Luz Estrada

Mercy Street Theatre Company
is a not-for-profit nomadic ensemble of play-makers based in Chicago. 


  Marci Portugal in rehearsal

Marci Portugal in rehearsal


The world premiere of Dusty Wilson's modern adaptation of Lysistrata, set in the cartel wars of Northern Mexico.


playwright Dusty Wilson*
director Julia Rohed*

Luz Estrada Valeria Rosero
Carlotta Nicole Velasco Lockard
El Cucui Sipriano Cahue
Javier Ian Michael Smith
La Princesa Gaby Moldovan
Vidal Victor Maraña
Mireya Marci Portugal
El Oso David Gonzalez
Santos Matthew Harris
Livvy Ali-Janes Paulsen

stage manager Jennifer Roseman
assistant director Sonja Lynn Mata*
set designer Jordan Siragusa
costume designer Alaina Moore*
lighting designer John Kelly
sound designer Shain Longbehn
fight choreographers Almanya Narula
& John Tervanis
blood consultant Tyler Oser
dramaturg Juan Castañeda
production manager Danielle Stack*

* denotes Mercy Street Resident

Special Thanks

Antigone Arvanitis
John Patrick Bray
Karrie Dowling
Rebecca Gilman
Emily Lowney
Max Marciniak
Nicki Mazzocca
Brett Neveu
Elizabeth Nungaray
Mary Rose O'Connor
Roland Oria
Shannon Pritchard
Joanie Schultz
Ralph Scotese
Duncan Stephens

(Cast & crew bios below)

  Nicole Velasco Lockard  , Valeria Rosero, Gaby Moldovan, and Ali-Janes Paulsen in rehearsal

Nicole Velasco Lockard, Valeria Rosero, Gaby Moldovan, and Ali-Janes Paulsen in rehearsal

Content Note: This show contains excessive amounts of blood and a moment of simulated sexual violence.

The play will run 1 hour and 45 minutes with one ten-minute intermission.

What's Next?


3 Seasons of Work,
22 New Plays Developed & Produced,
12 Shorts, 5 Beacon Workshops, 5 Full Productions,
2 Charity Partnerships,
102 Artists Involved,
 1467 Iced Coffees,
and counting...

As we’ve continued with our mission to examine "modern myths," we’ve seen the amazing power of storytelling to reflect, provoke, inspire, and unite our community. Now it’s time to figure what’s next for our company, and we can’t do that without you!

Contribute to the future of Mercy Street by making a tax-deductible donation of any amount, and ensure that we continue on this path forward.

So, what’s next?
We’re not telling just yet.
But with your help, we'll make it awesome.


Cast & Crew BIOS

  Victor Maraña in rehearsal

Victor Maraña in rehearsal

VALERIA ROSERO (Luz Estrada) recently graduated from Northwestern University as a Theatre major with a B.A. in Communication, and is beyond excited to perform with Mercy Street Theatre for the first time. Previous NU performances include the main stage production of Anna In the Tropics (Ensemble) directed by Henry Godinez, the Agnes Nixon Festival stage reading of Wet (Anita), and the Struble Project Series production of Forgotten in the Shadows (Marisol).

NICOLE VELASCO LOCKARD (Carlotta) is thrilled to work with Mercy Street Theatre Company! She was last seen in Arc Theatre's "United We Stand: New Works Festival." She is a graduate of The Theatre School at Depaul University. Some of her favorite Theatre School credits include Terminus (B), Esperanza Rising (Marta), and These Shining Lives (Charlotte). Nicole is proudly represented by Stewart Talent Agency. 

SIPRIANO CAHUE (El Cucui) is making his Mercy Street Theatre Company debut in Luz Estrada. Past credits include: You, Me & Tuno (TeatroLuna), ‘Gator Bait & A Piece of My Heart (A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company), & he most recently was a part of the long running Chicago classic, Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding. Sipriano is very grateful to get the chance to work on a show that deals with themes and content that are so near and dear to him.

IAN MICHAEL SMITH (Javier) is amped to be making his Mercy Street debut! Recently, he was reliving his teenage years playing guitar and XBOX in American Hwangap (A-Squared Theatre/Halcyon). Favorite roles: Kawabata, Take Me Out (Eclectic Theatre), Michael, Goldstar, OH (ATC), Flippy, B-Side Studio (Inconvenience/New Colony), Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast (Disney), Caesar, Hunger Games (Lionsgate), Nigel, The Devil Wears Prada (20th Century Fox), and—wait. That was Stanley Tucci? Where am I...? Can you take me home?

