Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

CoActive Content Presents THE KING OF THE DESERT 5/6-6/11


CoActive Content will present the World Premiere of "The King of the Desert (El Rey del Desierto)," a new play by Stacey Martino, to be performed by actor René Rivera, under the direction of Valentino Ferreira. The play depicts a Mexican American boy's journey of self-discovery through adulthood and the realization of his dreams. Opening Night is Cinco de Mayo, Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. at The Chaplin Stage at the El Centro Theatre; 804 N. El Centro Avenue (between Gower Street and Vine Street, just north of Melrose Avenue); Hollywood, CA 90038. Thereafter, performances will be given on Thursdays and Fridays, May 6 - June 11, 2010 at 8:00 p.m. Ten percent of the proceeds from the run of the show will benefit The National Latino Children's Institute headquartered in San Antonio, TX.

Tickets are $15.00 each for General Admission. Tickets for Students, Seniors and Guild Members are $10 each. For reservations and further information please call the Box Office at 323-960-5774 or buy online at Valet Parking will be available for $5 at the intersection of North Gower Street and Waring Avenue at a Paramount Pictures garage, within a five-minute walk to the El Centro Theatre. Street parking is also available in the vicinity.

Playwright Stacey Martino describes "The King of the Desert (El Rey del Desierto)" as one boy's search to find out who he really is in an environment that does not encourage self-expression. He learns to survive by becoming anyone other than himself in times of crisis, from a Mexican Revolutionary poet, to a Mayan Shaman, to a Werewolf. His journey begins in a small Texas barrio and eventually leads to The Julliard School and appearances on Broadway. "My play is an ‘against all odds' look at how cultural history and personal mythology which some may think might limit us, can actually set us free instead. The play takes us on a Mexican American journey that explores a universal struggle to become our most authentic selves."

The Production Team includes: Stacey Martino, Writer and Producer; Tracy Lane, Producer; Valentino Ferreira, Director; Danuta Tomzynski and Michael Brainard, Set Designers; Tony Sanders, Lighting Designer; Erik J. Goodrich, Graphic Designer and Production Photographer; Suzanne Woods, Stage Manager and Steve Moyer Public Relations, Press Representative.

About The Creation of the Play by Stacey Martino:
"‘The King of the Desert (El Rey del Desierto)' grew out of my hunger to understand my husband's life and to learn about my daughter's Mexican American heritage. It was my own journey into the past in order to bring our family closer and alchemize the more difficult aspects of life. It grew into a wish to empower other people with similar stories across diverse communities. It is a story that weaves together my version of my husband's mythology, stories his family shared with me, and a rich cultural lineage that deserves to be explored at this time in America. Storytelling is one of the oldest rituals; it has a way of healing the past and crystallizing the present moment for both the storyteller and the audience. It is my greatest hope that this play not only provides insights into a unique culture but reminds us how much we have in common as human beings."

About CoActive Content:
Led by Artistic Director, Stacey Martino, CoActive Content creates, produces and distributes a broad spectrum of media content focused on entertaining, educating and activating communities. The CoActive Content team is comprised of professional artists and grassroots activists. Presently CoActive Content members are in post-production with Smalltown Productions on a documentary, "Change Is Gonna Come,", under the direction of Director's Guild of America and Emmy Award-nominated director, Tasha Oldham. "Change Is Gonna Come" focuses on the cross country journey of 27 strangers united by a belief in Nonviolent Conflict Resolution.

CoActive Content's next project is "Footlz," a series of children's books teaching discipline through empathy rather than a system of punishment and rewards. The group is committed to activating communities through art by impelling audiences to take action in their lives personally, locally and globally. CoActive Content believes in nurturing the reciprocal effects artists and audiences have on one another and the symbiotic relationship that develops between them. "The King of the Desert (El Rey del Desierto)" is CoActive Content's first theatrical production.

CoActive Content will donate 10% of proceeds from the run of "The King of the Desert (El Rey del Desierto)" to the National Latino Children's Institute (NLCI), the only national Latino organization that focuses exclusively on children. Incorporated in 1997 in Texas, NLCI has its headquarters in San Antonio and is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt organization. NLCI's mission is to serve as the voice for young Latinos. NLCI staff fulfills the mission by promoting and implementing the National Latino Children's Agenda. For more information, please visit

About The Cast and Crew:
René Rivera (Performer) (of Los Feliz), a Lifetime Member of The Actors Studio, has performed extensively as an actor on both the East and the West Coasts. He has appeared on Broadway at Circle in the Square in "Salome" starring and directed by Al Pacino, a production in which Rivera played the role of the Page of Herodius, with Al Pacino playing the role of King Herod.

