Denver's premier Chicano theater troupe for nearly forty years, Su Teatro is emerging from a few years of flux and tension, finally at home in its permanent new barrio venue, the Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center @ the Denver Civic Theatre. After months of fundraising, Su Teatro will close on the building next week, notes spokeswoman Mica Garcia de Benevidez, and in the spirit of homecoming, the ensemble's newly announced 2010-2011 season also marks a full return to all original in-house productions.
"This is our home now, and we wanted to give our artists the opportunity to really own it, to claim ownership not only of the space but also of the works they perform here as company members," she says. "But it's also just a return to what makes Su Teatro Su Teatro: company-created work, utilizing music and going on strength of company." Here's what's to come in the next year.
October 16-30, 2010 The Lamented Last Dance at the Rainbow Ballroom: El Louie and other Post Pachuco Dreams
Based on the poems of José Montoya (whose most famous work, "El Louie," retells the story of a California pachuco and Korean war veteran who hocks his medals for drugs), Last Dance is adapted by Su Teatro artistic director Tony Garcia and actor/musician and longtime company friend Daniel Valdez, who also wrote the music and directs. "This is the first season since Tony's been busy raising money for him to be able to focus again on the artistic end," Garcia de Benevidez says of Garcia. And Valdez, the brother of Luis Valdez (Zoot Suit, La Bamba), brings a broken beauty to the poet's descriptions of Latino life on the street in this period piece. It also features a hot-looking trio of singing ladies called Los Suspiros; Valdez and to poet Montoya will both be in town for opening week.
December 2-19, 2010 A Colorado en Una Noche de Navidad/ To Colorado on a Christmas Night
Music again plays a major part in this holiday show, a Su Teatro tradition, this time from the pen of Tejana songbird Tish Hinojosa. Written and directed by Garcia, it takes a right turn on Black Friday in a department store in Manhattan and ends up in Colorado for a seasonal story about family conflicts, punched up considerably by the entrances of a trio of wise vatos and a Bruja Lady. The only restaging of a previous Su Teatro work this season, Noche is Christmas gift of music for the whole family. ¡Feliz Navidad!
March 10-26, 2011 Todo lo Mexicano/ Everything Mexican
A company collaboration, this work-in-progress will comprise adaptations of five or six stories from the Mexican short-story anthology Sun, Stone, and Shadows, which means there will be a share of magic realism wafting through the text in stories such as Carlos Fuentes' ghost story "Chac-Mool," about a pre-Columbian artifact with unexpected powers. "It's going to have a Twilight Zone kind of feeling to it," says Garcia de Benevidez. It's the only show this season without music; instead it'll be the words that sing.
June 16-23, 2010 Chicanos Sing the Blues
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Garcia de Benevidez calls this final company-created production a "street-corner symphony" rather than a play. It's more of a revue of the Latino versions of the blues: the sensual bolero and sad corridos of broken romance and lost chances, political upheaval and social issues, heroes and bandits.
All performances will be at the Su Teatro Cultural and Performing Arts Center @ the Denver Civic Theatre, 721 Santa Fe Drive. Shows are usually on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30 pm; tickets range from $17 to $20, with group rates available. For information and reservations call 303-296-0219.