Noted scholar in Latino history Nicolás Kanellos gives the beginning of the nineteenth century, when Mexican and Spanish troupes toured the cities of northern Mexico, as the origin of Latino theater. After the Mexican War (1846-1848), when the United States gained the land constituting the modern-day states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, theatrical culture grew steadily. In Southern and Northern California, the number of theater houses and professional touring companies continued to increase. However, it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that the first generations of Chicano playwrights emerged, inspired by the events of the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920). Identity and immigration became the thematic orientation of their work. The end of the nineteenth century also witnessed the roots of Cuban American theater. According to Kanellos, the first Cuban American theaters were established by tobacco entrepreneurs who relocated to the coast of Florida because of the turbulent events of the Spanish-American War (1898). The first half of the twentieth century saw a variety of developments and disappointments for Latinos.
The Great Depression devastated Latino theater, and through the 1950’s most amateur and professional theaters produced Spanish plays or translated American plays. In the meantime, exciting developments were happening on the international stage. Influential Mexican artists such as Xavier...
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