A restaging of “Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe,” a play inspired by the music of Los Lobos and set against the 1968 Blowouts, is being presented at Plaza de la Raza in Lincoln Heights as part of a larger, educational initiative aimed at high-risk high school students.
The play with music –the first to incorporate the songbook of David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez, from the multiple Grammy-winning band Los Lobos– opened March 30 for a limited run through April 8. In conjunction with the performances, a number of educational activities include a panel and community forum, on Saturday, March 31 at 4 pm (between shows), titled: “The Legacy of the 1968 Student Walkouts: How Far Have We Come?”
The restaged “Evangeline” features Los Angeles based Guatemalan singer Gaby Moreno in the non-speaking (all-singing) part of “The Neighborhood.” The Latin Grammy winner will perform the Los Lobos songbook in her own, acoustic style.
“I’m excited to share our gutsy ‘Evangeline’ again with this new staging,”especially with the fabulous singing voice of Gaby Moreno as The Neighborhood,” Pérez said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to seeing the production come alive again, and hearing Gaby’s interpretation of the songs David and I wrote.”
“It’s really been wonderful to revisit these songs that became a part of my DNA after moving to Los Angeles,” added Moreno. “I strive to do these songs justice as they represent the hopes, dreams, cultures, and collective voices of a community which thrives no matter what the current climate is.”
Originally staged in 2012 at the Bootleg Theater in Westlake, “Evangeline” the play was co-created by Pérez along with playwright and director Theresa Chávez and actress Rose Portillo, her longtime collaborator.
Chávez is co-founder and producing artistic director of About… Productions, the theater company restaging the play. She is also directing the run at Plaza de la Raza’s Margo Albert Theater, which marks the first time the work is being presented in Los Angeles Eastside.
“Evangeline” centers on an East L.A. high school graduate who is a devoted daughter by day and a West Hollywood go-go dancer by night. Inspired by the time period, she spreads her wings and lands in the distinctly different world of the Hollywood art and music scene. As East L.A. begins its own civil rights movement, she must reconcile her personal journey with the need to hold on to her relationship with her family and her neighborhood.
The cast includes Ashley Diane performing the lead role of Evangeline. She will be joined by Blanca Araceli, Adrian Brizuela, Moisés Castro, Kiki McCleary, and Keyla Monterroso Mejía.
Find ticket information here.
PANEL AND COMMUNITY FORUM: this event is free to the public on March 31 at 4:00 pm (between shows)
The Legacy of the 1968 Student Walkouts: How Far Have We Come?
A three-generation panel of community activists, plus community forum.
Panelists include: Walkout organizers Paula Crisóstomo and Vickie Castro, Associate Director of InnerCity Struggle Henry Pérez, and current walkout high school student activist (TBA).
ADDITIONAL EDUCATION COMPONENTS
– Post-Play Discussions – see Performance Dates and Times below
– Residency at Pueblo de Los Angeles continuation high school (adjacent to Lincoln High School) – highest-risk students will study Evangeline themes and write plays reflecting their own lives. January 16 to March 22; Culmination at Pueblo on March 22.
– Free Morning Matinee of Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe for high school students on April 5th
– Evangeline Discovery Guide – explores 1960s cultural and political history; distribution to Pueblo and high schools attending morning matinee.
REMAINING PERFORMANCE DATES AND TIMES:
Saturday, March 31st at 2 p.m.
Saturday, March 31st at 4 p.m. Panel & Community Forum
Saturday, March 31st at 8 p.m.
Thursday, April 5th at 8 p.m.
Friday, April 6th at 8 p.m. with Gaby Moreno Post-Play Discussion
Saturday, April 7th at 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 8th at 2 p.m. with Post-Show Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon VIP Fundraiser Reception & Meet and Greet with Gaby Moreno & Cast