Home #Hwoodtimes CASA 0101 Theater Presents the World Premiere of Josefina Lopez’s QUEEN OF...

CASA 0101 Theater Presents the World Premiere of Josefina Lopez’s QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, Directed by Corky Dominguez, Starring Paloma Morales and Angel Juarez, September 22 – October 22, 2023 in Boyle Heights, CA

Key Artwork for Queen of the Rumba - Designed by Soap Studio Inc



Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. Five-Week Run: September 22 – October 22, 2023


JOSEFINA LOPEZ, Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater And Creator of the Play, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES

Boyle Heights, CA (September 17, 2023) – CASA 0101 Theater will present the World Premiere production of Founding Artistic Director, JOSEFINA LOPEZ’S QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, A Play With Dance, directed and choreographed by CORKY DOMINGUEZ starring actresses, PALOMA MORALES (as Alicia Parlá) and ANGEL JUAREZ (Young Alicia Parla), in the titular character of the play.

Other featured members of the cast include:  Kenia Romero, Mauricio Marte, Lolita Lozcano, Adam Jacobo, Peter Laboy, Vivian Marie Lamolli, Sammy Montero, Maricella Ibarra, Victoria Tamez and Melvin Ward.

QUEEN OF THE RUMBA will be presented on Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m., and on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. for a Five-Week run, September 22 – October 22, 2023 in the newly dedicated Gloria Molina Auditorium at CASA 0101 Theater, 2102 East First Street (at St. Louis Street), Boyle Heights, CA  90033.  Opening Night is Friday, September 22, 2023 at 8:00 p.m.  For further information, please visit www.casa0101.org

Click here to view dance rehearsal for QUEEN OF THE RUMBA: https://youtu.be/L2z9G_k3d2M

To listen to an original song composed for the show, click here: https://youtu.be/SezNUquPAUk?feature=shared

QUEEN OF THE RUMBA is inspired by a true story of – Alicia Parlá – a 21-year-old Cuban-American girl who set the world on fire with the Rumba back in the 1930s.  The story begins when Alicia, now a mature woman of 89, is diagnosed with cancer.  Set in Miami, FL and Havana, Cuba, in the past and present, Alicia Parlá refuses to stay in the Miami hospital cancer ward she is in because she claims she is ready to die, and that she has had a happy and full life.

Alicia’s physician, Dr. Sanchez, insists she stay overnight for observation.  At night she hears a young girl, Sofia Manzano, a 19-year-old Panamanian-American crying because she too has a terminal illness with just less than two months to live.  Alicia tries to cheer Sofia up by sharing her story of how she went from a precocious young girl who came to the U.S. from Cuba, and ended up introducing the U.S. to the dance style, the Rumba, while having an amazing dance career that took her to Paris and many other exciting places.

Alicia teaches Sofia that when you live in the moment, as she did when she danced, you can live forever.  In sharing her story she reveals her one true regret – not following her heart by going with the man she loved because he was poor and a black Cuban.  She had to marry well in order for her white Cuban family to accept her.  Sofia realizes that although she is going to die she can do it peacefully now because she will not die with regret because she knows how to love.  Sofia asks Alicia to teach her how to dance the Rumba and she gets everyone in the hospital cancer ward to dance the Rumba as though each life depended on it.

Josefina López, Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater and Playwright of QUEEN OF THE RUMBA said, “I’m so happy my play, QUEEN OF THE RUMBA is now seeing the light of day.  When I was pursuing my Master’s Degree in Theatre at UCLA, graduating in 2002, I had to write three screenplays for my Master’s Thesis.  One was the screenplay for REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, which I co-wrote with George LaVoo, the second was a screenplay called ADD ME TO THE PARTY, which hasn’t been produced as of yet, and the third screenplay, which I have now adapted into a stage play, was QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, which is inspired by the true story of Alicia Parlá, who is credited with introducing the U.S. to the dance style, the Rumba.”

