Su Teatro’s big year just keeps getting bigger. On Saturday, September 28, the Denver theater company will present the final performance (this round) of Northside, its smash hit of the summer, for free at La Raza Park.
But first, Interview With a Mexican, the Su Teatro play inspired by the “ultimate Chicano nerd,” as Gustavo Arellano, author of Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, refers to himself, comes to the Naropa University stage at 2130 Arapahoe Avenue in Boulder at 7 p.m. Friday, September 27. Arellano’s “Ask a Mexican” columns, which ran in Westword for a decade (Arellano is now a writer at the Los Angeles Times ), were adapted into a play by Tony Garcia, executive artistic director of Su Teatro, where Interview With a Mexican debuted last year.
The original script took on such controversial topics as immigration and the cultural impacts of Mexican-born food trucks; music added to the merriment. And as far as Arellano, who came to Denver to introduce the piece, knows, the play hasn't been changed much. But then, as he points out, "No need: It's eternal."
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Garcia kept the California-based Arellano posted on upcoming performances, and the Boulder show won't be the last. Su Teatro recently received a grant that could total as much as $100,000 from the New England Fund for the Arts as part of its National Theater Project Creation & Touring Program to take the play around the country; that tour will start this spring.
"I'm trying to figure out a place for Interview to stage in my homeland of Orange County," Arellano notes. "What a world: It took Denver to bring me to my native land..."
He gives special props to Garcia and Su Teatro, where this play got its start...and where I moderated a debate between Arellano and then-just-defeated Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo nine years ago. "Ever since we held the Tancredo debate so long ago, I've known he's a kindred spirit," Arellano says of Garcia (not Tancredo). "Interview With a Mexican proved it. And with a 2019 that included plays about gentrification, Chicano walkouts, a Westword cover story and labor strikes, I'm just pissed that Interview was the only play I was able to see. I don't know if Su Teatro has ever gone national the way they're going to do with Interview, but I do know 2020 is going to be a fantastic year — so fantastic that I told a friend of mine for a big publication that they should profile Su Teatro!"
In the meantime, you can buy tickets for the Boulder presentation of Interview With a Mexican, $20, at suteatro.org, where you can also learn more about the free performance of Northside. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at La Raza Park, at 1501 West 38th Avenue — yes, that’s on the Northside, in a park formerly known as Navajo, then Columbus...and the changes continue.