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September 22, 2020

Great Leads for Latinx Actors

2008 Broadway production of In the Heights (Joan Marcus)

It might be Latinx Heritage Month, but celebrating leads for Latinx actors is a year-round event. Check out this list of titles and roles that explore the varied histories and experiences of Latinx people.

American Night: The Ballad of Juan José by Richard Montoya (US/UK)

Synopsis: As Juan José feverishly studies for his citizenship exam, his obsession to pass takes him on a fantastical odyssey through U.S. history, guided by a handful of unsung citizens who made courageous choices in some of the country’s toughest times. A provocative, irreverent, and hilarious mix of past and present, stereotype and truth.

Roles: This play is full of incredible roles for Latinx actors from top to bottom, but the lead of Juan José would be excellent for someone to sink their teeth into.

  • JUAN JOSÉ — An immigrant studying for his citizenship exam.
Barrio Hollywood by Elaine Romero (US/UK)

Synopsis: A tense family drama — a young Mexican-American boxer dreams of fighting his way out of his family’s economic plight in his barrio neighborhood. His sister, a passionate ballet folklorico dancer and dedicated cultural artist, dreams of owning her own dance studio to pass her Mexican traditions on to another generation. Their flamboyant mother dreams of taking her poker winnings and going on an extended vacation to the Canary Islands. The family’s dreams are deferred when the young boxer sustains a brutal head injury in the boxing ring. As her brother’s condition worsens, and as she falls unexpectedly in love with a white doctor from out of state, the dancer and her family learn how far they are willing to go in the name of love.

This play is published in a bilingual edition. If you are applying for licensing rights, please state which version you wish to produce.


  • ALEX MORENO — A twenty-four year-old Latino boxer.
  • GRACIELA MORENO — Alex’s older sister, a twenty-nine year-old ballet folklorico dancer.
Bye Bye Birdie by Lee Adams, Charles Strouse, Michael Stewart (US/UK)

Synopsis: A loving send-up of the 1950s, small-town America, teenagers and rock & roll, Bye Bye Birdie remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. Teen heartthrob Conrad Birdie has been drafted, so he chooses All-American girl Kim MacAfee for a very public farewell kiss. Featuring a tuneful high-energy score, plenty of great parts for teens, and a hilarious script, Birdie continues to thrill audiences around the world.


  • ROSE ALVAREZ — A feisty young woman in her early thirties, Albert’s partner.
Chimichangas and Zoloft by Fernana Coppel (US/UK)

Synopsis: Suffering from a profound sense of disappointment after her 40th birthday, Sonia flees her family and goes on a binge of prescription Zoloft and greasy chimichangas. Sonia’s rebellious daughter Jackie and her best friend Penelope hatch a plan to lure Sonia back home, while their fathers struggle with a secret association of their own. This irreverent story examines the search for happiness and the mysteries of sexuality through the eyes of two brazen teenagers.


  • PENELOPE LOPEZ — 16 years old, Mexican-American, sassy, doesn’t understand her own beauty.
  • JACKIE MARTINEZ — 15 years old, Mexican-American, a tomboy, an old soul.
  • ALEJANDRO LOPEZ — 38 years old, Mexican, very handsome, a bartender.
  • RICARDO MARTINEZ — 45 years old, Mexican, quiet beauty, very successful lawyer.
  • SONIA MARTINEZ — 40 years old, Mexican-American, tired, doesn’t know why she is hurting.
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz (US/UK)

Synopsis: As a lifelong fan of wrestling, Macedonio Guerra has followed wrestling only to become a “jobber,” one who is paid to lose to bigger-name stars in the ring. Macedonio meets Vigneshwar Paduar, a young Indian man from Brooklyn, who he wants to team up with. The wrestling execs go for it, but pitch them as “terrorists” in the ring. Macedonio and Vigneshwar find a way to push the personas to the limits and say what needs to be said. Unspoken racism, politics and courage are all woven into this play that leaves it all on the mat.


