"Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe," is Louie Pérez's foray into the world of theater.
Pérez, best known as the percussionist and guitarist of the Chicano rock band Los Lobos, teamed up with the Los Angeles-based theatre company About Productions to create the multimedia theater piece, which plays Saturday at the Tower Theatre.
Pérez allowed the company to use the Los Lobos songbook, which serves as a live soundtrack to the production.
Pérez and Los Lobos bandmate David Hidalgo also play live during the show and Pérez acts as the story's narrator.
"He's the voice of the community," says Rose Portillo, who created the play with Pérez and co-author and director Theresa Chavez.
"Evangeline," which debuted in Los Angeles last spring, takes place in a very specific moment and place in time — 1968 on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
"L.A. in '68 really made a mark on the artistic and music scene," Portillo says. It was a prominent part of her life and in the life of Pérez, she says.
Evangeline is a girl growing up in a traditional Mexican-American family and trying to find her own identity. She is also a Hollywood Go-Go dancer.
While the story speaks to the issues of the time — things like public education, the Vietnam War and the marginalization of people of color — those things still hold resonance, Portillo says.
"When we looked, we saw how many of those issues were still current," she says.
The Fresno stop is part of a special two-show engagement, which also includes a performance at Merced College.
A series of student workshops will be held in Merced and at Fresno City College as part of the production.
The shows are a trial run for the company, providing needed logistical knowledge for when it takes the show on tour, Portillo says.
"We hope to get booked like mad."
"Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe," 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at the Tower Theatre, 815 E. Olive Ave. Tickets are $20-$70. (559) 485-9050, towertheatrefresno.com
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6479, firstname.lastname@example.org or @JoshuaTehee on Instagram and Twitter. Read his blog at Fresnobeehive.com.