Sandra Valls’ empowering comedy routine at Seattle’s Theatre Off Jackson left the crowd revved up and roaring for more – even after nearly 90 minutes.
“I love playing Seattle,” Valls told The Seattle Lesbian. “I always feel such love and support there. Plus, I really take advantage at how beautiful your city is and steal away to explore the sights. And the Theatre Off Jackson is such a great venue to work with – they are always so accommodating and supportive. Their staff is excellent! This is so important to a performer. All I have to do is show up and do my thing. I don’t have to worry about sound or lights or anything. I love that space.”
Love is a common thread throughout her set.
“I don’t like mean comedy. I feel comedy should make people feel good and spread love and laughter not negativity and hatred,” she said. “Sadly, so many comedians resort to cruelty to get a laugh. That’s never cool to me. My intention is never to hurt anyone. I just want to make people laugh. Of course, there’s always going to be someone who gets offended. Always.”
Sandra Valls Live! was produced by Seattle Women’s Pride 2017, The Seattle Lesbian and Theatre Off Jackson on Friday, Oct. 27.
“The Seattle Lesbian is a staple in lesbian culture,” Valls said. “I love that it has been around for so long, unlike other online magazine who’ve fizzled away. I love The Seattle Lesbian and read it often. It’s fresh and relevant and has really kept me informed and entertained in so many areas.”
Valls continued, “I don’t think people know how challenging it is for an online magazine to thrive. That’s why my last show in Seattle was so important to me. I felt honored to be asked to do a fundraiser for The Seattle Lesbian. Let’s do it again next year!”
In the meantime, Valls will perform The Latina Christmas Special, a play she co-created, co-wrote and stars in with Diana Yanez (Margaret Cho’s The Sensuous Woman) and Maria Russell (MTV’s Teen Wolf).
“It’s a play where three Latinas get together, drink tequila, sing songs, dance, and dish about everything from moms to cucarachas to Farrah Fawcett and share hilarious, personal, touching stories of childhood Christmas ‘drama,'” Valls shared. “I talk about growing up super gay in a super Mexican, Catholic family. Diana talks about growing up super Cuban in Miami and Maria talks about her over-dedicated Mexican mother and her compliant Lithuanian father. It’s like three little one woman shows in one!”
The creative team for The Latina Christmas Special includes set designer Michael Navarro, lighting designer Noah Gamboa and sound designer Ivan Robles. The stage manager is Emily Lehrer.
The stories are actually based in reality, which makes the entire experience even more promising for the audience.
“It’s autobiographical. Yes, there’s lots of comedy but, most importantly, there’s deep, touching moments of truth…of the beautiful and challenging human experience,” Valls said. “We’ve done this show for five years now and it’s become a Christmas tradition for so many people.”
It’s not an over-exaggeration. The Latina Christmas Special is truly becoming a holiday staple in L.A.
“It’s so cool to see some of the same people come every year,” Valls said. “You got It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and now The Latina Christmas Special!”
The Los Angeles Times Critics Choice Award has been presented to Valls’ Christmas troupe for the past three years.
Performances of The Latina Christmas Special take place Dec. 1 through Jan. 7 on Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 3 p.m., with one additional performance on Monday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. (dark Dec. 15 and Dec. 24 through Jan. 3). There will be one preview performance, on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $32-$37; preview tickets range from $22-$27. (Discounts available for students, seniors and military veterans.) The Los Angeles Theatre Center is located at 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, CA 90013. For more information and to purchase tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or go to www.thelatc.org.