A critically-acclaimed and award-winning play by a Latina author is having its Los Angeles premiere run at Casa 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights.

Karen Zacarías’ “Mariela in the Desert’ is being produced by the newly formed company Angel City Theater Ensemble and is directed by veteran actor Robert Beltrán of Star Trek: Voyager fame.  The five-week run continues through December 11.

Set in the Mexican desert in the 1950’s, Zacarías play tells the story of what happens to an artistic couple when their daughter runs away.  “It is the story of one woman’s struggle to protect and nurture her children, and to stay true to her husband,” says Beltrán in a press release. “In the end she finds redemption through her sacrifice, and frees herself to live a life in creativity.”

“Mariela in the Desert” won the National Francesca Primus Emerging Female Playwright Award and the National Latino Playwrights’ Award. Commissioned by South Coast Repertory Company in Costa Mesa, the play received its World Premiere at The Goodman Theater in Chicago in 2005.  

For its current production, the cast of six includes  Rachel González; Vance Valencia, Vannessa Vásquez, Randy Vásquez, Denise Blasor and Kenneth López.

The play is performed Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at

5 p.m. on the Main Stage at CASA 0101 Theater, 2012 East First Street (at St. Louis Street across the street from the Hollenbeck Police Station). There will be no performances on Thanksgiving Weekend, November 2527.

Tickets during the five-week run are $25 per person for General Admission; $20 per person for Students and Seniors; and $15 per person for Boyle Heights residents.  This show is recommended for mature audiences. Tickets and reservations: 323-263-7684 or tickets@casa0101.org.

Photo above: Vanessa Vásquez and Randy Vásquez in a scene from “Mariela in the Desert’ at Casa 0101. Photo by Ed Krieger

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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