Rivera's Off-Broadway credits include: "Richard II" directed by Steven Berkoff at The Public Theater; "In The Jungle of Cities" directed by Anne Bogart at The Public Theater; "Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2" directed by JoAnne Akalaitas at The Public Theater; "Hamlet" directed by Kevin Kline at The Public Theater in New York, Huntington Theatre in Boston and on PBS; "The Way of the World" directed by David Greenspan at The Public Theater; "Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth" and "As You Like It," all directed by Estelle Parsons at The Belasco Theatre.

Regional theatre credits include appearing in productions of "Boleros for the Disenchanted" at The Goodman Theatre in Chicago; "The House of Blue Leaves" at The Coconut Grove Theatre; "Don Juan" at Baltimore's Center Stage directed by Irene Lewis; "Hamlet" at the Boston's Huntington Theatre; "Salome" at The Wadsworth Theatre in Los Angeles; "True West" at Portland's Center Stage; "Twelfth Night" at San Antonio's Sunken Gardens Theater; "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" at Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles directed by Rick Sparks and "The Merchant of Venice" in Chicago, London, Hamburg and Paris, under the direction of Peter Sellars.

Rivera's film credits include: "Disturbia;" "Before Night Falls;" "Bordertown;" "Oranges;" "Break A Leg;" "Lords of Dogtown;" "The Salton Sea;" "Me and Him;" "Light Sleeper;" "Carlito's Way" and "It Could Happen To You," among others. He recently completed production on his latest film, "Wilde Salome," starring, directed and written by Al Pacino.

Television credits include appearances on: "Prison Break" (FOX); "Shark" (CBS); "NYPD Blue" (ABC); "Thieves" (ABC); "Law and Order" (NBC); "The X-Files" (FOX); "E-Ring" (NBC); "Profiler" (NBC); "ER" (NBC); "Nash Bridges" (CBS); "Brooklyn South" (CBS); "The Out of Towners" (NBC); "Miami Vice" (the final episode - NBC); "The Old Man and The Sea" (NBC); "Hamlet" (PBS); and "Monsignor Martinez" (Pilot for FOX), among others.

Rivera has studied acting with Kevin Kline, John Stix, Eve Sharpino, Marian Seldes, Michael Langham, Ronald Ibbs and Maureen Halligan at The Julliard School from 1982 - 1986, where he was a Theatre Major awarded a full scholarship. Rivera is married to playwright Stacey Martino. They have a two-year-old daughter, Ava Fransisca Rivera.

Stacey Martino (Writer/Producer) (of Los Feliz) is originally from Philadelphia, PA. She has merged her passions for art and activism by writing, performing and producing plays, films and events focused on creating a world that works for everyone.

Martino began her theatrical work in Philadelphia under the guidance of Freedom Theatre's award winning director Walter Dallas and acclaimed actors Johnny Hobbs Jr. and Irene Baird. At the age of 19, she founded a theatre company committed to works about social justice issues in the early nineties that performed in Philadelphia and Baltimore, The What Now Theater Company, for which she was a founding member and served as Artistic Director.

From 1992 - 1993 Martino studied acting with Shelley Winters in Los Angeles, before moving to New York in 1994 to pursue her Masters degree in Theatre. She was cast in one of the first joint venture films between the United States and Russia in 1994 entitled "ZigZag," which was filmed at Mosfilm Studios with actor David Starzyk leading a predominantly Russian cast under the direction of Anatoly Niman. This experience led her to pursue her Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Theatre at The New School for Social Research in New York, where she was a member of the first graduating class in 1997. In 1992 she received her BFA degree Theatre from The University of The Arts in Philadelphia.

Martino was accepted as Lifetime Member of the prestigious Actors Studio on her first audition in New York in 1997 where she worked with and under, Arthur Penn, Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Baron, Elizabeth Kemp, Lee Grant, Arthur Storch and Frank Corsaro, among others. At The Actors Studio program in New York her desire to teach was nurtured and encouraged. Later, in 1998 after moving back to Los Angeles, she studied acting privately with Sandra Seacat and at The Actors Studio with Martin Landau, Joanne Linville, Mark Rydell and Barbara Bain. Martino was also directed by Barbara Bain in "Tennessee in the Summer" at The Laurelgrove Theatre in 2003. She was the youngest member accepted into Mark Rydell's and Mark Travis' Master Directing Workshop at The Actors Studio in 2004. As an actress she has worked in film and television, including "When Billy Beat Bobby" (ABC), "Life on Liberty Street" (Lifetime) and "What Women Want" (Paramount Pictures), as well as having performed in over 50 plays.

