House On Mango Street Takes To The Stage

House On Mango Street Takes To The Stage

They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones that cannot out.
– Esperanza Cordero, The House On Mango Street

Front to back: Sandra Delgado, Belinda Cervantes and Christina Nieves
photo by Saverio Truglia

The world premiere for the musical adaptation of The House on Mango Street opens this fall. The cast of the new play features: Belinda Cervantes, Gina Cornejo, Sandra Delgado as Esperanza, Liza Fernandez, Ricardo Gutierrez, Christina Nieves, Tony Sancho and Mari Stratton. Earlier this year Proyecto Latina had the opportunity to talk to some of the ladies that are now involved with this production.

Check out our interview archive to learn more about them:

The House On Mango Street by Chicago writer Sandra Cisneros has been adapted by playwright Tanya Saracho, who took on the challenge of bringing Esperanza and the people on Mango Street to the stage. Saracho also recently received two Jeff Nominations for her play Our Lady of the Underpass.

The House on Mango Street is a coming of age story of Esperanza, a Mexican-American girl, growing up in Chicago. The book gives voice to Esperanza and her working class family, as well as, the people that live on Mango Street. The book is not only a Chicago story but an American story.

Proyecto Latina congratulates all of these ladies for their artistic achievements and contributions to the arts in Chicago.

This World Premiere production opens October 13 – November 1. In the Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., in Chicago. For information on reservation and performance times visit or call (312) 335-1650.

Sandra Cisneros: Compost your rage & fuel your art

Sandra Cisneros: Compost your rage & fuel your art

That’s Jorge Valdivia with Sandra Cisneros in the photograph above, it was taken moments before I got to sit down and interview her last Wednesday. Jorge is the Director of Performing arts at the National Museum of Mexican Art and we will be posting an interview with him later this week, so make sure to come back and check for it, he talks to us about the 15th annual Sor Juana Festival.

I owe Jorge, Annie Tully, and Diana Pando, a HUGE shout out and THANK YOU in getting this interview done. It was such an amazing opportunity, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Part I: Interview with Sandra Cisneros, 3:50

Part II: Interview with Sandra Cisneros, 9:10

Part III: Interview with Minerva who writes poems, 2:53

interview by Irasema Gonzalez

Mangos, Chismes y Mucho Más

Mangos, Chismes y Mucho Más

This month’s Proyecto Latina honors Sandra Cisneros and includes a sneak peak at Tanya Saracho’s adaptation of The House on Mango Street. We encourage you to bring your Mango themed poems, stories and chisme! As always it’s FREE and we look forward to seeing you!

Join us on Monday, April 20, 2009 @ 7 p.m. Held at Radio Arte, 1401 W. 18th Street.

Proyecto Latina welcomes Tanya Saracho back this April, we will be featuring a sampling of the full-length play and her adaptatation of the Sandra Cisnero’s book The House on Mango Street. Tanya will also share the art process of how she took a lyrical narrative and modified it for the stage.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is celebrating its 25th anniversary in print. This Spring its been chosen as the One Book One Chicago for the city to read.

Tanya Saracho was born in Sinaloa, México and moved to Texas in the late 80′s . She is the Co-Founding Artistic Director of Teatro Luna: Chicago’s All-Latina Theatre, and a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and Teatro Vista. Tanya’s writing has been featured in most of Teatro Luna’s ensemble-built works including “Generic Latina,” “Dejame Contarte,” “The Maria Chronicles,” “SOLO Latinas,” “SOLO Tú,” “S-E-X-Oh!” and “Lunatic(a)s.” Her plays include: “Our Lady of The Underpass” with Teatro Vista (2009), “Surface Day” with Chicago Children’s Humanity Festival (2008 ), and “Jarred (A Hoodoo Comedy)” with Teatro Luna (2008). Tanya’s play “Kita y Fernanda,” a finalist for the 2003 Nuestras Voces playwrighting competition, received productions at Teatro Luna (2003) and 16th Street Theatre (2008). Other Awards include: The Ofner Prize given by the Goodman Theatre, Finalist for the Christopher B. Wolk Award at Abingdon Theatre in NYC, nominee for the Wasserstein Prize and winner of the Khan Award. Saracho’s solo play “Quita Mitos” received a world premier with Teatro Luna in November of 2006 and has toured colleges and festivals, including the International Hispanic Theatre Festival and the Goodman’s Latino Theatre Festival. Tanya is working on a fellowship in a collaboration between The Goodman Theatre and the Institute for Women and Gender Studies at Columbia College on an interview-based piece titled “27″ where she will interview one woman from each of the 27 countries that make up the Latin Diaspora. She is also under commission from Steppenwolf Theatre to craft a musical adaptation Sandra Cisnero’s “The House on Mango Street” slated to open in the fall of 2009. Directing/co-directing credits include: “SOLO Tú,” “S-E-X-Oh!” and “Lunatic(a)s.” the remount of “Generic Latina,”The Maria Chronicles,” “Jarred (A Hoodoo Comdey)” and “SÓLO Latinas.” Tanya’s performing credits include: Neil Labutte’s Fat Pig” with Renaissance Theatreworks in Milwaukee, Migdalia Cruz’ “Another Part of the House” with Teatro Vista, “Living Out” with American Theatre Co./Teatro Vista, “Electricidad” at Goodman Theatre and “La Casa De Bernarda Alba” with Aguijon Theater. Tanya’s voice can be heard around the country in radio and television commercials.

