By Benjamin Benne
Directed by Ana Velazquez
American Blues Theater, under the continued leadership of Artistic Director Gwendolyn Whiteside, announces the World Premiere production of Alma, in cooperation with Center Theatre Group. The production will run at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 Ridge Avenue in Chicago, September 22 – October 22, 2022. I'll checking out the opening performance September 29th, so check back soon for my full review.
Tickets will be available beginning September 1 at (773) 654-3103 and www.amercanbluestheater.com.
Alma is the winner of the Blue Ink Award & National Latinx Playwriting Award and is presented in association with Chicago Latino Theater Alliance as part of the 5th Annual Destinos Festival.
Alma crossed the border 17 years ago in search of the American Dream. Now, on the eve of her U.S.-born daughter Angel’s SAT, Alma believes all their sacrifices and hard work will pay off. There’s one problem – Angel has very different plans for her future. Told in real time, playwright Benjamin Benne’s Alma is a heartfelt and complex exploration of the immigrant generation and their first-generation children.
The cast is: Jazmín Corona (Alma) and Bryanna Ciera Colón (Angel).
The creative team is: Tara A. Houston (scenic design), Rachel West* (lighting design / master electrician), Lily Walls* (costume design), Eric Backus* (sound design), Verity Neely (properties design), Gaby Labotka (fight & intimacy direction), Manny Ortiz* (technical director), Ana Maria Campoy (Spanish translations), and Shandee Vaughan* (production & stage manager).
*Denotes Ensemble Member or Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater
About the Artists
BENJAMIN BENNE he/him (Playwright) is newly graduated from the David Geffen/Yale School of Drama MFA Playwriting program and represented by Paradigm Talent Agency. He is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages and currently under commission from South Coast Repertory Theatre and Seattle Repertory Theatre. His plays include Alma (Center Theatre Group & ArtsWest; forthcoming: Curious Theatre Company & Central Square Theater) and In His Hands (Mosaic Theater Company). His work has been developed by the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Playwrights Realm, The Lark, The Public, Roundabout, Denver Center, The Old Globe, Two River, Boston Court Pasadena, New Harmony Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Pillsbury House Theatre, Parley, among many others. Benjamin has been the recipient of Portland Stage’s Clauder Competition Gold Prize, Arizona Theatre Company’s National Latinx Playwriting Award, Kennedy Center/KCACTF Latinx Playwriting Award, American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink Playwriting Award, Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award, Playwrights’ Center’s McKnight Fellowship in Playwriting and Many Voices Fellowship. www.benjaminbenne.com
ANA VELAZQUEZ she/her (Director) is a Mexican American director and teaching artist in her native Chicago. Her directing experience is deeply tied to new play development and is often in collaboration with playwrights exploring underrepresented stories. Her directing credits include A Los Angeles Mural for Wrights of Spring Festival at The Theatre School at DePaul; I Come From Arizona staged reading for Vittum Theater’s grand reopening at Adventure Stage Chicago; La Ofrenda at Adventure Stage Chicago; Alma for Blue Ink Festival at American Blues Theater; El Pico for A Night of New Works at Something Marvelous; Macha for Tutterow Fellows Showcase at Chicago Dramatists; Oak & Pallets for Peacebook at Collaboraction; Los Frikis for El Semillero at Victory Gardens Theater; Meet Juan(ito) Doe (co-directed) at Free Street Theater; Everybody Loves Big E for Our Chicago Project at Collaboraction; Art House and The Scream for Scrapbook 2017 at Chicago Dramatists; Epic Tales with FEMelanin for Kid’s Fringe 2016 and Raisin Puffs for Black Lives, Black Words at Black Ensemble Theatre. She received the 2018 Alta Award for Outstanding Director of Play for Meet Juan(ito) Doe (co-directed). Ana is a PlayMakers Laboratory company member. Her teaching artist experience includes Disney Musicals in Schools and PlayBuild Youth Intensive Program with Goodman Theatre; TimeLine South Living History Program with Timeline Theatre and Young Playwrights Festival with Pegasus Theatre. Ana recently completed her second residency with Teatro Comunal, a new youth program created through We the Many with Arts Midwest and The Honeywell Foundation in Wabash & North Manchester, Indiana. She received her BA in Theatre from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
JAZMÍN CORONA she/her (Alma) previously appeared in Hurricane Diane (Theater Wit); Zulema (Goodman/Sones de Mexico); Roe (Goodman Theatre); Shrew’d and Macbeth (First Folio Theatre); I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and The Compass (u/s, Steppenwolf Theatre); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theatre); Women of 4G (Babes With Blades); A Work Of Art (Chicago Dramatists); Two Mile Hollow (First Floor Theater); Gender Breakdown (Collaboraction); Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose (Raven Theatre). TV credits include Chicago Fire (NBC).
BRYANNA CIERA COLÓN she/her (Angel) is making her American Blues Theater debut in ALMA as Angel. The Chicago based performer made her national tour debut in the hit holiday musical The Elf on The Shelf: A Christmas Musical (Ella) fresh out of high school. She then went on to do In the Heights (Yolanda, Nina US, Ensemble) at the Arts Center of Costal Carolina on Hilton Head Island right after. Some of her other credits include episodes in the critically acclaimed NBC TV series Chicago Fire and the FOX TV series The Big Leap.
Dates: Previews September 22-25, 2022
Opens September 28 and 29, 2022
Runs through October 22, 2022
Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm
Location: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 Ridge Avenue in Chicago
Ticket prices: $25-$45
Box Office: Buy online at www.amercanbluestheater.com or (773) 654-3103
Group Sales discounts and Blue Card Memberships available now by calling (773) 654-3103 or visiting www.amercanbluestheater.com
About American Blues
Winner of the American Theatre Wing’s prestigious National Theatre Company Award, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores the American identity through the plays it produces and communities it serves.
The diverse and multi-generational artists have established the second-oldest professional Equity Ensemble theater in Chicago. As of 2022, the theater and artists received 221 Joseph Jefferson Awards and nominations that celebrate excellence in Chicago theater and 44 Black Theatre Alliance Awards. The artists are honored with Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize nominations, Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Emmy Awards and numerous other accolades.