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Latina Actress Gizel Jimenez – A Passion For Acting


Bessy Reyna Contributor

Actress Gizel Jimenez is participating in the production of the musical “The Theory of Relativity” at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, Connecticut. This is her first show with the theatrical group Goodspeed Musicals. Norma Terris Theatre has been presenting new musicals and supporting many Latino actors who have participated in plays both in the Chester playhouse, as well as their main venue in East Haddam. I decided to contact Gizel Jimenez, one of the cast member of the current production, which will end May 31, and talk to her about her Latino heritage and professional background. Elisa Hale, PR and Marketing Director for Goodspeed Musicals, was kind enough to facilitate this Internet interview. Gracias to Gizel for taking the time from her hectic performance schedule to give us this interview.
BR: Tell me about your family.
GJ: My mother and father are both from Cuba. My mother is from Havana and my father is from Santa Clara. They came to America in their early teens. Once they arrived, they struggled learning the American language.  When they had children, they decided to speak English at home to avoid the same struggle. Although, I took it upon myself to learn Spanish on my own.
BR: When did you become interested in the theater?
GJ: Ever since I was a child I always wanted to be a singer. In school, I joined the choir program and fell in love with the theory of music. As the years went on, I discovered that my passion for music was naturally expressed through story telling. Once I got to the second year of high school, my choir director John Rose suggested to start looking into acting and possibly audition for a community theater as an after school activity.
Once he brought that to my attention, I auditioned for West Side Story at The Miami Children’s Theater in Miami, Florida. To my complete shock, I was cast as Anita for my first show in theater. That was the start of my never ending passion to act.

BR: Do you have a favorite playwright?
GJ:  Although there are many playwrights that I love and respect, my absolute favorite is Lin Manuel Miranda. Lin wrote In The Heights, which became one of my favorite shows ever! I was able to connect so much to his writing, mostly because his story was so close to home. He was the first Hispanic to write, direct, and star in a show about my culture. And for that, I am forever grateful to him.

BR: Do you have a favorite theater where you have acted?
GJ: Although I love ALL of the theaters I’ve worked in, my favorite would have to be The Paramount Theater in Seattle, Washington, where I did the first national tour of West Side Story as Rosalita.
BR: You have also worked in films and TV, which do you prefer?
GJ: After the tour, I was cast as a guest star on Law & Order SVU. The episode is called “Presumed Guilty.” I’ve also been in a short film called “Timmy Two Chins,” where I played the female lead. In addition to that, I was apart of a commercial with comedian Nick Kroll for Comedy Central.  Being on TV made me realize that I have a huge passion for it. Eventually I’d like to move to California to give full attention to TV and Film. Although, I don’t think I’d ever “give up” theater.
BR: Are you working on a new project?
GJ:  My next project will be at La Jolla Playhouse in California, where I will be playing a principle role in the new musical “Up Here”.
For more info about Gizel Jimenez’s upcoming events, visit her website at
The Theory of Relativity will run through May 31, Wed. 2 and 7:30pm; Thursdays 7:30; Fridays 8; Saturdays 3 and 8 and Sundays 2 and 6:30 pm. Ask for special discounts for students, teachers and people under 40.
The Norma Terris Theatre is located on 33 North Main ST, Chester, CT. For information about this and other plays, call 860-873-8668 visit

bessy reyna



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