Teatro Público de Cleveland: A Recipe para la Vida

Created by the Teatro Público de Cleveland ensemble and Raymond Bobgan
Directed by Raymond Bobgan

October 16, 2014 - October 19, 2014

7:30pm, Gordon Square Theatre


Inspired by the foods that are rooted to our heritage, Teatro Público de Cleveland's second full-length production "A Recipe para la Vida" weaves family drama, ancestral stories and humorous legends into a story that celebrates the multiplicity of cultures, identities and traditions in Cleveland's Latin American community. WORLD PREMIERE.

The Creative Production Team Includes:

Lindsay Carter - Stage Manager
Inda Blatch-Geib and Chialla Geib - Set and Costume Design

Remarkable Rating:


Date(s) - October 16, 2014 - October 19, 2014
12:00 am


Preshow music and food at 6:30pm
Performance at 7:30pm
DJ and dancing to follow performance (Thu/Fri/Sat only)


Supermercado Jorge is more than a corner grocery store; it’s a community hub…a place where culture is passed down, celebrated and shared. Memories, dreams and stories of the past may even haunt the shelves, amidst the cans, jars and fresh produce. When business goes on the decline and financial pressures mount for the owner, Isabel, she must fight to keep it going, while at the same time struggling to keep her culture alive in her two children. A Recipe para la Vida asks: how do we stay connected to our heritage while we are inundated by a rapidly changing world?

Inspirada en las comidas, que son la base de nuestra herencia cultural, el Teatro Público de Cleveland presenta su segunda obra en dos actos, A Recipe para la Vida (Una Receta for Life). Esta obra entrelaza cuentos familiares e historias ancestrales junto con comicas leyendas, para narrar una historia que celebra la diversidad de culturas, identidades y tradiciones que coexisten en la vida cotidiana de la poblacion Latinoamericana de la ciudad de Cleveland.

El “Supermercado Jorge” es mas que la bodega de la esquina: es el punto central de reunion del barrio. Es el lugar donde la cultura popular se difunde, se celebra y se comparte. Los recuerdos, suenos y cuentos del pasado todavia parecen habitar entre las repisas, envases, frutas y verduras. Cuando el negocio empieza a declinar y aumenta la preocupacion economica de su duena, dona Isabel, ella tiene que afrontar la situacion y mantener su negocio a flote, siempre manteniendose fiel a las tradiciones de su hogar y sus dos hijos. A Recipe para la Vida. cuestiona de que manera uno puede seguir fiel a su cultura frente a la invasion de valores por parte de un mundo que sigue cambiando rapidamente.

Monica A. Cerpa Zuniga, Nebeska Aviles, Neyda Burgos, Ernesto Luna Camargo, Liney Cintron, Alexander Corona, Jason Estremera, Liz Gonzalez, Dante Fernando Larzabal, Letitia Lopez, Luis Ramirez-Alonzo, Aida Rivera, Neiza Rivera, Rafael Rivera, Olga Rosado, Blanca Salva, Pablo Santiago

Lorna McLain, Flor M. Gomez, Kevin Orozco-Cruz, Gilberto Pena. Alejandro Rivera

Hector Castellanos, Isabel Galvez, Marcia Levine, Letitia Lopez, Blanca Salva, Jenny Spencer


Join us for preshow music and food at 6:30pm before the show.

6:30-7:30: BANDS

Thursday Rice and Beans
Friday Mambo Caliente
Saturday Rice and Beans
Sunday Latin Jazz Players



Thursday DJ Vic
Friday DJ Vic
Saturday DJ Benny Dee



Where are you from? I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Bridgeport, CT, moved to Cleveland in late 80’s. I’m a Clevelander but I’ll always be the Puerto Rican girl from Connecticut.

Have you done theatre before and if so, what was your first role? I did theatre in high school but my role in high school was like a filler, I was part of the chorus that couldn’t sing. I think the biggest speaking role I had was in Oliver Twist, I played a begger and my only line was “Please sir, can I have some more?”

