The Big Read Blog (Archive)


April 11, 2009
Washington, DC

Through May, Denver-based theater company El Centro Su Teatro is celebrating a Big Read of Rudolfo Anaya?s coming-of-age novel Bless Me, Ultima. Fortuitously, Su Teatro?s celebration coincided with Anaya?s completion of a stage treatment of his seminal novel, which the theater is presenting as one of its Big Read activities.

John Kuebler, the theater?s media coordinator, filled me in on the details:

Young girl and older woman  

Antonio (Carlo Rincon) and Ultima (Yolanda Ortega) share a tender moment in El Centro Su Teatro?s production of Rudolfo Anaya?s classic coming-of-age story Bless Me, Ultima. Photo courtesy of El Centro Su Teatro.


"Su Teatro had previously produced two of Anaya?s plays: Ay Compadre and Who Killed Don Jose? Artistic Director Tony Garcia had been talking to Rudolfo Anaya for some time about the possibility of staging Bless Me, Ultima. When we applied for Big Read project funding last spring and decided to revolve the project around Bless Me, Ultima, we envisioned utilizing our theater company to present some dramatic readings from the novel. As fate would have it, we learned that Anaya had completed a stage adaptation of his novel over the summer, and he agreed to let Su Teatro present a workshop production to coincide with our Big Read project.

"The response has been overwhelming. The original and extended productions (six weeks total) sold out entirely in advance, and we have almost sold out our latest four-date extension. The play Bless Me, Ultima has been a great catalyst for our Big Read project, allowing us to draw in a large audience, put materials into their hands, and engage them in further participation.?

El Centro Su Teatro still has plenty more programming, and you can learn all about it on the Big Read Web site .