Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.
Diana Burbano* (Amalia Morales/Doña Lola)
is a Colombian immigrant, playwright, Equity actor and a teaching artist at South Coast Repertory and Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble. Her plays include Ghosts of Bogota (Rella Lossy Award-winner, 2019, under commission with Alter Theatre), Policarpa (Living Room Series, The Blank Theatre, 2018; Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Black Swan Lab, 2017), Fabulous Monsters (Latinx Play Festival, San Diego Repertory Theatre, 2017), Caliban’s Island (Headwaters New Play Festival, 2017) and Linda (English and Spanish), which has been performed around the globe. She is part of Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Latinx Play Project cohort and is currently in Center Theatre Group’s Writers’ Workshop. She is a member and ambassador of the Dramatists Guild. As an actor, she originated the roles of Holo-1 in of Labors of Hercules (Laguna Playhouse) and Thumb in Imagine and Ana Guerrero in José Cruz González’s Long Road Today/El Largo Camino de Hoy (South Coast Repertory). You can see her as Viv the punk in the cult musical film The Isle of Lesbos. dianaburbano.com
Gabriela Carrillo* (Lucha Morales)
is muy emocionada y agradecida to be a part of South Coast Repertory’s production of American Mariachi! Growing up as a first-generation Mexican-American in Chicago, she finds it so meaningful to be playing a proudly Mexican role. She is especially thrilled to be able to sing and play violin in mariachi style in this show. Violin was her first introduction to the world of music; she began learning with the Suzuki method at age 3. Her love affair with creating music never ended; Carrillo attended Berklee College of Music in Boston and, after graduating, moved to Los Angeles. Since relocating to Southern California, some of her favorite shows and roles have been Miriam in The Prince of Egypt (Tuacahn Amphitheatre), Florence in Chess (Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre) and Betty Spaghetti in UMPO: A League of Their Own (Rockwell Table & Stage). When she isn’t working in theatre, she is a songwriter, original music artist (find her online as Gabriela Francesca), a voiceover, film and television actor, and YouTuber specializing in astrology and dating advice, with more than 65,000 subscribers! She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. Follow Carrillo on social media @gfrancescamusic
Sol Castillo* (Mino Avila/Padre Flores)
returns to SCR where he previously appeared in A Christmas Carol, The Night Fairy and The Hollow Lands. You may have also seen him here as Refugio/Buzzard in his eight-season run in Octavio Solis’ La Posada Mágica. He most recently appeared in Arizona Theatre Company’s production of American Mariachi. His other credits include Solis’ Quixote Nuevo at California Shakespeare Theater; Lord Chaac Ha in The Realm of the Maya at Plaza de La Raza; the Denver Center for the Performing Arts debut of Sunsets and Margaritas; Of Mice and Men at Pasadena Playhouse; and Zoot Suit at San Diego Repertory Theatre. He is proud of his portrayal of Medal of Honor recipient Eugene A. Obregon in the national tour of Veteranos: A Legacy of Valor. Follow him at Instagram and Twitter @elsolcastillo.
Satya Jnani Chavez* (Hortensia "Boli" Perez)
makes her South Coast Repertory debut. Her regional credits include American Mariachi (Arizona Theatre Company); Undesirables (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center); Life on Paper (Jackalope Theatre Company); New Faces (Porchlight Music Theatre); Evocation to Visible Appearance, A Christmas Carol, You Across From Me, Soul of the World and All This Togetherness (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night (Colorado Shakespeare Festival); The Happiest Song Plays Last (Curious Theatre); and Jesus Christ Superstar (The Arvada Center). Chavez is a Chicago-based actress, musician and composer and is proudly represented by Paonessa Talent Agency. Follow her on Instagram, @satyachachachale, or visit satyachavez.com.
Alicia Coca* (Isabel Campos)
is making her SCR debut. A 2018 theatre arts graduate of University of California, Davis, Coca is thrilled to be at SCR for its production of American Mariachi. At UC-Davis, she played several lead roles in shows such as Pippin! (directed by Mindy Cooper) and Heathers The Musical; and she was a founding ensemble member and participant in the university’s inaugural Ground and Field Theatre Festival (2017). She was a featured singer in the 2018 Graham-a-Rama Cabaret (hosted by Graham Sobelman) at Sacramento Capital Stage. In 2018, she performed in downtown Los Angeles as a lead Angel vocalist in the 16th annual performance of La Virgen de Guadalupe: Dios Inantzin (written by Evelina Fernandez and directed by José Luis Valenzuela). Coca made her Actors’ Equity debut in March 2019 in American Mariachi at Arizona Theatre Company.
