What happens when the American Dream comes face-to-face with a chicken? David Valdez grew up by the freeways of East L.A. with immigrant parents and six brothers and sisters, and his solo show uses humor to soften the hardships that he and many others had to face. When his father walked out on the family, his mother trudged on strongly as a single parent, and Valdez tried to become someone who “wouldn’t make his mother cry”: This bilingual, bicultural “cholo in charge” kept himself out of the gang scene, studied hard and got accepted to Yale. Valdez owns the stage with modesty, charisma and a big heart (watching him tear up as he talks about his mother will make you want to call your own mom to tell her you love her). While some of the jokes will have special resonance for those with Hispanic backgrounds, his message about adversity and struggle is universal.—Nikki Vega
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