The cast of this summer’s Feast includes 5-year APTP veterans giving their final performances before they go off to college and brand-new graduates of our middle-school program making their APTP debut. Meet the 25 youth artists who will inspire you this summer in Feast.

LIZBETH ACEVEDO is a rising junior at Amundsen High School. Her previous APTP credits include God’s Work at the Goodman, two workshops of APTP and Third Rail Projects’ Learning Curve, and I Will Kiss These Walls. Lizbeth writes: “When I started APTP in seventh grade, I had a lot of insecurities, like any normal teen would have. Those insecurities didn’t allow me to discover the skills and talents I had hidden. APTP has helped me discover myself and become more bold and confident.”

MAIDENWENA ALBA just finished her sophomore year at Amundsen High School. Maidenwena marks her third APTP show with Feast, after this spring’s workshop production of Learning Curve and her APTP debut in last year’s God’s Work here at Goodman. Maidenwena writes: “I joined APTP’s workshops at Albany Park Multicultural Academy in seventh grade. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but it changed my life. APTP taught me the true meaning of community, and I’m proud to call it my second family. I’ve earned so many opportunities with APTP, from college visits to meeting people I never thought I would meet. It is a blessing to be a part of this ensemble, to work with an amazing team of directors, and to give a voice to these untold stories.”

CARLOS DESANTIAGO makes his Goodman debut in Feast, his third production with APTP. Carlos writes: “I am a young boy with big ideas and big dreams. APTP helped me develop those ideas and helps me pursue my dreams. I was always a creative child, but I didn’t know how to express my creativity until my teacher, Ms. McVey, signed me up to join APTP’s after-school program. APTP has welcomed me into their family, and I’ve learned so many things, not just about performing, but about myself and my community. I am honored to be a part of Feast because we are telling stories in a artistic way that brings out emotions in all the audience.”

GUSTAVO DURAN is 17 years old and will enter his senior year at Lane Tech High School in the fall. With Feast, Gustavo returns to Goodman Theatre after performing God’s Work with APTP in the spring of 2014. After three years with APTP, Gustavo writes about his experience: “When entering high school there were many changes that I encountered, but I believe joining APTP to be the most significant. What I find most exciting is that the work we do leads us to meet many people. It is astonishing to listen to the stories of not just the people we interview but all those we come across. I am excited to see how I will use what I have learned at APTP in other places throughout my life.”

LILIANA DURAN is 18 years old and a recent graduate of Roosevelt High School. She made her APTP debut in I Will Kiss These Walls, her Goodman debut in APTP’s God’s Work, and performed in both workshop productions of APTP and Third Rail Projects’ forthcoming Learning Curve. Lily writes: “During my APTP journey, I have learned so much about the world, my community and myself. APTP has made me a leader, and it has taken my passion for activism and let me explore it on a whole new level. I have been touched by every story we have heard, and they have been my drive to pursue activism in my community. I plan to pursue activism next year when I begin a new journey at Monmouth College. It has been an inspiration to be part of a group of such dedicated and passionate people. They have all contributed to my time at APTP and I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience.”

ELY ESPINO is 18 years old, a five-year APTP veteran, and a soon-to-be freshman at Earlham College. She has been with APTP since she was 13 and has been a part of creating and performing five productions, including Home/Land and God’s Work at Goodman Theatre, I Will Kiss These Walls, and both workshops of APTP and Third Rail Projects’ Learning Curve. Ely writes: “I am so grateful to be performing for the last time with APTP at the Goodman, which has become our second home. I am especially excited to perform Feast, the show that first inspired me to fall in love with APTP as an audience member. Just five days after closing this run of Feast, I will live my dream of going to college by starting my first year at Earlham College, where I will study Psychology. I’m grateful for the family I’ve created at APTP, the courage and confidence I have built, and the knowledge of social issues that I will soon take with me to a new place.”