GABY MOLDOVAN (La Princesa) graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. She moved up to Chi-town after graduation and has since been taking classes, performing with her sketch comedy group, 3 Day Weekend, as well as creating content with Make It Up Media. This is her first production with Mercy Street Theatre and she's happy to be here.

VICTOR MARAÑA (Vidal) is excited to make his debut with Mercy Street Theatre. During his career, he has performed in several venues in Chicago, Mexico City, Greece and Romania. He has received national and state Best Actor Awards for the plays Heaven Under the Skin and Strawberry and Chocolate. Víctor was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and the University of the Americas in Mexico.

MARCI PORTUGAL (Mireya) is a proud Chicago native. She is thrilled to be a part of the cast of Luz Estrada! She would like to dedicate her performance to the bravest revolutionary she knows, her mom, who gave everything so I can have everything. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." —John F. Kennedy. Marci is proudly represented by LTA. 

DAVID GONZALEZ (El Oso) is ecstatic to be making his debut with Mercy Street Theatre. After graduating from Eastern Illinois University with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in philosophy, David moved to Chicago to pursue acting. He would like to thank his great acting teacher Anne Thibault, who helped him to realize the endless possibilities in storytelling.

MATTHEW HARRIS (Santos) is thrilled to be working with Mercy Street for the first time. He was last seen on stage with Eclectic Theatre Company’s production of The History Boys. He has appeared in productions of The Lyons, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Wit (AstonRep), From White Plains (Broken Nose) and Lydia (National Pastime Theatre). He has also performed in readings with Commission Theatre, Greenhouse Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, Spartan Workshop and The Ruckus. Love to his family, U and N.

ALI-JANES PAULSEN (Livvy) is delighted to be making her Mercy Street Theatre debut! A graduate of Colorado University at Boulder, Ali has worked regionally in Denver Colorado and has since been enjoying the amazing weather in Chicago. Recent Chicago credits include Eugene at The Greenhouse Theatre, The Chicago Fire Festival with Redmoon Theatre Company and Mooreland with the Public House Theatre. Love and thanks to Tiddus and props to Josh for writing this bio for me!

  Gaby Moldovan, John Tervanis, Almanya Narula, Tyler Oser, Sipriano Cahue, and Julia Rohed in rehearsal

Gaby Moldovan, John Tervanis, Almanya Narula, Tyler Oser, Sipriano Cahue, and Julia Rohed in rehearsal

DUSTY WILSON (Playwright) writes plays include Ephebophilia, Poison, and Beige Tea. Dusty’s work has been produced by The Plagiarists, Chicago Dramatists, American Blues Theatre Company, Hobo Junction Productions, Piccolo Theatre, and the Last Frontier Theatre Conference. Luz Estrada was developed through Mercy Street Theatre Company, as well as The Trellis at the Greenhouse Theater Center and Rose of Athens Theatre. Dusty is a resident playwright with Mercy Street Theatre Company and a graduate of Northwestern University’s MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage program.

JULIA ROHED (Director) is the artistic director of Mercy Street Theatre. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre-Directing. Selected directing credits include: The Rubenstein Kiss by James Phillips; Animal Farm: a workshop production (Coriolis Theatre Company); Rusalka by Ashlee Marie Mundy (Snapshots Festival—20% Theatre Company); The Essentials by Dusty Wilson (First Laugh One Act Fest—Piccolo Theatre); and The Bird Girl by EJC Calvert (Mercy Street).

JENNIFER ROSEMAN (Stage Manager) is excited to be working with Mercy Street Theatre for the first time. Throughout the city, she has worked as the stage manager on shows such as Happy Days with Theatre Y; Thinking Caps with Strangeloop; 1000 Words at the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival; and Taste at Red Theater.

JORDAN SIRAGUSA (Set Designer) is thrilled to be working with Mercy Street Theater as a scenic designer. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and an employee of Ravenswood studios where he builds set pieces for a multitude of theaters and exhibits for museums all across the world. He also works occasionally as a stage manager for theater and music venues. 

ALAINA MOORE (Costume Designer) is a Mercy Street Resident who works as a freelance stylist, costumer, and production designer for both screen and stage, as well as owning and operating Kaleidoscope Vintage with her long time partner and collaborator, Christopher Semel. She has designed costumes for numerous Chicago area theater companies, most frequently for the Raven Theatre, where she garnered a Jeff nomination for her work on The Playboy of the Western World. She graduated summa cum laude from Columbia College Chicago, where she studied theater and film design.

