Playwright: Anthony J. Garcia
Venue: Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Dr. Denver, CO
Company: Su Teatro Theatre Company
Date of Performance: Sunday, December 9, 2012 (matinee)
Running Time: 2 hours (includes 20 minute intermission).
Let’s be clear. I’m not in Su Teatro’s target demographic. By that I mean that my heritage is European (Irish, German), I’m not Catholic, and I don’t speak Spanish. Despite my cultural, religious and linguistic differences, I totally enjoyed “The Miracle at Tepeyac.”
Culturally specific theater can also be universal in its message. “The Miracle at Tepeyac” embraces the universality of faith, family, and redemption. And therein lies its appeal and its power.
Playwright/Director/Executive Artistic Director Anthony Garcia bases his script on a 16th century miracle. He not only tells the story of the miracle, but he throws in a few contemporary references (”There are no immigration laws in God’s house.”) to put a contemporary spin on the story. Padre Tomas is a priest who is losing his faith; he can’t reconcile his spiritual duties with the social activism his flock seeks.
For those who need more background on the plot, you might look here. However, if you like good theater, you won’t need the background to enjoy this show. “The Miracle at Tepeyac” is very good theater, and like all good theater, it succeeds no matter what heritage, religion, or historical knowledge you bring to the performance.
Impressive performances abound here. Lara Gallegos (Virgen de Guadalupe) plays a statue with occasional lines; she maintains the statue pose like, well, a statue. Gustavo Alonso (Juanito) brings a perfect mix of compassion, comedy, and charm to his role as the custodian of the church. Aaron Vieyra (Juan Diego) skillfully portrays a persistent yet simple peasant who brings the Archbishiop a message of faith from the Virgin.
Jesse Orgas (Archbishop Zumarraga) and Marcos R. Martinez (Padre Tomas) give us conflicted religious leaders struggling to lead their people through difficult situations. Their performances earn our sympathy for their struggles. Amy Luna (Señora Maria) is the maternal influence for the cast and for the audience; she anchors the church activities while riding herd on Juanito.
The show opens and closes with indigenous native dancing provided by Grupo Tlaloc. Don’t miss it; the dancing alone is worth the price of admission.
I had to come out of my cultural comfort zone for “The Miracle at Tepeyac.” I had to look into the lives of others with whom I thought I had little in common. I was wrong. We have a lot in common.
You may want to come out of your own cultural comfort zone too. It can be a richly rewarding experience discovering what we ALL have in common.
Su Teatro has recently taken a big step forward that will help it remain a part of the Denver theater scene. They have provided a valuable cultural outlet to a substantial part of the Denver community, and they will continue to do so in the future. However, their message is not just for part of the community; it is for all of us. Denver has two theater companies that serve distinct communities, and they both make Denver a better place to live. Su Teatro and Phamaly provide enormous cultural benefits to all of Denver.
Theater, when done well, is universal. It touches everyone who sees it. Su Teatro is doing very good theater, and “The Miracle of Tepeyac” touched me deeply. It will touch you too.
This show runs until December 23, 2012. Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings, and Sunday matinees. You might want to reserve your tickets early, the 300 or so seats in the theater were packed at the December 9 performance.
This show is suitable for and recommended to children of all ages. The music lyrics are in Spanish but most of the script is in English. You don’t need to be bilingual to understand and enjoy the show.
For the best view, sit in the back half of the house. Arrive early; parking can be difficult in this neighborhood.
Director: Anthony J. Garcia
Lara Gallegos: Virgen de Guadalupe
Aaron Vieyra: Juan Diego
Jesse Orgas: Archbishop Zumarraga
Gustavo Alonso: Juanito
Amy Luna: Señora Maria Galbadon
Marcos R. Martinez: Padre Tomas
Ray Salas: Kevin
Gia Valverde: Cassandra
Camilo Luera: Julian
Angelina Gurule, Yolanda Ortega, Frank Fresquez: Coro
Veronica Ramirez, Heather Arellano, Manuel Cabral, Luzila Contreras: Indian Dancers.