On Friday, July 15th, the Los Angeles Music and Art School welcomed audiences into the Courtyard Stage for opening night of Luis Alfaro’s Black Butterfly, Jaguar Girl, Piñata Woman and Other Superhero Girls, Like Me featuring an all-Latina cast directed by East LA’s own Jesus Reyes. The cast performed to a full house on Friday night, and a post show reception took place following the performance.
This special production of Black Butterfly… is the centerpiece of LAMusArt’s Artist Series, a seasonal roster of live performances taking place on LAMusArt’s brand new Courtyard Stage throughout the summer. The sixty minute play tells the story of five young girls going through adolescence in gritty East LA and finding their voices through the written word. Told through monologues, vignettes, and poetic interludes, Black Butterfly… gives an honest and compelling voice to the painful, wistful, and amusing experiences of their urban adolescence. The actresses bringing the five teenaged East Los Angelenos to life include Anatalia Vallez, Julia Chavez, Lorily Herrera, Michelle Lopez, and Raquel Robles, most of whom are students at East Los Angeles College.
Black Butterfly… was originally conceived in the 1990s by Alfaro and three Chicana poets, Alma Cervantes, Sandra Munoz and Marisela Norte. In 2000, Alfaro and his collaborators were invited by the International Association of Theatre for Children and Youth to visit the Kennedy Center (for a second time) and present the completed piece. Since then, Black Butterfly… has been produced around the country in settings ranging from public schools, to the Mark Taper Forum.
Alfaro, who attended the opening on Friday, is a vital figure in the Los Angeles theater scene. He is the associate artistic director of Center Theatre Group, and a recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, popularly known as a “genius grant,” awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. He has also received recognition from: the PEN America/Laura Pels International Foundation Theater Award for a Master Dramatist; United States Artist Fellowship; Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship; Joyce Foundation Fellowship; Mellon Foundation Fellowship, and the Annenberg Artist-in-Residence for the city of Santa Monica; among others. He is the only playwright to have received two Kennedy Center ‘Fund for New American Play’ awards in the same year. He’s also an associate professor with tenure at the University of Southern California (USC).
This production of Black Butterfly… marks a pivotal moment for LAMusArt as the organization defines itself as a performance venue and a hub for local artists in addition to its work as a resource for access to arts education.
“We’ve always believed that the stage is a classroom and hosting remarkable works like Luis’s Black Butterfly… which speaks to our community on a personal level, is part of how we teach students that there are connections to be made between themselves and the art they engage in,” says Executive Director, Manuel Prieto, who also designed the costumes for the production.
Black Butterfly… will complete its run this weekend, with three final shows on July 22nd, 23rd and 24th at 8pm. For tickets, click here.
Costume Design: Manuel Prieto
Lighting Design: Yajayra Franco
Projection & Sound Design: Jose Fletes
Scenic & Prop Design: Laura Hernandez
Scenic Painting: Angelene Storey
Carpenter: Raul Vega
BLACK BUTTERFLY, JAGUAR GIRL, PIÑATA WOMAN & OTHER SUPERHERO GIRLS, LIKE ME
By Luis Alfaro
Directed by Jesus A. Reyes
July 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 & 24 8:00pm Curtain
Doors open 1 hour before curtain
For audiences of all ages