Mauricio Mendoza* (Federico Morales/Chuy "Pepe" Bravo)
appeared at SCR previously in Destiny of Desire and La Posada Mágica. His selected theatre credits include In the Heights, Water & Power, School of the Americas, Nine, Into the Woods, Zoot Suit, West Side Story, Man of La Mancha, Evita, Much Ado About Nothing, The Taming of the Shrew, Romeo and Juliet and Cesar and Ruben. He appeared for three seasons as a series regular on “Resurrection Blvd.” (Showtime), as well as “Angeles,” “Hacienda Heights” and “La Quinceañera.” He can now be seen as a regular on the second season of “The Unknown Hitman” (Netflix). His other selected television and film credits include “Adam Ruins Everything,” “The Last Man on Earth,” “The Rookie,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Criminal Minds,” “East Los High,” “Hit the Floor,” “Law & Order: LA,” “The Nine Lives of Chloe King,” “Judging Amy,” “24,” “King of Queens,” “NCIS,” “Lincoln Heights,” “Cold Case,” “Undercovers,” “Days of Our Lives,” “Everybody Hates Chris,” Zephyr Springs, Dawn Patrol, Seized, The Shifting, Quinto Piso, Blow, After School and Ladrones. He owns a film production company, True Form Films, with his wife, actress/producer Yeniffer Behrens-Mendoza.
Marlene Montes* (Soyla Reyna/Sister Manuela)
is overjoyed to be making her SCR debut! She previously played Soyla in Arizona Theatre Company’s production of American Mariachi, the best-selling play in ATC’s history. Her most recent notable credits include In the Heights (as Daniela, Moonlight Stage Productions, 2017 Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Resident Musical), Legally Blonde (as Paulette, New Village Arts Theatre) and Gypsy (as Mazeppa, Cygnet Theatre). Her other regional credits include In the Heights (Performance Riverside); Cabaret (Cygnet Theatre); The World Goes ‘Round, South Pacific, Tommy, Miss Saigon (Moonlight Stage Productions); The 1940’s Radio Hour, The Return to the Forbidden Planet, The Full Monty (New Village Arts Theatre); The Marvelous Wonderettes (The Music and Theatre Company); 8-Track: The Sounds of the 70s (Derby Dinner Playhouse); and The Pajama Game (Starlight Theatre). Montes received her BFA in musical theatre from the University of Arizona and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association. marlenemontes.com
Luzma Ortiz* (Gabby Orozco)
is thrilled to be making her debut on the Segerstrom Stage in this very special production of American Mariachi! Last year, she debuted on the Julianne Argyros Stage as Rosamond in Nate the Great, part of the Theatre for Young Audiences series. Some of her other favorite roles include Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray (Palos Verdes Performing Arts’ Norris Theatre), Gladys/Bolero Singer in In the Heights (Musical Theatre West), understudy for Dora in Dora the Explorer Live! (Equity national tour), Fosca’s Mother in Passion (directed by Kent Nicholson), Houskeeper in Man of La Mancha (Irvine Barclay Theatre), Eva Peron in Evita (Irvine Barclay Theatre), Cynthia in Contra La Corriente (Brown Bag Theatre Company), The Scarlet Pimpernel (Performance Riverside), Mrs. Castro in The Goodbye Girl (Robert Cohen Theatre, UC-Irvine), Emma Goldman in Ragtime (directed by Gary Krinke), Maria in West Side Story (directed by Denise Jacobs, Inland Theatre Award) and Dottie in Noises Off (directed by Chuck Ketter). Ortiz earned a BFA in musical theatre, with honors in acting and musical theatre, from the University of California, Irvine, and completed the certificate program for musical theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (New York City). Dedicated to my parents, Luzmarina & Alfredo Rolando Ortiz for raising me with harp, love and music. Thanksto Peter, James, family and friends for your love and support. For more information/por mas información, visit/visita: LuzmaOrtiz.com and follow me/siga me on Instagram as LuzmaOrtizActress.
