Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Report: HOLAtalks with Tony Plana

Tony Plana stars as Ignacio Suárez on the hit ABC dramedy "Ugly Betty" and was our honored guest at the HOLAtalks event on Saturday, February 20th. Moderated by Sirius Satellite Radio host Mario Bósquez and held at the Screen Actors’ Guild Leon Janney Boardroom in New York City, HOLAtalks with Tony Plana was a fascinating and extraordinary peek into the life and career of one of Hollywood’s most versatile and successful Latino actors.
We were first given a look at Plana’s extensive dramatic and comedic acting resume via a short video press kit. Plana’s award-winning career as an actor, writer, director and producer spans 30 years of work in theatre, film and television including productions on Showtime, Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, Fox, NBC and ABC, and over 70 feature films, Broadway and regional shows.

However, most notable and featured on the video is Plana’s dedicated work to the East L.A. Classic Theatre, a company he co-founded and serves as the executive artistic director. In the past decade his company, which performs bilingual productions of modernized classics, has served the L.A. Latino community via literacy and educational outreach programs for youth in school and after-school. In addition, the theatre provides an opportunity for local professional actors to become directly involved with the community through exciting new adaptations of well-known plays.
Plana emphasized the importance of theatre and theatre education in his own career. Having graduated magna cum laude from the Literature and Theatre Arts Honors Program at Loyola Marymount University, he went on to train at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, popularly regarded as one of the most exceptional drama schools in the world. He shared a story about his theatre acting training coming in handy when competing against “real people” for his first Broadway role, and how his first starring role in a play helped land him an agent. For some, this story is very relevant to the challenges non-theatre based actors still face today in being cast and finding representation and clearly, for Tony Plana, his formidable training has served as a valuable career asset in theatre, and film and television.
He also shared his experiences from his award-nominating work on two history making television series where he played the role of a single father to Latino families wrestling with contemporary American issues including race, class, parenthood, gender and personal identity. His unique perspective on crafting incredibly dimensional characters such as Roberto Santiago on HBO’s "Resurrection Boulevard" and Ignacio Suárez on ABC’s "Ugly Betty" was an inspiring commentary on why Latino actors must continue to meet the challenge of exploring outside the world of stereotypes predominately represented in today’s television programming. Notable for its groundbreaking production, "Resurrection Boulevard" is U.S. television’s first one-hour drama produced, written, directed by and starring Latinos, and is the most awarded series in Showtime’s history. "Ugly Betty" is currently the longest running and highest rating Latino cast sitcom earning over 70 nominations, and numerous Golden Globes, SAG, Peabody, Golden Satellite, Alma, and Primetime Emmy Awards.
What was the best advice an actor ever gave you about the business?” asked Mario Bósquez in a final question. He replied, “The best advice is the one I gave to myself. Take each audition one at a time, and each day one at a time!
Intelligent, thoughtful, charming, and witty personalities, both Tony Plana and Mario Bósquez should be thanked for celebrating with us a very special conversation about who we are, where we’ve come from and where we must grow in the world of arts and entertainment in order to continue to truthfully represent the diverse and extraordinary contribution of the global Hispanic and Latino community.
...Mauricio Alexander

Mauricio Alexander is a proud member of HOLA, the Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity Association. He has been featured in and is a regular series stand-in on ABC’s "Ugly Betty" Seasons 3 and 4. Photo credits: A Ruiz Photography. More photos can be seen on HOLA's Facebook page.

No comments: