La Jolla Playhouse Selects Teatro Mascara Magica as 2013-14 Resident Theatre Company

By: Jun. 04, 2013
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La Jolla Playhouse is proud to announce its 2013/2014 resident theatre company: Teatro Máscara Mágica. Spearheaded by Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley, the Resident Theatre Program aims to encourage the artistic development of performing arts organizations, while advancing and contributing to the San Diego theatre scene as a whole. The program provides a temporary home each year to one of the many local troupes without a permanent venue.

"The Resident Theatre Program has become such a vital component of our programming since its inception in 2008, and this year, we were especially struck by the vibrant company, Teatro Máscara Mágica," said Ashley. "Their passion and dedication to shining a light on diverse cultures and voices have made them a fixture in San Diego's cultural community for 25 years, and an ideal choice for our Resident Theatre Program."

Led by Founder and Artistic Director, William Virchis, Teatro Máscara Mágica begins its residency this summer with a production of Josefina López's Detained in the Desert, running August 28 - September 15 in The Playhouse's Theodore and Adele Shank Theatre. A response to the anti-immigrant atmosphere in Arizona and the rise in violence against Latinos fueled by extremist media, Detained in the Desert parallels two completely different people: Sandi, a second-generation dark-skinned Latina, and Lou Becker, an inflammatory talk show radio host, whose lives converge in the Sonoran desert in Arizona. Josefina López is best known as the author of the play Real Women Have Curves, and as the co-author of the screenplay for its film adaptation, which earned her the Humanitas Prize for Screenwriting. Ms. López is also a novelist and the Founder and Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Los Angeles' Boyle Heights neighborhood. Teatro Máscara Mágica will return for the second production during their residency with a production in May-June, 2014.

"For 25 years our goal has been to enrich and inspire audience members by telling stories that educate, entertain and help bridge diverse cultural identities," said Teatro Máscara Mágica's Founder and Artistic Director, William Virchis. "As we are a nonprofit organization, this partnership will significantly help us broaden our reach to the community by offering professional and affordable theatre productions that portray the human condition and express our universal values and aspirations. It is an honor to have the support of La Jolla Playhouse as its Resident Theatre Company."

The Resident Theatre Program is an annual appointment at La Jolla Playhouse. In addition to performance space, The Playhouse provides lighting and sound support and is available to offer marketing and development advice. Previous resident theatre appointees include Mo'olelo Performing Arts Company, Moxie Theatre, San Diego Asian American Repertory Theater and Eveoke Dance Theatre. The Resident Theatre Program is part of La Jolla Playhouse's overall commitment to fostering artistic relationships and the development of new work. The Playhouse seeks to nurture both established and up-and-coming playwrights, directors, designers and performers who are impacted by - and who, in turn, impact - our culture. By offering these artists resources and opportunities, such as the recently-established Artist-in-Residence program, commissions, readings, workshops, as well as our signature Page To Stage Play Development Program, we can ensure The Playhouse will be the place to look for what's next in American theatre.

Heralded as the "Theater of the People," Teatro Máscara Mágica (TMM) is a culturally diverse, community-based team of artists and supporters of the arts that believe all races, creeds and cultures should have the opportunity for artistic expression and experiences of the highest caliber, particularly in the multi-sensorial realm of live theatre. TMM serves San Diego County with quality professional theatre and has been recognized as a national leader in developing a curriculum of dynamic, enlightening theatre productions coupled with community-based outreach and educational experiences. Teatro Máscara Mágica is the brainchild of two of San Diego's best-known Latino directors - William Virchis and Dr. Jorge Huerta. Both men have vast experience and accolades in the dramatic arts and were college professors, Dr. Huerta at UC San Diego and Mr. Virchis at Southwestern College. Founded in 1989, TMM's goal was nothing less than the redefinition of San Diego theatre to include cultures and voices not traditionally represented in mainstream theatre. Teatro Máscara Mágica is a national role model that has been cited by the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, National Conference of Community and Justice and other civil rights, arts and community organizations. TMM wasalso the recipient of the 2004 San Diego Business Journal's Multicultural Heritage Award and is in good standing as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. In 2014, Teatro Máscara Mágica will celebrate its 25th Anniversary. Over the past 25 years, TMM has continually strived to serve the needs of a rich and diverse American region. TMM has proved its dedication to increasing the production of multicultural theatre, providing professional theatrical opportunities to underrepresented segments of the population and subsidizing ticket prices to make live theatre affordable to families and the less affluent.

Josefina López is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the film Real Women Have Curves (2002). Born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico in 1969, she was five years old when she and her family immigrated to the United States and settled in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights. She was undocumented for thirteen years before receiving Amnesty in 1987 and eventually became a U.S. Citizen in 1995. Ms. Lopez is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including a formal recognition from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer's 7th Annual "Women Making History" banquet in 1998 and a screenwriting fellowship from the California Arts Council in 2001. Ms. López and Real Women Have Curves co-author George LaVoo won the Humanitas Prize for Screenwriting in 2002, the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Award from L.A. Mayor in 2003, and the Artist-in-ResidenCy Grant from the NEA/TCG for 2007. She is also the Founder and Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights. At CASA 0101, her commitment is to teach screenwriting and playwriting and nurture a new generation of Latino artists. She is actively working to create an Artist District in Boyle Heights where theater, arts and music can flourish and create opportunities for the many talented artists who reside or grew up in the area and want to return to contribute. Ms. López is currently developing the musical version of Real Women Have Curves for Broadway. Her first novel,Hungry Woman in Paris, came out in 2009.

The nationally-acclaimed, Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse is known for its tradition of creating the most exciting and adventurous new work in regional theatre. The Playhouse was founded in 1947 by Gregory Peck, Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer, and is considered one of the most well-respected not-for-profit theatres in the country. Numerous Playhouse productions have moved to Broadway, including the currently running hits Jersey Boys, Chaplin and Peter and the Starcatcher, as well as Big River, The Who's Tommy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Walk in the Woods, Billy Crystal's 700 Sundays, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Farnsworth Invention, 33 Variations, Bonnie & Clyde, Chaplin and Hands on a Hardbody. Located on the UC San Diego campus, La Jolla Playhouse is made up of three primary performance spaces: the Mandell Weiss Theatre, the Mandell Weiss Forum Theatre and the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for La Jolla Playhouse, a state-of-the-Art Theatre complex which features the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre. La Jolla Playhouse is led by Artistic Director Christopher Ashley and Managing Director Michael S. Rosenberg.