López continued, “This year is very special time for me personally, as I will have two World Premieres happening in the last quarter of this year.  Besides, QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, writer Lisa Loomer is adapting my original play, REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES, which I wrote 35 years ago at the age of 18, later followed by my screenplay of the same name, into a Broadway-bound production of REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES:  THE MUSICAL, which will debut at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, December 14, 2023 – January 21, 2024.  My dream is coming true!  For a girl who was once undocumented for 13 years and was a ‘Dreamer’ until receiving Amnesty in 1987, this has been an incredibly emotional journey and I’m so honored to represent Latino immigrants with my story.”

Corky Dominguez, Director and Choreographer of QUEEN OF THE RUMBA, said:  “I am humbled to be directing the World Premiere of another Josefina López play.  We have worked together on numerous productions in the past and our working relationship is in a word ‘symbiotic.’  In this production audiences can expect to see lots of Cuban influenced Rumba dancing, set to appropriated music.  The set will be appropriately tropical.  This new show will be visual and aural feast for theatergoers of all ages.  My QUEEN OF THE RUMBA mantra is:  Dancing is living, breathing, healing through tears of love and joy.”

Emmanuel Deleage, Producer of the Show and Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater, said:  “We are thrilled to be presenting a new Josefina López play at CASA 0101 Theater.  Josefina’s creativity explores the human desire to experience life to the fullest against societal taboos and norms that want to limit that human expansion.  The play incorporates theater, dance and music. We’re also proud of our multicultural cast which will bring this story to life on stage.”

Paloma Morales (of West Covina, CA) and Angel Juarez (Montebello, CA) lead a cast of 12 as the 89-year-old Alicia Parlá and Young Alicia Parlá, age 21, respectively.  Others in the cast include:  Kenia Romero (of Sherman Oaks, CA) as 19-year-old Sofia Manzano; Mauricio Marte (of Marina del Rey, CA) as Marcos Martin, an Afro-Cuban and Congo Player in his twenties; Lolita Lozcano (of Studio City, CA) as Alicia’s 40-year-old mother, Goretta Parlá; Adam Jacobo (of Maywood, CA) as Alicia’s father, Alfonso Parlá in his late 40s/Jonathan, Prince of Wales; Peter Laboy (of Laguna Nigel, CA) as Band Leader and Conductor, Don Justo Azpizau; Vivian Marie Lamolli (of Beverly Hills, CA) as Rosita Vega, a 20-year-od Afro-Cuban Latina who is the Parlá family’s maid/”Espiritu de Amor”/Sister Reyes/Candy, French Cabaret Dancer; Sammy Montero (of Highland Park, CA) as Dr. Sanchez, 50s/Roberto Nelson, 40s/Producer); Maricella Ibarra (of Walnut, CA) as Mother Superior, 50s/Martina/French Cabaret Dancer/Bald Woman; Victoria Tamez (of Pico Rivera, CA) as Carmela Parlá, Alicia’s 24-year-old sister/Choreographer/Teenage Boy/French Cabaret Dancer) and Melvin Ward (of Hawthorne, CA) as Male Orderly/”The Moon,” Rosita Vega’s Boyfriend/Male Dancer/MC/Club Owner.

The production team for QUEEN OF THE RUMBA includes:  Josefina López (of Silver Lake, CA), Playwright and Founding Artistic Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Emmanuel Deleage (of Silver Lake, CA), Producer and Executive Director, CASA 0101 Theater; Itzel Ocampo (of Alhambra, CA) Associate Producer and CASA 0101 Theater Office Administrator);  Corky Dominguez (of Boyle Heights, CA), Director and Choreographer; Edward Padilla, (of Boyle Heights, CA) Casting Director and CASA 0101 Board Member; César Retana-Holguín (of Northridge, CA) Set Designer; Alejandro Parra (of Burbank, CA) Lighting Designer; Abel Alvarado (of Silver Lake, CA); Costume Designer; Jules Bronola (of Los Angeles, CA) Wardrobe Assistant; James Alonzo (Sound Designer); Omar Gutierrez (of Los Angeles, CA) Hair and Make-Up Designer; Josh Freilich (of New York City, NY) Composer for the title song, QUEEN OF THE RUMBA; Anita Reyes (of San Jose, CA) Singer/Lyricist for the title song, QUEEN OF THE RUMBA; Vivian Marie Lamolli (of Beverly Hills, CA) Assistant Choreographer; Rigo Tejeda (of Whittier, CA) Stage Manager; Izzy Donenberg (of Atwater Village, CA) Assistant Stage Manager; Doreen Sanchez (of Hollywood, CA) Assistant Stage Manager; Miguel Delgado (of Huntington Park, CA) CASA 0101 Theater Technical Director; Gabriela López de Dennis, Soap Studio Inc. (of Los Angeles, CA) Key Artwork Design and Program; Jorge Villanueva (of Boyle Heights, CA) Maintenance; Mark Kraus (of Los Angeles, CA), CASA 0101 Theater Development Director and Webmaster; Conrado TerrazasCross (of Echo Park, CA) Development Consultant; Oscar Basulto (of Boyle Heights, CA) Box Office; Al Aguilar (of Los Angeles, CA) Production Assistant; Rosa Navarrete (of El Sereno, CA) Social Media; Rudy Torres (of Los Angeles, CA) Production Photographer and Steve Moyer Public Relations (of Los Angeles, CA), Press Representative.

