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By the time you read this, Iván Vega could very well be the winner of Ketel One® Vodka’s inaugural Chicago’s Modern Hispanic Gentlemen (MHG) People’s Choice Award. And even if he doesn’t win, his nomination has given the UrbanTheater Company (UTC), one of Chicago’s most innovative theatre companies, much deserved national exposure.

Founded in 2005 by Vega and Marilyn Camacho, the UrbanTheater Company dedicated its premiere season to the works of renowned Nuyorican poet and playwright Miguel Piñero. The company also produced the Midwest Premiere of Elizabeth Swados’ urban musical “Runaways” (2007), Reinaldo Povod’s “Cuba and His Teddy Bear” (2009), and playwright José Rivera’s “Brainpeople” (2010). Most of these productions have been staged at Humboldt Park’s Batey Urbano cultural center.

Iván’s credits as an actor include: the Vitalist Theatre production of Calderón de la Barca’s “Life is a Dream”, “Two Sisters and a Piano” (an Apple Tree/Teatro Vista co-production); “References To Salvador Dali Make Me Hot” at Bailiwick; Federico García Lorca’s “Bodas de Sangre” at Aguijón and Nilo Cruz’s “Anna In The Tropics” at Victory Gardens. Recently, Iván played the role of Federico Garcia Lorca in UrbanTheater Company’s production of “Beauty of the Father” by Nilo Cruz, directed by Cecilie Keenan at the Wicker Park Art Center.

IvanVega Head Shot

Where were you born?
Chicago. I was raised in La Villita/Little Village.

How would your grandma describe you?
¡Cuando era niño, era un diablito! Ahora, él es un muchacho hecho y derecho, cariñoso, con un corazón grande.

When you’re asked the question “what do you do?”, what do you answer?
I say I’m an actor and I run a theater company. I also work for a catering company.

What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I have two different color eyes. My left one is greenish and my right is brown. Most of my family has colored eyes, so they gave me one.

Any special talents?
I love to cook and I’m very passionate about photography and a very active instagrammer. Check out my mobile photography at http://instagram.com/ivanvega

What was the first piece of theatre you ever experienced?
When I was in elementary school, I remember going to Curie High School on a field trip to see “The Wiz”. This caused the shift for me getting into the theater.

Why do you think you got into the theatre?
To learn and grown, take risks, challenge myself, create opportunities/community…to tell great stories.

What’s coming up for you? Any cool projects you want to tell us about?
I was a recent finalist for Ketel One’s Modern Hispanic Gentlemen for my work with UrbanTheater Company (UTC) and community. The winner of the People’s Choice award will be announced in May. Currently, I’m performing in “Augusta and Noble” by Carlos Murillo at Adventure Stage Chicago. Monday, May 6th, I’ll be in a staged reading of “Puto” by Ricardo A. Bracho, which is a part of UTC’s R.A.W. (Real. Agressive. Writing.) series. Lastly, this fall, I’ll be in the Midwest Premiere of “First Class” by Candido Tirado with UTC. It’s my first two-man show and I’m very excited.