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Mar 21, 2017 >> Backstage of Destiny of Desire

Destiny of Desire begins on a stormy night in small town Mexico. Two baby girls are born into two very different worlds—one to privilege and one to poverty—but then are secretly switched. And so begins a wild romp of a musical play that leaves the audience Ooh-ing, Aah-ing and desperately leaving wanting more. And the star of the show? It’s the generous, tongue-in-cheek nod to the classic telenovela in its most vibrant, celebrated form.

With twists and turns—and the occasional rewind!—Destiny of Desire honors the Latin American art form that has achieved global notoriety. We went backstage at the Goodman theatre to talk with Destiny of Desire stars Esperanza America and Ella Saldana North on how everyone can relate to life feeling like a soap opera, and what you might expect from this fast-paced, quick-witted musical production.


Written by Karen Zacarías and directed by José Luis Valenzuela, Destiny of Desire parks itself triumphantly on the Goodman stage in its third iteration as a tribute to the shocking drama and seductive comedy of telenovelas. And the best thing about this show is you don’t have to know anything about telenovelas to appreciate this contemporary production. Telenovela style, while high in camp, is not always kitsch. Destiny of Desire toes the line within the ridiculously broad boundaries of telenovelas, but also sheds a refreshing and poignant light on sexism, racism and clashes within the class system. Whether you realize it or not, you don’t just leave with laugh lines and pratfalls. There is an underlying message with Karen’s work that uses the soap opera to dig a little deeper. From love and betrayal to death and success, this show brings a new perspective to the stage, highlighting the highs and lows of life while celebrating the genre’s notable style.

But back to the good stuff: Passion! Deception! Forbidden love! The effervescent Ella Saldana North plays the role of poor but beautiful maid Victoria Maria del Rio and a sultry and sharp Esperanza America is cast as the glamorous socialite Pilar Esperanza Castillo. The two women decide to trade lives for a night of adventure and romance they’ll never forget. Follow along above as we interview the two stars of Destiny of Desire. Ella and Esperanza give us a peek behind the scenes—sans spoilers!—at the Goodman theatre to get us excited about this eccentric, high-energy and outrageously fun show.

Destiny of Desire runs through April 16th at The Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Tickets available at