CASA 0101 Theater sponsors include:  The California Endowment, Los Angeles County Department of Arts & Culture, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, The Herb Alpert Foundation, California Arts Council, L.A. Arts Recovery Fund, Eastside Arts Initiative, Sherman Fairchild Foundation and The Perenchio Foundation.

Tickets for the Five-Week Run QUEEN OF THE RUMBA from September 22 – October 22, 2023 are $25.00 per person for General Admission; $22.00 per person for Boyle Heights residents and Groups of 20 of more; $20.00 per person for Students and Seniors 60+.

This show is recommended for all audiences.  Advance reservations are highly recommended.  For tickets, please call the CASA 0101 Theater Box Office at 323-263-7684, E-mail tickets@casa0101.org, or buy online at www.casa0101.org

Join the conversation on Facebook @CASA0101Theater; on Twitter @CASA0101 and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/casa0101theater

Free Parking is also available on several streets surrounding the theatre.  Limited Free Parking is also available at the Boyle Heights City Hall Parking Lot located at 2130 East First Street (at Chicago Street) by entering the lot from Chicago Street.

About The Playwright, Director, Principal Actors and Show Producer:
Josefina López (Playwright of QUEEN OF THE RUMBA/ Writer/ Director/Producer/Performer/Author/Activist/Shaman) (of Silver Lake, CA) is best known for authoring the play and co-authoring the 2002 SUNDANCE AWARD WINNING film Real Women Have Curves.  López started her writing career at 17 and has had over 130 productions produced of her many plays throughout the country.  She has been working as a professional screenwriter in Hollywood for over 30 years with countless development deals and screenplay assignments.  She has worked with many established producers like Norman Lear (“All In the Family”) and Michael McDonald (“American Crime”) to bring Latinos to television.

Born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico on March 19, 1969, Josefina López was five-years-old when she and her family migrated to the United States and settled in the East Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights.  López was undocumented for 13 years before she received Amnesty in 1987 and eventually became a U.S. Citizen in 1995.  She is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, has an MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA’s School of Film/Television & Theater, as well as a Diplome de Cuisine from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, France.  She has also attended the New School of Cooking in Culver City, CA where she studied cuisine with a California touch and making pastries, as well as at the Gourmandise Cooking School in Santa Monica, where she studied chocolate making, bread making, pasta making and pastries.

Josefina López is the Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, CA, which was founded in 2000 and is now celebrating its 23rd Anniversary.  At CASA 0101 her commitment is to present plays that celebrate and shatter the myths and stereotypes of Women and Latinos and she teaches playwriting, screenwriting, and producing to a new generation of Latino and women artists.

López is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including a formal recognition from U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s 7th Annual “Women Making History in Hollywood” in1998; and a Screenwriting Fellowship from the California Arts Council in 2001.  She and Real Women Have Curves co-author George LaVoo won the HUMANITIES PRIZE for Screenwriting in 2002, The Gabriel Garcia Marquez Award from Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn in 2003, and the Artist-in-Residency grant from the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group in 2007.  Her first short play, Simply Maria or the American Dream was filmed as a PBS special and won a Gold Award from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting and an Emmy Award.  Josefina López was the recipient of the 2023 Your Voice Carries Weight Award presented at the 2023 The Creative Coalition Humanitarian Awards Gala.

