LOS ANGELES (Aug. 16, 2017) — The Echo Theater Companycontinues its 20th Anniversary Season with a funny, tragic and provocative new play by Los Angeles’ own Boni B. Alvarez. Dually inspired by Calderón’s Spanish Golden Age Drama The Physician Of His Own Honor and the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, which detailed New York’s then-underground drag queen “ball culture,” Alvarez ups the stakes by setting his story in the heart of L.A.’s Historic Filipinotown. Echo company member Rodney Todirects the world premiere of Fixed for a Sept. 17 opening atAtwater Village Theatre.
Chris Aguila (Alvarez’s Nicky with Coeurage Theatre at Greenway Court, Charm at the Celebration Theatre) stars as Miracles Malacañang, a ladyboy masseuse who “walks” for Filipinotown’s infamous House of Malacañang. But Miracles’ forbidden love affair with Mariano, played by Wade Allain-Marcus (Good Grief at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, HBO’s Insecure, FX’s Snowfall), sparks tensions between the city’s hottest political family and the House of Malacañang’s owner, Gigi (portrayed by Alvarez himself).
“I wanted to mine the drama and the comedy created by marginalizing the Filipino experience even more than it already is,” the playwright explains. “But, at the end of the day I’m just a hopeless romantic, and this is really just a tragic love story.”
In ball culture, houses serve as alternative families, primarily for black and Latino queer youth who “walk” for trophies and prizes in elaborately-structured ball competitions. Typically, house members adopt the name of their house as their last name. Contestants must adhere to a very specific category or theme; they are judged on criteria including the “realness” of their drag, the beauty of their clothing and their dancing ability. Houses that win a lot of trophies and gain recognition reach a rank of “legendary.” Notable houses include House of Ninja (founded by Willi Ninja), House of Aviance (founded by Mother Juan Aviance), House of Xtravaganza (founded by Hector Xtravaganza, né Hector Valle), House of Infiniti, House of Mizrahi, House of LaBeija (founded by Crystal LaBeija) and the House of Dupree (founded by Paris Dupree).
Also in the cast of Fixed are Tonatiuh Elizarraraz (IAMA Theatre Company’s Species Native to California) and Allen Lucky Weaver(La Cage aux Folles at East West Players, Midwest tour of Miss Saigon) as house members Carmie and Jenny Malacañang; Joseph Valdez (Little Big Joe the Bug Squasher at the Hollywood Fringe) as Mariano’s brother, Hudson, currently in a tight race for county sheriff; Renée-Marie Brewster (A.R.T. productions of Alice Vs Wonderland, Cabaret) as Dana, Hudson’s wife and campaign manager; and Adrian Gonzalez (Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers at the Skylight, Colony Collapse at Boston Court) as A.J., their trusted political aide. Anna Lamadrid (currently on stage as Phebe in Antaeus Theatre Company’s As You Like It) pines after Mariano in the role of Lizette.
“My hope is that this play is super provocative not only for the theater community, but for the LGBTQ and Filipino communities as well,” says To. “I do think audiences are going to embrace it. I love plays that challenge people’s thinking in unexpected, unconventional ways.”
The creative team includes set designer Amanda Knehans, lighting designer Matt Richter, sound designer Rebecca Kessin and costume designer Michael Mullen. The assistant director is James Leo Ryan, and the production stage manager is Haley Kellogg.Jesse Cannady and Nadia Marina produce for The Echo Theater Company.
Boni B. Alvarez was recently named a resident playwright with New Dramatists. His plays, including Bloodletting, Dallas Non-Stop, Ruby, Tragically Rotund, Dusty De Los Santos, Dolls of America, Marabella, The Special Education of Miss Lorna Cambonga andNicky, have been produced/developed at Playwrights’ Arena, Center Theatre Group, Chalk Rep, Skylight Theatre Company, The Vagrancy, Coeurage Theatre Company, Second Generation (2g, NYC), InterAct Theatre (Philadelphia) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He has been a semi-finalist for the O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and a finalist for both the PEN Center USA Literary Award and Clubbed Thumb’s Biennial Commission. With a BA from Sarah Lawrence College, an MFA from American Repertory Theatre/MXAT Institute at Harvard University and an MFA from USC, Alvarez is an alumnus of the CBS Writers Mentoring Program, Skylight Theatre’s Play Lab, CTG Writers’ Workshop, Moving Arts’ MADlab and Humanitas/CTG Play LA Workshop.
