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Not So Anonymous Anymore : Stage: After years of being offered stereotypical Latino roles, Rick Najera is lampooning them in a San Diego Rep production he co-wrote.

June 07, 1990|NANCY CHURNIN

Najera, a graduate of the American Conservatory Theatre, had credits at the Old Globe Theatre, the South Coast Repertory Theatre, the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the San Diego Repertory Theatre a lead role in the La Jolla Playhouse production of "Figaro Gets a Divorce" and a variety of episodic television roles on shows such as General Hospital, China Beach and Falcon Crest.

But it's been several years since his last San Diego play, and Najera said he promised himself that "I will not come back to San Diego unless it's as a working actor. If I left Los Angeles not successful, I'd always feel that L.A. had beat me."

When "Latins Anonymous" became the longest-running show in the Los Angeles Theatre Center history, running from October of 1989 to April 1, he was convinced that he was successful. He maintains residences in both Los Angeles and San Diego, and has bought a cabin in Julian.

And he feels that whatever happens next, the production of "Latins Anonymous" as the season opener at the San Diego Rep, satisfies his old vow to write that skit about prejudice.

"I think it's the fulfillment of an old promise to a lot of people--from the janitor on the stage of the Old Globe to the San Diego Junior Theatre, where I was cast in everything (regardless of color). It's fulfilling a lot of promises to a lot of people who believed in me. And it's my way of explaining who I am and what I'm about."

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