Andrew Joseph Perez* (Mateo Campos/René/Rubén/Los Muchachos)
is elated to make his SCR debut with American Mariachi. He is an LA-based actor, singer, writer, fight choreographer, stunt performer and driver, educator, photographer, whip maker and Jack-of-All-Trades. His select theatre credits include In the Heights (Musical Theatre West), Man of La Mancha (A Noise Within), The Behavior of Broadus (Center Theatre Group/Sacred Fools Theater Company, Capital Stage), Little Shop of Horrors and Romeo and Juliet (Sacramento Theatre Company), Red (American Stage) and Native Gardens (Renaissance Theaterworks). He has appeared in episodes of “I (Almost) Got Away With It,” “Sex Sent Me to the E.R.” and “Answered Prayers” and feature films including Megalodon (SyFy) and You Should Meet My Son 2! He also voiced shows such as “Dragon Pilot” and “Living Without Permission” (Netflix), “Gundam Seed Destiny,” and video game titles including “Dynasty Warriors 9.” Find information about his advocacy work, hand-made whips, past projects and more at andrewjperez.com and Instagram @andrewjosephperez.
Esteban Montoya Dagnino (Trumpet)
began playing mariachi in 2009 with Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson and continued until his senior year of high school, under the direction of Salvador Gallegos. From 2012-16, he also played in Mariachi Rayos Del Sol de Tucson High School, under the direction of Alberto Ranjel III and Justin Enriquez. He currently plays with Mariachi Tierra Azteca de Phoenix (Arizona), under the direction of Fidel Amador Jr.
Sayra Michelle Haro (Violin/Tía Carmen)
started mariachi at the age of 14 with Mariachi Juvenil De Mi Tierra in Nampa, Idaho, which is where she began to learn violin by ear and got started singing. At the age of 15, she joined Mariachi Sol de Acapulco, recognized as “the best mariachi in Idaho,” where she worked until the age of 18. She returned to Juvenil De Mi Tierra, where a smaller child group was formed, and was taught by the older members; the group changed their name to Mariachi De Mi Tierra, which is still one of the most popular mariachis in Idaho. In August 2018, she contacted maestro Juan José Almaguer and was given the opportunity to work with El Mariachi Monumental de América. By September 2018, she made the move to Los Angeles and started working with Almaguer in order to expand her knowledge of mariachi and work toward becoming a stronger musician. She continues to work alongside Almaguer and el Monumental de América.
Antonio A. Pró (Guittarrón)
is making his SCR debut. Born and raised in Tucson, Ariz., Pró has performed professionally as a mariachi musician for 30 years. His musical journey began in 1989, at the age of 12, with the youth group Mariachi Los Changuitos Feos de Tucson. During his career, he has appeared on national and international television programs, most notably, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” and on Spanish-speaking programs such as “¡Despierta America!” and “Sábado Gigante.” He has also performed and recorded with the Tucson-based rock group, Calexico, with whom he has toured Europe, Canada and the U.S. His performances include the Montreal Jazz Festival and the Reading and Leeds Festivals in England. Pró also takes part in the Tucson International Mariachi Conference, where he has been an instructor for nearly 20 years. He takes pride in sharing his knowledge of and his love for mariachi music with the new generation.
Ali Pizarro (Vihuela)
is making his SCR debut. Originally from Los Angeles, Pizarro began his mariachi career in 2004. Having worked with artists such as Ana Bárbara, Paquita la del Barrio, Ángela Aguilar, Pedro Fernández and many others, he has been inspired to continue spreading the beautiful culture of Mexico through mariachi music.
Adam Ramirez (Violin)
is making his SCR debut. He began studying violin at age 5, beginning at the East Los Angeles School of the Arts. Later, he studied with Gilda Mazzamti of the San Jose Symphony Orchestra, and with maestro Joseph Hardin. He had the opportunity to play with both the San Jose Youth Symphony Orchestra and the California Youth Symphony directed by Lauren Jakey. Beginning at age of 15, he began playing mariachi music and has played with various groups including, Mariachi Los Galleros, Mariachi Sol de Mexico and Mariachi Internacional de Mexico, performing at various venues such as The Hollywood Bowl. Ramirez began formally studying the art of acting six years ago with acting coach Bernard Hiller. He has been both a commerical actor for four years and done work in television and film.