Dedicated to producing new work, the multiple award-winning Echo Theater Company was anointed “Best Bet for Ballsy Original Plays” by the LA Weekly and was a recipient of a 2016 “Kilroy Cake Drop” – one of only 13 theaters in the country to be surprised by cakes to honor the efforts they are making to produce women and trans writers. Under the leadership of founding artistic director Chris Fields, the Echo has introduced Los Angeles to playwrights such as David Lindsay-Abaire, Adam Rapp, Sarah Ruhl, Adam Bock and Miki Johnson among others. The company is also recognized for its acting ensemble; in the Los Angeles Times, theater critic Charles McNulty wrote, “Echo Theater Company, which has cultivated a community of top flight actors, would be my go-to place in Los Angeles for symbiotic ensemble acting.” KCRW’s Anthony Byrnes stated, “It’s time to start paying attention to the Echo Theater Company… The company has made bold choices and backed them up.” Last season’s production of Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel received the Ovation Award for Best Production and was recently remounted at Culver City’s Kirk Douglas Theatre by Center Theatre Group as part of “Block Party.” This summer, the company enjoyed a critically acclaimed, sold-out run of Bekah Brunsetter’s The Cake. The Echo Theater Company is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.
Fixed runs Sept. 17 through Oct.22, with performances on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.; Sundays at 4 p.m.; and Mondays at 8 p.m. except opening night, Sunday Sept. 17, which is at 6 p.m. Three preview performances are set for Thurs., Sept. 14; Fri., Sept. 15; and Sat., Sept. 16, all at 8 p.m. Tickets are $34 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and $20 on Mondays. Preview performances are Pay-What-You-Want. Atwater Village Theatre is located at 3269 Casitas Ave in Los Angeles, CA 90039. On-site parking is free. For reservations and information, call (310) 307-3753 or go to www.EchoTheaterCompany.com.
Details for Calendar Listings
World premiere of Fixed — A fierce and funny new play by Los Angeles’ own Boni B. Alvarez, Fixed is the story of Miracles Malacañang, a ladyboy masseuse working in the infamous Malacañang Massage Parlor in Los Angeles’ historic Filipinotown. When Miracles’ forbidden love affair sparks tensions between the city’s hottest political family, two families must come together to understand the power of desire, identity and honor.
• Written by Boni B. Alvarez
• Directed by Rodney To
• Starring Chris Aguila, Wade Allain-Marcus, Boni B. Alvarez, Renée-Marie Brewster, Tonatiuh Elizarraraz, Adrian Gonzalez,Anna Lamadrid, Joseph Valdez, Allen Lucky Weaver
• Presented by The Echo Theater Company
Previews: Sept. 14, Sept. 15, Sept.16
Performances: Sept. 17 – Oct. 22
• Thursday at 8 p.m.: Sept. 14 ONLY (preview)
• Fridays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 15 (preview), 22, 29; Oct. 6, 13, 20
• Saturdays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 16 (preview), 23, 30; Oct. 7, 14, 21
• Sunday at 6 p.m.: Sept. 17 ONLY (Opening Night)
• Sundays at 4 p.m.: Sept. 24; Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22
• Mondays at 8 p.m.: Sept. 18, 25; Oct. 2, 9, 16
Echo Theater Company
Atwater Village Theatre
3269 Casitas Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
• Fridays/Saturdays/Sundays: $34
• Mondays: $20
• Previews: Pay-What-You-Want
FREE in the Atwater Xing lot one block south of the theater