Garcia Girls from the Dominican Republic Assimilate in MD World Premiere Beginning Sept. 17

News   Garcia Girls from the Dominican Republic Assimilate in MD World Premiere Beginning Sept. 17 How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, the first commissioned new play at Maryland's Round House Theatre, begins Sept. 17 toward a Sept. 22 opening.

The world-premiere adaptation by Washington, DC, playwright Karen Zacarías is drawn from the novel by Julia Alvarez. The production in Bethesda, MD, includes an all-Latin troupe — a rare phenomenon in regional theatre. Performances play to Oct. 12.

Directed by Round House producing artistic director Blake Robison, Garcia Girls is billed as "a sexy, sensual, and wildly theatrical adaptation."

The play "follows the lives of the four Garcia sisters as they're uprooted from their home in the Dominican Republic and arrive in New York City in 1960. As they plunge into the American mainstream, they remain caught between the old world and the new. What they have lost — and what they find — is revealed in a story of assimilation, family, and America from a Hispanic perspective."

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The cast includes Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey as Yolanda, Maggie Bofill as Carla, Sheila Tapia as Sandra, Veronica del Cerro as Sofia, Emilio Delgado as Papi, Marian Licha as Mami and Bryant Mason as Guy. "This is a play about family, about fitting in, about politics, about the poetry and meaning of words," Zacarias said in production notes. "It's about understanding your past to understand where you truly are. It's about the migration all souls make from childhood to adulthood. The story is a magical, sexy, adventurous, poetic story...one that is universal in scope, yet also uniquely suited for adaptation on stage."

Producing artistic director Blake Robison added, "Round House's world premiere adaptation brings all of the novel's magical realism to life, thanks to DC's favorite playwright Karen Zacarías. This Latina story is everything you've come to expect from our literary works. It's bold, provocative, political, emotional, and visually exciting."

The creative team includes Milagros Ponce de León (set designer), Kate Turner-Walker (costume designer), Beverly Emmons (lighting designer), Andrew Cissna (assistant lighting designer), JJ Kaczynski (projection designer), Matthew M. Nielson (sound designer), Jennifer Schwartz (stage manager) and Maribeth Chaprnka (assistant stage manager).

Round House Theater produced the world premiere of Zacarías' The Book Club Play. Her other recent Washington, DC, productions include Mariela in the Desert at Theater of the First Amendment; Looking for Robert Clemente at Imagination Stage; Chasing George Washington at the Kennedy Center; Los Pecados de Sor Juana at GALA Hispanic Theater; The Other River at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company; Ferdinand the Bull, Adventure Theater; and Retratos, Discovery Theater and YPT. Her work has appeared at The Berkshire Summer Festival, The Goodman Theater, Milagro Theater, Alliance Theater, Oregon Children’s Theater, Cleveland Play House, Arden Theater Company, The Coterie, Teatro Vista, Northwestern University and Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

She has been awarded The Francesca Primus Prize from the American Theatre Critics Association, The Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, The National Latino Playwrights' Award, The TCG/First Stages Award, New Vision/New Voices, The Eugene O'Neill National Conference, The Edgerton New American Play Award, and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Award.

The world premiere of her Legacy of Light will be presented in May 2009, directed by Molly Smith at Arena Stage.

Round House Theatre Bethesda is located at 4545 East-West Highway in Bethesda, MD. Tickets range $25-$60. For more information, call (240) 644-1100 or visit roundhousetheatre.org.

<i>Garcia Girls</i>: Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, Sheila Tapia, Veronica del Cerro and Maggie Bofill
Garcia Girls: Gabriela Fernandez-Coffey, Sheila Tapia, Veronica del Cerro and Maggie Bofill Photo by Danisha Crosby