Christopher Acebo (Director)
returns to SCR for his directorial debut here; he previously designed sets at SCR for Culture Clash (Still) in America, La Posada Mágica, The Beard of Avon, The Countess, My Wandering Boy, Hold Please, Habeus Corpus, California Scenarios and The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler. His directorial debut production of American Mariachi for Arizona Theatre Company was the biggest-selling production in ATC’s 50-year history. On Broadway, he designed All the Way (2014 Tony Award, Best Play). His regional design credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival—where he was associate artistic director for 12 seasons—with world premieres of All the Way, Equivocation, Head Over Heels, Fingersmith, Mojada and more than 30 other productions; The Clean House (Lincoln Center Theatre); Throne of Blood (Brooklyn Academy of Music); Zoot Suit, Electricidad, Chavez Ravine, Water & Power and Living Out (Center Theatre Group); West Side Story (Guthrie Theater); and The Year to Come and Zorro in Hell (La Jolla Playhouse). Acebo has designed for Goodman Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Denver Center Theatre, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Arizona Theatre Company, among others. He serves on the Oregon Arts Commission. Acebo earned his MFA from UC-San Diego. acebocreative.com
Efren Delgadillo Jr. (Scenic Design)
returns after making his SCR design debut last season with Kings. His New York credits include The Three Musketeers (The Acting Company) and Mycenaean (Brooklyn Academy of Music). His regional work includes Indecent (Denver Center for the Performing Arts); American Mariachi (Arizona Theatre Company), BLKS (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company), Bordertown Now (Pasadena Playhouse), Romeo and Juliet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), Smart People (Denver Center for the Performing Arts), Othello (Hartford Stage), Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles (The Getty Villa, Boston Court Pasadena), Prometheus Bound (The Getty Villa/Center for New Performance), Shelter (Center for New Performance) and The Sweetheart Deal (Los Angeles Theatre Center). He is a company member of Poor Dog Group and an assistant professor of scenic design at California State University, Northridge. He earned his MFA at California Institute of the Arts and his BFA at the University of California, Irvine.
Kish Finnegan (Costume Design)
is making her SCR design debut. She makes her home in Tucson, Ariz., where she is the resident costume designer for Arizona Theatre Company. Her recent ATC design credits include American Mariachi, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, Outside Mullingar, Chapter Two, Low Down Dirty Blues, King Charles III, An Act of God, Hair and Romeo and Juliet. Her other credits include the world premieres of The Kite Runner with The San Jose Repertory Theatre and The Tutor at Village Theatre in Washington, as well as The Yellow Boat; Go Dog Go; Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells; Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day; Seussical; and NeverEnding Story with Phoenix-based Childsplay. Finnegan is a graduate of California Institute for the Arts. She began her career designing costumes for Team USA Synchronized Swimming and for aquatic shows in Las Vegas, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.
Lonnie Rafael Alcaraz (Lighting Design)
is a professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he is the head of the lighting design program. He has designed for various regional theatres such as Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Syracuse Stage, Great River Shakespeare Festival and Utah Shakespeare Festival. Among the productions he has designed at SCR are The Whipping Man, Long Road Today/El Largo Camino de Hoy, 4,000 Miles, Three Days of Rain, La Posada Mágica, Ordinary Days, Saturn Returns, Goldfish, Culture Clash in AmeriCCa, Doubt and My Wandering Boy. His recent designs include Opera Festival on Ice for Bietak Production (Muscat, Oman); Macbeth, Cymbeline and No Child at Great River Shakespeare Festival; Mojada at Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Portland Center Stage; Murder for Two at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Center REPertory Company (Walnut Creek, Calif.); Manifest Destinitis and Oedipus El Rey at San Diego Repertory Theatre; Hamlet at Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; and SEED: A Weird Act of Faith for Cornerstone Theater Company, where he is an associate artist. He was a designer for Universal Studios Japan. He is a member of the United Scenic Artists, Local 829/International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees. His complete design portfolio can be found at lradesigns.com.
