret because she knows how to love.  Sofia asks Alicia to teach her how to dance the Rumba and she gets everyone in the hospital cancer ward to dance the Rumba as though each life depended on it.

Josefina López, Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater and Playwright of QUEEN OF THE RUMBA said, “I’m so happy my play, QUEEN OF THE RUMBA is now seeing the light of day.  When I was pursuing my Master’s Degree in Theatre at UCLA, graduating in 2002, I had to write three screenplays for my Master’s Thesis.  One was the screenplay for REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, which I co-wrote with George LaVoo, the second was a screenplay called ADD ME TO THE PARTY, which hasn’t been produced as of yet, and the third screenplay, which I have now adapted into a stage play, was QUEEEN OF THE RUMBA, which is inspired by the true story of Alicia Parlá, who is credited with introducing the U.S. to the dance style, the Rumba.”

López continued, “This year is very special time for me personally, as I will have two World Premieres happening in the last quarter of this year.  Besides, QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, writer Lisa Loomer is adapting my original play, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, which I wrote 35 years ago at the age of 18, later followed by my screenplay of the same name, into a Broadway-bound production of REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES:  THE MUSICAL, which will debut at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, December 14, 2023 – January 21, 2024.  My dream is coming true!  For a girl who was once undocumented for 13 years and was a ‘Dreamer’ until receiving Amnesty in 1987, this has been an incredibly emotional journey and I’m so honored to represent Latino immigrants with my story.”
Corky Dominguez, Director of QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, said:  “I am humbled to be directing the World Premiere of another Josefina López play.  We have worked together on numerous productions in the past and our working relationship is in a word ‘symbiotic.’  In this production audiences can expect to see lots of Cuban influenced Rumba dancing, set to appropriated music.  The set will be appropriately tropical.  This new show will be visual and aural feast for theatergoers of all ages.  My QUEEN OF THE RUMBA mantra is:  Dancing is living, breathing, healing through tears of love and joy.”

Emmanuel Deleage, Producer of the Show and Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater, said:  “We are thrilled to be presenting a new Josefina López play at CASA 0101 Theater.  Josefina’s creativity explores the human desire to experience life to the fullest against societal taboos and norms that want to limit that human expansion.  The play incorporates theater, dance and music. We’re also proud of our multicultural cast which will bring this story to life on stage.”
Paloma Morales (of West Covina, CA) and Angel Juarez (Montebello, CA) lead a cast of 12 as the 89-year-old Alicia Parlá and Young Alicia Parlá, age 21, respectively.  Others in the cast include:  Kenia Romero (of Sherman Oaks, CA) as 19-year-old Sofia Manzano; Mauricio Marte (of Marina del Rey, CA) as Marcos Martin, an Afro-Cuban and Congo Player in his twenties; Lolita Lozcano (of Studio City, CA) as Alicia’s 40-year-old mother, Goretta Parlá; Adam Jacobo (of Maywood, CA) as Alicia’s father, Alfonso Parlá in his late 40s/Jonathan, Prince of Wales; Peter Laboy (of Laguna Nigel, CA) as Band Leader and Conductor, Don Justo Azpizau; Vivian Marie Lamolli (of Beverly Hills, CA) as Rosita Vega, a 20-year-od Afro-Cuban Latina who is the Parlá family’s maid/”Espiritu de Amor”/Sister Reyes/Candy, French Cabaret Dancer; Sammy Montero (of Highland Park, CA) as Dr. Sanchez, 50s/Roberto Nelson, 40s/Producer); Maricella Ibarra (of Walnut, CA) as Mother Superior, 50s/Martina/French Cabaret Dancer/Bald Woman; Victoria Tamez (of Pico Rivera, CA) as Carmela Parlá, Alicia’s 24-year-old sister/Choreographer/Teenage Boy/French Cabaret Dancer) and Melvin Ward (of Hawthorne, CA) as Male Orderly/”The Moon,” Rosita Vega’s Boyfriend/Male Dancer/MC/Club Owner.
The production team for QUEEN OF THE RUMBA includes:  Josefina López (of Silver Lake, CA), Playwright and Founding Artistic Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Emmanuel Deleage (of Silver Lake, CA), Producer and Executive Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Itzel Ocampo (of Alhambra, CA) Associate Producer and CASA 0101 Theater Office Administrator);  Corky Dominguez (of Boyle Heights, CA), Director; Edward Padilla, (of Boyle Heights, CA) Casting Director and CASA 0101 Board Member; César Retana-Holguín (of Northridge, CA) Set Designer; Alejandro Parra (of Burbank, CA) Lighting Designer; Abel Alvarado (of Silver Lake, CA); Costume Designer; Jules Bronola (of Los Angeles, CA) Wardrobe Assistant; James Alonzo (Sound Designer); Omar Gutierrez (of Los Angeles, CA) Hair and Make-Up Designer; Rigo Tejeda (of Whittier, CA) Stage Manager; Izzy Donenberg (of Atwater Village, CA) Assistant Stage Manager; Doreen Sanchez (of Hollywood, CA) Assistant Stage Manager; Miguel Delgado (of Huntington Park, CA) CASA 0101 Theater Technical Director; Gabriela López de Dennis, Soap Studio Inc. (of Los Angeles, CA) Key Artwork Design and Program; Jorge Villanueva (of Boyle Heights, CA) Maintenance; Mark Kraus (of Los Angeles, CA), CASA 0101 Theater Development Director and Webmaster; Conrado TerrazasCross (of Echo Park, CA) Development Consultant; Oscar Basulto (of Boyle Heights, CA) Box Office; Al Aguilar (of Los Angeles, CA) Production Assistant; Rosa Navarrete (of El Sereno, CA) Social Media; Rudy Torres (of Los Angeles, CA) Production Photographer and Steve Moyer Public Relations (of Los Angeles, CA), Press Representative.
CASA 0101 Theater sponsors include:  The California Endowment, Los Angeles County Department of Arts & Culture, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, The Herb Alpert Foundation, California Arts Council, L.A. Arts Recovery Fund, Eastside Arts Initiative, Sherman Fairchild Foundation and The Perenchio Foundation.
Tickets for the Five-Week Run QUEEN OF THE RUMBA from September 22 – October 22, 2023 are $25.00 per person for General Admission; $22.00 per person for Boyle Heights residents and Groups of 20 of more; $20.00 per person for Students and Seniors 60+.
This show is recommended for all audiences.  Advance reservations are highly recommended.  For tickets, please call the CASA 0101 Theater Box Office at 323-263-7684, E-mail, or buy online at  Join the conversation on Facebook @CASA0101Theater; on Twitter @CASA0101 and on YouTube at


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