San Jose Stage Company (Randall King, Artistic Director and Cathleen King, Executive Director) has announced the complete cast and creative team for The Stage’s next production, the World Premiere of Luis Valdez’s ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA. Presented in partnership with El Teatro Campesino and directed by Kinan Valdez, ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA will run from April 3 – 28 2019 at San Jose Stage Company (490 South 1st Street, San Jose, CA, 95113). The press opening will take place on Saturday, April 6 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets range from $32 – $72 and can be purchased through the Box Office at (408) 283-7142 or online at www.thestage.org.
Commissioned through support from The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Theatre Commissioning Award, ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA is based on actual historical events pivotal to the French occupation of Mexico from 1862 to 1867 (during the Civil War in the United States). The story centers on the ironic, tragic fate of Maximilian, Archduke of Austria, and his consort, Marie Charlotte (Carlota), Princess of Belgium, as they disingenuously ascend the dubious throne as Emperor and Empress of Mexico, shielded by the imperial subterfuge of Louis Napoleon III.
The cast of ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA will feature Allison F. Rich* as “Carlota,” Will Springhorn Jr. as “Maximilian/Lincoln,” Martin Rojas Dietrich* as “Napoleon III/Archbishop/Don Felipe/Miramon” Edward Hightower* as “Bazaine/Riedel,” Estrella Ezparza-Johnson as “Eugenie/Manuela,” Jessica Osegueda as “Conchita/Pepita/Margarita,” Sean Okuniewicz as “Van der Smissen/Franz Josef” and Noé Yaocoatl as “Sedano/Benito Juarez/Mejia.”
In addition to Messrs. Valdez and Valdez, the creative team includes Jack D. Myles* (Production Stage Manager), Michael Palumbo (Scenic Designer/Lighting Designer), Madeline Berger (Costume Designer), Garland Thompson Jr. (Projections Designer), Dante Carballo (Projections Consultant), Steve Schoenbeck (Sound Designer), Caitlin Elizabeth and Yvonne Vo (Props Leads), Keith Pinto* (Choreographer) and Robert Pickering (Master Carpenter).
“Luis Valdez is a poet, a playwright, and activist,” said San Jose Stage Company Founding Artistic Director Randall King. “His stories inform pieces of unknown history. Thus, a conversation with Luis can be a great history lesson. For example, do most Americans know that five years before ‘the Siege of The Alamo’ in 1831, Mexico abolished slavery? ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA is a similarly untold story. Through the loom of this new play, our national treasure Luis Valdez weaves threads of forgotten, disregarded history into a colorful fabric, creating a historical tapestry that give relevance to the world we now live in.”
“As an American playwright,” said Luis Valdez, “my Chicano perspective grants me a unique opportunity to address contemporary strains and fissures in U.S.- Mexico Border relations over critical issues of race and immigration by examining the intertwined historical roots of both nations. Abraham Lincoln and Benito Juarez were 19th century contemporaries. As wartime presidents, both fought to preserve the union and sovereignty of their respective republics. Yet their dogged opposition to Napoleon III’s imperialism determined the fate of Maximilian and Carlota. History may be ‘broken news,’ but today’s breaking news reminds us daily that the struggle to preserve democracy is still vitally alive. With financial support of the Gerbode Foundation, I am happy to be back on the boards at San Jose Stage, grateful to Artistic and Executive directors, Randall and Cathleen King, for commissioning me to write a new play. ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTAis the culmination of a three-year partnership between San Jose Stage company and El Teatro Campesino. I am proud to say that the experience has not only strengthened the vitality of the New American theatre in the Bay Area; it has opened a path toward the future of theatre in the Americas.”
“I’m absolutely thrilled to directing the world premiere of my father’s newest play at the esteemed San Jose Stage,” said Director Kinan Valdez, “produced in partnership with El Teatro Campesino. In this production, we delve deep into the signature styles of both companies — the commitment to strong, visceral acting of The Stage and the dynamic theatrical storytelling of ETC. It’s a perfect fusion for a play where history dances across the borders of magical realism.”
Luis Valdez (ZOOT SUIT, LA BAMBA) returns to San Jose Stage after premiering VALLEY OF THE HEART (Winner of the 2016 San Francisco Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Best Production Entire Bay Area) at The Stage in 2016. VALLEY OF THE HEART was recently staged at the Center Theatre Group’s Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles running from October 30, 2018 – December 9, 2018.
San Jose Stage Company was 1 of 6 recipients to receive a prestigious Theater Commissioning Award from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for Luis Valdez’s new work, ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA. The $50,000 grant supports the creation and production of new theater works by playwrights who represent the voice of California today.
The commission of Luis Valdez’s ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA furthers the formal artistic and creative partnership established between San Jose Stage Company and El Teatro Campesino, a collaboration to deepen community engagement within the South Bay region while bringing life to mutually developed new works, reflecting and building the new American audience, not just in San Jose, but throughout the region.
ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA, a haunting tale of love and imperialism, takes place in 1927 — 60 years after the death of Empress Carlota’s beloved Emperor Maximilian before a firing squad in Mexico. Narrated by the Empress from her private chamber in Belgium’s Bouchout Castle, ADIOS MAMA CARLOTA revisits the rise and fall of Emperor Maximilian’s reign as Carlotta is troubled by her memories. She finds herself before the royal court, entertaining distinguished ghosts: Maximilian, Napoleon III, Benito Juarez and Abraham Lincoln. The ghost of Conchita, the feisty “other woman” in her past, goads and provokes her as her spiritual gadfly, forcing her to reassess her life. Carlota questions her survival: why has she outlived so many loved ones that no trace of her vanished world remains? Ultimately, Carlota’s dilemma pivots on her guilt and self-doubt about her abandonment of Maximilian, and the lingering regrets of their unfinished love story.
ADIÓS MAMÁ CARLOTA runs about 2 hours, including one intermission.