TEATRO VISTA RETURNS TO LIVE THEATER WITH BRIAN QUIJADA’S
SOMEWHERE OVER THE BORDER
A WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL INSPIRED BY HIS MOTHER’S REAL LIFE STORY AND THE WIZARD OF OZ,
MAY 12-JUNE 12, 2022 AT WINDY CITY PLAYHOUSE
(from left) Brian Quijada (book, lyrics and music) is the playwright and narrator of Teatro Vista’s world premiere musical, Somewhere Over the Border. Denise Yvette Serna directs. The cast features Andrés Enriquez, Amanda Raquel Martinez, Gabriela Moscoso, Claudia Quesada and Teatro Vista ensemble member Tommy Rivera-Vega.
Teatro Vista, Chicago’s leading Latine theater company, will return to the live stage this spring with Emmy-nominated artist Brian Quijada’s world premiere musical, Somewhere Over the Border, directed by Denise Yvette Serna.
Performances are May 12-June 12, 2022 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Road in Chicago. Tickets, $15-$49.50, are on sale now at teatrovista.org. Fees not included.
Inspired by his mother’s real-life border crossing from El Salvador to the U.S., mashed up with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Somewhere Over the Borderis an uplifting new work of musical theater that embraces fact and fantasy to depict one young girl's pursuit of the American dream.
As Reina Quijada travels north to the Mexican border, she gathers friends, faces down dangers and holds tight to the memory of the little boy she left behind. Set in the 1970s and propelled by an original score including cumbia, Mexican mariachi boleros, American rock and hip hop, Somewhere Over the Border is both fable and family history – a testament to the determination born of love.
Brian Quijada (book, lyrics and music), who created, starred and two-time Jeff Award winner for Teatro Vista’s 2016 hit world premiere hip hop show, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?, is back to narrate his newest work.
"I've been waiting to see a brown, Central-American Dorothy,” said Quijada, “and now, the American theater is being introduced to her."
“When I was 18, I left my hometown on a Greyhound bus with two duffel bags, in search of a far away future I hoped existed for someone like me. It was one of the scariest times of my life, with ripple effects and traumas that follow me to this day," said director Denise Yvette Serna.
"With Somewhere Over the Border, we have the privilege to come together in a theater again, to laugh, cry, dance, and celebrate those who leave their homes willingly, those who are displaced, the parents who did their best, and all the dreamers who take each day step-by-step.”
Somewhere Over the Borderis the first production under new co-artistic directors, Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo. "Brian’s new musical is the most ambitious production Teatro Vista has endeavored to produce to date,” confirmed Diaz. “It brings us back to live theater and houses us in a large new space at Windy City Playhouse where anything is possible.”
“Large scale productions like this one don't usually happen on a budget like ours, but we met the challenge to give the community a way to see themselves reflected in stories like these,” added Mateo. “We committed to employing mostly femme and people of color in key positions, led by an all Latine cast and Mexican-American femme-director. For our first production out of the pandemic gates, we mean to be true to our word, to be a model for inclusive and equitable practices in Chicago theater.”
The cast is Andrés Enriquez (Silvano/Don Napo), Amanda Raquel Martinez (Antonia/Leona), Gabriela Moscoso (Reina), Brian Quijada (Narrator), Claudia Quesada(Julia) and Teatro Vista ensemble member Tommy Rivera-Vega (Cruz/Adan). Covers are Ulysses Espinoza, Laura Quiñones and Karla Serrato. Music director is Thee Ricky Harris. Choreography by Kasey Alfonso. Yendrys Cespedes (co-orchestrator/keyboards/percussion) leads the three-piece band with Roberto “Carpacho” Marin (upright bass) and Guido Acevedo (cajón).
The production team includes Teatro Vista ensemble member Ayssette Muñoz(associate director), Yvonne Miranda (scenic design), Sarah Albrecht (costumes), Stefanie Senior (sound), Diane Fairchild (lights), Liviu Pasare (projections), Lonnae Hickson (props), Grace Needlman (puppets), Kristin Leahey (dramaturg), Adelina Feldman-Schultz (casting), Jennifer Aparicio(production manager), Johnnie Schleyer (technical director), Kyle Jensen(sound design assistant), Isaac Mandel (audio supervisor/sound engineer), Julián Mesri (co-orchestrator), Sara Pool Wilhelm (music copyist). Stage manager is Madeline Scott. Assistant stage managers are Maurilio Rodriguez and Olivia Sullam.
