Teatro Vista names Gutierrez new artistic director

Artistic director Ricardo Guiterrez

TEATRO VISTA, Chicago’s premier Equity Latino theater company, announces that founder and longtime artistic director Edward Torres will be stepping aside in spring 2013 to accommodate his growing list of non-Teatro directing projects.

The company is promoting from within: longtime ensemble member Ricardo Gutierrez will take over as AD in March 2013. The two will serve as co-artistic directors to ease the transition until Torres steps down.

Gutierrez will stage the company’s opening production for 2012-13, Matthew Paul Olmos’ I Put the Fear of Mexico in ‘Em, which goes up at Chicago Dramatists in early November. Torres will stay involved with his company and is slated to direct Quiara Alegria Hudes’ new play, The Happiest Song Plays Last, next April at the Goodman in association with Teatro Vista. 

Playwright Tanya Saracho, co-founder of Teatro Luna and frequent collaborator with Teatro Vista, has been tapped for the writing staff of Marc Cherry’s newest project, Devious Maids. Based on a Mexican telenovela and starring Ana Ortiz and Susan Lucci, the show will air in 2013 on Lifetime. 

BOHEMIAN THEATRE ENSEMBLE, or BoHo Theatre names Kaela Altman as their new executive director. She takes over from Peter Blair, who will remain an ensemble member.

During Blair’s tenure, BoHo became a resident company with Theater Wit after years of primarily producing in the tiny Heartland Studio in Rogers Park. (They still use that space for some productions in addition to renting it to the other companies, and will open the musical The Spitfire Grill at the Heartland on September 14.) Altman, who has a master’s in arts administration, has been on the BoHo board since 2010.

Nashville the BandIF LAUGHTER IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC, you can enjoy the best of both worlds at the first annual LaughingStock: The Chicago Comedy Music Festival, which debuts on Sunday, August 26, 5-10:30 p.m. at the Ace Bar, 1505 W. Fullerton.

Created by Josh Dunkin and Mike Barton, co-founders of the comedy-oriented Pub Theater, the fest offers up tuneful and hilarious turns from Chicago favorites Nashville, Rabbit Rabbit, Lola Balatro, and Rhythm Method, as well as Tennessee shock-rockers Gay Republicans. 

THE BLACK THEATRE ALLIANCE/Ira Aldridge Award nominations have been announced. Nominees are not only Chicago’s traditionally-black theater companies, such as MPAACT, Black Ensemble Theatre, and eta Creative Arts, but also shows at regional houses. 

These are houses that have focused in recent years on regularly producing African American work outside of the stereotypical programming of “It’s African-American History Month, so here’s an August Wilson play.”

Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times published a full list of the nominees.

Awardee Michaelle DorranceFOR THE FIRST TIME in its history, the Princess Grace Awards recognize tap choreography. Michelle Dorrance, who runs her own company, Dorrance Dance, and also creates original work for many other troupes, will create a new piece for Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s ensemble BAM!, to premiere in May 2013 as part of the annual National Tap Dance Day celebrations.

Dorrance’s work will use the resources of CHRP’s new American Rhythm Center, located in the Fine Arts Building and dedicated to providing shared space for education, rehearsal, and administrative functions within several arts organizations.

MORE SPACE-SHARING POSSIBILITIES: In response to last week’s news about the closings of the itinerant BackStage and Caffeine Theatres, I heard from Valerie Bushey, acting executive director for Joel Hall Dancers and Center. Bushey points out that Joel Hall offers artist-in-residence opportunities for itinerant companies seeking space.

If your company is interested in talking to them, please email either Bushey at valbushey@aol.com or Margaret A. Thomas, the board president, at Margaretathomas@sbcglobal.net

Send news and notes to kerryreid@comcast.net.