Meet the cast of the most hilarious lesson!

In this photo: Michelle, Nicole, Matthew, Kelly, Orion and Olga
The opening night for Learn to be Latina is only two weeks away! The director, cast and crew are working every day really hard to bring you the out-off-this-word performance of this season. 

Today at Miracle Insider we invited you to meet the hot, hot, HOT! cast members of Learn to be Latina coming up to Milagro theatre on May 1. Tickets on sale now 

Nicole Virginia Accuardi (Hanan) is overjoyed to have the opportunity to work with this insanely talented cast on such a tremendous show. This is her sixth time working at Milagro, following three shows and two staged readings. She is a company member of Badass theatre, and was in their inaugural production of Invasion! which will be remounting this summer! She has also performed at Post5, Lakewood, Compass Rep, Clackamas REP, CGTO, Pittsburgh Playhouse, and PCPA Theatrefest. She would like thank all her theatre family in Portland for being so wonderful and supportive. 

Orion Bradshaw (Bill/Fight Captain) After spending 3 seasons with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Orion moved to Portland to co-found Post5 Theatre ( His recent performances include Julius Caesar with Post5, Twelfth Night of the Living Dead with Bag&Baggage, and Charlotte's Web with Oregon Children's Theater. He is also a theatre educator, and teaches with PlayWrite Inc, Northwest Children's Theater and Portland Center Stage, among others. ¡Diviértete!

Kelly Godell (Jill) This is Kelly's first time performing with Milagro. She has a BA in theater from the University of Oregon and has been acting in Portland since 2006. Kelly has most recently appeared in Noises Off with Third Rail Repertory. Other Portland credits include Profile Theatre, Leverage, Northwest Classical, Lakewood Theatre and a slew of commercial work.

Matthew Kerrigan is thrilled to return to Milagro stage with the cast of Learn to be Latina.  He has called Portland his home since 2010. Since arriving, performances include:One Flea Spare (Shaking the Tree) Wilde Tales (Shaking the Tree) Taming of the Shrew (Portland Shakespeare Project), Much Ado About Notiing (Northwest Classical Theatre Company) The Boys In The Band (defunkt) Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Carol (Artist Repertory Theatre). Prior to his arrival in Portland, Matthew studied at Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre and Illinois State University.

Olga Sanchez (Mary/Calcetina/ Elena) Artistic Director, Milagro, most recently she appeared in Oedipus el Rey at Milagro Theatre, and on the TV show, Grimm. This spring she directed Ardiente Paciencia and Mujeres for Milagro.  She is a founding member of Los Porteños writers group; her short play El Tesoro opens May 10th with Milagro Touring for Metro. Olga is a Steering Committee member of the Latino Theatre Commons of HowlRound at Emerson College, a member of the Latino Network’s Unid@s for Oregon Leadership Program, and a member of the Mesa Consultiva for the Latino Play Project at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She holds a BA in Theatre from Hunter College, CUNY, and a Masters in Human Development from Pacific Oaks College NW, with specialization in Bicultural Development. 

Michelle Escobar (Blanca) This is Michelle's second show with Milagro after Guapa last spring. In 2012 she graduated from Amherst College with a BA in theater and hopes to continue her studies in the fall. She is also enthusiastically and perpetually practicing Karate-do. Thank you, Tony and the cast, for such a wonderful experience!

Lauren Mitchell (FAC Girl/ Dance Captain) is delighted be making her debut at Milagro!  Recently she has been seen onstage locally in Homomentum: The Musical (Pants Off PDX), Ribbons of War (Minus Dan Productions, and part of the Fertile Ground Festival), The Princess and the Pea (JANE: A Theatre Company), and The Black Lizard (Imago).  She received her BA in Theatre Arts from Portland State University.