KITO ESPINO is 16 years old and will be a junior in Lane Tech in the fall. Kito joined APTP the summer before eighth grade with no prior experience or appreciation for theater. Now, Feast marks his fifth production with the company, including previous appearances at the Goodman in God’s Work and Home/Land. Kito writes: “APTP has opened my eyes to the world around me. I have seen growth in not only myself, but also in my fellow ensemble members. I was never really aware of the many issues my own community was facing, but APTP helped shine a light on these important issues, like immigration, housing and foreclosure, and education. It is great that I have a place like APTP that I can rely on during the best of times, and the worst of times.”

JOHNNY HAMZO is 15 years old and has just completed his first year at Amundsen High School. Johnny made his stage debut this spring in the workshop of APTP and Third Rail Projects’ Learning Curve. Johnny writes: ”APTP is a place where I can express my thoughts, and where I can be heard. I am proud to share the courageous stories of so many amazing people.”

BRANDON LORBES is 17 years old and a recent graduate of Von Steuben High School. Brandon joined APTP at the beginning of his senior year and made his debut in the workshop of Learning Curve this spring. Brandon writes: “I never thought I would find a place I would love going to besides my house. When I received a greeting from every ensemble member when I stepped into APTP on my first day, it was a sign. I was destined to be a part of this company. They are like family members. I’ve never been shown love like this, I’ve cherished every moment, and I will forever remember everyone I’ve met here.”

KIARA LYN MANRIQUEZ is 16 years old and has been performing with APTP since eighth grade. Feast marks her second production at the Goodman after God’s Work, and her fourth with APTP. Kiara writes: “I grew up constantly wondering about the future and what the world has to offer. APTP is one of those opportunities I couldn’t pass up and a chapter in my life that has impacted me for the better. Joining APTP provided the love and support I was seeking as a child. They have helped me see the world in a different perspective. I discovered what it means to be happy and learned to cherish everything I have encountered in my life’s journey. The best part of it all is that we are able to raise up unheard voices and tell stories that don’t otherwise get told.”

JUSTIN MARTINEZ is a 17 year-old who just finished his junior year at Global Citizenship Experience Lab School. He has been part of the APTP family for three years and has performed in three shows, making his debut at the Goodman last year with God’s Work. Justin writes: “APTP is not just a group of young actors or a place where we build plays. APTP is a breathing organism that relays important stories. It is truly an honor to be part of something so powerful. Aside from APTP, I am involved in music groups at my school and with friends. I love the power music gives people to feel emotions and tell stories. As a rising senior, I cannot wait to embark on the adventure of applying to colleges with APTP! I want to thank my family, friends, and teachers for supporting me always.”

PALOMA MORALES joined APTP when she was 13 years old: five years and five plays ago. Feast will be her final production before she begins her first year at Coe College in the fall. Paloma writes: “Walking into APTP’s theater, I felt the energy bouncing off the walls. By the time my first workshop ended, I fell in love and I was hooked. I am now 18 years old, and my love for APTP continues to grow. APTP has opened my eyes to many new things and has helped me realize how much strength and courage one person can have. APTP introduced me to so many great people, people I now can’t imagine living without. My years at APTP brought what I thought was just my childish imagination to life and inspired me to pursue the dream of becoming the first in my family to go to college. APTP is a place I am proud and grateful to call my second home.”

CHELSEE NAVA is 17 years old and just completed her junior year at Amundsen High School. Chelsee made her APTP and Goodman debut last year in God’s Work, followed by the two workshops of Learning Curve at APTP’s home theater. Chelsee writes: “I came to APTP hoping to find an activity to do in the summer. I didn’t know that I was going to fall in love with the place and the people. APTP is like my second home and the ensemble members are like my family. We have learned so much from one other and continue to thrive with the support of our directors. I’ve gained knowledge and courage. I am so proud to be working with such an inspirational ensemble, and I can’t wait to see what the future has to offer.”

