A Xmas Cuento Remix
The Creative Production Team Includes:
Raymond Bobgan – Producer
Faye Hargate – Line Producer
Maria DiDonato – Music Director
Lilly Corona Moreno – Dramaturg & Assistant Director
Anthony “TonyFresh” Velez – Choreographer
Jesse Reagan Hernon – Stage Manager
Sylka Edmondson – Assistant Stage Manager
Aaron Benson+ – Scenic Designer
Inda Blatch-Geib – Costume Designer
Chialla Geib-Fenske – Costume Assistant & Wardrobe
Richard B. Ingraham – Sound Designer
Jeremy Paul – Lighting Designer
Jonathan “Johnny V” Velez – Sound Operator
Musicians: Maria DiDonato (Piano), Tim Miller (Percussion), Joseph Rangel (Guitar), Kevin Thompson (Bass)
About the Playwright: Maya Malan-Gonzalez
Maya Malan-Gonzalez is a multidisciplinary artist focused on performing, writing, and ensemble collaboration. She’s a lifelong member of Milagro Theatre in Portland, where she most recently performed in Wolf at the Door. Through her history with the company, Milagro commissioned her new play, A Xmas Cuento Remix. In addition, Maya is an ensemble member with Teatro Luna West, where she recently premiered The Times, in which she was a core developer and performer. Maya’s story “Down the Side of the Mountain” is featured in Teatro Luna’s Audible Original audiobook, Talking While Female and Other Dangerous Acts. Her online blog series “Learning With Maya” can be found at Teatrolunawest.org/blog. Maya is also a company member with Cara Mia Theatre, where she was last seen performing in Deferred Action and De Troya. Maya received her BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University with a concentration in Latino Studies.
About the Director: Holly Holsinger
Holly Holsinger has been a Cleveland theatre artist for over twenty years. Most recently, Holly toured to New Orleans and London with her solo show, Frankenstein’s Wake, which she co-created with Raymond Bobgan. Other original works include Ancestra and Insomnia: The Waking of Herselves, co-devised and performed at CPT. Holsinger’s work has been featured in Canadian Theatre Review, Theatre Journal, and in Lisa Wolford’s book Grotowski’s Objective Drama Research. She has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Romania, Belgium, and Brazil. Holly is an Associate Professor at Cleveland State University where she received a Distinguished Faculty Award, the University’s top honor for teaching. She received an MFA in Acting from the University of California, Irvine and is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework.
About the Music Director: Maria DiDonato
This is Maria’s first time music directing a show at Cleveland Public Theatre. She is fresh off of music directing Into the Woods at CSU where she has also worked on Violet, Avenue Q, Company, and Emotional Creature. Maria has also done musical direction for French Creek Theatre, The Academy for the Dramatic Arts, Huntington Playhouse, Brecksville Theatre, St. Mary’s Catholic School, and the Tri-C Performing Arts Camp. Maria is an adjunct theatre professor at CSU, a music theory professor at Tri-C, and gives voice/piano lessons through her own studio. Maria’s favorite performances include: opening for Common at the Wolstein Center, performing/recording with hip-hop violinist DBR, and singing for President Obama. She also enjoys performing with her band Hip to That all over Northeast Ohio. Maria has earned both a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with a minor in Theatre and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Cleveland State University.
About the Dramaturg & Assistant Director: Lilly Corona Moreno
Lilly Corona Moreno joined Teatro Público de Cleveland in 2014. TPC Stage credits: Vuelo del Ocean (Pandemonium 2014), Mi Nombre Es (TCG 2015), White Rabbit Red Rabbit (2015), Yo Sueño of Home (Pandemonium 2015), Mariel’s List (Pandemonium 2016), Labio de Liebre (The Lip of the Hare) (2017), and ¡OBRAS EN EVOLUCIÓN! A Festival of New Play Readings (2017). Lilly was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. She is married to Alejandro Moreno, one of the founding members of Teatro Público de Cleveland. They have two children, Cruz and Citlali Moreno. Currently, Lilly is a Spanish teacher in North Ridgeville, Ohio. She is the Director of Grupo Tepehuani Nelli, the Mexican folkloric dance group she founded in 1999. The group performs pre-Hispanic/Aztec dances and dances representing the different regions of Mexico. She has been dancing/performing since childhood. Lilly enjoys recording voice overs and is a former radio announcer for the show La Preferida at WCSB, 89.3 F.M.