Sarah DeGrave (FAD Girl) is delighted to be making her Milagro debut with LTBL! Previous work includes shows with Well Arts Institute, Stumptown Stages, Broadway Rose, BroadArts Theatre, JANE: a theatre company, and Seattle Musical Theatre.  She holds a degree in Theatre Arts from Central Washington University and, when not onstage, enjoys working on music and photography. Find out more about her current projects at Many thanks to her wonderfully supportive parents, family, and friends for always encouraging her to be her most fabulous self, onstage and off. 

Louise Chambers (FAD Girl) is thrilled to be making her Milagro debut.  Most recently she appeared in the 4x4=Musicals as part of Fertile Ground and returned to the cast of White Christmas with Lakewood after being part of the original 2011 production.  Past credits include In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play (triangle productions!), The Velveteen Rabbit (Bag & Baggage/Tears of Joy), The Andrews Brothers and Bingo! (Broadway Rose).

Cari Spinnler (FAD Girl) is thrilled to be making her Milagro debut with Learn To Be Latina! A recent graduate of Rugters University, Cari received her BFA in acting. But her first passion was dance, starting her training at four years old. Cari was last seen in Independent Women (Action Adventure). Other credits include: As You Like It (Shakespeare's Globe), Richard III Workshop (Shakespeare's Globe), La Dispute (Rutgers) and Binnorie (Rutgers). 

The Legacy of Milagro on display

We might have mentioned once or twice that this season marks Milagro's 30th anniversary, and from now through September, our history history will be on display at the Oregon Multicultural Archives !

Archivist Natalia Fernández and intern Katrina O'Brien from OMA (part of the Oregon State University's Special Collections and Archives Research Center) have spent the last 10 months poring over, organizing and cataloging the company's history into a collection that will be housed and available to the public in the SCARC. Just this past weekend, Founding Directors José Gonzalez and Dañel Malán (as well as board member John Rodarte) were in Corvallis for the unveiling of an exhibit of items and photographs that tell the story of Milagro. They include props and costumes from shows, production shots, publicity posters and more.

Although Milagro was first approached in the fall of 2012 about participating in an exhibit of Latinos in Oregon, this collection is the result of a process that began in earnest on February 28, 2013, when Milagro hosted a presentation by the American Theatre Archive Project for the local theatre community. Little over a year later, with plenty of documentation along the way, Milagro continues to lead by example, showing other arts organizations the importance of preserving records, ephemera, and production materials.

"I was very impressed with the representation of the touring and educational programs.  I especially liked the display of the masks and costumes from [Milagro Tour's 2004 production], which were connected to a video clip from the play," Malán said of the exhibit.

You can visit the exhibit in the 5th Floor Atrium of the SCARC (121 The Valley Library, OSU, Corvallis, OR) M-F 8:30-5:00 and read online about Ms. Fernández and Ms. O'Brien's experience assembling the collection.

Photo of the Day: Milagro Theatre goes corporate

Set designer Mark Haack transforms Milagro Theatre into the corporate boardroom of F.A.D. Records, Inc., building the world of "Learn to Be Latina", Enrique Urueta's hilarious lesson on the vagaries of identity and pop culture.

Show runs through May 31. Get your tickets today, or volunteer to usher!

Meet the Choreographer: Interview with Chip Sherman, Pt. 2

The work continues as the Milagro team prepares for our next show, the outrageous and irreverent "post-911 race farce/lesbian romantic comedy (with dance breaks)" that is "Learn to Be Latina". Last week we got to see the F.A.D. Girls shake their stuff, and choreographer Chip Sherman shared with us a little of his experience in Portland and at Milagro. Today, in the second part of his interview, the young mover and shaker takes us through the musical (and dance-ical) journey that awaits our wanna-be pop star. Read below to see how "rhythm is gonna get you", and get your tickets for the show, opening May 2 (preview 5/1).