What is something most people don’t know about you? My girlfriends and I, Carmen and Sheila, we started an all-female hip hop group. We were the first female trio to come out before Salt-N-Pepa and all these other famous hip hop artists. We would do what we call “battles” which is similar to a poetry slam and we’d compete in underground clubs against other groups that were doing rap at that time. I also did breakdancing.

Why did you get involved with CPT? The more I found out about CPT, the outreach in the community, the STEP program, Y-Haven, I thought, “wow, this is different than what most people think of theatre. This is a warm and inviting kind of place to be”. In most minority groups, when you think of Theatre, you think of this hoity toity kind of place where only the rich would go- where you have to be stiff and quiet. It was nice to see that we had a theatre here that invited folks from every part of every community regardless of ethnic background or social status.

And TPC? It’s a breath of fresh air. It’s my way of giving back to my Latino roots- my Puerto Rican roots. So far it’s been a wonderful experience- everyone that I’ve met brings a different flavor, a unique style and we gel very well. My girlfriend back home used to make this soup called Sopa Loca (Crazy Soup, it’s called). So TPC is kind of like a crazy soup, you have all these flavors in it and you’re not sure what is going to come out, what it will taste like, but once you get a whiff of it, you know it’s fabulous.

What else do you want people to know? I am married- I have a wonderful husband. I have 2 daughters and a granddaughter- my Sofia I call her. I always loved writing. I think some of the humorous characters I’ve created have evolved out of a darker time. We grew up in a rough neighborhood in CT and I saw a lot of things I shouldn’t have seen as a child. I am a survivor of domestic violence. I wasn’t directly the victim, my mother was, but because of what I saw, I am a survivor. A lot of my creative writing, even the rapping was to kind of express some of those dark feelings I had. I used to have a lot of journals and I still use writing as an outlet. I don’t have as many journals as I used to because I think, “Oh, if my Sofia could read, I don’t know if she’d be traumatized or die laughing”!


Where are you from? I grew up here in Cleveland, right in the neighborhood actually. I lived on West 48th St. right in between Bridge and Franklin. I’ve seen this neighborhood grow and develop. I remember what all these storefronts were like 30 years ago. It’s pretty cool to see it like this. My parents are from Mexico. My family has always been on the creative side. My dad is an artist, my uncle’s an artist, my brother draws and paints, I dabble in it. I enjoy painting and writing. I never thought I’d be acting, never ever! My sister’s an actress but I always told myself, “I could never do that, are you crazy”??

Why are in you involved in TPC? I really believe in the project. I see it as a big opportunity for our community. We’ve never had this before, especially here in Cleveland where Latinos are really spread out. Last year I didn’t do it just because I didn’t have the guts to do it. And then I was like- “well, if you believe in something, you gotta do it, you can’t just talk about it”. So I kind of forced myself to get into it. I didn’t want to participate at first. The first workshop, the first exercise, I felt my heart beating, and I was looking for an excuse to head out the door like, “Raymond, I’m sorry man, but I gotta go!” I kind of forced myself to stay in it and now I enjoy it a lot. I enjoy the work, I enjoy the process. After we performed at Pandemonium, it was like, “wow, that felt so good”!

Tell me about your family! I have a 5 year old son named Javier, we call him Javi and a 9 year old son named Diego. They may inherit some of the art, they both draw all the time. I have three sisters and four brothers- I come from a big family.

Why are you involved in TPC? It’s another way to give our community a voice. I always feel like, I don’t see us on TV and when I do, we’re always drug dealers or gang bangers or this and that- very bad images. So I think there’s a lot of opportunity to bring real life issues to a broader audience that normally wouldn’t have anything to do with us. Now that the door is open and we’re actually invited and we’re coming and we can really talk about important issues and be heard.

What is an interesting fact about yourself you’d like to share? I used to, believe it or not, be a rapper. I recorded three albums. I was signed to a small label in Chicago and they released an album.