  • MACEDONIO GUERRA (also known as The Mace) — A Puerto Rican professional wrestler; good at what he does, undersized, our hero.
In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Quiara Alegría Hudes (US/UK)

Synopsis: In the Heights tells the universal story of a vibrant community in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood – a place where the coffee from the corner bodega is light and sweet, the windows are always open and the breeze carries the rhythm of three generations of music. It’s a community on the brink of change, full of hopes, dreams and pressures, where the biggest struggles can be deciding which traditions you take with you, and which ones you leave behind.

Roles: This musical, which celebrates the Latinx communities of northern Manhattan, is full of incredible leads for Latinx actors. Here is a shortlist of a few…

  • USNAVI DE LA VEGA — Owner of De La Vega Bodega.
  • NINA ROSARIO — A freshman at Stanford University.
  • VANESSA — A young woman who works at the salon and dreams of a life downtown.
  • ABUELA CLAUDIA — Raised Usnavi, though not his blood grandmother.
Kissing Fidel or The Cook by Eduardo Machado (US)

Synopsis: In an upscale Miami funeral home, a Cuban-American family has gathered for its matriarch’s final rights. The black sheep of the family, a successful novelist who has used his relatives as the source material for his books, much to their horror and pride, unexpectedly returns, announcing that he plans to go back to Cuba to kiss and forgive Fidel Castro.


  • OSCAR MARQUES — a novelist in his 40s.
  • OSVALDO MARQUES — his father in his 60s.
  • MIRIAM MARQUES — his aunt, Osvaldo’s sister in her early 50s.
  • YOLANDA HERNANDEZ — another aunt, his mother’s sister in her early 50s.
  • DANIEL — his cousin, Miriam’s son, 30.
  • ISMAEL — his cousin from Cuba, 25.
La Gringa by Carmen Rivera-Tirado (US)

Synopsis: Mariía Elena García goes to visit her family in Puerto Rico during the Christmas holidays and arrives with plans to connect with her homeland. Although this is her first trip to Puerto Rico, she has had an intense love for the island, and even majored in Puerto Rican Studies in college. Once Maria is in Puerto Rico, she realizes that Puerto Rico does not welcome her with open arms. The majority of the Puerto Ricans on the island consider her an American – a gringa – and Mari­a considers this a betrayal. If she’s a Puerto Rican in the United States and an American in Puerto Rico, Maria concludes that she is nobody everywhere. Her uncle, Manolo, spiritually teaches her that identity isn’t based on superficial and external definitions, but rather is an essence that she has had all along in her heart. Available in Spanish and English!


  • MARÍA ELENA GARCÍA — 22 year-old Puerto Rican-American woman, born and raised in New York City; considered a “Nuyorican”; young and naïve.
  • MANOLO COFRESÍ — early 60s, her uncle; had dreams of pursuing acting when he was young; although he is very ill and near death, he possesses a lively spirit and a great sense of humor.
  • IRIS BURGOS — María’s cousin, 24 years old; extroverted and a bit jealous of her cousin María.
  • NORMA BURGOS — María’s aunt, Iris’ mother, and Manolo’s sister, late 50s; never pursued her dream of being a singer and lives with much bitterness and resentment in her spirit.
  • VÍCTOR BURGOS — Norma’s husband, early 60s; possesses a great deal of positive energy and has a huge capacity for love.
  • RAMN “MONCHI” REYES — a neighbor, 24 years old; has an entrepreneurial spirit; started his own farm and falls in love with María.
Mala Hierba by Tanya Saracho (US/UK)

Synopsis: Liliana has a sparkle few can deny and no one can resist. The trophy wife of a border magnate living in Texas, she’s seemingly impeccable. But beneath that polished exterior lies a fierce determination to survive at any cost. When Liliana’s true desires break the surface, she’ll have to decide between the value of obligation versus the price of freedom.


