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Community Stories

'Essentials'

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In the early days of the pandemic in a big-box grocery store in Santa Ana, CA, three young essential workers celebrate their triumphs and mourn their losses all while keeping their senses of humor intact.

Produced by Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble and Directed by Sara Guerrero.

About the Artists

Diana Burbano (playwright) is an immigrant, an actor, and, a playwright living in Downtown Long Beach. She writes so Latinx women can have kick ass, complicated characters to play, and mentors BIPOC writers for Alter Theater, Breath of Fire, and South Coast Rep. She was in Center Theatre Group’s 2018-19 Writers Workshop cohort and is in the Geffen’s Writers Lab in 20-21. She has worked on projects with South Coast Repertory, Artists Repertory Theatre, Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble and Center Theatre Group and Livermore Shakespeare Festival. Diana recently played Amalia in José Cruz González' American Mariachi at South Coast Repertory and Arizona Theatre Company, and Marisela in La Ruta at Artists Repertory. You can also see her as Viv the Punk in the cult musical Isle of Lesbos. She is the current Dramatists Guild Rep for Southern California. www.dianaburbano.com



Sara Guerrero (Director, Photography, Graphics), a Southern California native, is a professional versatile theatre artist whose mission is to model, share, and create theatre-making opportunities for and with her community. A CalArts alum, she has been recognized as a 2020 Hispanic Lifestyle Latina of Influence Honoree, a 2020 Woman of Distinction by Sen. Umberg and California Senate District 34, a Community Engagement "COVID-19 ARTIST ASSISTANCE GRANT" Awardee, one of the “People to Watch” by American Theatre Magazine, and “Best [Artistic] Director” and “Person of Interest” by OC WEEKLY. As the founding artistic director of Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, an award-winning, Santa Ana-based group, she and the ensemble are ARTISTS-IN-RESIDENCE at Grand Central Arts Center of Cal State University of Fullerton, Ca. Under Guerrero’s leadership, the organization serves as an incubator for underrepresented voices in theater by providing programming and guidance in the art of storytelling. During the pandemic Guerrero continues to direct, create, and produce through her ensemble and other theaters online. www.teatroguerrero.com INSTAGRAM: @guerreroprincess TWITTER: @teatroguerrero



Santi Samano (Assistant Director, Stage Manager, Tech Director, and Editor), is a multidisciplinary artist from San Diego, CA who takes a holistic approach to their art and life. Santi believes in radically inclusive theatre that not only entertains, but also helps and empowers BIPOC at their intersections especially to queer and low-income communities. Past credits include: Technical Director & Video Editor for El Arroyo by Roberta H. Martinez, Apa’s Girl by Elvia Susana Rubalcava at the Frida Kahlo Theater 10-Minute Theater Festival, Co-Producer for Breath of Fire Latina Theatre Ensemble’s Staged Stories: The Live Streamed Series, and María José in Inolvidable: A Juan Gabriel Musical by Ruth Veronica Madrid at UC Riverside.



Moises Vázquez (Composer, Musician, Sound Design) is a musician and composer, proud Santanero, and community activist. He has composed and performed original music for South Coast Repertory, San Diego Repertory, Pacific Symphony, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, Brown Bag Theater of UC Irvine, Costa Mesa Playhouse, Orange County New Play Festival, The Musco Center, SanArts, Arts Orange County’s Dia de Niño Festival, El Centro Cultural de México, Latino Health Access, and the list goes on. Additionally, Moises composed and performed original music for El Largo Camino de Hoy / The Long Road Today by José Cruz González, inspired by stories of the Santa Ana community.



Noah Reyes Guerrero-Hilton (Assistant Photography/ Video), likes to express and storytell through photos and illustrations. He enjoys playing games online with friends and playing piano. He misses being in person at his middle school and hopes to return one day. He loves animals and has three cats.



Joshua Juarez (Miguel) is ecstatic to be joining Breath of Fire in this production of Essentials. He first met Sara through Terry Schwinge in his classroom and together they worked on Leyendas (2018) and Breath of Fire’s New Play Festival (2018) . Joshua’s performance resume also includes, (Sir Danvers Carew) Jekyll and Hyde 2020, (Frank N Furter) Rocky Horror Show 2019, (Bernardo) West Side Story 2018, (Benvolio) Romeo and Juliet 2019, and (Angel) in Rent 2018. Joshua looks forward to continuing to pursue their acting career and is grateful for the opportunities Breath of Fire has granted.



Karen Garcia (Karyn) I’m 17, an actress and a director. I have been in the plays like Simply Maria or the American Dream, Almost Maine, Stand and Deliver and the online production of She Kills Monsters and directed the play Alice written by Isaac Bol. I have been in musicals such as Willy Wonka Jr. and Chicago. Outside of school I have been working with Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble in plays like Bottle Monster, Policarpa, and Blanca Nieves’ Christmas: A Chicana Christmastale for All!.



Gisela Flores(Naian) is a musical theatre major at Fullerton College. She studied voice in high school with Laura Harrison and Jane Shim who helped her grow in jazz and classical genres. She has been in a total of eight musicals at Santa Ana High School. Previous roles she has played include Joanne Jefferson in RENT, Dragon in Shrek, Dolly Levi in Hello, Dolly!, Miss Sherman in Fame, and Velma Kelly in Chicago. She was nominated Best Actress by the Spirit of the MACY Awards for her portrayal of Joanne Jefferson in RENT her sophomore year of high school and was also nominated for Best Vocalist for her portrayal of Miss Sherman in Fame her senior year. She plans to continue her education at Fullerton College to pursue her dream of being a musical theatre performer at Disneyland or Broadway.



Tony Viramontes (Santa Frank) is thrilled to be a part of the cast of Essentials, and to work once more with Sara Guerrero and Diana Burbano. Tony completed UCSC's Theater Graduate Certificate program, and has performed in theaters in NY, the Bay Area and all over Southern CA.

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