Rebecca Kessin (Sound Design)
is delighted to make her SCR debut with American Mariachi. Originally from New York, she earned her MFA at CalArts and immediately began to work in her adopted home of Los Angeles. She also teaches sound design at the college and graduate level at California State University, Fullerton. Her selected credits include Dancing Lessons (Ensemble Theatre Company of Santa Barbara), Good People (Coachella Valley Repertory Theatre), Tigers Be Still (Chance Theatre), Born to Win, Priscilla Queen of the Desert (Broadway World LA Region Award nomination), Dream Boy (Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle nomination), Bootycandy, Peter Pan: The Boy Who Hated Mothers (Celebration Theatre), Die, Mommie, Die! (Center Theatre Group’s Block Party), Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Garry Marshall Theatre), This Land (world premiere, Company of Angels), Out of Our Father’s House (Red Compass Productions), A Singular They, The Why (The Blank Theatre), Niagara Falls (world premiere, Theatre of Note), Object of Her Affection (world premiere, Automata/REDCAT) and Stranger (Garland Award nomination, Bootleg Theatre) Learn more: rebeccakessin.com.
Cynthia Reifler Flores (Music Director)
began as a classical violinist, but has played with mariachis ranging from bar bands to the Grammy Award-winning Mariachi Divas. She is best known for her 10-year role as the leader of Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, the first all-female mariachi of international import. Flores directs the mariachi programs at University of California, Riverside, and California State University, Los Angeles, where she earned her MA in Latin American studies; her thesis was entitled, “Origins and Continuance of Women’s Participation in Mariachi and the Cultural and Transnational Implications: California.” She has performed as musical director, arranger and performer on other works by José Cruz González including a joint production of American Mariachi for Denver Center Theatre and The Old Globe Theatre (San Diego), as well as the recent Arizona Theatre Company production of the play. She lives in California with her son, Bruce, her husband, Pedro Flores, a renowned mariachi musician, and an enthusiastic dog.
Moira Gleason* (Stage Manager)
is excited to return for her third production at SCR. Last season, she was production stage manager on M. Butterfly and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike. She previously stage-managed Julius Caesar, The River Bride, Long Day’s Journey into Night, The Count of Monte Cristo, Water by the Spoonful, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Alive and Well, Since Africa and Back, Back, Back; Adoption Project: Triad at (Mo’olelo Performing Arts Company) and Miss Witherspoon (San Diego Repertory Theatre). She assistant stage-managed UniSon, Twelfth Night, Cymbeline and As You Like It (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); and King Lear, The Madness of King George III, The Taming of the Shrew, Whisper House, Cyrano De Bergerac, Coriolanus, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Romeo and Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Sea of Tranquility, Hamlet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, The Sisters Rosensweig, The Constant Wife, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, The Comedy of Errors and The Winter’s Tale and Macbeth (The Old Globe Theatre).
Kathryn Davies* (Assistant Stage Manager)
previously stage-managed The Velveteen Rabbit, Poor Yella Rednecks, Sugar Plum Fairy, Orange, The Roommate, All the Way, Future Thinking, Red, Vietgone, The Whipping Man, Tartuffe, Reunion, Trudy and Max in Love, The Motherf**ker with the Hat, How to Write a New Book for the Bible, Sight Unseen, Topdog/Underdog, In the Next Room or the vibrator play, Doctor Cerberus, Ordinary Days, Our Mother’s Brief Affair and The Injured Party—all at SCR. Her favorite credits include The Wars at the Grand Theatre; Dividing the Estate at Dallas Theater Center; La Bohème at Tulsa Opera; The Mystery of Irma Vep at The Old Globe; Les Contes D’Hoffmann at Hawaii Opera Theatre; Of Mice and Men at Neptune Theatre; The Dresser at Manitoba Theatre Centre; Skylight at Tarragon Theatre; To Kill a Mockingbird at Citadel Theatre; and The Designated Mourner at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Davies also worked as head theatre manager at the Toronto International, Dubai International, AFI, TCM and Los Angeles Film festivals.
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.