Among Martino's diverse credits as a multi-hyphenate are a number of plays, films and events, including: "Critical Condition" currently in post production (Director; a short mockumentary examining the healthcare crisis in America); "The Election With Whitman" (Producer; an interactive performance art piece of Walt Whitman's poetry on election night 2004); and the critically acclaimed, "A Slow Crawl Home" (Performer/Writer; a one woman exploration of homelessness). Currently she is preparing for a remounting of "A Slow Crawl Home" to be produced by the nonprofit organization, Chrysalis, for their volunteers, board members, donors and nonprofits dedicated to the homeless in Los Angeles.

As a writer Martino has written four screenplays, three plays and has placed in the Semi-Final Round of the Fade In Screenplay Contest, as well as receiving an Honorable Mention in the Epiphany Screenplay Contest. She has just completed her first children's book, "Footlz," which teaches children discipline through empathy and compassion rather than a system of reward and punishment. Other projects include: "If Not Me," a collection of poems about America and "Damage Assessment," a short story about her experience with The Red Cross during the 2005 hurricane season, and a solo play entitled "Refuge," about the effect genocide has everyday people and those who stand up in the face of such atrocities.

Martino has co-created with Stop Genocide Now ( Founder, Gabriel Stauring, Camp Darfur, an educational traveling refugee camp that serves as a museum dedicated to all of the genocides of the twentieth century with a focus on stopping the current one in Darfur. Camp Darfur has traveled all over the country, including the United Nations. She and Gabriel Stauring, visited the Chad/Darfur border where they filmed a daily citizen's report for 15 days from the refugee camps. Their project i-Act connects people on a grassroots level to the ongoing crisis in Sudan.

Martino has taught acting privately for 12 years in Los Angeles and many of her students have garnered nominations and awards in theatre, film and television including Academy Award, Emmy Award, NAACP Award and Ovation Award nominations and wins, including Gwendoline Yeo, Eliza Schneider, Grant Sullivan, Tamara Braun and Eugenio Zannetti (who won an Academy Award for Production Design). She has also taught directing workshops in Los Angeles, CA for Propaganda Films and in Austin, TX for actors, teachers and directors, in addition to teaching acting workshops from 1998 - 2005 with noted educator, director and producer, Sal Romeo. She has also taught in Germany at the prestigious Neuschwantstein Theater in Munich twice a year to conduct workshops for the cast of the long-running hit play, "Ludwig." She currently teaches an acting workshop in Los Angeles.

She has collaborated with director Valentino Ferreira several times in the past. The first collaboration was a tour of her play, "The Gift of Peace," which continues to be performed across the country. Locally the play was presented at UCLA's Freud Playhouse in 2007 under the direction of John Rubinstein, featuring 27 high profile actors dedicated to social justice, including Francis Fischer, Ed Asner, Amy Brenneman, Dan Lauria, Amy Smart, Esai Morales and James Pickens, among others. "The Gift of Peace" is now being made into a documentary entitled, "Change Is Gonna Come," (, helmed by Director's Guild of America award winning director, Tasha Oldham. The second project she has worked on with director Valentino Ferreira is her critically acclaimed one person show, "A Slow Crawl Home," a true story exploring the subject of homelessness.

In addition to all her theatrical and artistic endeavors, Martino is also a partner in Whole World Baby,, a business dedicated to creating a world that works for all children.

Valentino Ferreira (Director) (of Los Angeles) is a MFA graduate student in Acting and Playwrighting of The Actors Studio program at The New School for Social Research in New York, where he studied Writing under Jack Gelber and Laura Marie Censabella and Acting under Ed Setrakian and Sam Schact, among others. He has worked in the theatre for 20 years as an actor, playwright and director. His directing credits include Sartre's "No Exit" at SUNY Purchase NY where he received his B.A. degree in Acting and Sophoclies' "Antigone" and Kirk Wood Bromeley's, "Icarus and Aria" both as Professor of Theatre and African American Theatre History at Los Angeles City College.

This is his third collaboration with actress and playwright Stacey Martino. Previously he directed her one-woman show, "A Slow Crawl Home" produced to critical acclaim at The Laurelgrove Theatre, and then later presented in another production at The Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles by Mark Rydell and Martin Landau through The Actors Studio. Ferreira also directed Stacey Martino's one-woman show, "The Gift of Peace," which toured across the United States in cities affected by violence, including New Orleans, Oklahoma City and Washington, D.C. He was accepted into The Actors Studio in New York on his first audition and had his play, "Lay Down and Die," premiere at The Circle In The Square in New York, starring Eisa Davis, directed by Joe D'Aquino.

Tracy Lane (Producer) (of Los Feliz) is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she majored in theatre and film history. She is the producer, writer and actor of the feature film, "Whippersnapper," currently in post-production. Lane is a co-author of "American Grind," a contemporary comedy that made its World Premiere at the Lyric Hyperion Theatre last fall. She was the resident playwright for the bi-coastal theatre company, From The Ground Up, during its 2009 season.