Somewhere Over the Border premieres May 12-June 12, 2022 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago. Show times are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $15 Teatro For All/$35 previews/$49.50 regular performances. Teatro For All is a new initiative to make theater accessible to everyone – students, artists, seniors, or folks on a tight budget. Ten $15 tickets are available for every performance on a first-come, first-served basis.
Teatro Vista’s production of Somewhere Over the Borderis a rolling world premiere with Syracuse State and Geva Theatre Center.
Plan your trip to see Somewhere Over the Border
Windy City Playhouse is located on Chicago’s northwest side, at the intersection of Irving Park Rd. and Sacramento Ave. It offers a high-end bar and snacks on-site, plus several dining partners within easy walking distance for pre- or post-show meals.
Windy City Playhouse is easily accessible from both Lake Shore Drive and I-94. The CTA #80 bus runs right in front of the theater, with a stop at Sacramento. Metered street parking is available along Irving Park Road. Side street parking is free. All street parking is free on Sundays. For more details visit windycityplayhouse/visit-irving-park.
Already on play: Teatro Vista’s 2022 “must listen” virtual productions
Teatro Vista’s first, original new audio play, The Fifth World by ensemble member Gabriel Ruiz, co-directed with Lorena Diaz, dropped in December, has hit 15,000 streams, and is still available for free download via teatrovista.org, Apple PodcastsandSpotify.
Set in a small desert town in modern day Arizona, but rooted in Aztec mythology, The Fifth World is full of mystery, intrigue and the supernatural. It’s voiced by a nine-member, all-ensemble cast, the most ever in a Teatro Vista production, crescripted.org called The Fifth Worldan “incredible work…a triumph in the realm of mystery/horror audio fiction. Tense, suspenseful, horrifying, gorgeous, and evocative…a must-listen.”
Also newly released is Detective Q, Teatro Vista’s world premiere moving graphic novel, written and created by ensemble members Marvin Quijada and Gabriel Ruiz. Ten micro-episodes dropped over the first five days in May exclusively onInstagram feed and YouTube feeds.
Film noir meets mime in Detective Q, a fast-action, funny, genre-defying digital episodic about the misadventures of an urban, animated private eye. Each chapter, like “Episode 2: How Not to Do a Stakeout'' and “Episode 3: How to Get Hit by a Car,” runs under a minute, combining comic adventure animation, live action, video, urban locales, and because it’s from Teatro Vista, an all-Latine cast. Already, Detective Q is gaining fans, attracting more than 2,500 views in the show’s first week alone.
If you haven’t figured it out already, Brian "Somewhere Over the Border" Quijada and Marvin “Detective Q” Quijada are brothers, and they’re having quite a spring. Just as Teatro Vista is releasing Marvin’s new moving graphic novel on the digital stage, Brian’s world premiere musical about their mother, Somewhere Over the Border, is debuting live at Windy City Playhouse.
Still coming in 2022 is La Vuelta, a new digital experience commissioned by Teatro Vista, devised by its ensemble members, written by Isaac Gómez and directed by Monty Cole.
Teatro Vista’s live and digital projects signal the company’s new direction under Co-Artistic Directors Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo: to propel the company and its ensemble to create a new definition of theater, both live and virtual, that centers its own members, encompasses many disciplines of art, genres and expression, and spurs new forms of storytelling.
About Teatro Vista
Teatro Vista is Chicago’s largest, Equity-affiliated professional Latine theater company and one of the nation’s premier Latine arts organizations.The company’s primary focus is producing new works by Latine theater artists from its own ensemble, a group of multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi-disciplinary artists.
