March 24, 2017
Colonial Williamsburg Welcomes Actor and Scholar Chaz Mena as its Newest Revolutionary in ResidenceREV Talk April 28 at the Kimball Theatre to feature Mena’s performance, “Yo Solo: On the Stage of the American Revolution,” which brings to life the Spanish soldier and royal governor who helped turn the tide of the Revolution for the United States
Colonial Williamsburg welcomes actor and scholar Chaz Mena as its newest Revolutionary in Residence in a partnership to include new program development and a REV Talk featuring his one-man show “Yo Solo: On the Stage of the American Revolution.”
Mena’s recent on-screen credits include recurring roles on the Netflix series “Bloodline,” USA Network’s “Graceland” and “Burn Notice,” the feature film “Pain & Gain” starring Mark Wahlberg, and appearances on dozens of TV series and independent films (see www.chazmena.com for more film and stage credits).
As a scholar and performer with the Florida Humanities Council, Mena developed a series of one-man performances depicting key figures in the state’s history: St. Augustine founder Pedro Menéndez de Avilés; Seminole leader Osceola; revolutionary writer José Martí and Gálvez.
Launched this year, Colonial Williamsburg’s Revolutionaries in Residence program hosts provocative thinkers who engage audiences with fresh perspectives that embody the spirit and relevance of the Revolutionary era.
“Colonial Williamsburg Revolutionaries in Residence capture the creative and scholarly spirit that gave way to our nation—each is a storyteller who stokes our enthusiasm about our nation’s founding era and values,” said Jim Thomas, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president of development. “Already a successful actor, Chaz Mena set out to tell stories of our nation’s founding that have often been overlooked, and we are thrilled to have him join us in the Revolutionary City to share them with our audiences.”
Though less well-known than the Prussian Baron von Steuben or the French Marquis de Lafayette, Gálvez factored heavily, especially in the war’s final months, in favor of the young United States. As Spanish governor of Louisiana, Gálvez facilitated delivery of arms and other supplies to the young states via the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River. On learning of British plans to attack New Orleans, the veteran officer staged an offensive that culminated in the defeat of British forces at the Battle of Pensacola on May 9, 1781, wresting Florida and the Gulf coast from British control.
Gálvez later served as viceroy of New Spain and died in 1786 at age 40. U.S. towns including Galveston, Texas were named in his honor and he is one of only eight people to be granted honorary U.S. citizenship by Congress. Others include Lafayette, Sir Winston Churchill and Mother Teresa.
“Colonial Williamsburg does me a great honor by recognizing my work, but more importantly it is honoring the efforts of all people at our independency — from what was even at its birth a multicultural America,” Mena said. “As a research hub for Revolutionary-era studies, Colonial Williamsburg is unmatched. It has assigned for itself the tallest order: to inspire people everywhere with America’s continuing story.”
Other elements of Mena’s residency, scheduled to run from mid-April through early May, include research and writing, staff training and development of Spanish-language tours, and guest interaction.
The Revolutionaries in Residence program is generously sponsored by The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Illinois.
Mena’s REV Talk begins at 7:30 p.m. April 28 at the Kimball Theatre in Colonial Williamsburg’s Merchants Square, and Mena will field audience questions following his performance of “Yo Solo...” Tickets are $5 and are available at Colonial Williamsburg ticketing locations including the Kimball Theatre box office, online at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com, or by calling 1-855-296-6627. Additional information is available by following Colonial Williamsburg on Facebook and @colonialwmsburg on Twitter and Instagram.