Latino USA

San Antonio Play Tackles Family, Dreams and Accept... / by Maria Hinojosa | June 24, 2009

San Antonio Play Tackles Family, Dreams and Acceptance

The Esperanza Peace and Justice Center presented the world premiere of “Miss America, a Mexicanito Fairy’s Tale,” on June 19.  Written by San Antonio playwright Jesús Alonzo and directed by Maria A. Ibarra, the production doesn’t go “over the top” with depictions of boys in drag. Rather, it deals with deeper issues of acceptance, family, religion, and coming to terms with one’s dreams.

Actress Erica Andrews is a former Miss International Queen.

The story begins and ends with 9 year-old Chuy, played by actor Jaime Gonzalez, who gets caught by his macho older brother playing in their sisters room. Chuy has on his sisters Quinceañera dress and a towel wrapped around his head, pretending to be a contestant in the Miss America beauty pageant.
Rather than harp on the usual themes of rejection, Alonzo highlights family and relationships. In the end, the brother, played by Manuel Barraza, isn’t angry at Chuy because of his desire to be feminine and beautiful, but is concerned that he is opening himself to ridicule and cruel rejection by others. He truly seems to want to protect his brother.

Much of the production is carried by talented actress Erica Andrews who plays all the female roles in the play. Andrews was born in Mexico and is a former Miss International Queen 2006, considered one of the most prestigious beauty pageants among the transgendered.

The play continues at the Esperanza Center June 26, 27 and July 3. For information: http://www.esperanzacenter.org/ or 210-228-0201.

Listen to a scene in the play where Chuy refuses to confess to a priest and instead prays to La Virgen de Guadalupe and describes the fight he had with his best friend while they were playing “Miss America.”

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Listen to a scene where Chuy daydreams that he is a finalist in the Miss America pageant and is asked why he would make a good Miss America.

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Listen to a scene where Bobby catches Chuy playing “Miss America” in a dress. [Bleeped for language.]

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Listen to the interview with playwright Jesús Alonzo

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Listen to the interview with director Maria Ibarra.

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