James E. Garcia has a long history of bringing politics to the stage. The Phoenix-based, award-winning journalist, educator, and playwright has told the (abridged) history of Mexico in The Eagle & The Serpent and stories of the border in Amexica: Tales from the Fourth World.
For the past few weeks, Garcia has been traveling with a small cast from New Carpa Theater, staging his American Dreamer: The Life and Times of Raul H. Castro in Tucson, Flagstaff and Nogales. This weekend, he and seven other actors will be on stage (playing more than 55 roles) at Playhouse on the Park in Phoenix.
Garcia describes Raul H. Castro, who he plays in American Dreamer, as a boxer, teacher, hobo, lawyer, prosecuting attorney, judge, U.S. Ambassador to three countries and Arizona's only ever Hispanic governor. According to Garcia, American Dreamer, which he wrote in 2008 but has since updated and expanded for the Arizona Centennial tour, "practically wrote itself."
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"His life is filled with major accomplishments worth writing about, but it's really the power of his personality that makes this such a compelling play," writes Garcia. "His natural charisma aside, this is a man who always found away to overcome virtually any obstacle that came his way. As such, he's a great inspiration."
After the Phoenix showings this weekend, Garcia says the play will move on to Nogales, where the 96-year-old Castro lives, on November 4.
Catch Garcia and New Carpa Theater at Playhouse on the Park, 1850 N. Central Ave., on Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.. Tickets are $14 for adults and $8.50 for children and available on the New Carpa website.