Chicago’s leading Latinx theater company, Teatro Vista, announced today Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo have been tapped as the company’s new Co-Artistic Directors.
Diaz and Mateo are widely known in Chicago for their many individual credits on stage and behind the scenes. They also comprise the hugely popular comedy duo “Lolo and Wendy” aka Dominzuelan.
Lorena Diaz (left) and Wendy Mateo, Co-Artistic Directors, Teatro Vista
Diaz and Mateo have already stepped into the new dual role at the artistic helm of Teatro Vista, successfully concluding a national search for new creative leadership for Chicago’s largest professional Latinx theater company and one of the nation’s premier Latinx arts organizations.
Click here or above to screen (and download) Teatro Vista's one-minute video announcing the company's new artistic leadership.
“We are deeply energized by Teatro Vista and its ensemble, with its tapestry of talent, innovation and unique perspectives,” said Mateo. “There is a depth to the American Latinx experience that has fueled our 20 years of storytelling and collaboration together. With this particular ensemble, we’ll be able to deepen that storytelling and bring in a kind of nuance and complexity to our stories that our audiences will be inspired by.”
“Lorena and I will tackle this,” Mateo added, “by doing the work of true inclusion, listening to the creative needs of the ensemble, pushing them beyond their comfort zone, and into their highest potential of creative expression while being fully supported by the executive team and a passionate board of directors who are ready to provide the resources and access.”
According to Diaz, “the opportunities in an ensemble-led theater company are many and Teatro Vista has an abundance of thought-provoking artists who are exploring different genres of creative expression, from writing for television, to audio plays with visual components, to full-fledged plays with music like La Havana Madrid. Expect that kind of excitement going forward. If a pandemic finds its way back around, we are still going to create with fervor and are ready to pivot to a digital experience. We want to bring the ensemble home to the company that it was originally intended to be in its inception. A space to explore, collaborate with other artists of color in Chicago and take giant risks. As artistic leaders, we know how to carve out a brave space, identify the strengths of the ensemble and together, build anew.”
(left) Wendy Mateo and Lorena Diaz at the premiere of Good Mothers at the HBO NY Latino Film Festival, (right) Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo aka Lolo and Wendy. Photo credit (right): Joel Maisonet
Together, Diaz and Mateo are a “multihyphenated jefa” comedy duo who have enjoyed their creative partnership for more than 20 years. They co-founded (with six other partners) their own content creation studio, Chicago4Real, and co-host their livestream show Bochinche at Nite on the studio's Twitch channel. They have co-written and directed several films including Good Mothers (official selection of HBO NY Latino Film Festival and the Chicago Latino Film Festival), Sunset 1919, written by J. Nicole Brooks in collaboration with Lookingglass Theatre, and Identified, produced by Full Spectrum Features. As Dominizuelan, they performed nationally for years and pursued several independent projects, including co-writing and starring in the comedy web-series Dominizuelan Consulate, created in collaboration with Fred Armisen, producer/director Alice Mathias and Mas Mejor Productions.
Diaz and Mateo succeed previous Teatro Vista artistic directors Ricardo Gutiérrez (2012-2020), Eddie Torres (1996-2012) and Henry Godinez and Eddie Torres, who co-founded the company in 1990. Not only have two Latinas ascended to the role of co-artistic director, Teatro Vista will return to live production in 2021-22 with a predominately Latina-led executive leadership team including Board President Adela Cepeda and Managing Director Sylvia Lopez.
“We are thrilled at the unique outcome of our search, and are happy to reveal that not just one, but two dynamic, capable and collaborative women, Lorena Diaz and Wendy Mateo, are ready to build on Teatro Vista’s accomplishments and help envision the company’s future direction and growth,” said Cepeda.
“Lorena and Wendy have accomplished so much together as Chicago theater professionals,” added Lopez. “Everyone in the company is confident that their deep experience, fresh thinking, grit and determination will propel Teatro Vista to become internationally known as a place where Latinx artists grow and flourish.”
Lorena Diaz (left) on stage with Ivonne Coll in Teatro Vista's 2018 world premiere of The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker. Credit: Joel Maisonet
Diaz (she/her/hers), a “Made in Chicago” hybrid of Peruvian Indigenous descent and American Latino swagger, has bounced between Chicago’s theater and comedy scenes for 15 years. She is familiar to Teatro Vista audiences for portraying Carolina in the company’s acclaimed 2018 world premiere The Madres by Stephanie Alison Walker. She subsequently co-directed Teatro Vista’s 2019 premiere of Walker’s sequel, The Abuelas. Her many other collaborations include work with Jo Cattell and Steppenwolf 1700 (Tumbao, a live radio play), iO Chicago (People in the City), Mike Oquendo Productions, Goodman, Playground Theatre and The Second City. She is most commonly known for her work over six seasons as the snarky Nurse Doris on Dick Wolf's Chicago Med, Fire and PD franchise.
Wendy Mateo was associate director/dramaturg of Her Honor Jane Byrne for Lookingglass Theatre, where she is an artistic associate. Credit: Gracie Meyer
Mateo (she/her/hers) is a Chicago-based comedian, actor, writer, director and filmmaker. Mateo has been seen throughout the city's stages including Lookingglass Theatre, where she is an artistic associate, Steppenwolf 1700 and Playground Theater. Her directing credits include the 2018 play Not for Sale 2.0 by Guadalis del Carmen at UrbanTheater Company. On TV she performs in shows like NBC's Chicago PD, as guest star Chicago Med, and as “Ronnie” in the forthcoming Station Eleven on HBO. Aside from her focus on expanding representation in media, Mateo is also an equity, diversity, and inclusion consultant and facilitator with the Nova Collective and her own consulting company, Ina Consulting.
Teatro Vista’s artistic director executive search was led by BLVE Consults, a progressive arts and culture executive search and consulting group with offices in Chicago, DC and Toronto.
Co-directors Lorena Diaz (left), Kenzie Elizabeth (center) and Wendy Mateo on the set of the film Good Mothers, written by Diaz and Mateo. Credit: Joel Maisonet
About Teatro Vista
Teatro Vista, Chicago’s only Equity-affiliated Latino theater company, shares and celebrates the riches of Latinx culture with Chicago audiences. Teatro Vista’s primary focus is producing new works by Latinx theatre artists and presenting classic plays featuring artists of color. Its artistic vision is shaped by the company’s ensemble members, a group of multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi- disciplinary artists.
Teatro Vista ensemble members include Charín Álvarez, Max Arciniega, Desmín Borges, Cheryl Lynn Bruce, Ramón Camín, Ivonne Coll, Laura Dahl, Sandra Delgado, Liza Fernández, Khanisha Foster, Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Isaac Gomez, Ricardo Gutiérrez, Erik Juárez, Jon Lyon, Sandra Márquez, Eddie Martinez, Salome Martinez, Joe Minoso, Ayssette Muñoz, Christina Nieves, Marvin Quijada, Tommy Rivera-Vega, Gabriel Ruíz, Nate Santana, Cecilia Suarez and co-founder Edward Torres.
Teatro Vista’s Board of Directors includes Adela Cepeda, President, Joan Pantsios, Secretary, Julieta LaMalfa, Treasurer, and Sylvia Lopez, Kareem Mohamednur, Carina Sanchez and Jose Vasquez.
Teatro Vista is supported by the Joyce Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, The Bayless Foundation, Chicago Community Trust, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, The Shubert Foundation, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, CLATA (Chicago Latino Theater Alliance), DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), Venturous Foundation and the Arts Work Fund.