Remember Gustavo Mellado; The Silk Road announces new trails

When a year filled with many losses in Chicago’s theater community was settled, the news came in late December that Gustavo Mellado, a founding ensemble member of Teatro Vista, had died at the age of 69.

A tribute on December 29 on the company’s Facebook page noted that Mellado was “a wonderful actor with a beautiful singing voice,” and also noted that he “was known for his great sense of humor. Being in his presence guaranteed bouts of laughter and quite often spontaneous dancing. He evoked an uncontrollable giggle during rehearsals and was always ready with an obscure old Hollywood reference and his incomparable cigar-smoking mime bite. “

Mellado has appeared in many shows with Teatro Vista since its founding in 1991, as well as with a wide range of Chicago companies, including the now defunct Next and Latino Chicago theater companies; in a 2003 Victory Gardens production by Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the tropics which contained many Teatro Vista regulars (and happened to be at a cigar factory in Florida in the early 20th century); and at Goodman in Karen Zacarias’s Sor Juanas sins. He also spent some time in California performing with the groundbreaking Teatro Campesino, Western Stage and San Jose Stage. Mellado appeared in TV shows (including a recurring role in Prison escape) and independent films that won a Chicago Community Cinema Award in 2004 for her role in Karen Friedberg’s short film King of Tango.

Born in Monclova, Mexico, in 1952, Mellado graduated from high school in Hammond, Indiana, and studied theater at Calumet College in East Chicago. But his work with Teatro Vista is where he really found his artistic home – and helped build one for the next generation of artists.

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