Tell me about yourself! I recently moved to Gordon Square. I’ve never done an interview before! I had low self-esteem my whole life, it’s something I’ve always battled. Yesterday I was thinking, I started so many things in my life and I never finish, and that’s part of my self-esteem. I wanted to do something, to be something, but I was scared. But now my brother, he’s been acting for years, he acted in Puerto Rico and studied over there and came here, he told me about TPC. Now that I got this apartment, and I’m part of TPC, I feel so good! Being part of the community, part of the ensemble, I love it, I love it, I love it! It’s a new Aida!

How has your experience been with TPC? My brother told me, “you know there’s going to be times when the director’s hard on you but don’t worry, he has to be like that so you get better”. And it happened to me yesterday! I was telling Raymond, in the past, I would have started crying. So I think that being in this is going to help me be more secure, more confident. I think it’s going to help my self-esteem because I see so much love here. I’ve never acted before, my brother was the actor! But I love it. One of the other things I like to do is sing, so I’m going to be singing in the play and it feels so good.

What are you most excited about when it comes to TPC? I’m most excited that I’m part of it. I tell my friends and my family and they get more excited than me! And they say, “Oh I gotta come see you!!”

Tell me about your family! I have a daughter and two sons. I have a wonderful dog, Biscuit. He is 16 years old.

What are some interesting facts about you?I’m single (laughing)! I love to sing. I love sewing, I’ve been sewing since I was 12. I designed a dress when I was 14 and I made it. I love to salsa, you should see me! So… I’m the 4 S’s! I used to weight lift in my 20’s. I saved a child, you can ask me about it if you want. I feel proud of myself and good about that.

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Tell me about yourself! I work for RTA and I’ve been there a little over 6 years. I’m very involved in the community. I have 2 kids; my daughter is 7 and my son is almost 10 months now. I live with my fiancee in the Old Brooklyn area. Besides that… I like to golf, ride my bike, and do theatre!

What do you like about TPC? TPC is an outlet for me and for many others. It gives me an opportunity to express myself and in the same way, it helps our community be known for good things and not only the negative things shown in the media.

Have you been in theatre before? I did theatre in fourth grade. The first play was “Juan Bobo, La Puerca”, an adaptation of a book. It’s about this guy Juan Bobo, a foolish and silly guy always hitting stuff and knocking things down… awkward, I would say. I was the lead, Juan Bobo. I’ve always kept that interest and so when I saw the information about TPC for auditions and workshops, I knew I needed to try it. After I came, I saw how the theatre can be a vehicle for my community to be known and to put ideas in people’s minds. The theatre offers something that no TV, no book can do for you; it’s that connection between you and the spectator. I remember coming to the workshops and realizing that the leaders were so invested in this project and that was a turning point for me. I knew I needed to be just as invested as them or more. I realized and I remember going back to the rest of the members saying, “hey guys, this is serious. Let’s do this right, get it down pat, and put on a good show”.

What are some interesting facts people may not know about you? I love detective shows. I LOVE mysteries. I love pizza. I’m a pizza freak. If I could eat pizza every day, I would. I love Latino food, Puerto Rican food, the food my Grandmother used to make before she passed.

What are you excited about this year for TPC?I’m excited about the challenge. We’re in a bigger theatre, we have new cast members, 4 nights… it’s a lot of pressure! The big stage! Good pressure, though. Sometimes I feel nervous but I remember it will all fall into place.


A Video and Article from ArtsFwd

ArtsFwd, an online community of arts and culture leaders, featured our very own Teatro Público de Cleveland (TPC) this month in an extensive article about the Project, the Process, and the Impact. It highlighted the purpose of TPC; to share the rich diversity of Latino-Cleveland culture and to fulfill CPT’s core mission- to raise consciousness and nurture compassion through groundbreaking performance and life changing educational programs.

In the video and article, we hear from participants, teaching artists and community members about the impact of TPC professionally, artistically and personally.

Discounted tickets available to She’s Wearing White… for Teatro Público de Cleveland ticketholders… get two experiences for a special price! See your confirmation email for a $5 off discount code and explore She’s Wearing White… before or after your scheduled performance.