Press Release - ​​​​Destiny of Desire

West Coast Premiere: Telenovela-inspired Comedy Destiny of Desire at South Coast Repertory “Fresh, joyful and fun”

COSTA MESA, Calif. (​Oct. 6, 201​6)—Destiny of Desire has been called “cheekily charming” (MD Theatre Guide) and “ridiculously funny” (Broadway World) for its fresh take on telenovelas, popular the world over. The latest play by Karen Zacarías, directed by José Luis Valenzuela on the Segerstrom Stage, is a co-production with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and is a west coast premiere. Tickets are available now at

The story follows two baby girls who are born—one to poverty, one to privilege—and then secretly switched by a scheming former beauty queen. Eighteen years later, the girls meet when they are brought together by misfortune. Or is it destiny? Forbidden love, revenge, infidelity and burning passion abound in this fast-paced comedy.

Serial dramas—whether in Latin America, Korea, India or elsewhere—have fast-moving plots, pit personal stories against a political backdrop, weave in music as part of the story and seek to encourage social change. “Devious Maids,” “Jane the Virgin” and “Queen of the South” are among the U.S. versions of telenovelas. Unlike daytime soap operas, telenovelas tell a story during primetime, over the course of roughly 200 episodes (or chapters) that air up to six nights a week.

“I kept seeing how critics would look at Latino actors’ and writers’ work, comparing it to what people see in telenovelas,” said Zacarías. “I played with this enormously popular genre to see what I could add to the conversation in contemporary American theatre. Destiny of Desire is a fresh, joyful and fun comedy—with exciting twists and turns—about what happens when women take destiny into their own hands. I hope it further changes the narrative of who we are as both Latino artists and Latinos in America.” 

Zacarías has been hailed by the National Endowment for the Arts as the most-produced Latina playwright in the country and by American Theatre Magazine as one of the Top 10 produced playwrights. In 2016 alone, she had five world premieres: Destiny of Desire at Arena Stage; Native Gardens at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Olivério: A Brazilian Twist at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Ella Enchanted: The Musical at First Stage; and Into the Beautiful North at Milagro Theatre. Her other award-winning plays including The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana, the adaptations of Just Like Us and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and many more. She has written 10 theatre for young audiences musicals with composer Deborah Wicks La Puma, including Jane of the Jungle, produced by SCR in 2012. 

Destiny of Desire is a funny, wild and romantic ride, so the audience has a great deal of fun,” said Valenzuela. “Karen uses the social dynamics and framework of the telenovela, but then she plays with its mode of storytelling and the archetypes. We have an all-Latino cast, which gives our wonderful ensemble a chance to play all types of characters: the heroes and the villains, the poor and the wealthy, the oppressed and the oppressors.”

Valenzuela is the artistic director of the Latino Theater Company and The Los Angeles Theatre Center. An award-winning theatre director, he has been a visionary and an advocate for Chicano/Latino theatre for more than 30 years. He is a distinguished professor and head of the MFA directing program at UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television. Valenzuela has directed critically acclaimed productions at major theaters, both internationally and nationally, including Destiny of Desire at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

The cast includes Esperanza America, Elisa Bocanegra, Eduardo Enrikez, Evelina Fernández, Fidel Gomez, Cástulo Guerra, Ricardo Gutierrez, Ruth Livier, Mauricio Mendoza, Ella Saldana North and Rosino Serrano.

The design and creative team includes Françoise-Pierre Courture, scenic design; Julie Weiss, costume design; Pablo Santiago, lighting design; John Zalewski, sound design; Rosino Santiago, composer/music director; Robert Barry Fleming, choregraphy; and Joanne DeNaut, CSA, and Adam Belcuore, CSA, casting. The production manager is Joshua Marchesi and the stage manager is Bree Sherry.

Destiny of Desire has generous support from Honorary Producers Ernesto and Socorro Vasquez and Sandy Segerstrom Daniels.  

Tickets start at $22. Discounts are available for full-time students, patrons 25 years of age and under, fulltime educators, seniors and groups of 10 or more. For complete information, visit:

Related Information for Destiny of Desire

Tickets: May be purchased online at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the Box Office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Performances run Oct. 14-Nov. 13. Ticket prices start at $22. Low-priced previews run Oct. 14-20. SCR’s performances run Tuesdays-Sundays; there are no performances on Mondays.

Performance Dates, Times: 

  • Previews run Oct. 14-20
    • Friday and Saturday, at 8 p.m., Oct. 14-15.
    • Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 16, and Oct. 18-19
    • Thursday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m.
  • Regular performances run Oct. 22-Nov. 13 Note: Note: Friday, Oct. 21, is an invitation-only performance.
    • Evening Performances:
      • Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, at 7:30 p.m.: Oct. 23, Oct. 25-26; Oct. 30, Nov. 1-2; and Nov. 6, Nov. 8-9.
      • Thursdays-Saturdays, at 8 p.m.: Oct. 27-29; Nov. 3-5; and Nov. 10-12.
      • Matinees:
      • Saturdays-Sundays, at 2:30 p.m.: Oct. 22-23; Oct. 29-30; Nov. 5-6; and Nov. 12-13.
    • ASL-interpreted: Saturday, Nov. 12, at 2:30 p.m.

Special Events:

  • Post-Show Discussions:  Wednesday, Oct. 26, and Tuesday, Nov. 1. Discuss the play with cast members of Destiny of Desire during free post-show discussions led by South Coast Repertory’s literary team. Segerstrom Stage.
  • Inside the Season: Saturday, Oct. 29, from, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Led by members of SCR’s literary staff, this lively two-hour session includes in-depth interviews with cast members and artists from the production staff, revealing secrets and offering insights into SCR’s production of Destiny of Desire.  Segerstrom Stage. Tickets are $12 and may be purchased in advance or at the door.
  • American Sign Language-Interpreted: Saturday, Oct. 12, at 2:30 p.m.

Location: South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, at the Bristol Street/Avenue of the Arts exit off the San Diego (405) Freeway in the David Emmes/Martin Benson Theatre Center, part of the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Parking is available on Park Center Drive, off Anton Boulevard.

Current and Upcoming Productions: District Merchants by Aaron Posner, Oct. 2-23; Destiny of Desire by Karen Zacarías, Oct. 14-Nov. 13; Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Robert Kauzlaric and George Howe, Nov. 4-20 (Theatre for Young Audiences); A Christmas Carol adapted by Jerry Patch, Nov. 25-Dec. 24; The Roommate by Jen Silverman, Jan. 3-22, 2017; and Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Moby Dick adapted by David Catlin, Jan. 20-Feb. 19, 2017. More information is available at

ABOUT SOUTH COAST REPERTORY: Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory, founded in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson, is widely recognized as one of the leading professional theatres in the United States. While its productions represent a balance of classic and modern theatre, SCR is renowned for its extensive new-play development program, which includes the nation’s largest commissioning program for emerging and established writers. One-quarter of SCR’s 525 productions have been world premieres. SCR-developed works have garnered two Pulitzer Prizes and eight Pulitzer nominations, several Obie Awards and scores of major new-play awards. Located in Costa Mesa, Calif., SCR is home to the 507-seat Segerstrom Stage, the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and the 94-seat Nicholas Studio.