Destiny of Desire, a Telenovela-inspired Comedy!

By Roland VicOctober 12, 2016Otro Rollo
By Roland Vic | October 12, 2016

Destiny of Desire has been called “cheekily charming” and “ridiculously funny” for its fresh take on telenovelas, popular the world over.

The latest play by Karen Zacarías, directed by José Luis Valenzuela on the Segerstrom Stage, is a co-production with Chicago’s Goodman Theatre and is a west coast premiere.

The story follows two baby girls who are born—one to poverty, one to privilege—and then secretly switched by a scheming former beauty queen.

Eighteen years later, the girls meet when they are brought together by misfortune. Or is it destiny? Forbidden love, revenge, infidelity and burning passion abound in this fast-paced comedy.

“I kept seeing how critics would look at Latino actors’ and writers’ work, comparing it to what people see in telenovelas,” said Zacarías. “I played with this enormously popular genre to see what I could add to the conversation in contemporary American theatre.”


Image from Arena State Twitter account

“Destiny of Desire is a fresh, joyful and fun comedy—with exciting twists and turns—about what happens when women take destiny into their own hands. I hope it further changes the narrative of who we are as both Latino artists and Latinos in America.”

Zacarías has been hailed by the National Endowment for the Arts as the most-produced Latina playwright in the country and by American Theatre Magazine as one of the Top 10 produced playwrights.

In 2016 alone, she had five world premieres: Destiny of Desire at Arena Stage; Native Gardens at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Olivério: A Brazilian Twist at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Ella Enchanted: The Musical at First Stage; and Into the Beautiful North at Milagro Theatre.

Her other award-winning plays including The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana, the adaptations of Just Like Us and How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and many more. She has written 10 theatre for young audiences musicals with composer Deborah Wicks La Puma, including Jane of the Jungle, produced by SCR in 2012.


Image from Arena State Twitter account

“Destiny of Desire is a funny, wild and romantic ride, so the audience has a great deal of fun,” said Valenzuela. “Karen uses the social dynamics and framework of the telenovela, but then she plays with its mode of storytelling and the archetypes.

We have an all-Latino cast, which gives our wonderful ensemble a chance to play all types of characters: the heroes and the villains, the poor and the wealthy, the oppressed and the oppressors.”

The cast includes Esperanza America, Elisa Bocanegra, Eduardo Enrikez, Evelina Fernández, Fidel Gomez, Cástulo Guerra, Ricardo Gutierrez, Ruth Livier, Mauricio Mendoza, Ella Saldana North and Rosino Serrano.

Tickets are available now at