Alliance for Latino Theater Artists, ALTA, Arturo Soria, Barrow Street Theatre, Hit the Wall, Latino theatre, Luis Alfaro, Oedipus Rey, Steppenwolf, The Theatre School at DePaul University, Victory Gardens Theater
There is no doubt that New Jersey native Arturo Soria has already left his mark in Chicago’s theatre scene as an actor as well as a teacher at the Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Humboldt Park. His performances in Luis Alfaro’s Oedipus Rey, Bill Cain’s Equivocation (both at the Victory Gardens Theater), and The Chicago Landmark Project (Theatre Seven) were described as “solid,” “wonderfully flamboyant,” and “hysterical” by Chicago’s theatre critics. He has even been compared to a young Al Pacino by The New Yorker’s Hilton Als.
A graduate of the Fine and Performing Arts Center at Howell High School and The Theatre School at DePaul University, Soria originated the role of Tano in the critically acclaimed World Premiere of Hit the Wall, written by Ike Holter and produced by The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf Garage Theatre. Other theatre credits include: A Few Good Men (Peninsula Players); The Fever Chart (Eclipse Theatre Company); Sonnets for an Old Century (Urban Theatre Co.); The Chicago Landmark Project (Theatre Seven of Chicago); and Scorched (Silk Road Rising); and the solo show You Don’t Know My Life, NI MI MADRE, where he plays his mother, among other critically acclaimed roles.
Where were you born?
How would your grandma describe you?
“Ay mi Arturito, tú eres el nieto más cariñoso, más dulce y el único nieto que me dice abuelita” or when I leave her house after a visit, “¡Que comunista! Tú me dejaste sola, triste y abandonada!”
When you’re asked the question, “what do you do?”, what do you answer? What would you LIKE to answer?
I always start by saying that I am an actor and a teaching artist even though I feel that I have been trained to do more than that. In school I felt like I was not being trained to solely be an actor, like many programs do, but to be a theatre artist. By that, I mean someone who can create theatre and has an opinion about what type of theatre needs to be created. Ideally, I would love to answer that I create. And that can mean stories, roles, theatre, recipes and even opportunities for others.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I can make a loud popping noise with my tongue. Like real loud. I used to drive my family crazy when I was a kid.
What was the first piece of theatre you ever experienced?
This wasn’t my first piece of theatre but by far one of the most memorable and one that really affected me. In high school, my older brother and his best friend took me to see an experimental theatre show in NYC called Where’s Your Head At?. The audience sat on this platform that rolled back and forth throughout this large warehouse space. It was as if we were moving from room to room in a large house. Our chairs also swiveled so that we can see the space all around us. It was the first time I ever experienced theatre in a non-traditional proscenium set up.
I had no idea what was going on in the play, it didn’t make much sense, but I do remember this one actress who played a man. She had a short black wig on, was dressed in a tuxedo and she sang this song that was incredibly captivating. Her eyes were filled with so much pain and longing and as she sang she began to tear up. It was one of the coolest experiences!
Why do you think you got into the theatre?
I was a really hyper kid! My mamae and my nonno would go crazy with me. They said I made too much noise, I had too many personalities and way too much energy. So, they enrolled me in theatre and tap dancing. As I got older and continued to study theatre on a deeper level I began to realize how powerful it can be. My students continuously remind me how magical theatre is and how deeply it can affect a community.
What’s coming up for you? Any cool projects you want to tell us about
Currently I am rehearsing the Off-Broadway production of Hit The Wall at the Barrow Street Theatre in NYC. Previews start Feb. 19.