Culture   Sun, August 13, 2017 06:52 PM

Washington, DC – GALA Hispanic Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of the commissioned adaptation by Nando López of Don Juan Tenorio by José Zorilla. López authored the adaptation of the Helen Hayes Award-winning Yerma. Directed by José Carrasquillo, Don Juan Tenorio is performed in Spanish with English surtitles from September 7 through October 1, 2017 at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. The theater is one block from the Columbia Heights metro station on the Green and Yellow lines. Discounted parking is available behind the theater at the Giant Food garage.

“For more than four decades,” comments Hugo Medrano, GALA Producing Artistic Director and co-founder, “GALA has staged the classics of the Hispanic canon for Washington audiences. We have told those stories in their original forms and commissioned new versions that make the works accessible for today’s audiences.”

In this contemporary adaptation of Don Juan Tenorio, the legendary lover pursues his vampiric impulses until he is redeemed by love.  Remaining true to the language of Zorilla, López has distilled the story to its essence. He has combined characters and made them more complex, incorporating features of those appearing in versions by Tirso de Molina, Moliere, and Da Ponte. In particular, the women are stronger and multi-faceted, and the young Doña Ines is ultimately Don Juan’s salvation. 

“In his new version,” adds Carrasquillo, “López highlights the sensual and seductive nature of Don Juan, turning his voracious sexual appetite into a primal need for living like a vampire in “True Blood” or “Twilight”. “There also is,” states Carrasquillo, “a new discovery. The play ends with a feminist lesson: for Don Juan to attain redemption, he needs Doña Ines. And in those last moments of the drama, her voice is an early feminist manifesto.”

Press Night is Friday, September 8, and Noche de GALA is Saturday, September 9, under the gracious patronage of the Ambassador of Spain Pedro Morenés. This production is made possible with generous support from the Embassy of Spain in Washington, DC, SPAIN arts & culture, the National Endowment for the Arts, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, Maggio & Kattar, and the Princess Grace Foundation, a creative collaborator.

There will be discussions with playwright Nando López and director José Carrasquillo after the performances on Friday, September 8 at 8 pm and Sunday, September 10 at 2 pm.

Student matinees are on September 20, 21, 22, 27, 28 and 29 at 10:30 am.


José Zorilla (1817-1893) was a Spanish Romantic poet and dramatist born in Valladolid. He began to write verses when he was 12 years old and his elegiac poem, read at the funeral of satirist Maximino José de la Larra, brought him great notice and introduction to leading men of letters. In 1837 he published a book of verses that was so well received he published six more volumes in three years.  Zorilla began his individual career as a playwright, after collaborating in 1839 on Juan Dondolo with Antonio García Gutiérrez. His first play was Cada cual con su razón (1840), which was followed by 22 plays in the next five years, and his Cantos del trovador (1841), collection of national legends written in verse, brought him great public acclaim. Many of his dramas also were based on national legends and were adapted from other plays that had fallen out of fashion. Don Juan Tenorio, his most famous play, is a combination of elements from Tirso de Molina’s El burlador de Sevilla and from Alexandre Duma’s Don Juan de Marano. Zorilla left Spain in 1847 and lived in France and later in Mexico. He returned to Spain in 1866 poor and almost forgotten. However, in his old age critics began to reconsider his work and he achieved fame again.  He received a gold medal of honor from the Spanish Academy, and in 1889 he was awarded the title of National Laureate.  He died in Madrid in 1893.


Nando López is a paywright, novelist, and educator whose adaptation of Yerma by Federico García Lorca received the 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Play at GALA. His plays have been staged in Spain, the United States, Panama, and Venezuela, and include #Maliditos16, La edad de la ira, Los grietos del mar, Los amores diversos, Tour de force, El sexo que sucede, Darwin dice, Tres formas de lenguaje, De mutuo desacuerdo, Saltar sin red, and Spinning. López published his first novel at age 19, “In(h)armónicos”, which received the Joven y Brillante Prize. Among his other novels are “Cuando todo era fácil”, “Los sonidos de los cuerpos”, “La edad de la ira”, “Las vidas que inventamos”, and “'La inmortalidad del cangrejo”, which is on the list of best-selling gay novels in contemporary Spanish literature. Although many of his narratives have dealt with conflicts and sentiments that relate to sexual orientation and gay issues, he does not believe in the labels “gay theater” or “gay literature”. 

Born in Barcelona, he attended the Universidad Complutense in Madrid, receiving a degree in Hispanic philology, and founded the theater company, Armando no me llama.


Don Juan Tenorio is directed by José Carrasquillo, who has staged numerous productions at GALA, including  El Paso Blue, La señorita de Tacna, Ana en el trópico,  LúcidoThe True History of Coca-Cola in Mexico, Cita a ciegasEl arquitecto y el emperador de Asiria, and La granadaRegional credits include The Body of an American and After the Fall at Theater J; Happy Days, Macbeth, MedeaBlood Wedding, Metamorphosis and The Maids at WSC Avant Bard; Patient A, And Baby Makes Seven at Freedom Stage; Jesus Hopped the “A” Train and Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown at Round House Theatre; A Language of Their Own and Clean at Studio Theatre; Sueño, an adaptation of Calderon’s Life is a Dream at Olney Theatre; and the world premieres of The Obituary Bowl at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company; The Magic Rainforest at The Kennedy Center; and Donna Q at Signature Theatre. His productions have received multiple Helen Hayes Awards and nominations and he is the recipient of a Mary Goldwater Lobby Award for best director for The Maids. Carrasquillo will next direct Sotto Voce by Nilo Cruz at Theater J, where he as associate artist for the 2017-18 season.

Featured in the cast is guest artist Iker Lastra from Madrid, Spain, who appeared at GALA in Yerma and was nominated for a 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play. In Spain, his theater credits include Mi niño Schubert, Historias mínimas, Sed, Testigo de cargo, among others. Lastra also has appeared in a recurring role in several prominent Spanish television series, incuding Herederos, De Moda, Amor es Para Siempre, Sin Tetas no hay Paraíso, Homicidios, and Hospital Central.

Also appearing in Don Juan Tenorio are GALA company members Luz Nicolás (Spanish), Manolo Santalla (Cuban), Carlos Castillo (Venezuelan), and Inés Domínguez del Corral (Colombian).  Nicolás appeared in Cervantes: El último Quijote and in Yerma, for which was nominated for a 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. Santalla, Domínguez, and Castillo, who was nominated for a 2000 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for El burlador de Sevilla, last appeared together in Crónica de una muerte anunciada. Making her GALA debut is Paz López from Chile.

Scenic design is by Giorgos Tsappas, who designed La Señorita de Tacna at GALA and Jarry Inside Out at Spooky Action, for which he received a 2016 Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Set Design.  Lighting design is by resident designer Christopher Annas-Lee, who designed In The Heights, received a 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for Yerma, and is a 2017-2018 Princess Grace Award winner. Costume design is by Jeffrey Peavy, who is working on his first production at GALA. Sound Design is by David Crandall, who received the 1992 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Sound Design, and Jonathan Rubin, who was nominated for a 2016 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Choreography in a Play, is Fight Choreographer. Nelly Díaz-Rodríguez is Stage Manager and Kevin Place is Assistant Director. Lena Salins is Production Manager, Devin Mahoney is Technical Director, and Hugo Medrano is Producer.


Regular tickets are $45 on Thursdays through Sundays. Tickets for students, military, seniors (65+), and 30 and Under are $30. Additional discounts are available for groups of 10 or more. To purchase tickets, call 202-234-7174, or visit

Dubraska Vale 202-234-7174