Theatre Department Grads and Students Come Together for 'Empanada Loca'

Guadalupe Campos, (M.F.A. in acting, 2016) plays Dolores in 'Empanada Loca' by Aaron Mark.
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Guadalupe Campos, (M.F.A. in acting, 2016) plays Dolores in 'Empanada Loca' by Aaron Mark.

ArkansasStaged presents a Halloween happening you won't soon forget in their first ever fully-produced play, Empanada Loca, by Aaron Mark to be presented at 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville for one night only on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m.

The play is directed by Cole Wimpee and features Department of Theatre graduate Guadalupe Campos as Dolores. The night will also feature specialty empanadas crafted by award-winning chef Matthew McClure and themed craft cocktails from The Hive restaurant and bar. Food and drinks begin at 6 p.m.

Loosely inspired by the legend of Sweeney Todd, Empanada Loca, is a one-woman tour de force that tells the story of Delores, a plucky survivor, who leads us on a journey through the dank subway tunnels of Manhattan with her dark and bloody story. In an eat or be eaten world, Dolores has devoured her life's challenges with a gruesome grin.

Theatremania calls the play "…a real hair-raiser. Anyone looking for a good fright won't want to miss it, but beware: This show is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach." For this play that is as scary as it is funny, adults will want to leave the kids at home in order to relish the adult-themed story on a night off from trick or treating.

"The play is pure storytelling: hauntingly realistic, theatrically chilling, laugh-out loud funny, and deeply tragic. In the course of 90 minutes, the range of emotions experienced is like a rollercoaster — slow boiling, and then, thrillingly quick. Ultimately though, the play hinges on one captivating actor embodying many different characters who illuminate society's failure to protect and nurture those who need it most," says Cole Wimpee, who also directed Venus In Fur for ArkansasStaged and has devised numerous other projects for ArkansasStaged at Crystal Bridges.

The artistic team is made up of a bevvy of Department of Theatre and J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences alumni and current students. Director Cole Wimpee, who most recently directed The Glass Menagerie for the Department of Theatre, will graduate with an M.F.A. in directing in May of 2018. Guadalupe Campos, now based in Washington, D.C., and a graduate of the M.F.A. acting program, most recently performed Empanada Loca at The Border Theatre in El Paso, Texas, where she was a finalist for What's Up El Paso's Best Performance of 2017. Department of Theatre undergraduates Katie O'Rear (sound designer for ArkansasStaged's Grounded) and Addison Griffin will provide sound and scenic design elements along with Department of Theatre alumna Celeste Richard who will again stage manage.

The performance is free with a suggested donation of $10. Empanadas and a specialty drink, provided by The Hive restaurant, will be a delicious addition to this adults-only Halloween-themed event. For complete information, visit:


Sunday, Oct. 29

  • Food and drinks served at 6 p.m.
  • Performance begins at 7 p.m.
  • Run time: approximately 90 minutes
  • Adult themes and content.


  • 21c Museum Hotel: 200 NE A Street, Bentonville, AR 72712


  • Free with a suggested donation of $10 (includes empanada and specialty cocktail from The Hive)

Artist Biographies:

Guadalupe Campos is a Washington, D.C.-based actor originally from El Paso, Texas. D.C. area credits include work with Arena Stage, Arts on the Horizon, Olney Theatre and Olney Theatre Center's National Players. Regional credits include work with North Dakota Shakespeare, Theatre Squared, The Arkansas New Play Festival and The Border Theatre. Guadalupe was educated at the University of Texas, El Paso (B.F.A. in theatre) and the University of Arkansas, (M.F.A in acting) as well the Upright Citizens Brigade's New York training center. During her time in Northwest Arkansas she volunteered with Sin Límites, a summer camp geared toward the preservation of the Spanish language in immigrant and first-generation students and was an ensemble member of Five Months Pregnant improve troupe. Currently she works as a Bilingual Shakespeare teaching artist with Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. To learn more about her story and work visit her website

Cole Wimpee's directing and producing credits include work in New York at P.S.122, Ohio Theatre, The Tank, Dixon Place, JACK, The Brick, Galapagos Art Space, Player's Theatre, Bushwick Starr, and Brooklyn Fireproof. Regionally at Collaboraction in Chicago, Know in Cincinnati, EMP in Baltimore, Fridge in D.C., Mudlark in NOLA, Tricklock in Albuquerque, WaterTower in Dallas, and with various groups in Austin including Esther's Follies, The Vortex, Blue Theatre, Off Center, and Physical Plant. In addition to being an Irene Ryan acting finalist at the ACTF Kennedy Center, he has studied abroad with The Royal Shakespeare Company and was the recipient of the Austin Critics' Table award for Best Supporting Actor with Rubber Repertory. Currently, he's an M.F.A. candidate in directing at the University of Arkansas, where he's previously staged Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, The Glass Menagerie, as well as Hedda Gabler in cooperation with the Fay Jones School of Architecture & Design. For ArkansasStaged, Cole has devised and directed original site specific pieces for Crystal Bridges New Years Eve and Bentonville Film Festival events and directed Venus in Fur at 21c in 2016.




Laura Shatkus, artistic director


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