  • LILIANA — 28ish years old. Wife of border magnate. She was born in Mexico to a proper family and she’s always decked out. All her life she’s been an object of desire because she’s got that thing that only a few people have – that sparkle. The kind of charm that can’t be taught.
  • MARITZA — Same age as Liliana, more or less. Mari is a visual artist based in Chicago, with South Texas roots. Some might call her a “boi” or a “stud” and she wouldn’t mind it.
  • YUYA — Older than Liliana by at least 12 or 15 years. Yuya raised Liliana and her siblings and had served that household until she imported herself to Liliana’s new household after she married. She’s usually smarter than anyone in the room, but knows her place but hides her resentment well.
  • FABIOLA — The 25-year-old only daughter of Alberto Cantu, Liliana’s husband. Fabi lives in Houston and has always had everything. If you asked her, she’d consider
    herself liberal and progressive but it all depends on your definition.
Moreno by Pravin Wilkins (US/UK)

Synopsis: August, 2016. The NFL is being shaken by Colin Kaepernick’s monumental decision. While other players join him in taking a knee, star running back Luis Moreno is all about his game – and his pay check. A record-breaking season is in sight… but America’s leadership is changing. When a destructive new reality hits close to home, Luis is forced to ask whether politics have a place on the field, and if he is willing to risk his career to take a stand for his own community.


  • LUIS MORENO – Twenty-six-year-old Chicano NFL running back. Short, lean, cut. Cocky and materialistic in a “new money” sort of way. Media darling. Has a good heart, buried under more than a few layers of self-absorption.
Rabiosa by Nelson Diaz-Marcano (US/UK)

Synopsis: A one-woman show that pits a fiery Puerto Rican woman against Hurricane Maria as she demands the hurricane give back what it took away. The battle is on, the lasso is ready, but will the island survive? A ten-minute play that explores contemporary issues.


  • ROCIO — Puerto Rican female. Age range from 20s to 40s.
Santos & Santos by Octavio Solis (US/UK)

Synopsis: A crime saga about the Santos Family Law Practice in El Paso of the 1980’s, loosely based on the Chagra brothers’ killing of Judge John Wood. Drugs, gambling, and trafficking fuel the law office of Santos & Santos, and the brothers are quick to incorporate the younger brother after the death of their father. He questions his relationship to his heritage as he sees his brothers so eagerly trying to live the life of the “American.” When one of the brothers is tried for murder, Tomas leads an elaborate plot to assassinate the presiding judge in the trial.


  • TOMAS — The younger brother of Mike and Fernie, recently arrived in the US.
  • MIKE — One of the Santos Brothers attorneys in El Paso, Tomas’ brother.
  • FERNIE — One of the Santos Brothers attorneys in El Paso, Tomas’ brother.
So Go The Ghosts of Mexico (Part 1) by Matthew Paul Olmos (US/UK)

Synopsis: The first of a three-play cycle exploring the U.S./Mexico drug wars. The first play, inspired by the “Bravest Woman in Mexico,” follows a twenty-two-year-old woman who volunteers to replace a beheaded police chief when nobody else would accept the position. This sets off a chain of reactions in her husband, the Narcos and perhaps the entire country of Mexico.


  • MARI — A brave woman in Mexico
Wolf at the Door by Marisela Treviño Orta (US/UK)

Synopsis: Isadora finds the strength to stand up to her abusive husband Septimo when he forces the very pregnant Yolot to stay against her will. While Septimo makes plans for the baby, Isadora and Yolot devise one of their own. And as a pack of wolves closes in on the hacienda, Isadora must decide what price she’ll pay for her own freedom. Wolf at the Door is part of a cycle of fairy tales Marisela Treviño Orta is writing, inspired by Latino folklore and mythology.


  • ISADORA – A wife. Barely 20.
  • YOLOT – The interloper. In her 20s.
  • ROCÍO – A servant. In her 50s or 60s. Isadora’s childhood nurse and nanny, now her housekeeper.
  • SÉPTIMO – A husband. In his 30s. Uncommonly handsome and charming.

For even more plays by Latinx authors, visit the Concord Theatricals collection here.