Maria Costa Gears Up for her New Comedy Special
By Elvira Guzman
Feisty, Funny and Fearless, Award Winning Comedian/Actress Gears Up for her New Comedy Special Live at the Legendary Wilshire Ebell Theater
Maria Costa is a comedian, actress and writer. Many may recognize Maria from her previous award-winning comedy concert tour and special, “Macho Men and the Women Who Love Them.” The extremely successful show toured in over 100 cities in the U.S. and internationally, selling out venues like the Kodak Theater where it was filmed for worldwide DVD release with Image Entertainment – streaming live on Amazon Prime. Most recently Maria landed a partnership deal with MUNDOFLIX to distribute her variety show “Viva America”.
The show exposes Maria’s unique ability to morph into multiple characters of various political, economic and cultural backgrounds. She takes viewers on a comedic journey, exploring trending topics such as women’s issues, race, the economy, and immigration. ‘Viva’ is now streaming live on MundoFlix.com. Maria’s now gearing up for her upcoming comedy concert special “Shades of Machos”. The comedy concert special will take place on May 19, 2018 at the legendary Wilshire Ebell Theater and will feature Live musical performances by Billboard Latin Music Award Winner Toby Love! Tickets are now available for advanced discount purchases at her website www.mariacosta.com Maria will also be taking the show on the road, tour dates will also be posted on her site. Enjoy the interview!
Congratulations on all of your success! So you are gearing up to film your new comedy concert special “Shades of Machos” at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on May 19th. Tell us what this means to you? How excited are you for this day and what can we expect?
Maria Costa: This new show, “Shades of Machos” is Volume 2 of my last show, “Macho Men and the Women Who Love Them”. I delve more deeply into the idea of being a career driven women who is also, in some ways, very domestic because of my very traditional upbringing and how I try to I balance the two worlds. In the first ‘Macho’ show I focused only on Latino family dynamics. In volume 2, I definitely explore marriage and dating amongst Latinos as the main topic, however I also examine machismo in the African American culture– and other communities, introducing new characters, like a new Middle Eastern character that I’m excited about. I also discuss the different “shades” of myself as a mixed race women and how my Hungarian and Cuban background as well as growing up in a predominately African American city has influenced my views on life, love and everything in between. Through sharing my experiences examine the complexities of women like me. Women who cannot be defined or put into a box – brown, white, black, traditional, strong, independent, nurturing, warrior, seductress… must we be only one thing or only a few. Some of us are all it combined and we are the only ones who can define for ourselves what that looks like verses letting others define it for us. The concept of Feminism for instance needs to shift into a balanced, self-defined and holistic expression for each individual women. The kind of women who can be disciplined, determined and powerful in her career but yet be nurturing at home. I also hit on releasing the old ideas of machismo that don’t work in a healthy relationship and family dynamic and how both men and women can work together to understand each other and come to a middle ground.
I am also super excited about the music and dance in 'Shades' with Toby Love joining the cast as our feature musical performing, singing Bachata, Reggeaton and Salsa live throughout the show. I have always wanted to collaborate with an artist of his caliber. As a top Latin music artist, he was originally with the group Aventura, is a Billboard Music Award Winner and has released a number of successful solo albums/songs, like Tengo Un Amore which won the Best Rap/Hip-Hop Album (Billboard). Toby’s Caribbean, romantic and infectious music that combines traditional and urban styles is a perfect fit for 'Shades'.
The production also features some extremely talented Latin dancers that we are bringing in from New York who will our cast of some of the top Latin dance talent based in Los Angeles. What can I say, 'Shades' is like 'Macho Men' on steroids. It’s going to be an exciting experience filled with laughter, music, dance and culture. I can't wait!
Exposure Magazine: Congratulations on your partnership with MUNDOFLIX. You recently landed a deal to distribute Viva America, your variety special with them. Tell me about the show and how can we watch?
