UrbanTheater Company celebrated the final performance of José Rivera’s “Adoration of the Old Woman,” directed by Juan Castañeda, on Friday March 13 with a sold-out closing party complete with music, food, and family at their newly renovated Batey Urbano space on 2620 W. Division St.
The rainy afternoon began with coquitos and a performance on Spanish guitar by Armando Quintero that set the tone for the event with intriguing melodies and rich percussive beats foreshadowing the dramatic moments of the play.
As lights grew dim, the thick feel of a closing performance hung in the air and delivered – actors dug in deep for their final portrayals in front of a packed house for the Midwest premiere. The cast rose to the challenge of navigating the changing landscapes presented by the play – part ghost-story, part political commentary, and part love-triangle – with especially notable performances for the demanding roles of Adoración (Melissa Duprey) and Doña Belen (Nydia Castillo).
Following gran aplausos at curtain call, the audience filed into the lobby for a home-made dinner of arroz con gandules and mostaccioli enjoyed over jazz saxophone and guitar accompaniment by JL Music, with Roy McGrath on saxophone and Hans Luchs on guitar.
Community attendees included Juan Ramirez, founder and artistic director of the former Latino Chicago Theater Company who paved the way for UTC; UTC Co-Founder Madrid St. Angelo; Juan Linares the Executive Director of LUCHA (Latin United Community House Association); Monica Torres-Linares, Managing Counsel at Justicia Attorneys; and Melinda Power of West Town Law. Out-of-state visitor Vicki Grise, playwright of The Panza Monologues, was also in the audience visiting from New York.
Up next at UrbanTheater Company is “Lolita de Lares” by Migdalia Cruz that will run from June 10-July 10 with previews June 6-9. The play explores the remarkable and real-life story of Dolores (Lolita) Lebron, a Puerto Rican Nationalist Party member who served 22 years in prison for spearheading a 1954 armed uprising in the U.S. House of Representatives. Tickets are available now at urbantheaterchicago.org. UTC is currently in its 10th season with funding from the Chicago Community Trust.