Teatro Vista, Chicago’s “Equity” Latino theater company is celebrating its 20th season by working with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago’s only professional women-centered theater company with “26 Miles” by Quiara Alegria Hudes opening this month, October 16th at Chicago Dramatists on Chicago Avenue. Ms Hudes, who gave us “Elliot,A Soldier’s Fugue” and the book for “In The Heights” is the daughter of a Jewish father and a Purto Rican mother and takes from her heritage to create her characters and situations.
“26 Miles” is the story of a mother and her estranged daughter who decide to take a road trip in their 1983 Buick Regal. In this particular case, the mother is Cuban and the daughter Jewish and what the find on their road trip is the facing of the unknown that lies ahead. For many this may seem like a sort of “Thelma and Louise” , in that our main characters are leaving behind the unhappy lives in search of adventure, but along the way they learn more about each other and their relationship. I for one am looking forward to the opening of this production as I have enjoyed the works of Ms Hudes, but of even greater importance is that Rivendell is helping to start the 20th season with one of my favorite companies, Teatro Vista, “theater with a view”.
For 20 years, Teatro Vista has been at the forefront of Latino theater, not just here in their hometown of Chicago, but across the United States. They have done this by sharing wonderful stories that reveal the power and frailty of our humanity, not just for the Latino community, but for all of us. While their productions are in English, so that all can enjoy and share the experience, the heart and soul is Latino, allowing Americans to be entertained while learning. Teatro Vista, due to its recent success stories:
“Our Lady of The Underpass”-
“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”
they have redefined their identity. They seek to “engage, entertain and surprise” their audiences and have a marvelous season lined up. They , of course open with “26 Miles” from October 16th-November 21st ( which I will review), a trip from the East Coast to the West. In March, in association with The Goodman Theatre,”El Nogalar”, Tanya Saracho’s first fully commissioned play, based ( loosely) on Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard”. I have been to two of the staged readings of this play and each time, I have seen it get stronger. I look forward to seeing just what changes Saracho made to the final product.The third production of their season is Jennifer Barclay’s “”Freedom NY” , an allegory of Mexican and American border relations that will be performed at the new Theater Wit building on Belmont. Three venues- three productions-another year of quality programing from Teatro Vista.
Teatro Vista is still ” Theater with a view” and as one who has been watching their work for many years, Iwill tell you that every production is an experience worth having, no matter your ethnicity. To learn more about both of these companies check out: