Arizona Theatre Company's 2013 National Latino Playwriting Award Winner “THE RIVER BRIDE” Comes To Life In Arizona Premiere

By Nonprofit Marketing ArizonaOctober 5, 2017

The River Bride, Marisela Treviño Orta’s poignant story of true love, regret, transformation and the struggle to stay true to your family and to yourself, will have its Arizona premiere at the Temple of Music & Art in Tucson from Oct. 21 to Nov. 16 and at the Herberger Theater Center in Phoenix from Nov. 11 to Dec. 3.

The River Bride, which the San Francisco Chronicle described as “myth meets everyday life with luminous grace,” won the 2013 Arizona Theatre Company (David Ivers, Artistic Director; Billy Russo, Managing Director) National Latino Playwriting Award.  

ATC’s 2017-18 season in Tucson is sponsored by I. Michael and Beth Kasser.

“(Marisela Treviño) Orta has birthed a work of great beauty; a play that is at once transcendent and triumphant,” Jeffrey Gillespie wrote in the Ashland (Ore.) Daily Tidings during the world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2016.  “Orta carries, in her very bones, a profound understanding of the history and deep literary legacy within her community.”

The play, rescheduled from last season, is the story of two sisters in a fishing village along the Amazon struggling to find their happily-ever-after.  Helena is dreading her sister Belmira’s wedding because the groom, Duarte, should have been hers. And she knows that her sister only wants to escape their sleepy Brazilian town for an exciting new life in the city.

But three days before the wedding, fishermen pull a mysterious stranger out of the river – a man with no past who offers both sisters an alluring, possibly dangerous future in a story that blends Brazilian folklore and lyric storytelling into a heartrending tale.

“The River Bride is accessible, elegant and poignant, and yet its message will linger, like lost love, for a long while in the hearts and minds of those theater patrons fortunate enough to fall under its spell,” Gillespie wrote.

Kinan Valdez, who last directed the critically acclaimed La Esquinita, USAfor Arizona Theatre Company, will direct The River Bride.

Single ticket prices range from $25 to $73 in Tucson and $25 to $80 in Phoenix and can be purchased at the box offices at the Temple of Music & Art and the Herberger Theatre Center or online at

The River Bride will be followed by a new production of Man of La Mancha (directed by David Bennett, choreography by Kathryn Van Meter) in Tucson, Dec. 2-31 and Phoenix, Jan. 5-28, 2018; Outside Mullingar (directed by ATC Artistic Director David Ivers), from the author of Doubt and Moonstruck, in Tucson, Jan. 20-Feb. 10 and Phoenix from Feb. 15-March 4; Low Down Dirty Blues (directed by Randal Myler), in Tucson March 10-31 and in Phoenix, April 5-22; and The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by ATC Artistic Director Emeritus David Ira Goldstein, in Tucson April 21-May 12 and in Phoenix, May 17-June 3.


Marisela Treviño Orta (Playwright): An award-winning playwright in her third year of study at the Iowa Playwrights Workshop, Marisela Treviño Orta’s plays include: American Triage, Braided Sorrow (2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama, 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Drama), Ghost Limb (2017 Brava Theater world premiere), Heart Shaped Nebula (2015 Shotgun Players world premiere), and Woman on Fire (2016 Camino Real Productions world premiere). Currently, she is working on a cycle of fairy tales inspired by Latinx mythology, which includes The River Bride (2016 Oregon Shakespeare Festival world premiere), Wolf at the Door, and Alcira. Most recently, Marisela presented her new play Shoe at the Kennedy Center as part of the National New Play Network’s MFA Playwrights Week. She is an alumna of the Playwrights Foundation’s Resident Playwright Initiative, a founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network, and a Steering Committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons.
Kinan Valdez (Director). Recent credits include: Off-Broadway: La Esquinita, USA(Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre); Regional credits: Heart of Heaven (Center Theatre Group), Corridos Remix (San Diego Repertory); Other theatres: Zoot Suit (National Tour), Popol Vuh Trilogy, Mummified Deer, Victor in Shadow, and Sam Burgesa & The Pixie Chicks (El Teatro Campesino). Film:Ballad of a Soldier (ETC/CTR Productions). Mr. Valdez currently is a member of the world-renowned El Teatro Campesino, an educator at the University of California Santa Cruz and San Jose State University, and a national organizer for the Latina/o Theatre Commons.

