La Virgen de Guadalupe, Dios Inantzin Review – LA’s Annual Holiday Pageant

Sal Lopez, Castulo Guerra, and Geoffrey Rivas in LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE, DIOS INANTZIN - Photo courtesy of Latino Theater Company
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For an epic, free holiday pageant, downtown’s Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels is the place to be in December. This annual spectacular has been a holiday tradition in Los Angeles since 2002, and its twentieth anniversary of 2022 was no exception. For those in the know, the Cathedral program was preceded by a procession up Caesar Chavez Blvd. Dodging the light spattering of raindrops, the devout marched along the roadway, umbrellas in hand, to show their love and respect for an ancient Latin American tradition. Presented this year by El Gallo Giro, The Latino Theater Company presented the Christmas tradition at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 2, and Saturday, December 3.

Esperanza America as La Virgen with cast members- Photo by Elaine L. Mura

This annual event is the harbinger of the Christmas season. Every year, you can join the tens of thousands who have become transfixed by the tale of Juan Diego, a simple peasant to whom the Virgin Mary appeared on four occasions in the mountains of Tepeyac near Mexico City in 1531. Starring Esperanza America as the Virgin Mary and Sal Lopez as Juan Diego, the cast of LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE, DIOS INANTZIN features over 100 actors, singers, and indigenous Aztec dancers as well as children and seniors from the community. Los Angeles’ largest theatrical holiday pageant has been covered by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles HOY, Univision, and Fox News, among others.

Lucy Rodriquez – Photo courtesy of Latino Theater Company

Adapted for the stage by Latino Theater Company resident playwright Evelina Fernandez from the mid-sixteen text “The Nican Mopohua” and directed by company artistic director Jose Luis Valenzuela, this epic event features the live musical accompaniment by Los Hermanos Herrera. Featured roles include Richard Azurdia as Fraile Jose; Damian Delgado as Tlamantini and Juan Bernardino; Castulo Guerra as El Obispo; Xavi Moreno as Fraile Joaquin; Geoffrey Rivas as Fraile Martin; Lucy Rodriquez as Citali; and Cheryl Umana as La Criada. Performances are in Spanish with English subtitles.

Sal Lopez – Photo courtesy of Latino Theater Company

The Cathedral setting offers a sumptuous backdrop for this classic story, with projections by Cameron Mock and Emily MacDonald. Original music was composed and performed by Alfredo Lopez Mondragon, with original indigenous music performed by Christopher Garcia with choreography by Urbanie Lucero.

Not to worry if you missed this year’s early December performances. Just keep an eye out next December for the annual free presentation of LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE, DIOS INANTZIN. Join the hundreds who fill the Cathedral each year, and you can even lift your voice in song if you love the freedom of music. The program shares the words of some traditional tunes, as well as an outline of the action. This is a great way to begin the holiday season, as well as a fascinating insight into the Hispanic heritage all around us in Los Angeles.

Es[eramza America – Photo by Andrew Vasquez
Cast Members – Photo by Elaine L. Mura

LA VIRGEN DE GUADALUPE, DIOS INANTZIN performed in 2022 in the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels, 555 W. Temple, St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. At 7:30 p.m. on Friday, 12/2/22 and on Saturday 12/3/22, this year’s performances began. General admission was free, with premium reserved seating available for $45. For more information, call 213-489-0994 or go online.

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