Danuta Tomzynski (Set Designer) (of Los Feliz) is a Los Angeles native and has designed theatre sets in the Los Angeles area since 1999 for various theatre groups in Los Angeles and Fullerton, including The Laurelgrove Theatre Company ("Witness," "Necropolis"); The Wooden Leg Theater Company ("He Who Gets Slapped"); Stages Theatre of Fullerton ("A Murder Of Crows." "Rumors"); Friends and Artists at The Sidewalk Studio Theatre ("Brilliant Traces"); Sightunseen Theatre Company ("Quarterlife") and SkyPilot Theatre Company. ("Requiem For A Heavyweight," "Peter Cottontail," "Death and the Maiden," "End of Civilization," "Trading Places") and other independent productions. Her training in design includes fashion, textile, and graphic design, production design, scenic and fine art painting. She has also worked in retail design and interior design in Los Angeles, Woodland Hills, Brentwood, Venice, Malibu, Camarillo, Glendale and Thousand Oaks. Tomzynski has worked as co-producer and production designer for two films in 2005, a short western comedy, "Looking for Some Posse" and a feature length thriller, "Killing Ariel."

Michael Brainard (Set Designer) (of Los Feliz) is an actor and furniture maker. Occasionally, when these two worlds collide, Brainard will design and/or build theatre and film sets. His theatre set work includes: The Laurelgrove Theatre Company ("Witness," "Necropolis" and "Choice Words"); The Wooden Leg Theater Company ("He Who Gets Slapped"); Stages Theatre of Fullerton ("A Murder Of Crows" by Michael Brainard); Friends and Artists at The Sidewalk Studio Theatre ("The White Whore And The Bit Player"); Sightunseen Theatre Company ("Quarterlife") and SkyPilot Theatre Company ("Requiem For A Heavyweight"). As an actor, Brainard is best known for his roles on "All My Children" and "Santa Barbara." He also writes and has had two plays produced by Stages Theatre of Fullerton.

Tony Sanders (Lighting Designer) (of West Hollywood) is an award winning Actor/Director/Designer originally from Philadelphia. He received his BFA degree in Acting from The University of the Arts. His work in Regional and Off-Broadway theaters, as well as, National Tours which have allowed him to spend the night in 43 states throughout the country. As a designer, Sanders has worked with award winning directors like Walter Dallas, Irene Baird, John Allen and Jacqui Yancey. He is the Artistic Director of SHINE! LA's Youth Theatre (housed in West Hollywood since 2005) and serves as the lead teacher for their Youth Ensemble. He is a member of Actor's Equity and SAG. He will be seen in two upcoming releases: "The Graswills" (a comedic send-up of the Whole Foods boycott) and the documentary, "Change is Gonna Come." Additionally, his solo show, "Mojo de Negro...a modern-day minstrel show" has been selected for the inaugural Hollywood Fringe Festival.

Erik J. Goodrich (Graphic Designer) (of Sunland) was born and raised in the Green Mountains of Vermont. He graduated from a small town high school in 1990. He attended the Art Institute of Atlanta receiving a Media Arts/Audio Engineering degree. Eventually he returned to New England, and started working for WCAX Television, a CBS affiliate in Burlington, VT. Networking, hard work and a fair amount of serendipity have found Goodrich currently working as a Videographer/Editor. He has directed local commercials, political and news promotions, and both topical and image campaigns. He has also branched out into the independent filmmaking field and has worked on a numbers of shorts and webisodes. In 2006, he was brought aboard as Director of Photography on "Late Night Saturday" airing in Vermont and Southern Quebec. Having moved to Los Angeles in 2008, Goodrich has worked as Production Assistant to Grip and as a Director of Photography to Director. Recently, he has joined a grassroots Change Project as an Editor, Graphic Designer and Web Content Manager. He is currently working as a Second Assistant Director and Photographer for a new reality show for MTV, "If You Really Knew," which will debut in the fall of 2010.

Suzanne Wood (Stage Manager) (of Brentwood) recently moved to Los Angeles from Vancouver to pursue her degree in Theatre Arts. An actress, singer and dancer, she loves everything to do with the stage. Previous roles include Allison in "Brooklyn Boy" and Glinda in "The Wizard of Oz," performed in Canada. Backstage experience includes productions at the White Rock Play House in British Columbia and the Secret Rose Theatre here in Los Angeles.

HOW: Tickets are $15.00 each for General Admission. Tickets for Students, Seniors and Guild Members are $10 each. For reservations and further information please call the Box Office at 323-960-5774 or buy online at Valet Parking will be available for $5 at the intersection of North Gower Street and Waring Avenue at a Paramount Pictures garage, within a five-minute walk to the El Centro Theatre. Street parking is also available in the vicinity.

Related Articles View More Los Angeles Stories

Featured on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes & More

More Hot Stories For You