A Boy, A Barrio, A Dream

"The King of the Desert" is a play depicting a Mexican American boy's journey of self-discovery, October 28

By LatinoLA Contributor
Published on LatinoLA: October 21, 2011

A Boy, A Barrio, A Dream

CoActive Content, Stacey Martino, Founder/Artistic Director, and American Latino Theatre Company, David Llauger-Meiselman, Artistic Director, will present a new co-production of the critically acclaimed play, "The King of the Desert," written by Stacey Martino, performed by Ren?® Rivera, and helmed by award-winning director, Sal Romeo, all Lifetime Members of The Actors Studio. T

he co-production will be presented in the El Portal Forum Theatre; 5269 Lankershim Boulevard (at Weddington Street), North Hollywood, CA 91601 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m., October 28 ÔÇô December 4, 2011. Opening Night is Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. There will be no performances on Friday and Saturday, November 11th and 12th at 8:00 p.m., or on Sunday, November 13th at 3:00 p.m. Instead, that week there will be performances on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, November 8, 9 and 10, 2011 at 8:00 p.m. After that, the performance schedule of Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. will resume for the rest of the run.

"The King of the Desert" is a play depicting a Mexican American boy's journey of self-discovery through adulthood and the realization of his dreams. This co-production is made possible in part through the generosity of The San Fernando Valley Sun/El Sol and Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 FM. A portion of the proceeds from performances throughout the run of the show will benefit the National Latino Children's Institute, The Oscar De La Hoya Foundation and The Youth Policy Institute. A Talk Back Question and Answer Session with members of the play's cast and crew will be held at the conclusion of each Sunday matinee performance.

Concurrently throughout the run of the play an art exhibition celebrating Mexican American culture by artist Maja will be on display in the lobby of the Forum Theatre at the El Portal Theatre, along with Milagros (artwork created by young Spanish children representing their dreams and aspirations).

Originally produced at the El Centro Theatre in Hollywood, CA in 2010 under the direction of Valentino Ferreira, "The King of the Desert" has been hailed by BroadwayWorld.com as "astounding, electric, passionate and luminous." Hoy, Los Angles wrote, "an inspiring and intense story with one extraordinary actor, and many, many souls." The Los Feliz Ledger raved Ren?® Rivera's performance is "a tour de force," while Campus Circle mentioned "the audience is left totally spellbound," and Latin Heat Magazine commented the production "has legs" and is "New York bound."

This new co-production of "The King of the Desert" at the historic El Portal Theatre will be restaged by multiple award-winning director, Sal Romeo, on a three-quarter thrust stage on a completely new set, with a new lighting plot designed by multiple award-winning lighting designer, Jeremy Pivnick, with veteran video artist Mat Hale augmenting the visual elements of the production with the latest technology in the field.

Co-Producer and Playwright Stacey Martino describes "The King of the Desert" as one boy's search to find out who he really is in an environment that does not encourage self-expression. His journey begins in a small Texas barrio and eventually leads to The Julliard School and appearances on Broadway. "My play is an 'against all odds' look at how cultural history and personal mythology which some may think might limit us, can actually set us free instead. The play takes us on a Mexican American journey that explores a universal struggle to become our most authentic selves."

Co-Producer David Llauger-Meiselman said: "During the course of the run of this production, local students from East Los Angeles schools, including Locke Charter High School #2, Amino Ralph Bunche Charter High School and Animo Oscar De La Hoya Charter, will be bussed in to see the production. These performances will be followed by informal discussions with actor Ren?® Rivera and the students, who will have an opportunity to learn how Ren?® changed his life's path from his early beginnings growing up in a barrio to where he is in life today."

Tickets are $20.00 each for General Admission. Tickets for Students, Seniors, Veterans and Guild Members are $15 each. Tickets for Groups of eight or more are $10 each. The running time of the play is approximately 80 minutes without intermission. For reservations and further information please call the Box Office at 866-811-4111 or 818-508-4200, or buy online at www.elportaltheatre.com. For Groups of eight or more, please call 323-315-0015. Parking is available in parking lots surrounding the theatre and on the street. For further information about the co-production, please visit the website, www.thekingofthedesert.com. To view some performance footage from the play, please visit http://www.youtube.com/user/CoActiveContent#p/u/2/z0wTLmFlYPw.

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