Emporia Bulletin        
Stand-up comedian comes to ESU        
April 20, 2006        


The man who NBC called "America's Prince of Pride" performed a one-man show in Memorial Union's Webb Lecture Hall last night, telling the story of a Mexican family in the United States.

Jade Esteban Estrada, a singer, comedian, actor and dancer, performed "Tortilla Heaven," a comedic, yet very real story of first, second and third generation Mexicans trying to relate to one another. 

The story revolves around Charles, or Carlitos, a third-generation Mexican immigrant whose mother abandons him, leaving him in San Antonio with his grandmother and uncle who speak little English.

Charles doesn't speak Spanish because his mother, a writer, believes her bilingualism is the cause of her inability to write proficiently. 

Estrada played each character, giving each one their own voice and mannerisms.


Jade Esteban Estrada
The many faces of Jade Esteban Estrada
Photo by DAN RITZ

Charles' grandmother and uncle live a very humble life in San Antonio. They don't even have air-conditioning. 

Charles' mother, Vera Mae Ruiz, has abandoned her roots in order to assimilate to big city life. She lives in New York and writes books urging people to speak only English. The play begins with Vera Mae and Charles flying to San Antonio to see her mother for the first time in years. 

Vera tells Charles, "Friends are a dime a dozen."

After the performance, Estrada addressed the audience, thanking them for coming and asked the audience to pay attention to current events like immigration reform.

"This is truly an amazing thing," Estrada said, talking about the Latino organization in response to the proposal.

"Find out what all the commotion is about so you can vote, if there is a vote, based on fact and truth," he said.

Estrada has appeared on "The Graham Norton Effect" on Comedy Central and HBO Latino. He is also a former lead dancer for Charo and a scratch vocalist for the Backstreet Boys

His music can be heard on the Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning television show, "The Shield" on FX.

"Tortilla Heaven" was sponsored by the Emporia State Spanish Club and the Hispanic American Leadership Organization. 

Admission to the show, which took place at 7:00 p.m. yesterday, was free but there was a table set up outside accepting donations to help Edgar Torres, an Emporia High student who was involved in an automobile accident, with medical expenses.


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