Check out our interview with Tanya here.

Proyecto Latina provides a platform to showcase work by Latinas. In it’s fourth year, the reading series takes place the third Monday of every month, it includes a feature, an open mic and a a chisme box! Proyecto Latina Radio Airs Sundays @ 6 p.m. on WRTE, 90.5 F.M.

One Book, One Chicago-House On Mango Street

One Book, One Chicago-House On Mango Street

This week the Mayor announced the One Book, One Chicago selection. Felicidades to Sandra Cisneros and her book The House On Mango Street! The book is in its 25th Anniversary and still delighting readers of all ages.

The House On Mango Street was published in 1984 and traces Esperanza Cordero’s coming-of-age through a series of vignettes about her family, neighborhood, and secret dreams. Esperanza’s character shows us her self-empowerment and will to overcome obstacles of poverty, gender, and race. I got a copy of the book in Spanish and I’m so excited to send it to my 11 year-old niece Aylín in Mexico City.

Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in l954, the third child and only daughter in a family of seven children. I studied at Loyola University of Chicago (B.A. English 1976) and the University of Iowa (M.F.A. Creative Writing 1978). She worked as a teacher and counselor to high-school dropouts, as an artist-in-the schools where I taught creative writing at every level except first grade and pre-school, a college recruiter, an arts administrator, and as a visiting writer at a number of universities including the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Read more about Sandra’s books here!

One Book, One Chicago was inaugurated in the fall of 2001, the One Book, One Chicago program is launched each spring and fall to cultivate a culture of reading and discussion in Chicago by bringing our diverse city together around one great book. Past winners include, one of my favorites, Tell It To The Mountain by James Baldwin. The Press Conference: When I arrived at the Harold Washington Library I found an army of cameramen shooting footage of the press conference and people flipping through pages of the book. Proyecto Latina Radio Co-Producer Irasema Gonzalez was already there and lurking between book aisles I spotted Radio Arte’s General Manager Silvia Rivera and made my way towards them. I always find myself greatly entertained when I’m in the company of these two women. The press conference took a weird turn when the Mayor went from talking about The House On Mango Street to drugs in Mexico. I think it took away from the focus of the book and hope no one associates the book with drugs in Mexico. While he said things I agreed with it was definitely a different press conference. A couple of years ago… I remember Irasema dragging me all the way to Loyola University one cold March day to see a special reading by Sandra Cisneros. I was resisting because it was early in the morning. I am so thankful I went because not only was her reading amazing something unexpected happened. When it was our turn at the book signing we asked her about writing and she said, “Start a writing group and she pointed to other women in the room that had asked the same question. Sandra doesn’t know this but she is our writing group Madrina and we’ve been writing ever since. Her suggestion brought me together with other wonderful writers like Professor Lizann Acosta, Dr. Yolanda Cardenas, PhD. Candidate Magda Banda and Tianguis Book Store Owner Irasema Gonzalez and together we form the Maravilla Writing Collective. Click on this link for a video interview with Sandra Cisneros. Also Irasema will be interviewing Sandra and scheduled to air on Sunday, April 18 at 6 p.m. on 90.5 FM WRTE. Proyecto Latina extends un ABRAZOTE FUERTE to Sandra Cisneros for her wonderful writing and for opening puertas for the rest of us!

La Mocosas Gritan

La Mocasas Gritan was the name of a panel that included former participants of Sandra Cisnero’s Macondo workshop in San Antonio. I was thrilled when I saw this panel listed in the AWP program book. Making my way through the throngs of conference attendees I began to think of how fortunate I was to be able to attend the conference with the support of of Dra.Cardenas (mil gracias).
When I get to the room it is already packed and I grab a seat in the back. Looking at the audience I’m excited to see so many Latinos. I try not to look at the carpeting or the wall paper in this room because it gives me anxiety.

I peek at the women on the panel that include: Lorraine Lopez, Gabriela Jaurequi, Angie Chau, Daisy Hernandez, Erin Badhand and Laura Negrete.

The panel begins and they all begin to read their work. I felt so proud to be listening to the works of these writers. Their work all varied and I walked away feeling inspired by their creativity.

The moderator mentioned that the Macondo workshop is now has open applications and the deadline is in April.

The Macondo Foundation works with dedicated and compassionate writers who view their work and talents as part of a larger task of community-building and non-violent social change. Macondo is a community of poets, novelists, journalists, performance artists, and creative writers of all genres whose work is socially-engaged. What unites us is a commitment to serve our under-served communities through our writing.

Officially incorporated in 2006, the Macondo Foundation has its roots in the Macondo Writing Workshop (named after the sleepy town in Gabriel García Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude), which began in 1995 in the kitchen of poet and writer Sandra Cisneros. The Workshop rapidly grew from 15 to more than 120 participants in less than nine years. During that time, the Macondo Workshop expanded its community involvement through annual events with the Our Lady of the Lake University, UT-San Antonio, Trinity University, Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, Jump-Start Performance Theatre, Casa de Maria y Marta and the Bexar County Juvenile Detention Center. Macondo currently makes its home at Our Lady of the Lake University.