Color Me Art
(Replay) José Luis Valenzuela: Theater as Community Part 1
José Luis Valenzuela is the Artistic Director of the Latino Theater Company (LTC) and The Los Angeles Theatre Center (LATC). He’s also a Distinguished Professor and Head of the MFA Directing program at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film & Television. Valenzuela is an award winning theater director. He’s been a visionary and an advocate for Chicano/Latino Theater for over 30 years.
He is currently directing Fernandez’s A Mexican Trilogy: Faith Hope and Charity. Opening night is September 15 and runs through October 9, 2016.
When you speak with Valenzuela, you immediately realize you’re talking to someone who celebrates the power of culture. It defines who we are as people and a country. Theater, the live shared experience, is a celebration of the community defined by culture.
José Luis Valenzuela has directed critically acclaimed productions at major theaters both internationally and nationally. In 1985, he created the Latino Theatre Lab at the LATC. In 1991, he established the Latino Theater Initiative at the Mark Taper Forum. Most recently, he directed Evelina Fernandez’s La Olla – Plautus’s The Pot of Gold for the Latino Theater Company at the LATC.
The José Luis Valenzuela Interview
PalacioMagazine.com caught up with José Luis Valenzuela at the South Coast Repertory. He is preparing to direct Destiny Of Desire by Karen Zacarías. The west coast premiere is October 14 – November 13, 2016. This is Part One of a two-part interview.
The Vision and Mission of José Luis Valenzuela
The Latino Theater Company are the operators of the LATC. The Company’s Artistic Director, José Luis Valenzuela, has been responsible for developing its artistic vision and organizational mission. Simply put, that vision and mission is to produce programming that represents the diversity of Los Angeles.
In 2010, under Valenzuela’s leadership, the LATC was nominated for an LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for “Best Theatre Season.” His recent directing credits at the LATC include:
- La Olla – Plautus’s The Pot of Gold for the Getty Villa Theater Lab Series
- Premeditation, for the LATC’s 2014 East of Broadway Spring Season
- Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt at the Ibsen Theater of Norway in 2013
- Melancholia by The Latino Theater Lab,
- Faith, Hope and Charity (Parts I, II, III of A Mexican Trilogy) by Evelina Fernandez
- Habitat by Judith Thompson, and La Victima by El Teatro de La Esperanza
The Busy Career of José Luis Valenzuela
José Luis Valenzuela is one busy person. In 2002, he directed the world premiere of Dementia, written by Evelina Fernandez. It won the 2003 GLAAD Award for Outstanding Theater Production in Los Angeles. Nationally, he has directed Destiny of Desire, by Karen Zacarias at Arena Stage in Washington D.C. Other international directing credits include Manuel Puig’s Kiss of the Spider Woman at the National Theatre of Norway.Valenzuela has assisted his mentor, Norwegian director Stein Winge, with Hamlet, The Glass Menagerie, Barrabas, Pantagleize, Die Walkurie, The Inspector General and The Wild Duck. In 2007, Valenzuela was featured in the New York Times for the LTC’s annual holiday pageant, La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin, at Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral.
Valenzuela’s film directing credits include:
- Dementia currently in post-production
- The award-winning film Luminarias for Sleeping Giant Productions and Distributed by New Latin Pictures
- How Else Am I Supposed To Know I’m Still Alive? for Universal’s Hispanic Film Project
- Una Vez Al Año Para Toda Una Vida, La Redada and A Bowl of Beings, for PBS’ Great Performances.
Valenzuela also serves on the national Steering Committee of the Latina/o Theatre Commons. He produced the historic national Latina/o Theatre Festival: Encuentro in 2014, and convening at the LATC in the Fall of 2014.
José Luis Valenzuela’s artistic vision and community commitment has garnered numerous recognitions, nominations and awards. They include the Ann C. Rosenfield Distinguished Community Partnership Prize and the Hispanic Heritage Month Local Hero of the Year Award sponsored by Union Bank and KCET. Both awards recognize distinguished individuals for their contributions to improving the quality of life throughout their respective communities.