Paula Rebelo (Belmira) is a Brazilian actress based in Los Angeles. She is thrilled to be making her debut with ATC. Select credits include The Clean House (Boise Contemporary Theater); The Temptation of St. Antony by Four Larks (Ovation Award winner for Acting Ensemble); Sheila Callaghan’s That Pretty Pretty; or The Rape Play (Son of Semele); Theatre Movement Bazaar’s Big Shot (South Coast Repertory Bootleg Theater, and international tours to Scotland and China); and CalArts Center for New Performance’s Prometheus Bound (The Getty Villa). In early 2018, Rebelo will be playing Gwenevere in Theatre Movement Bazaar’s newest show, The Grail Project, in Los Angeles. She holds a B.F.A. from CalArts. 
Sarita Ocón (Helena) is thrilled to make her ATC debut. Theatrical credits include The Mathematics of Love (Brava Theater);The Crucible (PlayMakers Repertory); To The Bone, Othello, Waiting For Lefty (Ubuntu Theater Project); PLACAS (Los Angeles Theatre Center, Gala Hispanic Theatre, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, South Coast Repertory, San Francisco International Arts Festival, and others); Twelfth Night (California Shakespeare Theater); Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (San Francisco Playhouse); Ghost Light (Berkeley Repertory Theatre); Night Over Erzinga (Golden Thread Productions); Ghosts of the River (ShadowLight Productions); The House on Mango Street, School of the Americas, Dog Lady / Evening Star (Teatro Visión). Sarita received her BA from Stanford University and is the recipient of the 2016 RHE Charitable Foundation Artistic Fellowship. She is a proud company member of HERO Theatre in Los Angeles and Ubuntu Theater Project in Oakland. She is a co-founding member of the Bay Area Latino Theatre Artists Network. 

Leandro Cano (Señor Costa) Regional favorites include Rules of Seconds (Latino Theater Company); , Motherf***er With the Hat, Jesus Hopped the 'A' Train, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, American Falls (barebones productions); El Henry (La Jolla Playhouse); Of Mice & Men (Pittsburgh Playhouse); Stories, Romeo & Juliet, Fables (Denver Center Theatre Company);Oedipus el Rey, Colony Collapse (The Theatre @ Boston Court); American Falls (Echo Theater Company); The Tempest, The Fattest Man in the World Lives Upstairs (Yale Summer Cabaret); The Rats, Amigo's Blue Guitar, American Buffalo, Caucasian Chalk Circle, Genesis, Don Juan (Perseverance Theatre). Film: Jonestown, Fugue, In the Death Room, Coming & Going. Television work includes: Bull, CSI: Miami, Castle, Without a Trace, Life, Huge, General Hospital, Boston Legal, Days of Our Lives.