“We can’t wait to share this vibrant production with Cleveland; A Xmas Cuento Remix provides a fresh perspective on time-honored holiday traditions, combining strong female leads, modern music, and holiday cheer.”
-Teatro Público de Cleveland Leadership Committee
“[A Xmas Cuento Remix reminds us] that we, as individuals, can be proponents of change. We can make a difference in our community, and within the people around us. It’s easy to shut ourselves off, but we have the ability, if we work together, to really create a sweeter world.”
-Maya Malan-Gonzalez, A Xmas Cuento Remix Playwright
A Message from CPT Staff
Maya Malan-Gonzalez’s modern-day take on A Christmas Carol is full of heart, and is simultaneously jam-packed with laughs, comical characters, dancing, rocking remixes of traditional holiday tunes (accompanied by a live 4-piece band), and the warmth and joy of the holiday season.
And this version of Dickens’ classic tale is led by women. In A Xmas Cuento Remix, the infamous Scrooge is Dolores Avara, a business owner who sincerely believes the holidays are a hoax; Bob Cratchit/Scrooge’s nephew Fred is Dolores’ niece, Anita Chapa, whose family is facing eviction; Jacob Marley is Dolores’ estranged sister, Elena; and the spirits who help Dolores forgive, reunite with family, and remember her roots, are all women (scroll down to read more about the spirits). A chorus of magical, opinionated, elf-on-the-shelf-esque carolers carry us through the story, commenting as the action unfolds onstage.
We hope you’ll join us for this fresh take on a classic tale of forgiveness, redemption, and remembering the importance of love, family, and kindness during the holiday season, and every day of the year.
-The Cleveland Public Theatre Staff
A Xmas Cuento Remix on WKYC’s We The People
Click here or on the image to watch cast member Mónica A. Cerpa Zúñiga speak about Teatro Público de Cleveland’s women-led production of A Xmas Cuento Remix, and cast member & Choreographer Anthony “TonyFresh” Velez show off some of the awesome dance moves he’s bringing to the show, on WKYC’s We The People.
The spirits of Xmas past, present, and future
A reimagination of A Christmas Carol wouldn’t be complete without three spirits. Read on to meet Dolores’ visitors below, based on dramaturgical information gathered by A Xmas Cuento Remix Dramaturg & Assistant Director Lilly Corona Moreno.
Ixchel, Spirit of Christmas Past
Motherly and mythic. In Mayan mythology, Ixchel is the goddess of the moon. She may appear young, representing the new moon, or she may appear old, representing the full moon. She is associated with birth, medicine, textiles, painting, water, rainbows, fertility of the earth, and the night. She could also be destructive and cause catastrophes.
Sol la Chicana, Spirit of Christmas Present
The life of the party and the designated driver. Sol is the main deity in Mesoamerica and represents life and energy. A Chicana/o is a person of Mexican descent born in the United States. In A Xmas Cuento Remix, Sol is portrayed as a modern, energetic woman.
La Catrina, Spirit of Christmas Future
Mysterious, elegant, and wise. La Catrina is a character created in the early 1900s by Mexican printmaker, political cartoonist, and lithographer José Guadalupe Posada to depict the rich bourgeois class and political corruption. Posada’s La Catrina had only a head and hat, symbolizing respect for the reality of death. The hat has also been said to represent how death does not discriminate against anyone, regardless of class (historically, only the extremely wealthy wore hats). La Catrina became an iconic figure in Mexican culture, capturing the respectful and intimate relationship Mexicans have with death.
