Mexican-American World War II Vets Get Voice in Heart's Desire in CA

News   Mexican-American World War II Vets Get Voice in Heart's Desire in CA
PCPA Theaterfest's world-premiere production of The Heart's Desire by José Cruz González begins its second leg July 3, under the stars in the Solvang Theaterfest in Solvang, CA.

Solvang Theaterfest is its own non-profit that invites PCPA to produce there each summer. The new drama that concerns Mexican-American Word War II veterans bowed June 12 at the Marian Theatre in Santa Maria, CA. Solvang performances play through July 26 in Solvang, about 30 minutes from Santa Maria.

PCPA first contacted González in 2006 in hope of developing his play. Through a series of workshops and readings, collaborations with the director, composer, designers, actors and production teams, the play has continued to grow into this premiere production.

"I wrote The Heart's Desire because I wanted to tell an untold story about returning World War II Mexican-American veterans and the struggles they faced arriving home in the U.S.," the playwright said in a statement. "For many of them the war changed how they would see themselves and how others would perceive them too. Many of our future leaders came from this group of unsung heroes, and for some they had to face another war back home of racism and injustice."

In The Heart's Desire, John Guerrero returns to California from the war with a new bride and dreams of a new life. He finds himself struggling to reconnect with family and to re-identify himself in a world in which so much and so little has changed. "This powerful and magical work investigates the mythology of the American Dream, those who have it and those who don't," according to PCPA. "It also explores the cost of the war on those who have survived it and must now learn to find peace in their newly adopted country."

The Heart's Desire plays in rotating repertory with Godspell in Solvang. The cast includes PCPA resident artist Vanessa Ballam as the new bride Rachel, Equity guest artist Juan Monsalvez as vet John Guerrero, Leticia Vélez as Rosie, Catalina Maynard as Valentina, Leo Cortez as Mimo and Richard Gallegos as Chicote.

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