In January of this year, Ricky Araiza was appointed as the new Artistic Director for the bilingual theater company, Teatro Bravo. He hopes to bring the same energetic leadership to the organization as his predecessors, Fernando Tesón (2010-2012) and Guillermo Reyes (2000-2009). In addition to fulfilling Teatro Bravo’s mission to produce both new and classic works of theater that deal with the Latino experience in the U.S., Araiza also faces the challenges of an ethnic theater company trying to keep afloat in difficult economic times with their attendant drop in support for the arts. Araiza intends to pursue creative fund-raising and innovative management strategies. Currently under consideration by the board of directors is a plan to collaborate with Phoenix’ Black Theatre Troupe (BTT) on artistic and educational projects, while sharing BTT’s new facility on Washington Street.
Recently, Ricky shared some stories and background data with LPM.
Education/training: I attended St. Catherine of Siena in South Phoenix. I went to Brophy College Preparatory for high school on work-study and graduated in 2000. I got my B.A. in Theater from Arizona State. I also studied physical ensemble-based theater at Dell’Arte International in Blue Lake, California.
Career highlights: Every show that I do has its own special highlights that I share with the entire cast and crew. However, I think one of the biggest and scariest moments I experienced was when I performed in front of First Lady Laura Bush and the power went out in the middle of the show. Thankfully, it came right back on just as the next sound cue was about to start. Nobody even noticed.
Why did you pursue this career? I love the theater and I love storytelling. I feel that what I do is God’s work. Theater is just another way to show people what it means to be human.
Influences/inspiration: There are so many. I will say the main ones have been John Leguizamo, Frida Kahlo, Julie Taymor, French cinema, Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers, just to name a few.
A theater director you’d like to meet: Julie Taymor – her imagination just astounds me.
Future plans and professional goals? I would like to direct more.
There will be a fundraiser performance of American Victory by José Zárate, directed by Guillermo Reyes, on March 8 and 9 at 8:00 pm at the Black Theatre Troupe Performing Arts Center, located at 1333 E. Washington in Downtown Phoenix. $12 admission; $10 seniors and students
Contact: Teatro Bravo 602-258-1800