The music of A Xmas Cuento Remix
“Going back to my roots and Latino culture, so much of our teatro is about interacting with the audience, and the community coming together and having a shared experience. I love Christmas, so I want to hear Christmas songs, but I want to hear them with that bass. I want to hear some rapping. I want my “Deck the Halls” to be both in Spanish and English. In the Latino community we have these songs that everybody knows, like “Mi Burrito Sabanero.” How can we take that song and put it in the show? -Maya Malan-Gonzalez, Playwright
“It’s about the different flavors in the music. We’ve got tons of different styles. We’ve got an old-school, 80’s Emcee type song that’s the opening number, there’s a modern pop style with our rendition of “Jingle Bells.” You get those old traditional Mexican songs in “Los Peces En El Río,” “Noche De Paz“… There’s just so much variation in the music that I really do think there is something for everybody.” -Daniel Valdez, Co-Composer & Co-Arranger
Click here or on the image to hear “Mi Burrito Sabanero,” “Los Peces En El Río,” and “Noche De Paz”, as well as several other songs remixed in A Xmas Cuento Remix (USA Today).
Reflections from Dramaturg & Assistant Director Lilly Corona Moreno
“I was excited the family in A Xmas Cuento Remix was a family of my culture, of my cultural background. I’m familiar with the original story and I love how it was adapted by Maya. I was very familiar with the family’s interactions, with their everyday life… I’m just excited to be part of a production where I can show what my culture is.
There is a line in the play that one of the goddesses (Ixchel, the spirit of Christmas past) mentions. It’s in Mayan: ‘In lak’ech.’ It means, as she says in the script, ‘Tú eres mi otro yo. (You are my other me.) If I do harm to you, I do harm to myself. If I love and respect you, I love and respect myself.’ It’s a tiny line, but I think it’s so important to the play.”
-Lilly Corona Moreno
“What are all of the beautiful things that really transcend past culture? What are these things that we all hold dear to the holidays? Family. Food. Traditions. Whether your tradition is making tamales or making your Christmas ham, we all have these certain things we hold dear.”
Tamales & ponche
The Chapas in A Xmas Cuento Remix have two (delicious) holiday traditions: making tamales together as a family, and enjoying Abuelo’s Christmas ponche.
“In Mexico, the Southwest, and for many Mexican-American families, Christmas time means tamale-time… Corn was a very important crop in Mesoamerica, with people believing that people were created from corn. Tamales, because they were wrapped in corn husks, became part of ritual offerings. As a nod to those times, people prepare tamales for special occasions including baptisms, weddings, Día Del Los Muertos, and, of course, Christmas.” Click here to learn more from The Mazatlán Post.
The traditional holiday drink in Mexico, Ponche Navideño (Christmas Punch) is a hot tea-like drink made from fruit, sugar cane, and liquor (but you can serve it without alcohol). Click here to make your own ponche this holiday season!
“A Xmas Cuento Remix is going to be a huge hit nationally—I think a lot of theatres will be producing it. It’s exciting to lay some of that groundwork here.”
-Holly Holsinger, A Xmas Cuento Remix Director
NATIONAL NEW PLAY NETWORK ROLLING WORLD PREMIERE
In partnership with the National New Play Network (NNPN), A Xmas Cuento Remix is produced at Cleveland Public Theatre as part of a NNPN Rolling World Premiere. Other partnering theatres are Milagro Theatre (Portland) and 16th Street Theater (Chicago).
NNPN is an alliance of professional theatres that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays. NNPN’s Rolling World Premiere Program supports three or more theatres that choose to mount the same new play within a 12-month period, allowing the playwright to develop a new work with multiple creative teams in multiple communities. The playwright is part of the process, working on the script and making adjustments based on what is learned from each production. Click here for more information.
About TEATRO PÚBLICO DE CLEVELAND
In 2013, Cleveland Public Theatre launched Teatro Público de Cleveland (TPC), a local Latino theatre company, whose work reflects the artistic goals, interests, and ideals of its members. The purpose of this theatre ensemble is to share the rich diversity and perspectives of the Latino-Cleveland culture, and to fulfill CPT’s core mission.
Teatro Público de Cleveland inspires inter/intra cultural exchange through thought-provoking bilingual storytelling and performance that fosters social consciousness and builds community. TPC is committed to identifying, developing, celebrating, and inspiring Cleveland Latino artists to share their experiences, cultures, perspectives, and talents. Collaborating on the artistic continuum, Teatro Público de Cleveland welcomes amateur to experienced artists who share a common language regardless of cultural origin.