Anita Gonzalez

Anita Gonzalez

Gonzalez is a director, choreographer, and writer whose work has appeared on PBS national television and at Lincoln Center Out-of Doors, Dance Theater Workshop, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and other national and international venues. Theatrical plays and musicals that she has authored include Ayanna Kelly, Le Hot Blu, (with composer-writer Ken Lauber), and Ybor City (with composer Dan Furman).  Recent...
Gonzalez is a director, choreographer, and writer whose work has appeared on PBS national television and at Lincoln Center Out-of Doors, Dance Theater Workshop, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, and other national and international venues. Theatrical plays and musicals that she has authored include Ayanna Kelly, Le Hot Blu, (with composer-writer Ken Lauber), and Ybor City (with composer Dan Furman).  Recent directing projects include Sun and Shadows, a Guatemalan shadow puppet play, DARASA, a Civil Rights musical by Lorna Littleway, and Nobody, a play about Bert Williams and George Walker by Richard Aellen (2011). She is currently collaborating with Joel Valentin-Martinez on The Living Lakes, a new performance work about migrations along the Midwestern Great Lakes. Other performance projects include The Anarcha Project with Petra Kuppers (2008) Migrant ImagiNations at the Joyce Soho Theater in New York City (1999), Tiye Giraud's Sugar Tit (1998), and the musical Hola Ola written in conjunction with Dolores Prida (1996).  Gonzalez was a founding member of the Urban Bush Women. She has choreographed for Ballet Hispanico, taught theater in Central America and the United Kingdom, given professional and educational workshops in Caribbean and African American dance and lectured about the process of developing new plays. The National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Association, and the FIDEOCOMISO for United States/ Mexico Arts exchange have all funded her work. For her individual scholarship and teaching, she has been awarded a residency at Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center (2003) and three Senior Scholar Fulbright grants.  Gonzalez co-edited an anthology with Tommy DeFrantz (Black Performance Theory, Duke University Press, 2014) that theorizes Black Performance in the new millennium. Her monograph Afro-Mexico: Dancing Between Myth and Reality (University of Texas Press, 2010) is the result of a 2007 post-doctoral research fellowship in “Race, Politics, and Performance.” at the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (University of Texas at Austin). Other publications include articles about cruise ship culture (“Maritime Scenography and the Spectacle of Cruising” Performance Research International, 2013), utopia in Urban Bush Women performance (Modern Drama, 2004), archetypes of African identity in Central America (“Mambo and the Maya,” Dance Research Journal, 2004), and the pedagogy of teaching African American Drama (Theatre Topics, 2009). Anita Gonzalez earned her Ph.D. in Theater/Performance Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1997) and is now a Professor of Theatre at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor where she leads the Global Theatre and Ethnic Cultures Minor.  She is an Associate Member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and the Michigan Regional representative of the Dramatists Guild. She serves on the Executive Committee of the National Theatre Conference.

Plays

  • Ybor City
    BRIEF SYNOPSIS Ybor City is about the rise of unionism and the healing of racial divides within an American community. The musical is set in the town of Tampa Florida in 1918. When Rafael comes to town to read newspapers for the factory workers, he falls for Teresa, the sister of union organizer Catalino. Romance blossoms, tensions rise, and when Catalino stands up for worker rights, violence erupts. The...
    BRIEF SYNOPSIS Ybor City is about the rise of unionism and the healing of racial divides within an American community. The musical is set in the town of Tampa Florida in 1918. When Rafael comes to town to read newspapers for the factory workers, he falls for Teresa, the sister of union organizer Catalino. Romance blossoms, tensions rise, and when Catalino stands up for worker rights, violence erupts. The community struggles to unite against an abusive factory owner and collectively form a multi-racial union.
  • Ayanna Kelly
    Ayanna Kelly tells the story of Ayanna, an Afro Caribbean woman who travels to Liverpool to search for her father after the death of her mother. She leaves behind a boyfriend named Robert as she begins her quest for self. When Ayanna lands in Liverpool she meets a man named Monroe who leads her into a magic pub. There, the two of them begin a journey where they meet ghosts “playing” in past worlds in which they...
    Ayanna Kelly tells the story of Ayanna, an Afro Caribbean woman who travels to Liverpool to search for her father after the death of her mother. She leaves behind a boyfriend named Robert as she begins her quest for self. When Ayanna lands in Liverpool she meets a man named Monroe who leads her into a magic pub. There, the two of them begin a journey where they meet ghosts “playing” in past worlds in which they are expected to play a part. Together, Ayanna and Monroe rehearse Shakespeare scenes in tea gardens, sing Caribbean songs in council house flats, play Mersey beat in the Cavern Club, evoke sea shanties on a phantom ship and a fight over a trip hop start named Wikkid T. Eventually Ayanna finds her father but he is not what she expected.