Cuban-born and Texas-bred, Henry Godinez came to Chicago in the mid-1980s and performed at theaters all over the city, including appearances in the Goodman’s A Christmas Carol and Romeo and Juliet. Eventually turning his sights to directing, Godinez co-founded Teatro Vista and brought the rich world of contemporary Latino writing to Chicago audiences through such productions as his 1995 rendering of Jose Rivera’s magical-realist drama Cloud Tectonics, a co-production of Teatro Vista and the Goodman.
After directing the Goodman’s 1996 production of A Christmas Carol, Godinez joined the Goodman Artistic Collective the following year. In 2000, Godinez took on Zoot Suit, the masterwork of Luis Valdez, the “Godfather of Chicano Playwriting”. Wildly theatrical, the show featured a sizzling score, athletic swing dance numbers and a large Latino cast that attracted a new, enthusiastic Latino audience to the Goodman. To further cultivate this audience, Godinez inaugurated the Goodman’s Latino Theatre Festival in 2003, a showcase of readings and performances featuring local, national and international Latino artists.
Godinez continued to bring international tales to the Goodman stage with The Cook (2007), Boleros for the Disenchanted (2009) and The Sins of Sor Juana (2010). Despite his success as a director, Godinez never lost sight of his first love, performing. In 2013 he played the title role in the Goodman’s and renowned Cuban theater group Teatro Buendia’s co-production of Pedro Páramo, based on the landmark 1955 Mexican novel. Performing in Spanish, Godinez brought to life with scorching intensity a wealthy man whose greedy lust wrought devastating havoc on his hometown. Thanks to Godinez’s passion for presenting diverse work, Goodman theatergoers have been and will continue to be exposed to a world of exciting and daring storytelling.