VG: You are trained in a lot of different styles, from ballet to butoh and a lot in between. Can you tell us a little bit about what we'll see in "LTBL"?
CS: What I love, love, LOVE about this show is that the music is so diverse: you've got 'N Sync, then Missy Elliot on to Shakira and Jill Scott, so it goes through a lot of genres. You’ve got pop going into hip-hop going into Latin going into, basically, gospel mixed with a jazz infusion. 

The dance is going to follow the lines of the songs: with 'N 'Sync you’ve got the B-Boy moves of the late 90’s, early Millennium. Then with Missy, more street, hip-hop. And then going into [Shakira’s] “La Tortura” and J-Lo’s “Let’s Get Loud”, there’s more of a Latin-infused hip-hop. For me the whole show is in a pop/hip hop style, but with Latin influence. The show is about making this girl into a Latin pop star, so it’s got to have that pop/hip hop base, but with that Latin flavor and fire on top. We'll be seeing hip hop mixed with Jazz, mixed with some merengue and cumbia, and there’s even some stomp that I put in there, from my background in tap and African dance. We do a beautiful little tango/Flamenco/stomp dance duel between [the characters played by] Nicole Accuardi and Olga Sanchez.

VG: The play itself is very farcical. How do you keep the dance from being simply another comedic element in a play like this? 

CS: The dance starts out big. Huge. 'N Sync is pop, and it’s the first number you see, and I’ve choreographed that to be larger than life. And then it goes into "Let’s Get Loud", which gets even bigger, and brings in the Latin aspect. So it’s about showing off, and an escape from realism and moving into the farcical aspect, showing how much fun you can have with the dance. As you go on with the show, the dance starts from a place of over-exposure and then it goes into this place where it becomes seamless with real life with Aimee Mann’s "Wise up”. It slows down and goes into a more lyrical base of movement. It becomes more pedestrian before getting into "Malagueña", which brings us to the tango/Flamenco. Flamenco is all about machismo and the triumphant matador, and here we’re working with Kristen Munn, a fight choreographer around town, and we’re going to do a little “Vulcan mind meld” to mix in the stomp dance style with her fighting style. 

 VG: So even though it is a farce about the world of pop, there is authenticity underneath?

CS: That’s the arc of the dance in the show: it starts out very stereotypical, plastic, very presentational, and it ends up very real. It’s driven by [the protagonist] Hanan’s heart instead of her mind… It goes from your mind to your heart. That’s life. You start out thinking “it’s cool, fine”, that you don’t have to do anything, and everything will fall into place; as you start maturing, you realize you have to put up a fight, especially people of color, we have to put up a fight and actually find our place in life and claim it.

 Get your tickets today and don't miss the movement and mirth of the most hilarious lesson coming to Milagro Theatre this May. "Learn to Be Latina" opens May 2 (preview May1) and runs Thursdays through Sundays until May 31.

Meet the choreographer: Interview with Chip Sherman, Pt 1

A few days ago we had a chance to catch a glimpse of the work going into the dance numbers in "Learn to Be Latina", opening at Milagro on May 2 (preview May 1). Now we bring you the first part of an interview with Chip Sherman, the man behind the moves.

Since his move to Portland, the young performer choreographer has been busy with different companies around town, but he took a few minutes to chat with our own Vicente Guzman-Orozco about his new hometown and the experience of working at Milagro on this irreverent, high energy "post-911 race farce/lesbian romantic comedy (with dance breaks)." Read on to learn more about Chip, and get your tickets today!

VG: It was fun to see you and the F.A.D. Girls in action. Can you talk a little about your background and experience, for those of us not fortunate enough to have caught you on stage yet?
CS: I’ve been in Portland two years as of February 5, I came from Eugene, where I lived since high school. I had been in various dance teams and troupes, so I got training in Hip-Hop, African, Tap, Modern and Jazz dance, and outside of that, I got involved with salsa and Latin Ballroom at a local pizza joint, where after a dance lesson earlier in the evening, there was free dance. 

