Conversations with Che: Ortiz and Velasquez Star in Rivera's School of the Americas, June 20

News   Conversations with Che: Ortiz and Velasquez Star in Rivera's School of the Americas, June 20
John Ortiz stars as Che Guevara opposite Patricia Velasquez in the cast of the world premiere of José Rivera's School of the Americas starting June 20 for the LAByrinth Theater Company.

Mark Wing-Davey directs the LAB co-production with The Public Theater to play the LuEsther Hall stage towards a July 6 opening. The run is currently scheduled through July 23. Inspired by his experience during the filming of his screen adaptation of "The Motorcycle Diaries" and based on historical fact, Rivera pens this new work set in the Bolivian jungle where Che Guevara (Ortiz) was captured and held in a one-room school house. There, a young school teacher (Velasquez) insists that she speaks to the famous revolutionary. Her conversation with Che is the basis for the work.

Joining Ortiz and Velasquez in the cast are Karina Arroyave, Raul Castillo, Nathan LeBron and Felix Solis.

Ortiz has appeared on Broadway in Anna in the Tropics and Off-Broadway in Rivera's References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot. For LAB, he has starred in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Guinea Pig Solo, Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, Where’s My Money? and the forthcoming Jack Goes Boating with first-time co-stars (and co-artistic director) Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Velasquez — who makes her professional stage debut — has amassed acting credits in "The Mummy" movies and television stints on "American Family," "Ed," "Arrested Development," "Rescue Me" and "CSI: Miami."

Wing-Davey has previously staged Henry V, 36 Views, The Skriker, Troilus and Cressida and Silence, Cunning, Exile at the Public Theater. The British director recently staged the musicalDirty Dancing in Sydney, Australia and Craig Lucas' Small Tragedy Off-Broadway. He is also known for his work on Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest.

Tickets to School of the Americas at the Public, 425 Lafayette Street, are available by calling (212) 239-6200. For more information, visit

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