Teatro Vista, Chicago's largest professional Latinx theater company, kicks off its 26th season with the world premiere of Parachute Men, a raw, funny and poignant family drama by Mando Alvaradoabout three brothers who suck at being brothers, suck at love and suck at being men.
Teatro Vista Executive Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez directs Alvarado's playwriting debut in Chicago. The production features Teatro Vista ensemble member Tommy Rivera-Vega, with Adam Bitterman, Elizabeth Del Toro, Eddie Martínez, J. Salome Martínez and Maggie Scrantom.
It's Christmas Eve. Three brothers are reunited when the oldest, Eric, returns on the anniversary of their mother's death. After a few hours, it's clear that the pecking order has changed and the battle begins to see who can take that baby step into manhood first.
Be the first to find out. Teatro Vista will present Parachute Men in the Richard Christiansen Theater at Victory Gardens Theater, located in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue at the historic Biograph Theater.
Previews are Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, September 11 at 3 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday, September 14 and 15 at7:30 p.m. Press opening is Friday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through October 16: Thursday through Saturdayat 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.
Preview are $20. Performances are $25-$30. Student tickets are $15. Senior tickets are $18. Up to 20 Early Bird tickets are available on a first come, first served basis for $18. Use code EARLYBIRD.
For tickets and information on group rates, visit TeatroVista.org, call the Victory Gardens box office, (773) 871-3000, or visitTuesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., or Sunday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Metered, street and valet parking is available near the Biograph. The theater is easily accessed on the CTA Red, Purple and Brown lines via the Fullerton stop. The CTA 8 Halsted and 74 Fullerton buses also stop at Fullerton and Halsted, 1/2 block south of the theater. For more information, visit VictoryGardens.org/PlanYourVisit.
Teatro Vista Artistic Director Ricardo Gutiérrez was introduced to Mando Alvarado last summer when he directed a staged reading ofParachute Men at the 2015 Latino Theatre Commons' Carnaval of New Latino/o Work, presented in collaboration with HowlRound at the Theatre School at DePaul University, in association with Teatro Vista and the Alliance of Latinx Theatre of Chicago (ALTA). Teatro Vista's fall world premiere of Parachute Men is the inaugural production of the Latina/o Theatre Commons' new El Fuego Initiative.
"Mando's bold writing, comic touch and clear empathy with a family in crisis instantly captured my interest, and a lot of attention during Carnaval," said Gutiérrez. "We've been working with Mando since, and look forward to him coming to Chicago to collaborate with us on the first full production of Parachute Men. Teatro Vista is equally excited to introduce Chicago theater audiences and critics to an already established, award-winning Latinx playwright and screenwriter."
Alvarado's play Basilica premiered Off-Broadway at the famous Cherry Lane Theater in NYC. His play Post No Bills premiered Off-Broadway at Rattlestick Playwright's Theater. His new play, Diablo Love, had its world premiere at Central Park's Summer Stages, which also produced Alvarado's A King of Infinite Space, a Hamlet/Pearl Jam mash-up, and Sangre, an adaptation of Blood Wedding. He co-wrote the book for the bilingual musical A Yellow Brick Road, an adaptation ofWizard of Oz for Theaterworks USA which received its critically acclaimed Off-Broadway premiere at The Lortel. His short play, Up the 405, premiered as a part of LA Views for Company of Angels in Los Angeles. He is a contributing writer for Theater 167's You Are Now the Owner of This Suitcase. He participated in the Freight Project where he developed his play (O)n THE 5:31, commissioned for Rising Phoenix Rep's Cino Nights at the Seventh Street Small Stage. His first feature film, Cruzando, which he co-wrote and co-directed with Michael Ray Escamilla is available on DVD and was distributed by Vanguard Cinema. Alvarado is a member of Rising Phoenix Rep, alum of INTAR's Hispanic-Playwright-in-Residence Laboratory 2006-2008, and a graduate of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts. He worked on Tyrant for FX and is currently working onGreenleaf for the OWN Network. He is originally from South Texas, and currently lives in New York City.
Ricardo Gutiérrez (director) is the Executive Artistic Director of Teatro Vista where he recently directed In The Time of the Butterflies. Other Teatro Vista directing credits include Between You, Me and The Lampshade, A View From The Bridge, Momma's Boyz, i put the fear of mexico in 'em and La Mágica Posada.Gutiérrez served as the artistic director of Nosotros in Los Angeles and The Canterbury Theatre in Indiana. He is co-founder of the Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists of Chicago (ALTA), a service organization dedicated to promoting and fostering Latinx theatre artists in Chicago. As an actor, Gutiérrez most recently appeared in In The Heights at the Paramount and in the world premieres of Song For The Disappeared and Fish Men at the Goodman. Later this year he will be appearing in Destiny of Desire at South Coast Repertoryand at the Goodman Theatre. Gutiérrez has appeared on stage at The Actors Theatre in Louisville, Denver Center Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens and Lookingglass Theatre. TV credits include Chicago PD, Sirens and Boss.
The production team includes Raúl Abrego (set), Uriel Gómez (costumes), Richard Norwood(lights) and Nick Gajary (sound). Stage manager is Amanda Davis.
