April 27, 2008

Indian actress in Broadway hit

Kimberly Guerrero performs in Broadway smash hitGuerrero's friends have to come to see her because she can't leave the city--she's performing in "August: Osage County," a Broadway play written by Tracy Letts that was supposed to end mid-April, but is such a smash hit it's been extended until the end of the year.

Guerrero, Colville/Salish-Kootenai/Cherokee, plays Johnna Monevata, a young Cheyenne woman who is hired by the patriarch of a dysfunctional family--a poet and academic--to cook and care for his drug-addicted cancer victim wife, a spiteful, miserable character who slurs and staggers through the story lashing out at everyone around her.
Some background on Guerrero:A native of Oklahoma and a graduate of the University of California-Los Angeles, Guerrero is an award-winning actress who has appeared in numerous films and television projects including "Hildalgo," "Barn Red," "The Sopranos," "DreamKeeper," "Charmed," "Escanaba in da Moonlight," "Walker, Texas Ranger," "Northern Exposure" and "Naturally Native." She appeared on the soap "As the World Turns" and played one of Jerry's girlfriends on the popular "Seinfeld" episode "The Cigar Store Indian."

For the past 14 years, Guerrero has spent her time off the set with her husband, music producer Johnny Guerrero, on reservations or at urban Indian centers working with the Akatubi Film and Music Academy, a nonprofit digital film and music academy that has trained hundreds of underprivileged Native youth in filmmaking and music recording.
Why Indians are sometimes stoic:"When I was in my early 20s, I had an adopted grandfather and I asked him, 'Why is it that some Indians, when they're around people they're not comfortable with, don't look them in the eye?' And he told me, 'When you look a white man in the eye, you're either going to remind him of what he's done and he'll feel guilty, or he'll feel angry, and neither of those two things do you want for your white brother. If he feels guilty, it's bad for him; if he feels angry, it's bad for you,'" Guerrero said.

"This is what my grandfather told me that his grandfather told him. We were here when they came, we're here now, and we'll be here when they go, and that's why we keep our eyes down, unless you've found a person that you can trust and you're not going to make them feel guilty or angry. Then you can engage in a conversation."
Comment:  Wow. Has an Indian actor ever appeared in a legitimate Broadway hit? Not that I know of.

For more on the subject, see Native Plays and Other Stage Shows.

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