As an author she has penned numerous books including: Real Women Have Curves and Other Plays, Detained In The Desert and Other Plays, Real Women Have Curves, A Study Guide for Josefina López’s Real Women Have Curves, 8 Ways To Say I Love My Life!, Confessions of Women from East L.A and the novel, Hungry Women in Paris.

Aside from her signature play, Real Women Have Curves, Josefina López’s cannon of plays also includes:  Simply Maria, or the American Dream; Confessions of Women from East L.A.; Boyle Heights; Remembering Boyle Heights I and II; Hungry Woman in Paris; Detained in the Desert (which was also made into a feature film); Trío Los Machos; A Cat Named Mercy; Piñata Dreams; Drunk Girl; Lola Goes To Roma, The Voice Lesson, An Enemy of the Pueblo, 20 Pounds To Happiness, the Fotonovela, Rosa Out Of Control, Queen of the Rumba (screenplay and play) and the screenplay, Add Me To The Party.

Josefina López’s original play, Real Women Have Curves, and the Home Box Office film, Real Women Have Curves written by Josefina López and George LaVoo, are the inspiration for an adaptation of a new Broadway-bound World Premiere production of Real Women Have Curves:  The Musical, with the Book written by Lisa Loomer.  The musical will be produced by Barry and Fran Weissler and Jack Noseworthy, directed and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo with Music and Lyrics by Joy Huerta and Benjamin Velez, with Music Supervision by Nadia Digiallnardo and Casting by X Casting and Arc Casting.  The production will be presented at American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA, December 14, 2023 – January 21, 2024.  Learn more at www.americanrepertorytheatre.org

The prolific Josefina López is also working on numerous writing projects for the stage, screen and for print including the television version of Real Women Have Curves, a supernatural animation film for SONY Studio titled The Cleaning Ladies, a short series for Netflix titled The Madonnas of Echo Park, as well as her memoir titled Real Women Have Courage.  For more information about Josefina López please visit: www.Josefinalopez.biz and www.casa0101.org

Corky Dominguez (Director and Choreographer) (of Boyle Heights, CA) has over 40 years theatre experience as a producer, director, choreographer, performer, writer, and theatre teaching-artist. He has worked with several Los Angeles professional theaters and educational institutions.  He is an advocate for youth oriented theatre programs. Directing credits at CASA 0101 Theater include:  Remembering Boyle Heights Part 1 & 2, An Enemy Of The Pueblo, Unmasking Hercules, Eastside Heartbeats, Bad For The Community, Piñata Dreams, Hungry Woman, Real Women Have Curves (20 Year Anniversary and Los Angeles Premiere productions), Midnight Marauder:  A New Year’s Eve Masquerade Murder Mystery Show, Hoop Girls, Tamales De Puerco (2008 Production), When Nature Calls, and with the LGBTQ Brown and Out Festival:  Dona Conception, My Perfect Boyfriend, The Baby Cries, Miercoles Loves Luna, Frankie & Johnny, Forever Young, Young Dudes, L.U.G., and Twinks & Boobs MC.  Most recently Corky Dominguez directed CASA 0101 Theater’s and Brown Fist Productions’ critically acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

Paloma Morales (Alicia Parlá) (of West Covina, CA0 has been acting since a young girl in her native Cuba.  After arriving to America, Morales began performing as a dancer, singer and actress in local theatre plays.  In 2013 she performed at the Soap Star Menopausia El Musical at the Ricardo Montálban Theatre.  She was chosen by Telemundo Network to play the role of Maria in the successful series Milagros de Navidad.  She co-starred in the web series, Noomie (2017) and she was chosen to play Caridad Quintero in the web series, Cuban Tales (2018). Morales was also prominently featured in the Justin Timberlake music video, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” in which she  danced along the acclaimed actor/singer.  She has also appeared as Tia Matea in Señorita Montly Juice at the Hollywood Fringe Festival in 2018.  QUEEN OF THE RUMBA marks her debut at CASA 0101 Theater.

