Meet the Cast of UCI Drama's EVITA at the Irvine Barclay Theatre



As a Department of Excellence within the Hispanic Serving Institution of UC Irvine, UCI Drama is proud to present the Latin American tale Evita featuring Hispanic actors in the four leading roles. Meet the cast and learn a little about their experience bringing this production to life.

Luzma Ortíz, “Evita”

My “Mami” is Colombian and my “Papi” is Cuban, and I am the older of two first generation daughters born in America. My dad, Alfredo Rolando Ortíz, is a Gold Record-winning, internationally acclaimed harpist, composer and educator, who performs on his “Paraguayan harp” all over the world; his family emigrated from Cuba  to Venezuela when he was a teen, and he later moved to Colombia to study medicine. He moved from Colombia to the US in 1975 to continue studying Music Therapy at Cal State Long Beach. My mom, LuzMarina, soon followed for a “visit” which turned into a lifetime.

I am very close with both sides of my extended family. Most of my Cuban family members have lived in Southern California my entire life, and over the years some of my Colombian family members have also made the move to California. Having them close has kept the connection I feel to my heritage very strong. I have been to beautiful Colombia a handful of times, but I have never been to Cuba; it is a dream of mine to visit someday.

I admire the character of Eva Perón, because of her drive and ambition to get what she wants. UC Irvine has provided wonderful opportunities for me as an actress. I played my first non-musical, dramatic role as Big Mama in last year’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and I played the role of Cynthia in the Brown Bag Theater Company’s production of Contra la Corriente. Playing Evita has helped me explore my Latin roots as an actress, and I look forward to more roles in the future that reflect my cultural background.

Giovanni Munguía, “Che Guevara”

I moved to the United States with my mom when I was 14 (almost 8 years ago). I had to learn English from scratch, and it was a very rough path of trying to fit in, and living in a studio apartment with my mom.

I was born in Mexico City and I grew up there, so naturally I have strong ties to my culture. My whole family still lives there, and I usually visit at least once a year. I connect with Che's passion for making his country better for the people, and his political drive to stand against anyone who is not for the common good. Also, he is a young man trying to figure out his place in his world, much as I am.

UC Irvine was the perfect school for me. I transferred from community college and UCI took me in with open arms, and gave me lots of opportunities to learn and to play roles that challenged me. My teachers here have guided me and prepared me to work in the professional world, and I'm infinitely grateful for that.

Che is my last role at UCI before graduating in the spring, and I'm challenging myself to do the most polished work I have done so far.

Mario Móntes, “Juan Perón”

When I think back on my mother's journey through life, I am deeply moved. I'm also left wishing life was a bit less confusing and challenging, and much more loving and compassionate. I'm left wishing I could have been more of a help to her in those challenging times.

The incredible human being that is my mother fled a life of hardship and abuse in Mexico, and came to the US in search of a better life for my sister and me. This was around the time I was seven years old. She worked two long shifts as a waitress to make sure we were taken care of, and somehow - amidst the chaos of such a work-heavy routine - managed to always make us feel the magnitude of her love.

My biggest priority is devoting my life to the people I love. Everything I am is possible because of my mother; because of her, I am in love with life, with people, and with who I am. I also love my Mexican culture: the passion, the language, the food. And what I love the most about Mexican culture is the importance of family.

Consequently, what moves me most about having the honor of playing Juan Perón and being a part of this particular production of Evita is the connection to family, the working class, and the need to help other human beings attain a better shot at happiness. I am so grateful to UC Irvine and the wonderful instructors who have helped make this production happen.

Joey Abrego, “Agustín Magaldi”

My father emigrated from El Salvador to Santa Rosa, California in the early 1990s, and while he was a teacher there, I’m the first in my family to attend college here in the United States. I’ve been to El Salvador three times, and over those visits have developed a strong relationship with my grandmother, who owns a restaurant in a small town there. Exploring roles such as Magaldi opens up a deeper curiosity about my Latin American heritage, and allows me to explore new aspects of my sense of self. I am grateful to my instructors at UC Irvine for helping me grow more confident in myself, my art, my life, and my culture.


While UCI is a public university, our productions rely heavily on donations from community partners in the private sector. If you are interested in supporting our production of Evita in exchange for recognition in our performance program, please contact us at (949) 824-8062 or email All donations are tax deductible to the extent of the law.

For tickets, visit or TICKETS. By phone, call (949) 824-2787.

We thank you for your support, and hope to see you at the theatre!