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24th Street Theatre Explores Immigration Issues with Bilingual, Comedy for Families


24th Street Theatre Explores Immigration Issues with Bilingual, Comedy for Families

Commissioned by award-winning 24th Street Theatre in celebration of its 20th Anniversary Season, the world premiere of ICE, written by Leon Martell and directed by Debbie Devine, is a bilingual, humorous journey in search of what it means to be "American." For adults and kids 8 and up, ICE opens on April 21, with low-priced previews beginning April 7.

Two baseball players from Sinaloa, Mexico arrive in the U.S. with big dreams - but no documents. Armed with their Tia's famous salsa recipe, the pair works day and night to make their taco truck the "Uncle Sam" of mobile restaurants. Will a contest to be "the most American food truck" at Dodger Stadium for the 4th of July prove to Immigration and Customs Enforcement that they belong? Jesús Castaños-Chima and Tony Duranstar as Chepe and Nacho, with Davitt Felder playing multiple roles.

Set in 1988 (the year the Dodgers won the World Series), ICE looks at current events through the prism of the past.

"Here we have two immigrants trying to figure out how to become 'American' and what that means," says Devine. "Does it mean economic success and getting ahead? Does it mean fairness and justice and democracy? How is America marketed? Perception becomes reality."

ICE is the latest in a string of 24th Street productions, including Walking the Tightrope, Man Covets Bird and Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass (each one a Los Angeles Times "Critic's Choice") to tackle provocative, emotionally rich subjects that can be enjoyed by both adults and kids, separately or together. In addition to sharing 24th Street's trademark sensibility with its predecessors, ICE utilizes the same award-winning creative team, including director Devine; set designer Keith Mitchell; video designer Matthew Hill; lighting designer Dan Weingarten; sound designer Christopher Moscatiello; costume designer Shannon Kennedy; assistant directorBenjamin Durham; and stage manager Alexx Zachary.

24th Street Theatre is a multiple award-winning professional theater company with a unique connection to its local inner-city community: the giant green doors to the theater (a historic 1928 carriage house) are literally kept open to the street every day. Neighborhood residents, homeless people, local kids, students and visiting parents from nearby USC, and others stop in daily for coffee, conversation or to print up homework on the computer. Founded in 1997 as a more traditional theater, the community needs changed the theater's focus from simply creating high caliber art to using that art to make a difference in the lives of the local neighborhood residents. With a mission to engage, educate, and provoke its diverse community and city with an eclectic array of high quality artistic programming, 24th Street Theatre serves over 10,000 people annually: 6,000 children and youth, and 4,000 adults, the majority of whom are low-income. The 24th Street brand, marked by resolute commitment to the integrity of the work and a heightened, minimalistic style, is reflected in its arts education programs as well as in its mainstage productions for families.

Debbie Devine is a multiple award-winning theater director and the co-founder/artistic director of 24th Street Theatre. Named "one of Los Angeles' most fascinating people" in the LA Weekly People 2012 issue, Debbie has been a respected leader in the field of arts education for over three decades. She has held the position of Drama Department Chair of Colburn School for over 30 years and is also a theatrical director with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Debbie's work has earned her threeDrama-Logue Awards, two LA Weekly Awards (including "Best Direction" for Walking the Tightrope), a Robby Award, LA Parent magazine's Best Westside Children's Theatre Award and the Women In Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Los Angeles Theater. She earned the Los Angeles County Arts Commission's Professional Designation in Arts Education, is the recipient of the USC Rossier School of Education's Innovation and Leadership Award, and won Los Angeles County Music Center's 2001 Bravo Special Mention for her work in arts education. She is also the proud recipient of the 2011 Inspiring Women Award, presented by the L.A. Sparks and Farmers Insurance.

ICE opens for press on Saturday, April 21 at 3 p.m., continuing through June 10 on Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. (dark May 26 and May 27). Preview performances take place April 7 through April 15. Tickets are $24 for adults ($15 for previews); $10 for kids under 16; $15 for students, seniors and teachers; and $2.40 for residents of the theater's surrounding North University Park neighborhood. The performance on Sunday, May 20 will be a gala fundraiser with tickets priced at $240. 24th Street Theatre is located at 1117 West 24th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007 (at the intersection of 24th and Hoover). Secure parking is available for $5 in the lot on the southwest corner of 24th and Hoover. The theater is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. For reservations and information, call(213) 745-6516 or go to ICE is best enjoyed by adults and kids 8 and up.

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