Maria Costa: ‘Viva’ is a one camera variety show in which I explore social issues like immigration and race through comedy and outrageous character portrayals. The project was different experience for me because I explored new characters with conservative points of views of views like Linda, who believes in an “English only America” and a male character from the South who is upset that he lost his factory job to a foreigner. I also have characters with more progressive views, giving the audience various point of reference on the given subject. I am a city girl and was raised in a urban area, I am Latina, a Cubana and Afro-Latina, so have that experience of life or say when I walk into a room that is what I am seen as, but I was also raised by my very republican Uncle, and ultra-traditional Hungarian Grandmother, which is why I believe many people who have seen my work say that it is very universal and speaks to different audiences. ‘Viva’ reflects those concepts and ideas.
Exposure Magazine: When did you know you had a gift to entertain others and can you tell us about your early journey as an artist?
Maria Costa: Well I started writing at a very young age, around 7 as a way to process life and my experiences as I was pretty shy as a child. I consider myself an introvert/extrovert now. Anyways, so I continued to write short stories and such throughout my primary-secondary school years. Then a high-school English teacher of mine said I had a gift for writing and personally drove me down to sign me up for a community arts program. I took writing classes there and then tried the acting and dance classes as well. I then started combining the three art forms and performing plays that I wrote along with a cast. I saw the response from the audience and really loved the ability to provoke thought from those who were experiencing my work. Especially when it was funny. I think I have some pretty strong points of views and my work has a message, so when you make people laugh you can say just about anything. I’m not a traditional stand up but my work is comedic. I developed this skill around that time.
When I was performing in a production at in the youth program someone from the Marcel Marceau World Center for Mime was in the audience and offered one student - that would me, a full scholarship to study with Marcel Marceau. I performed and toured with the company as well as with Marcel Marceau, which was an amazing experience and great honor. He then recommended me to Uta Hagen, who is a legend in the world of acting and I studied with her for some time while I was attending Wayne State University in their Fine Arts and Communication Studies Program. I was also waiting tables at night and working at my uncle’s photo lab to help pay for my education until I was hired at PBS as on air talent on one of their national shows. I then went on to produce and write for the show as well. I think the combination of all those experiences in my early years as well as being raised in a blue collar city by a tough and resilient old school family helped prepare me for the stamina and hard work that it would take to bring my vision/s into a reality.
Exposure Magazine: You began your career as a classically trained actress and now you’re making people laugh all over the world with your award-winning one-woman stand up performance, Macho Men and the Women Who Love Them. How did you make the switch?
Maria Costa: Well early on when I was in college I was performing in a play that Jeff Daniels was directing at his Purple Rose Theater in Michigan and he said, “you know Maria you have a gift for comedy, I think you should go to LA.” As I arrived in LA I did work in a dramatic roles in television for years but then was pulled to create my own original work as well. I wrote a play call AfroSpic about my Afro-Latina background, my first one person show, then began developing 'Macho Men'. I saw that the subject matter really struck a chord with people, and people from many different backgrounds because of the universal message of honoring traditional values in a modern world. We started selling out theaters, touring and filmed it at the Kodak Theater.
Exposure Magazine: Who would you like to work with in Hollywood?
Maria Costa: Rita Moreno, Tina Faye and Meryl Streep are all women whose work I respect and adore. It would be amazing to work with them.
Exposure Magazine: You’re set to receive a star on the Motown Walk To Fame. That must feel incredible! Tell us about it?
Maria Costa: From what I understand Aretha Franklin, Lilly Tomlin and Tim Allen are all receiving stars as well. I am honored to have a star alongside such incredible artists whom I greatly respect and admire as well as the other honorees like producer Jerry Bruckheimer. It's extra special because the recognition is coming from my hometown, a place that prepared me for life and contributed to building my character.
Exposure Magazine: Aside from your upcoming comedy concert special what is next for Maria Costa?
Maria Costa: I'm focused right now on continuing to build the 'Macho Men' brand through tours, feature film/s and media projects. I just finished the film translation of the original ‘Macho Men’ play into a full-length feature film script. I am looking forward work towards bringing that project to market. It would be the first film of the ‘Macho Men’ franchise.
For more information on Maria Costa please visit her website www.MariaCosta.com and follow her on social media: Facebook: @TheRealMariaCosta Instagram: @drealmariacosta