Angel Juarez (Young Alicia Parlá) lived in Guatemala until she was two-years-old, after which her family moved to Mexico City, where her mother was part of the historic group, Sonora Dnamita.  After relocating to Los Angeles, her mother started her own band, Doris Montenegro y su Sonora Explosiva.  In 2012 Juarez joined her mother on stage and they have been performing ever since.  Juarez is also a composer and recently released her third solo single on August 10, 2023 entitled “Te Sigo Amando.”  She studied theatre at East Los Angeles College, where she appeared in her first play as The Watchman in Chavez Ravine.  She has appeared with the Los Angeles Theatre Center/Latino Theatre Company and Macha Theatre Company.  She was nominated for her portrayal of Katherine’s monologue in The Taming of the Shrew for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.  Juarez has appeared in the film, Fangs Out, as Vanessa, now streaming on Amazon Prime, Hulu and Vudu.  She first appeared at CASA 0101 Theater in Josefina López’s Remembering Boyle Heights.

Emmanuel Deleage (Show Producer and Executive Director of CASA 0101 Theater) is a graduate of UCLA in World Arts and Cultures.  While in college he joined the skid row theater troupe, Los Angeles Poverty Department, founded by performance artist John Malpede.  He later became the company’s administrator.  In 2001 he formed his own company Courage Productions, and produced Armand Gatti’s Public Song Before Two Electric Chairs at the Los Angeles Theater Center.  He also met Josefina López that same year, and merged Courage with the newly formed CASA 0101 Theater.  He is currently the Executive Director of CASA 0101.  He has overseen the growth of CASA 0101 from an all-volunteer organization running out of a storefront venue, to becoming a leading arts organization in Boyle Heights offering a full season of theater productions, arts education classes and art exhibitions.  He also has had the privilege of working with theater directors, Peter Sellars, Gino Zampieri, Pascal Rambert and Armand Gatti.  At CASA 0101, he has directed The Imaginary Life of the Street Sweeper August G by Armand Gatti, Locked Up and You Don’t Know Me by Patricia Zamorano, Nat Turner by Randolph Edmonds and Food for the Dead, by Josefina López.  He recently co-produced, along with Brown Fist Productions, a critically acclaimed production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.  And later this year, he will direct, co-write and produce a new World Premiere play tentatively titled, Corina’s Story, co-written by and starring actress Corina Calderon.  As a writer, his first play was Selma Worth, about homelessness and finding self worth.  His second play, which he directed and co-wrote with Lorenzo Alfredo, was An L.A. Journey.

About CASA 0101 Theater:
CASA 0101 Theater, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded 23 years ago by Founding Artistic Director, Josefina López, author of “Real Women Have Curves,” in 2000 to fulfill her vision of bringing art and live theater programs to Boyle Heights.  From its humble beginnings in a former bridal shop, CASA 0101 has established itself as a leading arts venue for Los Angeles’ East Side, currently offering year round theatrical productions and classes in dramatic writing and acting for youth and adults.  CASA 0101 is dedicated to providing vital arts, cultural, and educations programs in theatre, digital filmmaking, art and dance – to Boyle Heights, thereby nurturing the future storytellers of Los Angeles.  CASA 0101 is named such, as casa means house of home in Spanish.  0’s and 1’s are the binary language computers use to operate.  CASA 0101 was founded at the dawn of the digital age, when digital cameras started appearing and moviemaking became accessible to more people.  Early on Josefina López taught digital video classes.  Though the organization subsequently focused its energies on theatre and not digital filmmaking, the name stuck.  To learn more, please visit www.casa0101.org

Concurrently in the Jean Deleage Art Gallery, located in the lobby of CASA 0101 Thaeter, an Art Exhibit entitled, AMERICA INVERTIDA, brings El Sur to the doorsteps of Los Angeles.  Curated by Jimmy Centeno, the exhibit features the work of artists, Avdee Lopez Martinez, Barbara Rivera and Laura Vazquez Rodriguez.  The exhibit traces the trans-border struggle, maps our collective frequency through writings, geography, activists, history and our common political continental challenges between Chican@s and Latin@s and Latin America.  The exhibit can be viewed prior to performances of QUEEN OF THE RUMA, and during Art Gallery Hours, which are Tuesdays through Fridays from 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.