Goodman Theatre’s 5th Biennial Latino Theatre Festival is an unprecedented success

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Five weeks of international cultural exchange featured two critically-acclaimed productions by Cuba’s Teatro Buendia during its U.S. Debut

Chicago, IL –  Four countries, fourteen companies, twenty productions and programs, thirty-seven days, 342 artists and the U.S. debut of Cuba’s Teatro Buendía defined the 5th Biennial Latino Theatre Festival, and marked an unprecedented success for Goodman Theatre. Resident Artistic Associate Henry Godinez curated the ambitious Festival that appeared June 19 – July 25 for an audience of more than 50,000 on both of the Goodman’s stages: the 856-seat Albert and the 400-seat flexible Owen, as well as the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and Chase Promenade in Millennium Park. Highlights of this year’s Festival included the U.S. debut of Cuba’s acclaimed Teatro Buendía—hailed as “highly arresting” (Chicago Tribune), “astonishingly vivid” (Chicago Sun-Times) and “deeply inspiring” (Time Out Chicago); the centerpiece production of The Sins of Sor Juana by Karen Zacarías, directed by Godinez and featuring screen stars Malaya Rivera Drew and Tony Plana; a weekend of bold new works in collaboration with New York’s Lark Play Development Center and featuring five of Chicago’s leading storefront theaters, and partnerships with the Latino Music Festival, Grant Park Music Festival, Millennium Park and Mexico 2010 presented by the Consulate General of Mexico.

“I am overwhelmed by the response to this year’s Latino Theatre Festival,” said Resident Artistic Associate and Festival Curator Henry Godinez. “It was an honor and a privilege to host such extraordinary artists from around the world for five weeks of performance and cultural exchange. This year’s Festival represented a major artistic achievement, a creative exchange with Cuba, which proved that great art can and should transcend geographic borders and political differences, and foster mutual understanding and respect. 

Adds Goodman Theatre Executive Director Roche Schulfer, “The enthusiasm and support with which the artistry of the Festival was met has been extraordinary. We are grateful for the support of our audiences as well as the corporate, foundation and individual sponsors, trustees, subscribers and single ticket buyers—each of whom contributed to and shares in our success.”

The line-up for the 2010 Latino Theatre Festival—inspired by the centennial of the Mexican Revolution and bicentennial of Mexico’s independence—included performances by some of the world’s leading Latino theater artists and companies. The Festival began with Karen Zacarías’ The Sins of Sor Juana, directed by Godinez (June 19 – July 25, in the Albert Theatre), about the legendary Mexican poet Juana Inés de la Cruz. Next, and in its U.S. debut, Cuba’s Teatro Buendía presented two plays—La Visita de la Vieja Dama (July 8 – 11) and Charenton (July 15 – 18)—in the Owen Theatre. The festival culminated in a weekend (July 23 – 25) of new works from the Lark Play Development Center’s U.S./Mexico Word Exchange, helmed by Chicago artists from 16th Street Theater, Teatro Luna, Aguijón Theater Company, Teatro Urbano and Teatro Vista. Also included were collaborations with Grant Park Music Festival (Memory of Fire, July 7), Millennium Park (the family-friendly Sarruga: Insects, July 16 – 18), and one-night-only presentations from Teatro Vista (El Nogalar, July 17); Albany Park Theater Project (Feast, July 20); and Aguijón (Las Soldaderas, July 21). Two works from the Latino Music Festival and one from Collaboraction enjoyed encore performances—The Leader, composed by Gustavo Leone; The Tenth Muse, by Elbio Rodríguez Barilari and Para Carmen by Sandra Delgado—together in one evening (July 22).

The Latino Theatre Festival, a biennial event at the Goodman since its inception in 2003, has introduced more than 160,000 Chicagoans to prominent Latino theater companies around the globe. Under the direction of Resident Artistic Associate Henry Godinez, the Latino Festival is a multi-week event that transforms the Goodman into a hub of international artistic exchange.

