Announcing Casting for Estrella Cruz [the junkyard queen]

By Charise Castro Smith / Directed by Tony Adams

January 21 – February 27, 2016

Chicago's Halcyon Theatre announces casting for the Chicago Premiere of Estrella Cruz [the junkyard queen] by Charise Castro Smith. Directed by Tony Adams, Halcyon's Artistic Director, the company continues its 10th Anniversary season with this contemporary satirical twist on the classic Greek myth of Persephone and her journey to the underworld. The cast of Estrella Cruz features Johnny Garcia, Robert N. Isaac, Noe Jara, Tamika Lecheé Morales, Kelly Opalko, and Allyce Torres. Estrella Cruz [the junkyard queen] runs January 21 - February 27 at Halcyon Theatre, in residence at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3253 W. Wilson Avenue. The official opening night performance is Thursday, January 28, at 8pm; the running time is approx. 70 minutes.

"Estrella is a beautiful 21st century coming of age story" says Adams. "Charise remixes the Persephone myth to tell the story of a young Cuban-American woman, as she is coming to terms with the loneliness of her media saturated world, along with her relationship to the magically over-romanticized homeland of her mother. When her imaginary best friend Bette Davis sets her on a journey to becoming her own strong independent woman, we get to see why Charise Castro Smith is one of the most exciting writers we have--who is not yet a national name--and I'm really excited to share one of her plays with Chicago audiences."

Estrella Cruz [the junkyard queen] is penned by Charise Castro Smith, whose Feathers and Teeth received its world premiere at Goodman Theatre in fall 2015. Estrella Cruz is staged in Chicago following development at Ars Nova's ANT Fest in 2011, and at Yale Cabaret-where Smith was in the lead role.

Estrella Cruz (Allyce Torres), the modern Persephone, is the beautiful yet naive daughter of Aurelia, "the most beautiful inventor in all of HERE" (Tamika Lecheé Morales). Whisked away to "The Junkyard" by Pablo the Junker, the lord of the underworld (Robert N. Isaac), Estrella swiftly falls in love and takes up residence in the underworld. Absurdity ensues as a pregnant Estrella ignores her mother's increasingly frantic voice mail messages and eats the underworld into oblivion, all the while confiding in her imaginary friend, Bette Davis (Kelly Opalko), to talk her through the turmoil. Video projections and mock television commercials add a surreal visual touch to the proceedings.

Estrella Cruz [the junkyard queen]'s design team includes Nicholas James Schwartz (set), Cat Davis (lights), Jerica Hucke (costumes), Ian Scarlato (sound), Dre Robinson (video), Paul Deziel & Smooch Medina (projections).

Performance schedule and tickets

Estrella Cruz [the junkyard queen] will be performed January 21 through February 27 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8p.m. and Sundays at 6p.m. Tickets are $20 for guaranteed advance admission or at no-cost through the Radical Hospitality program. Visit or call 773-413-0454.

Radical Hospitality program

As a core part of Halcyon's mission of eradicating economic borders and building inclusive audiences, the theatre offers no-cost access to all productions for any audience member. There are two ways to see a performance:

1) No-cost admission: Halcyon holds a significant number of seats for no-cost admission on a first come, first served basis for each performance. To access these seats, provide contact information at the box office up to one hour prior to curtain. Seating begins 30 minutes before show time. No assigned seats.

2) Guaranteed admission: $20 guaranteed seats can be reserved in advance online and in person at the box office. Seating begins 30 minutes before show time and is open. No assigned seats.

2015-16 Season

Culminating Halcyon's 10th Anniversary season is the World Premiere of Dreams of the Penny Gods by Callie Kimball and directed by Halcyon Theatre Company Member Jennifer Adams, March 24- May 1, 2016.

About Halcyon

Halcyon Theatre is fiercely committed to making the stage as diverse as the city of Chicago. Dedicated to presenting new voices from inadequately represented communities, Halcyon works to recast classic works in order to showcase contemporary relevance.

Based in the Albany Park neighborhood, Halcyon Theatre was formed in 2006 to connect people, transform borders and ascend toward a more just union. The theatre's artistic philosophy is driven by the continuing belief that at every point of human history where there has been an explosion of artistic creativity, it has happened when different cultures and traditions have met and learned from each other. Halcyon's work includes productions as well as providing platforms-including Compass Lab as well as writing workshops & new play labs-for artists to grow and reach their full potential.

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