“Empanada for a Dream” Runs thru Nov.18th – Los Angeles Theater Center

“Empanada for a Dream”

A West Coast Premiere

Written and Performed, by Juan Francisco Villa


This week in theater by Rose Desena


I was really surprised by this show. I hesitate when it comes to one actor shows, for no reason other than I rarely see one that does it for me, but Villa hit me right in the heart.


I loved the way he took us through the story of his life in the lower east side of Manhattan. I am a native New Yorker from immigrant parents just like Villa.  Mine were Italian and his from Colombia. Our stories are not that different.  He goes into detail of the cultural experiences that were so dear to him: food music, and interesting times spent in a cultural home.  Then it moves on to the tragedies and tribulations of life in a family of drug dealers. His disappointments and his losses are very familiar to me. His life is not that much different from the Italian kids who grew up in the Mafia families of Brooklyn and Queens. His role models seem to abandon him one by one.   He expresses his fears, and the emptiness he experiences, as he watches everyone dear to him die a violent death or suddenly leave for prison.



Not everything in this story is hard; there are some enduring moments as well as an upbeat ending.


Villa’s many characters are expertly presented; he moves seamlessly from his difficult relationship with his mother to a loving encounter with his uncle. He changes voices constantly making him an absolute joy to watch.



Juan Francisco Villa studied at the Maggie Flanigan’s Meisner conservatory, his good education shines through in this brilliantly written piece.  Catch it before it closes.  Only a few more weekends are left


“Empanada for a Dream”

Produced by The Latino Theater Company


Written and Performed by Juan Francisco Villa

Directed by Alex Levy

Friday and Saturday @ 8pm / Sunday @ 3pm.

Closes November 18th

The Los Angeles Theater Center

514 S. Spring Street. LA, CA 90013


This theater is located in a historical building in the heart of downtown so make a night of it.

Plenty of clubs and bars open after the show.




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