Desmin Borges joins Cheryl Lynn Bruce in Cast of Freedom, NY, Teatro Vista’s 20th Anniversary Season Finale

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2010 Jeff Award-winning Best Actor to co-star in Jennifer Barclay’s world premiere drama about black/Latino relations, May 8 – June 12 at Theater Wit


 Chicago, IL – Teatro Vista, Chicago’s largest Equity Latino theater, has confirmed ensemble member Desmin Borges, winner of the 2010 Jeff Award for Best Actor for last season’s smash hit The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, will co-star opposite fellow Teatro Vista ensemble member Cheryl Lynn Bruce in the company’s 20th anniversary season finale, Freedom, NY by Jennifer Barclay.

The two titans of Chicago’s live theater scene have been smartly paired up for Barclay’s potent new drama about trust, joy, and black/Latino race relations. Teatro Vista ensemble member Joe Minoso will direct Barclay’s allegory of Mexican and American border relations, in which the residents of a small town in rural New York must weigh the value of confining themselves to their side of the fence. The cast also includes newcomer Paige Collins, reared in Naperville and a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Performances are May 8 through June 12 at a new venue for Teatro Vista – Chicago’s nicest, newest storefront theater, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood.

Previews are Sunday, May 8 at 7 p.m.; and Tuesday and Wednesday, May 10 and 11 at 8 p.m.  Press opening is Thursday, May 12 at 7 pm. Performances run through Sunday, June 12:  Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m.  Preview tickets are $15.  Tickets for regular performances are $20 (students and seniors) and $25.   Tickets are on sale now.  For tickets and information, visit or call the Theater Wit box office, 773.975.8150.   Or, go to or call 312.666.4659 to purchase a Teatro Vista Flex Pass, for three admissions to any show for just $75, including Opening Night. 

Freedom, NY:   A synopsis

Twelve-year old Portia (Collins) hasn’t left her yard in a year. After a brutal shooting in Portia’s school, her grandmother, Justice Mayflower (Bruce) has kept her at home. Safe in the cocoon of their lush, well-tended garden, Portia and Mayflower have banished all contact with the outside world and found everything they need in each other. Their lives are safe and simple; their days filled with flowers. But then Gabriel (Borges), a handsome, mysterious young Mexican man full of joy and the celebration of life moves into the house next door, carrying a coffin. 

Behind-the-scenes of Freedom, NY

Desmin Borges (Gabriel) won the 2010 Jeff Award for Best Actor for originating the role of professional wrestler Macedonio Guerra in the world premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Teatro Vista resident playwright Kristoffer Diaz, produced by Victory Gardens Theater in association with Teatro Vista, under the direction of Teatro Vista Artistic Director Eddie Torres. Borges subsequently went on to reprise his role for the Off Broadway transfer of the Pulitzer Prize-nominated Chad Deity to New York’s Second Stage, also directed by Torres. A Teatro Vista ensemble member since 2008, Borges has performed in his home company’s productions of La Posada Magica and Elliot (A Soldier’s Fugue), and elsewhere, Romeo and Julieta at Chicago Shakespeare, The Ascension of Carlotta at 16th Street Theatre, and I Sailed with Magellan and The Defiant Muse at Victory Gardens.

Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Mayflower), also a Teatro Vista ensemble member, has performed on stages across the U.S. as well as in Europe and Mexico and created the role of Elizabeth Sandry for Steppenwolf’s Tony Award-winning production The Grapes of Wrath, adapted and directed by Frank Galati and featured at Britain’s National Theatre. Other Chicago credits include The Old Settler (Writers Theatre); Gem of the Ocean (Ensemble Theatre); The Snow Queen, Eurydice, Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams, Voice of Good Hope (Victory Gardens); Intimate Apparel, Everyman, and Nomathemba (Steppenwolf); The Dreams of Sarah Breedlove, Oo-Bla-Dee, Trojan Women (Goodman Theatre); and in Studs Terkel’s RACE, co-adapted and co-directed by Lookingglass’ David Schwimmer and Joy Gregory.

Paige Collins (Portia) most recently appeared in Eclipsed and understudied for A Civil War Christmas at Northlight Theatre, Hunting and Gathering with Theatre Seven of Chicago, The Twins Would Like To Say with Dog + Pony Theatre as part of the Visiting Company Initiative at the Steppenwolf Garage. She has also worked with Filament Theatre, AppleTree Theatre, and Halcyon Theatre. She graduated with a BFA in Acting from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she was seen in Necessary Targets, (Anon)ymous and In the Continuum. 

Joe Minoso (director) is Associate Artistic Director for Teatro Vista, where he assistant directed The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity and Tanya Saracho’s Our Lady of the Underpass, and directed an earlier version of Freedom, NY in a co-production with Remy Bumppo for their annual Think Tank Festival. As an actor, Minoso has appeared in Teatro Vista’s Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Sing to Your Children, A Park in our House (co-production, Victory Gardens) and Living Out (co-production, American Theatre Company). Other Chicago credits include Celebrity Row and It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (ATC), Hortensia and the Museum of Dreams (Victory Gardens), Esperanza Rising (Chicago Children’s Theater) and Short Shakespeare! The Comedy of Errors (Chicago Shakespeare Theater).

Jennifer Barclay (playwright), a graduate of Northwestern University, is an actor, playwright and screenwriter who is now based in California, but still considers Chicago her artistic home.  Earlier this season her play Obscura:  a voyeuristic love story opened Chicago’s Red Twist Theatre’s 2010-2011 season.  Her other plays, including Clearing Hedges, The Human Capacity, and The Attic Dwellers, have been produced and developed at Steppenwolf,  The International Theatre of Vienna,  Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Northlight, Piven Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Teatro Vista, Stage Left, American Theatre Company, Collaboraction, NY Theatre Experiment, Beyond the Wall Productions, The Kennedy Center and UC San Diego, among others. As an actress, Barclay has performed in Chicago with Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Live Bait, Mary Archie and Collaboraction. She has also performed in Austria, Scotland, California and New York, and has toured her one-woman show, Clearing Hedges, far and wide. Barclay has been granted playwriting residencies at The Hawthornden International Writers Retreat (Scotland) and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Awards include The Samuel Goldwyn Writing Award, Kennedy Center National Science Playwriting Award, Princess Grace finalist, Heideman Award finalist, Final Draft Big Break semi-finalist, Pinter Review Gold Medal, San Francisco Fringe Best Dramatic Solo, and Northwestern’s Mary Margaret Linn Theatre Award.  Barclay is a graduate of Northwestern University (BS) and UC San Diego (MFA), and is currently the Playwright in Residence at South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa, CA.

The design team for Freedom, NY includes Regina Garcia (set), Mac Vaughey (lights), Andrew Wheatley (sound) and Christine Pascual (costumes). 

About Teatro Vista

For 20 years, Teatro Vista has been at the forefront of the Latino theatre movement in the United States, building its reputation by sharing provocative Latino stories that reveal the power and frailty of our humanity.  Today, Teatro Vista is Chicago’s largest non-profit equity Latino theater company producing full scale, Latino oriented, theatrical productions in English. The company continues to examine and redefine the American landscape through the use of new, provocative and unique voices that reflect the Latino urban experience. 

Teatro Vista is supported in part by Alphawoods Foundation, Artswork Fund, The Boeing Company Charitable Trust, Chicago Community Trust, a CityArts Program grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation, Hispanics In Philanthropy, Illinois Arts Council, Joyce Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, and Woods Fund of Chicago.

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