Bless Me, Ultima

Theatrical adaptation

On April 10 and 12, 2008, in partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts' Big Read, Roberto Cantú, professor of Chicano Studies and English, who is intimately familiar with Bless Me, Ultima, produced a dramatic reading as a stage adaptation of the novel at Cal State L.A. Cantú first reviewed the work when it was published in 1972, and has published and lectured extensively on its art, structure, and significance. The production featured veteran television and film actress Alejandra Flores (A Walk in the Clouds, Friends with Money) as Ultima. Theresa Larkin, a theatre arts professor at Cal State L.A., adapted and directed it.[38]

Also in partnership with The Big Read program, Denver, Colorado's premier Chicano theater company, El Centro Su Teatro, produced a full length workshop stage production of Bless Me, Ultima, for which Anaya himself wrote the adaptation. The play opened on February 12, 2009, at El Centro Su Teatro, directed by Jennifer McCray Rinn,[39] with the title roles of Ultima played by Yolanda Ortega,[40] Antonio Márez by Carlo Rincón, and The Author by Jose Aguila.[41] An encore production was done at The Shadow Theater in Denver on June 26 and 27, 2009, with the title roles of Ultima played by Yolanda Ortega, Antonio Marez by Isabelle Fries, and The Author by Jose Aguila.

The Vortex Theatre in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in partnership with the National Hispanic Center, produced a full stage production of the show from March 26, to April 25, 2010. It was directed by Valli Marie Rivera and again adapted by the author himself.[42] Juanita Sena-Shannon played Ultima to rave reviews.[43] The Vortex Production toured through various cities in New Mexico in October and November 2010. The final performance took place on November 19, 2010.


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