Sean Burgos (Duarte) is a Los Angeles based actor in film/TV and voiceover in both English and Spanish language markets. He has just wrapped on the feature film Emerald Run starring alongside Baywatch star, David Chokachi.  Previously, he starred in the indie shorts: Elie's Overcoat, The Case of Conrad Cooper, and Coyotes. Sean is co-founder of Actor’s Circle Ensemble and has starred in The Indian Wants the Bronx and Hedda Gabler off-Broadway, and Experiment at South Coast Repertory. His company also sponsors the hit Orange County New Playwright’s festival, OC-Centric. Sean has made his mark in the voiceover world, lending his voice to a multitude of radio/TV advertisements, trailers, animation and video games. His recent credits include: Comedy Bang Bang!, Para Ellos, and Ubisoft’s Assassin's Creed III: Liberation.
Dena Martinez (Señora Costa) is thrilled to be working at Arizona Theatre Company. Her regional theatre credits include: Fuddy Meers and A Streetcar Named Desire (Marin Theatre Company); American Night and The House of the Spirits (Denver Center Theatre Company); Sunsets and Margaritas and Distracted (TheatreWorks); Barancas and Holy Food  (Magic Theatre); American Night (Cal Shakes); The Taming of the Shrew and La Posada Magica (San Jose Rep). Other theatres include: Seeing Double and Secrets in the Sand with the San Francisco Mime Troupe, August: Osage County and Mr. Burns: A Post Electric Play (Capital Stage); The Clean House and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Pacific Rep), Reckless and Gibraltar (San Jose Stage); This World in a Woman's Hands (Shotgun Players), Cloud Tectonics and Dia De los Cuentos (B Street Theatre), Simply Maria and El Soldado Razo (El Teatro Campesino). Dena has also worked with Campo Santo, Teatro Vision, Word for Word, Berkeley Rep, and American Conservatory Theatre. TV/Film: La Pastorela, Village of the Damned, Technolust, Wolf, You Can Choose, Short Stories and Tall Tales. Voices for Pixar Animation and Zoetrope. 

Hugo E. Carbajal (Moises) is excited for his first show with Arizona Theatre Company.  Hugo is a collective member of the Tony-Award winning political theatre company: The San Francisco Mime Troupe. He has performed with companies such as Marin Theatre Company, AlterTheater Ensemble, TeatroVision, and Su Teatro.   Hugo was also in the premiere of Marisela Treviño Orta’s Heart Shaped Nebula at Shotgun Theatre Ensemble. Television credits include Goliath on Amazon, Chance on HULU, and Scandal on ABC.


Scenic Design: Regina Garcia
Costume Design: Rose Pederson
Lighting Design: David Lee Cuthbert
Sound Design: Emiliano “Mino” Valdez
Stage Manager: Bruno Ingram

Ticket Info:

Tickets for River Bride start at $25 and are subject to change depending on time, date and section, and are available at or by calling the box office at (520) 622-2823 in Tucson or (602) 256-6995 in Phoenix.  Discounts are available for seniors and active military.  A $10 student ticket pricing is now available for all performances.  Half-price rush tickets are available for balcony seating for all performances one hour prior to curtain at the ATC box office (subject to availability).  Pay What You Canperformance tickets are available for a suggested $10 donation in Tucson on Tuesday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. and in Phoenix on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. (Tickets must be purchased at the Herberger Theater Center starting one hour prior to curtain. Tickets are first-come, first served.  Cash only. Two tickets maximum per person.) For discounts for groups of 10 or more, call (520) 622-2823 in Tucson or (602) 256-6995 in Phoenix.

Arizona Theatre Company offers accessibility services for patrons with disabilities for select performances.  American Sign Language Interpretation is presented by professional, theatrically trained ASL-interpreters for people who have deafness or hearing impairment.  An ASL-interpreted performance is offered on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Tucson and Saturday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. in Phoenix on an LED screen as the play progresses.  An open captioned performance is offered on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. in Tucson and Sunday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m. in Phoenix.  For open-captioned or ASL-interpreted performances, patrons should request seats best suited to ASL interpretation or captioning when purchasing tickets.  Large print and Braille playbills and infrared listening amplification devices are also available at every ATC performance with reservation. TTY access for the box office is available in Phoenix at (602) 256-6995or via Arizona Relay at (800) 367-8939 (TTY/ASCII).

Tickets are available in-person at the Temple of Music & Art in Tucson or by calling (520) 622-2823 in Tucson and at the Herberger Theater Center at (602) 256-6995 or online


River Bride

  • Written by Marisela Treviño Orta
  • Directed by Kinan Valdez


  • Temple of Music & Art, 333 S. Scott Ave., Tucson
  • Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe, Phoenix
  • Previews Begin: Saturday, Oct. 21 at 8 p.m. in Tucson; Thursday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. in Phoenix.
  • Opening Nights: Friday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Tucson; Saturday, Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. in Phoenix
  • Closing Performances: Saturday, Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. in Tucson; Sunday, Dec. 3 at 1 p.m. in Phoenix.