JOHN KELLY (Lighting Designer) is very excited to be working with Mercy Street Theatre Company for the first time. Previously John has designed for The Second City, Theatre Wit, About Face Theatre, Lifeline Theatre Company, The Gift, The Neofuturists, Second City, Oracle Theatre, Red Twist Theatre and Eclipse Theatre. His designs for Great Expectations and D.O.A. at Strawdog Theatre were nominated for Jeff Awards in 2014 and 2016. John is an ensemble member at Strawdog Theatre Company.

SHAIN LONGBEHN (Sound Designer) is thrilled to work on Luz Estrada. He hails from St. Paul, Minnesota and recently graduated from Loyola University Chicago. There, he studied a variety of disciplines such as sound design, vocal pedagogy, music direction, composition, acting, percussion, dancing, and electrics. His most recent credits include: Baltimore Waltz (Sound Design/Original Music), Tintypes (Assistant Music Director), She Kills Monsters (Sound Design), Lynchtown (Dancer), and Elephant's Graveyard (Trainer).

ALMANYA NARULA (Fight Choreographer) is an international actor, combatant, and fight choreographer from Bangkok, currently residing in Chicago . Her most recent project included being the Fight Choreographer and Lead Actor in Nickelback's music video Feed the Machine and Stunt Coordinator for the upcoming feature film Mollywood. She was most recently seen in First Folio Theatre's Jeff Recommended production of Captain Blood, where she was able to make use of her stage combat abilities. She will soon be featured in Factory Theater's production of Fight City and will be choreographing fights for Babes With Blades production of The Good Fight. She has worked with other theatre companies around town such as Victory Gardens, American Theatre Company, Griffin, Jackalope, Steep, Babes With Blades, Strawdog, American Blues Theatre and Chicago Dramatists. Raised in Bangkok and Mumbai she has appeared in numerous Bollywood films, television and music videos. Almanya is proud to be represented by Big Mouth Talent.

SONJA LYNN MATA (Assistant Director) graduated with a BFA in Theater Performance from Ohio University and completed the Professional Training Program at Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, California. She has studied and performed with the National Theater and Dance Company of Ghana in their nations capital, Accra. Sonja is an ensemble member of Mercy Street Theatre Company and Theater Unspeakable. Sonja continues to devise original works throughout the Midwest.

JUAN CASTAÑEDA (Dramaturg) was born and raised in Chicago. He has worked as a Director, assistant director, dramaturge and actor with companies like Urban Theatre Company, Teatro Vista, Halcyon Theatre, Steep Theatre, The Right Brain Project, The Chicago Mammals, La Molecula Artistica, Colectivo El Pozo, and many others. Juan would like to thank everyone at Mercy Street Theatre for inviting him to jump aboard on Luz Estrada.

JAKE FRUEND (Graphic Designer) is the Associate Artistic Director of Mercy Street Theatre, a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, and a native of St. Louis. He has designed posters for a plethora of Chicago theatres, including Jackalope, The Yard, Mary-Arrchie, About Face, Red, Raven, The Living Canvas, Northlight, Nothing Without a Company, and of course Mercy Street. Recent stage directing credits include Sarah Gubbins' The Kid Thing (Nothing Without a Company) and Dakota Parobek's Merry Christmas, Mulch Pile! (Mercy Street).

DANIELLE STACK (Production Manager) is excited to bring Luz Estrada to the stage. Originally from Texas, she holds a BFA in Performance from Baylor University. She is a freelance Production Manager, Artistic Producer of Jackalope Theatre Company and the Producing Director of Mercy Street Theatre. Much love to B.

  Valeria Rosero in rehearsal

Valeria Rosero in rehearsal



Artistic Director Julia Rohed
Producing Director Danielle Stack
Associate Artistic Director Jake Fruend

Board of Directors

Danielle Stack
Julia Rohed
Karrie Dowling
Lydia Gordon
Andrew Saenz


Jerico Bleu
E.J.C. Calvert

Rachel DuBose
Michael Evans
Jake Fruend
Kate Grudichak
Nellsyn Hill
Ian Michael James

Slick Jorgensen
Francisco Lopez
Sonja Lynn Mata
Alaina Moore
Dakota Parobek
Julia Rohed
Danielle Stack
Dusty Wilson
Clint Worthington