The Brief Story of a Long-Lasting Milagro, Part II

The Brief Story of a Long-Lasting Milagro, Part II

As we gear up for a party three decades in the making, our own Vicente Guzman-Orozco gives us a glimpse (for some of us, a memory) of the lasting legacy and accomplishments of the unique institution that is Milagro.
Join us on June 24th for a sangría (or Deschutes beer) toast, delectable tapas from Mayahuel Catering, and the passionate flamenco of Mark Ferguson. Buy your ticket to Milagro’s 30th Cumpleaños today!

The journey to the Milagro of today, like all great adventures, was everything but straightforward. 

José Gonzalez and Malán started out by producing various experimental and avant-garde works under the name ArtPaz, (joining “art” to the Spanish word for “peace”). The inaugural production was Ayckburn’s “Relatively Speaking”, foreshadowing the combination of irreverence and wit that characterizes many of the productions today. A couple of years later, they founded the Ancient Greek Theatre Festival, finding a temporary home in the Northwest Service Center. It was here that, moved by Gonzalez’s nostalgia for the Southwest and its Latino vibrancy in particular, the company organized the first Hispanic Cultural Festival in the city.

The inaugural festival defined the direction and flavor of the company with important Latino works like Milcha Sanchez Scott’s “Roosters” and Antonio Skarmeta’s “Burning Patience” sharing the  playbill with the Andean folk band Illapu, and the couple began a history of fostering emerging local talents, like dancers and poets. The festival became an annual event, alternating with the Greek Festival, which shared a similar purpose of highlighting the richness of cultural identity while exploring age-old themes and modern dilemmas.

Perhaps influenced by the birth of the couple’s first child, the festival also featured programming for young children with an original work, Perez y Martina, which would mark the beginning of Milagro’s touring and educational projects. The itinerant component was also a nod to the work and history of El Teatro Campesino, founded by Luis Valdez in California and considered the birth of Chicano theatre.

The festival connected with a local audience and desire for the programming it offered, not only from the public in general but also from the growing number of Latinos in the Portland metropolitan area, having gone from less than 4% in 1990 to 6.8% according to the 2000 census. Now at an estimated 9.4%, the community has grown in a great deal in size and influence, and so has Milagro, transitioning to focus on promoting the works of Latino artists of local, national and global renown by 1992. 

down memory lane with us as we celebrate three decades of the best of
Latino art and culture in the Northwest and help set the stage for many
more! Get
your ticket to Milagro’s 30th Cumpleaños today!

Help us to do what we do better! follow the link and fill out our  anniversary season survey, you can win tickets to any of our 2014-2015 season productions!