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A woman finds her calling while volunteering for an underground political newspaper during the early years of the United Farm Workers movement. 1970 was a tumultuous time for Cesar Chavez and the UFW. Obie Award-winning writer/director Diane Rodriguez traces its history through the eyes of two journalists who leave their comfortable life in San Jose to volunteer for El Malcriado.
The world premiere of The Sweetheart Deal runs May 4 through June 4 at The Los Angeles Theatre Center, presented by The Latino Theater Company in association with El Teatro Campesino.
Two journalists leave their middle class lives to volunteer for El Malcriado, the underground newspaper founded by Chavez and Dolores Huerta.
“I wanted to write about the people we rarely hear about – the volunteers who are the motor behind any successful social movement,” says Rodriguez. “We all hear about the leaders who put out the vision, but it’s the rank and file supporters who fulfill that dream. This play is about a woman who finds her voice as a volunteer, and, ultimately, the power to lead.
Ruth Livier (Destiny of Desire at South Coast Rep and the Goodman in Chicago, Showtime’s Resurrection Blvd.) stars as Mari, who follows her husband, Will (Latino Theater Company member Geoffrey Rivas, recently seen in A Mexican Trilogy, Detective Sam Vega on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) back to their home town of Delano, California to help out at the paper. There, they work with the editor, Chon (Valente Rodriguez of TV Land’s Happily Divorced and ABC’s George Lopez) and campesina/union organizer Lettie (Linda Lopez, whose credits include La Virgen with El Teatro Campesino and Corridos at the Old Globe). When a union organizer from Chicago (Peter Wylie, seen in Lady Windermere's Fan and Twelfth Night at Chalk Rep) uses the couple to get close to Mari’s brother, Mac (David DeSantos – Cloud 9 at Antaeus, Macbeth at A Noise Within) who is a high-ranking member of the Teamsters (the “sweetheart” union favored by the growers), a chain of events is set in motion revealing the inescapable link between the political and the personal.
Rodriguez has written five new “actos,” short, commedia-style satirical skits dramatizing the plight and cause of the farm workers, to further her tale. One of the challenges she faced was how to successfully merge the heightened, ritualistic actos, a style originally created by El Teatro Campesino during the Delano Grape Strike, with the more naturalistic style of the play’s narrative.
“I was a member of El Teatro Campesino for 11 years, so I feel a very, very deep connection,” Rodriguez explains. “Their involvement in this production is kind of an extension of their presence in L.A. that started with Zoot Suit.”
The Sweetheart Deal was developed by New Harmony in Indiana, the Atlantic Theatre’s Latino Mix Fest in NYC, and the Black Swan Lab at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. This production is part of El Fuego Project/Latinx Theatre Commons.
The Sweetheart Deal is produced by The Latino Theater Company in association with El Teatro Campesino.
Diane Rodriguez has directed for East West Players, Cornerstone Theater Company, South Coast Repertory, Fountain Theatre, Center Theatre Group, Odyssey Theatre Ensemble, City Theatre Company in Pittsburgh, PA, Mixed Blood in Minneapolis, Actors Theatre of Phoenix (two ariZoni Theatre Award nominations for Best Director), Borderlands Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, and Victory Gardens in Chicago, among others. Diane wrote collectively with the ensemble Latins Anonymous, whose two-play anthology is published under the same name. Her solo work is published in various anthologies including “La Crème de la Femme,” published by Random House. Her play Living Large premiered at Teatro Luna in Chicago. At the LATC, she previously directed Erik Patterson’s world premiere production Sick (LA Weekly Award nomination for Best Director).
Performances of The Sweetheart Deal take place on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. from May 12 through June 4. Preview performances take place on Thursday, May 4 at 8 p.m. Friday, May 5 at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 6 at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 7 at 11 a.m. Monday, May 8 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, May 11 at 8 p.m. Two student matinee performances are scheduled for Wednesdays at 11 a.m. on May 24 and May 31. Tickets range from $22 – $52. The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to http://thelatc.org/.
Presenter / Producer: Latino Theater Company
Theater > Drama
Event Phone: 866--811 x4111
Los Angeles Theater Center
514 S. Spring Street
Los Angeles CA 90013
LA - Central / Downtown
Performance Dates: 5/4/2017 - 6/4/2017
Thurs., Fri. Sat., 8:00 pm Sun. 3:00 pm with student matinees on Wed.5/24 and 5/31 at 11:00 am.
Tix $22 - $52
Web Link for ticketing
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