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Playwrights premiere original works during ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre’s New Plays Festival

Marcos Najera (Al) and Amanda Quihuis (Dr. Gomez-Johnson), have a lively therapy session in American Latino Redux, premiering April 14 during the ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre New Plays Festival.

Photo courtesy of Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

March 25, 2004

TEMPE, Ariz. – Growing up Latino in the U.S., a marriage that never was and a rapper’s suicide note are the key themes for three original plays written by graduate playwriting students for the ASU Herberger Mainstage Theatre New Plays Festival, beginning April 14.

This year marks the first time the New Plays Festival will be presented as part of the Herberger Mainstage Theatre season. The playwrights, James Garcia, Amy Dominy and Mark Ebsen Zeller, are graduate students in the Department of Theatre’s highly ranked playwriting program and the plays are thesis projects for their master of fine arts degrees.

American Latino Redux, the 10th play written by James Garcia, is a satirical fusion of semi-autobiographical events related to Garcia’s experiences as a journalist and a Latino growing up in the U.S. A former newspaper correspondent and columnist, Garcia’s plays are influenced by journalism, history and philosophy. Last year Garcia won first place at the national Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in the 10-minute plays category for his work The Crossing, a story inspired by the death of 14 immigrants in the Arizona desert. He founded the Phoenix-based Colores Actors-Writers Workshop which develops multicultural theatre works and festivals such as Teatro Caliente, an annual event held in Phoenix. Local director and teacher Jim Gradillas will directAmerican Latino Redux.

Plastic Angels, written by Amy Dominy, is a comedy-drama about two couples who return to the wedding chapel where they were married, only to discover they were never really married. As they set the stage for a new ceremony, their marriages begin to unravel and the couples must come to terms with their expectations of what it means to be happy. Dominy comes to playwriting after an award-winning career as an advertising copywriter, and her first play, Oy! It’s a Boy, had staged readings by the Arizona Jewish Theatre Company and Theatre Ariel in Philadelphia. 

Grip the Mic Tight, written by Mark Ebsen Zeller, is the suicide note of world famous rapper Ivory, whom Zeller will play. The play is a multimedia presentation of spoken word poetry and raw hip-hop vocals that will showcase the music of Zeller’s local rap duo DH. Another local rapper, Ben Harris, will play Raw, the other main character in the play. 

Zeller describes Grip as “hip-hop theatre,” an emerging genre that is gaining recognition through the annual Hip Hop Theatre Festival held in New York. “Grip the Mic Tight is a play born in the heat of the American struggle to find and define happiness,” says Zeller. It is his first play to be premiered as part of a major theatre season. 

Joseph Megel, a 20-year veteran of directing and developing new works for theatre, will direct both Grip the Mic Tight and Plastic Angels.

American Latino Redux (contains strong language)
April 14 and 23, 7:30 p.m.; April 18, 2 p.m.; April 24, 6 p.m.

Plastic Angels
April 15 and 21, 7:30 p.m.; April 17, 9 p.m.; April 25, 2 p.m.

Grip the Mic Tight (contains mature themes and language)

April 16 and 22, 7:30 p.m.; April 17, 6 p.m.; April 24, 9 p.m.

WHERE: The Lyceum Theatre, 901 S. Forest Mall on the ASU campus in Tempe.

TICKETS (per show): $14 adults; $12 seniors, faculty, staff and ASU alumni; $5 students. Buy-one, Get-one free on the first Friday of any Mainstage production.

INFORMATION: 480-965-6447

Theatre is part of the ASU Herberger Mainstage Season featuring operas, musicals, dance and music performances. For a complete Mainstage schedule go to,

Media Contact:
Denise Tanguay