Teatro Vista ensemble members include Charín Álvarez, Max Arciniega, Desmín Borges, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ramón Camín, Ivonne Coll, Laura Dahl, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernández, Khanisha Foster, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Isaac Gómez, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Erik Juárez, Jon Lyon, Sandra Márquez, Eddie Martinez, Salome Martinez, Joe Minoso, Ayssette Muñoz, Christina Nieves, Marvin Quijada, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Gabriel Ruíz, Nate Santana, Cecilia Suarez and co-founder Edward Torres.
In July, 2021, following a national search, Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateowere appointed Co-Artistic Directors of Teatro Vista.
Lorena Diaz (left) and Wendy Mateo, Co-Artistic Directors, Teatro Vista.
“We are deeply energized by Teatro Vista and its ensemble, with its tapestry of talent, innovation and unique perspectives,” said Mateo. “There is a depth to the American Latine experience that has fueled our 20 years of storytelling and collaboration together. With this particular ensemble, we’ll be able to deepen that storytelling and bring in a kind of nuance and complexity to our stories that our audiences will be inspired by.”
Diaz added, “the opportunities in an ensemble-led theater company are many and Teatro Vista has an abundance of thought-provoking artists who are exploring different genres of creative expression, from writing for television, to audio plays with visual components, to full-fledged plays with music like Somewhere Over the Border. Expect that kind of excitement going forward.”
Teatro Vista’s Board of Directors includes Adela Cepeda, President, Joan Pantsios, Secretary, Julieta LaMalfa, Treasurer, and Rosa Escareño, Kareem Mohamednur, Carina Sanchez and Jose Vasquez.
Teatro Vista is supported by Alphawood Foundation, the Arts Work Fund, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Bayless Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, Chicago Cultural Treasures, Chicago Filmmaker Grant, CLATA (Chicago Latino Theater Alliance), DCASE (Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, The Joyce Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Pritzker Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, The Shuttered Grant and the Tide-Venturous Foundation.
Brian Quijada (playwright and composer) is an actor, playwright, and composer whose original work has been developed and produced all across the country. His hip hop solo show, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?has been produced at Victory Gardens, Geva Theatre (Emmy Nomination for digital stream), Teatro Vista (Jeff Award), Ensemble Studio Theatre (Drama Desk Nomination), Boise Contemporary, 1st Stage, City Theatre Pittsburgh, and a digital production at Actors Theatre of Louisville (Drama League Nomination). His play Kid Prince and Pablo premiered at The Kennedy Center in 2019. His plays have been developed at The Kennedy Center, Pittsburgh CLO’s Spark Festival, Victory Gardens’ Ignition Festival, New Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Festival and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Musical Theatre Conference. Commissioning institutions include Hero Theatre, A.R.T., 1st Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Woolly Mammoth and The Kennedy Center. His song “The Always Song” was the 2021’s Hispanic Heritage Month Song for Nickelodeon. He is a two-time Jeff Award winner in Chicago and a two-time Drama Desk Nominee. Acting credits include Bobbie Clearly at Roundabout, Oedipus El Reyat The Public Theater, My Mañana Comes(original cast) at Playwrights Realm, How We Got On(original cast) and Airness (original cast) at Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival. TV credits include Blue Bloods, Manhattan Love Storyand Search Party. Quijada is a member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City. As an educator, he teaches solo performance at Harvard University. brianquijada.com
Denise Yvette Serna (director) is an international theater practitioner raised in San Juan, Texas and Associate Artistic Director of Chicago’s Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Chicago credits include 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies (The Neo-Futurists), Nine Lives of a Cat (MCA Chicago/Prop Thtr), La Ruta(Steppenwolf Theatre Company), HIR (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Cambodian Rock Band(Victory Gardens Theater), Richard & Jane & Dick & Sally(LTC Carnaval 2018), Earthquakes in London (Steep Theatre Company). International credits include L I M P I A: Nuestrxs Hechizos… (Global Hive Labs), and MEDUSA (Global Hive Labs, Fusion Theatre Company, La Compagnie Certes, Teatro Trieste Trentaquattro, Pop Magic Productions). deniseyvetteserna.com
Teatro Vista's world premiere musical Somewhere Over the Border by Brian Quijada, directed by Denise Yvette Serna, runs through June 12, 2022 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago.