Refining the Formula to Proving Hollywood Wrong

Marlene Forte puts on a new hat as the creative director of the famed theater group Company of Angels

Published on LatinoLA: June 24, 2009

Refining the Formula to Proving Hollywood Wrong

With a name like Marlene Forte, one can only expect to meet a woman of great strength and determination armed with a wicked sense of humor and blessed with that certain fiery Latin charisma. And indeed, Marlene wears her moniker quite well. Why? Simply because she has, against all odds, climbed her way to the top one tour de force at a time!

The talented Cuban native is everywhere! On the silver screen she beams people away as the first ever Latina actress stepping into the role of chief transporter in JJ Abrams' blockbuster feature film "STAR TREK"; and on the small screen as "Rosalita Hernandez", the mother of the loud and very Latin family moving next door to the Payne's, in Tyler Perry's NAACP Image Award winning American sitcom "House of Payne."

Yes, Forte has carved her path in front of the cameras in a rather unconventional way: backwards, upside down and in reverse, yet always and still proving that acting is certainly her forte! She is successfully making noise as a "working" actress' breaking Hollywood stereotypes of not only Latino characters but as well as a forty-something actress.

One character at a time Forte is refining the formula to proving Hollywood wrong and setting the standard and pace for a more inclusive future looking beyond race, gender, nationalities and sexual preference.

She sits comfortably at the top of her 40-something years of age and is enjoying a hell of ride carrying now an acting dossier that may very well rival some of the most prominent Latinas in the industry. Often called the Latina Diane Lane, she is undeniably a rising star on a trek full of Forte'tude!

Forte is one of those rare talents who dedicatedly continue to set a standard in Hollywood, continuously is breaking through Hollywood's stereotypes and tearing down the walls of "ethnic minorities".

Highly involved in not only the Latino community but as Los Angeles as a whole, and committed to celebrate cultural, sexual and ethnic difference, Forte recently put on a new hat as the creative director of the famed Theater Group, Company of Angels.

Founded in 1959 by actor Leonard Nimoy, the renowned star of Star Trek television, Company of Angels (COA) is Los Angeles' oldest non profit professional theater.

Joining the Company of Angels was an organic move for Forte who is credited as being one of the 13 original members of the prestigious LAByrinth Theatre in New York among other luminaries such as Oscar winner Philip Seymour Hoffman, David Zayas, Stephen Adly Guirgis, John Ortiz, Judy Reyes and Garry Perez. As the oldest non-profit professional theater in Los Angeles, Company of Angels reflects and responds to the richness, diversity and complexity that constitute the City of Angels. As the creative director, Forte will continue her effort to make the theater function as a town hall where ideas are shared and differences as well as similarities are celebrated. Marlene's philosophy as well as that of Company of Angels is to create a theater that is deeply connected to its community.

The Company of Angels has officially taken residency at the Alexandria hotel in the mezzanine above King Edward's ballroom. The natural symbiosis between these two mystical entities was not only inevitable but as well organically logical as both icons stand to symbolize the many creative angels that color the City of Angels metaphorically establishing its human presence as a theater company deeply rooted in the community

One of Forte's first task is the production of the October 17 Charity Awards Gala celebrating Company of Angels' 50th Anniversary. The highly anticipated Awards Gala will be held at the Alexandria Hotel in the famed Palm Court which will reopen its abandoned doors for the special occasion - marking yet another hallmark moment in the history of COA and LA.

Renown as being Los Angeles' most prestigious ballroom (100 feet in length and 75 feet in width), the Palm Court back in the early 1920s became the natural meeting place for the burgeoning film industry. Decorated with crystal chandeliers and its famous stained-glass Tiffany skylight, the Palm Court was forever indicted into the City of Angels' heritage in 1971 when it was formally appointed "Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument." Back in its glorious heyday the Palm Court played host to some of the most prominent names of the era such as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson,Gloria Swanson, Winston Churchill, King Edward VIII, Valentino, Sarah Bernhardt, Enrico Caruso, Jack Dempsey, Mary Miles Minter and Paul Whiteman "the Jazz King."

It was also there that Charlie Chaplin, D.W. Griffith, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks set a historical entertainment industry milestone by announcing the creation of their independent film company, United Artists.

"With the Company of Angels we are truly in the company of Angels!" says Forte.

The spirit of service is indeed alive and well in all that Forte does!

Last year, she set another record co-starring in one of the lead roles in the Lifetime Television Movie of the Week called "LITTLE GIRL LOST: THE DELIMAR VERA STORY" - it was the # 1 most watched movie on Lifetime Television according to Nielson ratings. The "based on a true story" movie featured an ensemble cast of acclaimed Latin actors including Judy Reyes ("Scrubs"), Anna Ortiz ("Ugly Betty"), Hector Luis Bustamente and A.Martinez. .

The Cuban American immigrant, former teen mom and self-made business entrepreneur is the living proof that it's never too late to follow your calling!

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