MEET THE CAST:
Tommy Rivera-Vega (Eli) is an ensemble member with Teatro Vista, where he performed in Momma's Boyz,A View From The Bridge and Between You, Me, and the Lampshade! Other credits include Mother Road (Goodman Theatre), Chino in West Side Story (Drury Lane), Barney the Elf (The Other Theatre Company), Latino Theatre Festival in Los Angeles and Chicago, Usnavi in In the Heights (Skylight Music Theatre), In the Heights and My Fair Lady (Paramount Theatre), Three Sisters (Steppenwolf), Kiss of the Spiderwoman (BoHo), Pippin (Music Theatre Company),CATS (Theo Ubique), AIDA (Bailiwick), and in his home Puerto Rico, Spring Awakening (Moritz)and Ren in Footloose(Black Box Theatre).
Adam Bitterman (Angel), in his Teatro Vista debut, is a company member at Redtwist Theatre where he appeared in The Seedbed, The Drawer Boy and The American Clock. Other credits include Dr. Watson in City Lit's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and Holmes and Watson. He has appeared on TV in The Exorcist, Chicago Fire, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Early Edition, Scrubs and recurring roles in Veronica Marsand Showtime's Look, and on film in David Mamet's Things Change and Homicide, and Curtis Hanson's Lucky You.
Elisabeth Del Toro (Linda) recently appeared at Madison St. Theater in Big Fish: The Musical. She graduated from the University of Chicago last June, where credits include By the Bog of Cats, SubUrbia, This Is How It Goes, Closer and House of Yes. She also performed in Victory Gardens College Night: Trigger Finger and wrote an original play for Victory Gardens College Night: FAMOUS.
Eddie Martínez (Andrew) performed in Teatro Vista's In the Time of The Butterflies and The Sins of Sor Juana. Credits include Big Lake Big City and the Maitre D' in Cascabel (Lookingglass), Our Lady of 121st Street (Steppenwolf), Stylin' and Racial Profilin' (The Second City), and FADE and As You Like It (Denver Center Theatre Company). Film credits are The Dilemma, The Break Up, The Weatherman, Nothing Like the Holidays, Let's Go to Prison, Ossobucco and Elsewhere. TV credits include Boss, Chicago Fire, Sense8 and Sirens.
J. Salome Martínez (Eric) is making his Teatro Vista debut. Other Chicago credits include Cascabel and Big Lake Big City (Lookingglass), A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre), This is Modern Art and How Long Will I Cry? (Steppenwolf)and After (Profiles Theatre). Regional credits include As You Like It, Man of La Mancha and The Seagull (Constance Theatre) and The War of the Worlds (Hippodrome State Theatre). TV and film credits include Sirens, Law & Order, Castle, Chicago Fire, Generation Kill, NYC Underground, New York, I Love You and The Messenger.
Maggie Scranton (Cori) most recently appeared in Fraud and Phony's Troll and Strawdog Theatre's After Miss Julie. She has also worked with Victory Gardens, Provision Theater, Lifeline Theatre, Two Pence Theatre Company, Shattered Globe Theatre, The Waltzing Mechanics, The Runaways Lab Theater, The Backroom Shakespeare Project and The Livingroom Playmakers.
Teatro Vista produces, develops and commissions plays that explore the wealth and variety of the human experience from a Latinx perspective. The company provides work and professional advancement opportunities for Latinx theatre artists, with special emphasis on the company's ensemble members, and seeks to enhance the curricular goals of Chicago students through theatre. Teatro Vista was recently celebrated as one of "Chicago's Cultural Leaders" by the Arts & Business Council of Chicago and received the League of Chicago Theatre's Artistic Leadership Award.
Teatro Vista's primary focus is producing new works by Latinx theatre artists and presenting classic plays featuring artists of color. Its artistic vision is shaped by the company's ensemble members, a group of multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi-disciplinary artists. They inform Teatro Vista's artistic aesthetic by devising original works as well as by selecting plays with themes that are engaging and relevant to Chicago's diverse population.
Teatro Vista founded in 1990 by Edward Torres and Henry Godinez. As Teatro Vista's first Artistic Director, Godinez guided the company during the formative years. He helped stage successful productions and establish vital relationships with other theatre companies and artists. When Godinez stepped down, Torres was appointed Artistic Director. Under Torres' direction, Teatro Vista used the stage to engage, connect and challenge Audience members using the company's mission as his guide. In 2012, Torres moved to New York and the Board of Directors promoted longtime Associate Artistic Director Ricardo Gutie?rrez to the position of Executive Artistic Director. Today, Teatro Vista is led with great vitality by Gutie?rrez along with Development and Managing Director, José Antonio Cruz.
In addition to Gutiérrez, Teatro Vista ensemble members include Charín Álvarez, Max Arciniega, Desmín Borges, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ramón Camín, Ivonne Coll, Laura Dahl, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernández, Khanisha Foster, Erik Juárez, Jon Lyon, Sandra Márquez, Joe Minoso, Marcela Muñóz, Christina Nieves, Marvin Quijada, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Gabriel Ruíz,Cecilia Suarez and co-founder Edward Torres.
Teatro Vista's Board of Directors includes Ezequiel "Zeek" Agosto, President; Rodrigo García and Rosanna Márquez, Vice Presidents; Joan Pantsios, Secretary; Tom Vega-Byrnes, Treasurer; and Bhuvana Badrinathan, José Antonio Cruz, Edgar Delgado, Ricardo Gutiérrez and Yolanda Hardy.