Before episodic and pilot season once again descends on Los Angeles, the National Hispanic Media Coalition is giving casting directors a leg up on discovering the city’s hottest Hispanic talent.
North Hollywood’s El Portal Theatre’s has seen its fair share of show variety, but the Latino Showcase might be the best secret that it’s put on yet. This year featured 22 actors in 7 originals shorts that were all written, directed, and performed by Hispanic artists of notable caliber. The mostly comedic lineup was sponsored by several major corporations including Disney, the Writers Guild of America West, Univision, Fusion, and CBS. With such a bombardment of material, one might wonder if everyone would simply get lost in the shuffle, however, a few key players shot to the top of the performance.
Alfredo Trueba is one that that is sure to soon set the city on fire. His spellbinding portrayal of Jesus Christ in Jesenia Ruiz’s “Pearly Gates” had audience members simultaneously rolling the floor and praying. Though he is young and new to Los Angeles having just moved here from New York after completing his BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, he carries himself as an experienced and mesmerizing performer. Not only did he steal his scene, he set the bar for the rest of the showcase despite the unquestionable merit of the group.
Another bright star was writer Joseph Ferrante and his short “The Mailroom” which told the story of three mail assistants in a Los Angeles production company who all dream of bigger and better things. Though the synopsis might read as a boring played out troupe, Ferrante’s world is delivered in an interesting and witty manner that keeps it far from boring. His words were definitely aided by a talented cast including the audacious Brain Molina, personable Eddie Ruiz, and captivating Peter Pasco.
The showcase also carried some strong female talent including Carla Olivar and Nisala Gonzalez, two of the best character actors of the event. Also notable was Yvonne Angulo who acted in the sole dramatic short and did so tremendously.
With the focus of Hollywood finally turning towards a more ethnic light, casting directors will count themselves lucky to have this kind of talent pool to choose from. Certain actors especially Trueba, Olivar, and Molina are better than the majority of those already on the screen and this is only the beginning for them.