CASA 0101, founded by Latina playwright and community spokeswoman Josefina Lopez in 2000, was birthed in a humble converted storefront in Boyle Heights, catering from the start to a neighborhood audience that has supported it with gusto. In 2011, the company acquired a second location — a larger, more modern complex, with an art gallery and a learning center in addition to a fully equipped 99-seat theater and a schedule of classes for kids and adults in writing, acting, improv, singing, dance and spoken word. Casa 0101 productions, held in both locations, explore and celebrate the Latino experience in music, comedy and drama, generating packed houses that belie the notion that live-theater audiences are shrinking and exemplifying how art can be vital to a community and vice versa. Coming up this fall, for example, is the play Mariela in the Desert, about a couple, friends of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, struggling to keep their family together in the Northern Mexican desert.
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