'La Bamba' Cast reunites in Chicago

October 16, 2012 (CHICAGO)

The musical biography follows the story of a young rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens, whose life was cut short by a plane crash at the age of 17. The actors are here in our studio to talk about milestone.



Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales and Elizabeth Pena on panel at Columbia Night during 2012 Chicago International Film Festival

CHICAGO (Sept. 14, 2012) – Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales and Elizabeth Peña are the featured speakers for the "La Bamba" 25th anniversary reunion, a special edition of Columbia College Chicago's Conversations in the Arts at Columbia Night during the Chicago International Film Festival. The discussion with the stars will be moderated by Dean Richards ('76), entertainment reporter and critic for WGN-TV, WGN America, WGN Radio and Chicago Tribune.

The free public conversation takes place at 7 p.m. at the AMC River East 21 Theaters, 322 E. Illinois St. Reservations are now open at www.colum.edu/conversations. Seating is very limited so advanced registration is highly recommended.

"La Bamba" is the biographical story of the rise from nowhere of young rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens, whose life was cut short by a plane crash at the age of 17. The film follows Ritchie from his days in Pacoima, California where he and his family make a meager living working on farms, to his rise as a star. "La Bamba" won a BMI Film Music Award in 1988 and was nominated for a Golden Globe award that same year. Full bios of the stars are located here (http://www.colum.edu/conversations/la-bamba-reunion.php )

Lou Diamond Phillips, who starred as Ritchie Valens in 1987's "La Bamba," currently appears in the hit A&E ensemble series "Longmire." He won the Independent Spirit Award for best supporting actor and received a best supporting actor Golden Globe nomination for his 1988 feature film role in "Stand and Deliver." On stage, he earned a Tony nomination for best actor as the King of Siam in the Broadway production of "The King and I." On television, Phillips had a popular guest-star arc on the latest season of "Southland," and earlier this year had a recurring role on ABC's "Cougar Town" in addition to recurring roles on TV series such as "SGU Stargate Universe" and "Numb3rs."

Award-winning actor Esai Morales most recently has been seen on USA's "Fairly Legal." After his feature film debut in "Bad Boys" opposite Sean Penn, Morales led the squad room as Lieutenant Tony Rodriguez in the Emmy award-winning series "NYPD Blue" in the 1980s. He more recently recurred in Showtime's "Resurrection Blvd.," PBS's drama series "American Family," FOX's "Vanished" and USA's "Burn Notice." Morales also had a regular role on primetime television as Major Beck on CBS's "Jericho" and was cast as one of the leads of the SyFy series "Caprica." His other recent film credits include "Fast Food Nation" and "The Virgin of Juarez."

Elizabeth Peña's big screen performances include the role of Carmen in "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" as well as the jilted Rosie in "La Bamba." She also starred in "Batteries Not Included" and "Jacob's Ladder" opposite Academy Award winner Tim Robbins. She co-starred in "Rush Hour" and "The Waterdance." Peña received an Independent Spirit Award and a Bravo Award for best actress in a film for her role in 1996's "Lone Star," and an ALMA Award for outstanding supporting actress for her role in 2001's "Tortilla Soup." She also voiced the seductive hero/villain Mirage in Pixar's 2004 blockbuster hit "The Incredibles." On television, Peña most recently appeared in a recurring role on Shonda Rhimes' ABC series "Off the Map." For three seasons, she played Bibi in Showtime's award-winning drama "Resurrection Boulevard," for which she received the ALMA Award in 2001.

La Bamba 25th Anniversary Reunion Event Information:

WHEN: 7 p.m., Oct. 16

WHERE: AMC River East 21 Theaters 322 E. Illinois St.

ADMISSION: This event is free and open to the public. Theater seating is limited.

RSVP at www.colum.edu/conversations

Columbia College Chicago is an urban institution that offers innovative degree programs in the visual, performing, media and communication arts for more than 11,000 students in more than 120 undergraduate and graduate programs. An arts and media college committed to a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, Columbia is dedicated to opportunity and excellence in higher education. For further information, visit www.colum.edu.

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