Louis A. Delgado Jr., an Obie Award-winning Brooklyn playwright, died Dec. 1, 1998 of diabetes-related liver failure in Brooklyn, the New York Times reported. He was 55.
El Cano, or The Blond Man, staged by Repertorio Espanol in New York City 1995-97, concerns a blue-eyed Puerto Rican who hides his background while living in the U.S. It won Mr. Delgado an Obie Award and was the first production of Repertorio Espanol's "Voces Nuevas!" ("New Voices!") series. It premiered Nov. 1, 1995.
Among his other works are A Better Life, Tony and Son and Juanita's Trip, recently produced at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center in Manhattan.
Mr. Delgado, of Puerto Rican heritage, was born and raised in an Italian neighborhood in the South Bronx. "That's where the characters come from," he once said in program notes. His Puerto Rican identity waned as he grew up in an English-speaking neighborhood.
"My grandmother in Puerto Rico didn't know English," he once said in Repertorio program notes for El Cano. "I haven't ever written a thing in Spanish." Mr. Delgado hated stereotypes, and did not like being labeled "a Latino playwright." He called A Better Life, a play about recovering drug addicts "a regular Off-Broadway show" -- that is, not ethnically-themed.
A Better Life was produced Off-Broadway in 1993. It won the Roger L. Stevens Award for an emerging, promising playwright.
Over the years, Mr. Delgado wrote songs, poetry, short stories, TV sitcom pilots one-acts and full-length plays. He co-founded (with Frank Perez) the Puerto Rican Intercultural Drama Ensemble (PRIDE), which has presented work at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the West End Gate.
According to the Times, he is survived by a companion, the actress Marilyn Cruz, daughter Lisa of New Jersey, sons Louis of Naples, FL., and Stephen and Daniel, both of Queens.
-- By Kenneth Jones