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Celebration Theatre Presents World-Premiere Reading Of Indigiqueer Play BIRTHDAY BRUNCH By Jen Olivares

Jen Olivares is an artist, writer, creative director, and choreographer who began her professional career in television and commercials at age 5.

Celebration Theatre Presents World-Premiere Reading Of Indigiqueer Play BIRTHDAY BRUNCH By Jen Olivares

Celebration Theatre presents a world-premiere workshop reading of Birthday Brunch, a semi-autobiographical work by commissioned playwright Jen Olivares about the contemporary Native experience in Southern California.

Produced and directed by Carolina Hoyos, the work is presented free to the public on Wednesday, September 28, and Thursday, September 29, 7:30-9:00pm PT at the Davidson/Valentini Theatre at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. The piece features the performing talents of Kelly Lynne D'Angelo, Eric Stanton Betts, Brían Pagaq Wescot, Jehnean Washington, and Mikki Hernandez, with narration from Ayame Nishinaka Orlans.

Through the lens of Tiffany, a queer, housing-unstable artist venturing back into her homelands, we dance alongside her struggles and joys as her estranged family reveals and reconnects the unjust histories and bonds buried between them. With little land, and at times, community to hold onto, Tiffany's birthday wish is for a home reborn.

"Tiffany's experiences ring true to the descendants of many Southern California tribes, and I think the chance to explore the topic for an audience of Southern California residents is integral to preserving and continuing our lives as Native people on a coastline that wants to forget we have been here thousands of years," shared playwright Jen Olivares. "It is vital for them to see us as we are now, not solely as we were."

Jen Olivares is an artist, writer, creative director, and choreographer who began her professional career in television and commercials at age 5. Her work as a stage actor spans the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Atlantic Theater, Yale Repertory Theater, and national touring companies of Rock of Ages. Jen is an enrolled member of the Juaneño Band of Mission Indians, Acjachemen Nation, a tribe indigenous to what is now Southern California. Jen is currently consulting on and directing several up-and-coming Native works, including Molly Spotted Elk with Penobscot Theatre in Maine. Passionate about empowering Native youth through cultural and community connection, Jen writes and produces for the Native youth strengthening organizations The 5th Direction and Red Eagle Soaring.

Olivares was awarded the play commission from Celebration Theatre this past spring by a panel of Indigenous and LGBTQIA+ peers as part of the theatre's Indigiqueer Identity program, funded in part by arts grants from the California Arts Council and the City of West Hollywood. The commission included two developmental table reads to support the generation and revision of the work, culminating in this 29-hour workshop and two free public performances to ensure community access.

For information & tickets, visit www.celebrationtheatre.org/birthday-brunch.


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