Productions by local, national and international theater artists, plus a variety of events including workshops, master classes, panel discussions and post-show live music by local bands, define the experience. Teatro Buendía and Sarruga join the expanding list of international Latino theater companies that have performed at the Goodman since 2003: Compañia Marta Carrasco (Spain); Comediants (Spain); Teatro de Ciertos Habitantes (Mexico); and Pia Fraus (Brazil). Last season, Compania Triptal (Brazil)’s Sea Plays were a memorable addition to the Goodman’s 2009 Global Exploration of Eugene O’Neill, an international festival and celebration of the father of the American drama. National artists of note have come to the Goodman from New York (Universes’ Blue Sweat; Adrianna Sevan’s Taking Flight) and Los Angeles (Luiz Alfaro’s The Book of Titus and Other Latino Bible Stories; Culture Clash’s AmeriCCa). Local participants have included works from Aguijón Theater Company, Albany Park Theater Project, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Luna Negra, Teatro Luna and Teatro Vista.

Goodman Theatre is grateful to the Latino Theatre Festival Sponsors. Principal support of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives is provided by The Joyce Foundation. Target is the Lead Corporate Sponsor for The Sins of Sor Juana and Lead Festival Diversity Night Sponsor; Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is the Corporate Sponsor Partner for The Sins of Sor Juana; the National Endowment for the Arts is also a Sponsor Partner. Major Support of the Festival is provided by The Chicago Community Trust and The Boeing Company Charitable Trust. Other Festival Sponsors include Baker & McKenzie LLP, the Illinois Arts Council, Dominick’s, The Nielsen Company and State Farm Insurance. Hoy is the Print Media Sponsor, Univision is the Broadcast Media Sponsor, The Chicago Latino Network is the Digital Media Sponsor and Comcast is the Media Partner for the Latino Theatre Festival. Support for Sarruga: Insects is provided by the Institut Ramon Llull and The Tourist Office of Spain.

 About Goodman Theatre

Goodman Theatre has been internationally recognized for its artists, productions and programs since its founding in 1925. Celebrating 10 years in the North Loop Theatre District, Goodman Theatre is a major cultural, educational and economic pillar in Chicago.  Named the nation’s “Best Regional Theatre” by Time magazine, Goodman Theatre has garnered hundreds of awards for artistic achievement and community engagement, including numerous Tony Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes.  Under the leadership of Artistic Director Robert Falls and Executive Director Roche Schulfer, Goodman Theatre’s priorities include new plays, re-imagined classic productions, culturally specific work and musical theater. Over the past 30 years, the Goodman has produced more than 100 world or American premieres. Robert Falls’ contemporary versions of Death of a Salesman, Long Day’s Journey into Night and King Lear have been celebrated nationally and internationally, along with his artistic collaboration with actor Brian Dennehy. Cultural diversity stands at the forefront of the Goodman’s mission; over the past two decades, one-third of Goodman productions have featured artists of color (including 21 world premieres), and the Goodman was the first theater in the world to produce all 10 plays in August Wilson’s 20th Century Cycle. Since 2003, the Latino Theatre Festival has been a biennial celebration of Latin theater companies from Chicago and around the globe. Over the past 20 years, the Goodman has produced 25 musical theater works, including 10 world premieres. Each year Goodman’s numerous education and community engagement programs, including the highly praised Student Subscription Series, serve several thousand Chicago Public High School students. In addition, for the past 33 years, the annual holiday tradition of A Christmas Carol has led to the creation of a new generation of theatergoers in Chicago. Goodman Theatre’s leadership includes its distinguished Artistic Collective members:  Brian Dennehy, Frank Galati, Henry Godinez, Steve Scott, Chuck Smith, Regina Taylor and Mary Zimmerman.  The chairman of Goodman Theatre’s Board of Trustees is Patricia Cox and Karen Pigott is President of the Women’s Board. American Airlines is the Exclusive Airline of Goodman Theatre.

For comprehensive content on Goodman Theatre’s 2010/2011 Season, including exclusive artist videos for each production, visit Goodman Theatre’s microsite,

Visit virtually at; discover the 2010/2011 Season at; catch the latest news on the Goodman’s Blog; Like us on Facebook; Follow us on Twitter; share photos with us on Flickr; and peek behind-the-scenes on the Goodman’s YouTube Channel.

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