I was “found” by Meshi Chavez when I auditioned for him late in 2011 here in Portland, for a show that toured in the Southwest. When we returned I decided to stay here to work. And then I met Cassandra Schwanke when she was starting her company Human Being Curious, hanging out and doing some karaoke. After some liquid courage I asked what she was working on. When she said “The Tempest”, I asked, “do you have your Caliban?” She said no, and I replied, “Now you do!” 

That was the beginning of the rest… She was my cheerleader and mentor, introducing me to Ty Boyce, co-founder of Post 5 Theater, and I got to become a company member, having worked with me and seeing how dedicated I had been to the production (which I also choreographed). Then “Arabian Nights” came around and I also had the opportunity to choreograph that. I got cast in other stuff around town, and I have been working ever since!

VG: This is your first time collaborating with Milagro. How has the experience been for you?
CS: It’s so much fun! Olga saw me at the general auditions and approached me after seeing I had a dance background and had worked on “Arabian Nights”. I was starting to get into this choreographer mode, in addition to acting, and that’s when she put the hook in. And then she said, "you’d be working with Tony Sonera", and I had heard about him and Badass Theatre Company, and all the press was coming out from “Invasion” then –  [I thought,] "this is a guy I want to work with, he’s doing some good ####! And this show… if you take Invasion, amp it up, put some Latinas in it and the word “####”, and you’re going to have “Learn to Be Latina”… oh, and you also will need a sock puppet, I guess. 

I got hooked because I saw how passionate everyone is at Milagro, starting with Olga. She brings this heart and love for the work that everyone here produces. And you can tell that everyone  on the staff here wants to be here! They’re fulfilling their duties because they have a passion for those duties, which I really respect.

As a person of color who’s never really had a place, through life growing up in Eugene and around the country, I had never found people of color to learn from or play off from, or just be around. That’s why I think Milagro is such an important company in our town, because it produces straight-out bi-racial plays, or just racial plays. Which I think is really cool. You have other companies that are trying that, but it’s rare the company that tackles artists of color’s or people of color’s issues. And so it is cool that there is just not “a” black, but also a Latino voice that we can hear.

Next up we'll hear more about the dance that awaits us in "Learn to Be Latina" to the sounds of 'N Sync to Shakira and much more in between! Get your tickets today!

Photo of the Day: Boy! They know how to move...

Louise Chambers, Sarah DeGrave, Cari Spinnler, and Lauren Mitchell.  
Learn to be Latina is a "post-911 race farce/lesbian romantic comedy (with dance breaks)", and Hanan, like any big pop star, needs a troupe of fabulous dancers next to her, so "Learn to be Latina" brings us the F.A.D. Girls ( Funky Artist Development)!

Louise, Sarah, Cari and Lauren, and the rest of the  talented cast will make "Learn to be Latina" a play you won't want to miss! 

Come and see their moves at Milagro Theatre from May 1 - 31!

"Latina" has got some moves! Part 1

The entire team of "Learn to Be Latina" is hard at work before the exciting opening of this hilarious show coming up on May 2!*

Last week, our very own Vicente Guzman-Orozco** got to spend some time with the "flyest" part of the cast: the choreographer and dance chorus (known as the F.A.D. Girls, the literal movers and shakers at "Funky Artist Development"), and today he brings us a short video of a dance rehearsal as a brief preview.

Vicente also sat down to speak with choreographer Chip Sherman about his experience, the process and and experience of working on this demanding but irreverent production at Milagro, and even why this show is important to the local LGBT community, in a conversation that will be published later this week. In the meantime, check out Chip and the FAD Girls in action!  

* "Learn to Be Latina" previews 5/1, and officially opens 5/2, with a post-show reception catered by Pambiche.
** Guzman-Orozco will also facilitate the free post-show conversations with scholars and artists after Sunday matinees (May 4, 11 and 18).

Tickets available now! Get yours online at; over the phone: 503-236-7253  our in person at box office 425 SE 6th Ave open M-F 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.