ALYANNA PARAJADO is a rising senior at Amundsen High School. Alyanna writes: “I joined APTP as a shy person, but slowly I have learned to be confident. APTP has shaped me into who I am today and they have taught me not to be controlled by what others say. At APTP, I am always accepted for who I am. I am blessed to have met the APTP directors, who inspire me to strive for success, and the other APTP ensemble members, who I can trust because they are like my second family. It is an honor to be part of APTP and it has been a blessing to have created God’s Work, Learning Curve, and now Feast. I can’t wait to make more theater and more memories with APTP.”

PAOLA RICO is 16 years old and just finished her sophomore year at Roosevelt High School. She returns to the Goodman for the third time with Feast, following God’s Work in 2014 and Home/Land in 2013. Paola writes: “APTP has expanded my knowledge on issues that not only affect certain people, but the whole world. The support I have at APTP is unbelievable. Throughout my three years with APTP I’ve discovered what it is to be an artist, activist, and an ethnographer. I am eternally grateful for the work that I do, the people I meet, the stories we tell as an ensemble, and the amazing opportunities APTP gives me to become a thinker, dreamer, and a firm believer that the impossible is always possible.”

JESI ROJO makes her Goodman debut in Feast after making her APTP debut this spring in the second workshop of Learning Curve. A 17 year-old rising senior at Amundsen High School, Jesi writes: “I’d like to thank my family for their support and love. APTP is a true home to me and has encouraged me to grow both as a performer and as a person. I hope I will be able to share the transcendent beauty that APTP has endowed me with and that I continue to a make positive impact. APTP has given me a mission in life: to make art and to change the world. I hope to become fiction writer and journalist in the future, and – with as much inspiration and as much courage as I now have – it doesn’t seem like such a long shot anymore.”

CHRISTINA SALIBA is 16 years old and a rising junior in the IB program at Amundsen High School. She made her APTP debut in I Will Kiss These Walls when she was in eighth grade, has since performed in God’s Work at the Goodman, and in the workshops of APTP and Third Rail Projects’ Learning Curve, and looks forward to the world premiere of Learning Curve in 2016. Christina writes: “I enjoy to read during my spare time. However, I also love to shop. I also am an athlete, playing on my school’s varsity Volleyball team. I aspire to become a lawyer and make a difference in this world. And who knows, as a hard worker with big goals, I may even be a future Supreme Court justice.”

JEREMY SEBASTIAN recently graduated CICS Northtown Academy and will be attending Cornell College in the fall. Feast will be his third show with APTP and his second at the Goodman. Jeremy writes: “APTP has helped me become a passionate artist. I have learned so many important skills in this company, such as teamwork, trust, creativity, and contributing ideas. APTP has helped me discover my talent for rapping, dancing, writing, and drumming. I will never forget the amazing things APTP has done for me. My peers and mentors at APTP have motivated me to live life to my fullest potential and to hope that I will leave a meaningful impact in the world.”

HECTOR VELAZQUEZ is an 18 year-old recent graduate of Lane Tech. Hector made his APTP debut earlier this year in the spring workshop of Learning Curve, and he makes his Goodman debut with Feast. Hector writes: “I love to play and listen to music. I have been playing the guitar for more than seven years now. My first guitar was given to me as a present on my 11th birthday. My dad was a big influence in my musical interest. He taught me some basic chords and, from there, I learned everything else on my own. I started writing my own music at the age of 16. There is nothing in the world more satisfying to me than creating a work of art that I can share with others. I am currently in two musical groups, one with my dad and one with my friends. When I’m not playing music or making theater, I’m usually outside skateboarding.”

MARIA VELAZQUEZ is 16 years old, a life-long resident of Albany Park, and an upcoming junior at Jones College Prep. Maria knew about APTP for three years before joining the company herself in the summer of 2014. Her APTP debut was in the second workshop of the work-in-progress, immersive performance, Learning Curve, in collaboration with New York’s Third Rail Projects. She is honored, enthusiastic, and exuberant to share Feast with you.