One of the Good Ones Review – A Contemporary “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”

Carlos Gomez, Lana Parrilla, and Isabella Gomez in ONE OF THE GOOD ONES - Photo by Jeff Lorch
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Pasadena Playhouse proudly presents the world premiere of ONE OF THE GOOD ONES, a new comedy by Gloria Calderon Kellett, the co-creator and showrunner of Netflix’s “One Day at a Time.” The production marks the first Latino commission in the Playhouse’s 100 year history and is Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman’s first commission since 2016.

Lana Parrilla, Carlos Gomez, and Isabella Gomez – Photo by Jeff Lorch

This is a special day for the Gomez family. Not only did Yoli (Isabella Gomez) graduate from college, but she is also bringing her boyfriend Marcos (Nico Greetham) to meet her parents, Ilana (Lana Parrilla) and Enrique (Carols Gomez). Little did Yoli suspect that Marcos’ skin shade would present a problem for her parents. After all, Marcos was born and raised in Mexico – courtesy of his Boston-born parents – and speaks fluent Spanish – which Mama Ilana does not, even though her family hails from the earliest settlers in what would become Los Angeles. Suddenly, miniscule variations in Hispanic culture begin to create huge chasms as the piñata party progresses. Will this coupling lead to heavenly happiness? Or will it collapse in hellish disaster?

Lana Parrilla, Carlos Gomez, Nico Greetham, and Isabella Gomez – Photo by Jeff Lorch

Calderon Kellett’s script is clever, funny, and pokes holes into some of the most sacrosanct beliefs and rituals held dear by Hispanic families everywhere. Besides some clear and distinct differences in philosophic thought endemic to each of the many countries that constitute Latin America, the Gomez family is also dealing with generational issues which pervade today’s South-of-the-Border kids born and raised in the U.S.A. Pre-programmed prejudices can slash as sharp as a knife – and be an intractable as its steel blade.

Isabella Gomez and Lana Parrilla – Photo by Jeff Lorch

Skillfully helmed by Kimberly Senior, ONE OF THE GOOD ONES doesn’t miss even one of those hidden biases that we are certain doesn’t really exist. Until it does. Each cast member is definitely “one of the good ones,” as they play off each other with comedic finesse. And let’s not forget Pedro (Santino Jimenez), whose unruffled façade adeptly shields a very funny performer. Tanya Orellana’s scenic design sets the stage impeccably, while Denitsa Bliznakova’s costumes, Jaymi Lee Smith’s lighting, and Jeff Gardner’s and Andrea Allmond’s sound keep pace with the fast-moving and hilarious events.

Carlos Gomez, Nico Greetham, Isabella Gomez, and Lana Parrilla – Photo by Jeff Lorch

ONE OF THE GOOD ONES is an entertaining and thought-provoking tale which will encourage peals of laughter – while subtly introducing realistic and real life contemporary concerns. Clearly, Gloria Calderon Kellett is a talented writer who can present some pretty compelling material in a humorous and diverting way. This is a must-see production for Hispanics everywhere – but also for others who are fascinated by cultural issues and their impact on everyday life.

ONE OF THE GOOD ONES runs through April 7, 2024, with performances at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Pasadena Playhouse is located at 39 South El Molino Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101. Tickets start at $40. For information and reservations, call 626-356-7529 or go online.


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