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Beginning this month and in partnership with the Alliance of Latino Theatre Artists in Chicago (ALTA) founded by Tanya Saracho and Ricardo Gutierrez, this blog will feature one of the many talented actors, actresses, comedians, costume and set designers, directors, playwrights, you name it, that have helped and are helping turn Chicago’s Latino theatre and stand-up scenes into one of the most vibrant in the country.

We kick off this monthly series by featuring an actor who has been slowly but surely building a name for himself in the city’s improv scene: Alonzo Alcaraz.

Alonzo Alcaraz

A former managing director for Chicago improv group Salsation, Alcaraz co-directed and co-produced the romantic sketch comedy “I ❤ U (I Heart You)” two years ago and is currently working on his first feature-length locally produced film “The Wingman,” raising a significant amount of the funds needed for its production online thru Indiegogo, a crowdfunding platform:

Full Name?
Jose Alonzo Alcaraz Carasucia Del Monte, but most people call me Zo

Where were you born?
Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, but my dad is from Tecalitlan, Jalisco and my mother from Nueva Italia, Michoacan

How would your grandma describe you?
Unfortunately, neither one of my abuelitas got to know me outside of a handful of visits… but I do recall my abuelita on my mom’s side saying I had “un peinado bonito”.

When you’re asked the question, “what do you do?” what do you answer? What would you LIKE to answer?
I do what I love and love what I do. As an artist I identify myself as a storyteller, whether acting, writing, producing, etc. Also, I am very blessed to have a full and balanced life. Between balancing a full time job, being a parent, creating, smelling the roses, it’s all done with love and passion.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? Any special talents?
I’m a total nerd. As a kid, while most read comic books, I read encyclopedias.

What was the first piece of theatre you ever experienced?
I first experienced theater as most did in grammar school and high school through local productions.

Why do you think you got into the theatre?
I’ve always been a bit of a ham. When I was 9-years-old, a couple of my friends and I entered in the school’s lip sync contest (we performed Weird Al Yankovich’s parody “Fat”) and ever since then, I’ve been addicted to the sound of laughter at my expense. I reconnected with that way later in when I got back on stage at Second City and began performing with Salsation Theater Co.

What’s coming up for you? Any cool projects you want to tell us about?
I’ve been more focused on commercial and film work recently. I am producing my first feature length movie from a screenplay I wrote called “The Wingman”. I also have the pleasure of working with the amazing Maritza Cabrera, Rinska Carrasco and Eddie Martinez in the viral sketch group, TBD. But more importantly, I do plan on reconnecting with my theater roots in 2013 with more live theater productions.

As a side note, I’d like to thank all of those artists that have inspired me directly through our personal and professional relationships and those who have inspired me indirectly through their amazing talent. I feel honored to have seen or worked with the best Latino talent this city has to offer and look forward to seeing that talent base expand to a national and international level.

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