UWM associate professor selected as playwright-in-residence at First Stage

Alvaro Saar Rios, an associate professor of playwriting at UWM, has been selected as a playwright-In-residence at First Stage in Milwaukee.

During his residency, the theater will stage his most recent play “On the Wings of a Mariposa,” which will debut in October.

Alvaro Saar Rios

First Stage is a nationally recognized theater for young people and families that develops new works through its Foundry Stage Series. Playwrights-in-residence don’t live on the premises; rather, they are writers recognized by First Stage who have been selected to develop new work through an ongoing relationship with the theater.

Rios and three other playwrights-in-residence – Alice Austin, John Maclay and James DeVita, a UWM alum – will offer advice on the upcoming season’s play selection, provide feedback on developing plays, present fresh play projects to stimulate interest and recruit directors and designers for First Stage.

“I am excited for this opportunity because it will allow me to continue to do work that celebrates Milwaukee’s Latinx community as well as other underrepresented communities,” Rios said.

Based on Barbara Joosse’s “Ghost Wings,” “On the Wings of a Mariposa” is a bilingual play with music composed by Dinorah Marquez, a UWM alum who founded and directed the Latino Arts Strings Program. Its premiere will kick off First Stage’s main stage season at the Marcus Center’s Todd Wehr Theater in the fall.

Rios is not a new face in the theater as his other nationally recognized plays have been produced by First Stage in the past, including “Mole Hill Stories” and “Luchadora!” In 2014, Rios’ play “Luchadora!” was selected for the Austin Latino New Play Festival in Texas and named one of the best plays for the season in Milwaukee’s season. He founded The Royal Mexican Players with his wife, Michelle Lopez Rios, and has scripted original plays, led writing workshops and received commissions nationwide for his work as a playwright. Rios currently works as an associate professor of playwriting at UWM and holds the position of resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists.

“On the Wings of a Mariposa” will debut at First Stage on Oct. 18 and will run until Nov. 10. Details on the play and the 2019/2020 main stage season can be found at the First Stage website.

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