Since I am not in a play at the moment, it is so refreshing to have the time to go support friends who are doing some amazing work on the LA Theatre scene. Tonight was one of those nights. My dear friend, Ralph Cole Jr. is starring in a play called DEMENTIA at the Los Angeles Theatre Center. He brilliantly portrays the character Lupe, who is the alter ego of Moe who is dying of aids. It is a story we all can relate to on some level, but the way it is told this time is truly a work of art. Although the entire cast does some outstanding work, I have to say that Ralph's star is one of the brightest. He shines, he sparkles, he illuminates the stage every time he sets foot on it. I wasn't sure if I would be able to attend opening night, but one of his friends had an extra ticket and wanted to gift someone. I was the lucky recipient. I got to meet the cast, the playwright and all the behind the scenes people as well as partake in the after show reception, where we ate, drank wine, danced and laughed til 1AM (and not necessarily in that order). Ralph's Mom was there and I met his uncle for the first time.
This wonderful Latin cast is truly family. The playwright who was also a cast member is married to the director/artistic director of the theatre. One of the other bright and shining stars was actress Esperanza America Ibarra who is their daughter. The lead actor, the astonishing Sal Lopez is married to the choreographer..and so on and so on and so on. These people have been working together in theatre and film for 30 years. Leave it to Ralph to take over the role of Lupe and fit in like he's been there all the time. This piece is universal and thought provoking and I know I will want to see it again. Next on my list...WOMEN OF BREWSTER PLACE at the Celebration Theatre.