Maria Costa is a groundbreaking and dynamic actress, comedian, and writer whose unique brand of “funny, brilliant, and sexy” humor is making her an influential voice of social relevance on tours, on television, and in film. Maria's roster of hilarious and original characters has critics calling her "the women of a thousand faces." Maria is gearing up to film her New Comedy Concert Special Shades of Machos at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on May 19th, 2018. MUNDOFLIX, the new SVOD (Subscription – Video on Demand) video streaming service signed onto distribute Viva America, a variety special written by and starring Costa. Viva America, which debuted on October 20, 2017, captures the best of this multi-talented comedic dramatist. In addition, MUNDOFLIX will also distribute Costa’s docu-series which will follow her every move while on her national comedy tour.
Maria received her formal training at Wayne State University through the College of Fine Performing and Communications Arts and studied with theater legend Uta Hagan as well as with international mime master Marcel Marceau.
Maria is a strong advocate for empowering minority children through the arts as as a teen she received her early training from a community program. Maria contributes to high risk youth through her arts program, La Bella.
UM: Welcome Maria! For our readers who may not be familiar with your story, please tell everyone how you got your start as a Comedian/Actress?
I began my career working in theater, touring with playwright Ron Milner and mime legend Marcel Marceau. My first job in television was on a show on PBS as a regular on air talent, I was also a writer and producer on the show. When I arrived in LA, I worked on television shows in guest and regular roles, then I was inspired to create my own original work so I wrote and produced a few plays. A musical comedy solo show that I wrote and perform with a cast of 15 or so dancers and Latin musicians called Macho Men and the Women Who Love Them really caught on with the audiences and quickly grew from 100 seat theaters up to 5,000 seats - selling out venues like the Kodak Theater and touring in the U.S. and overseas. ‘Macho Men’ was also filmed as a comedy concert DVD available on Amazon Prime, distributed by Image Entertainment. I am in rehearsals for the filming of Volume 2 of ‘Macho Men’, Shades of Machos in May at the Wilshire Ebell Theater and recently translated the original ‘Macho Men’ play into a feature film script, so working towards bringing that project to audiences.
UM: What has been some of the biggest challenges that you have faced as a Latina women in this industry?
Early on in my career many of the roles I was cast in for television were stereotypical in some ways, the girl from the hood with an attitude, the maid, the gang banger – sometimes my characters didn’t have a name, it was like chola number 1, chola number 2… 1-10 , yes that was me. And then one day I looked up and said “I need to take things into my own hands here, I’m a writer, producer… I can create content and get it out there.” So I began writing strong, funny and intelligent leading roles. I also had a lot to say as an artist, I am always observing human behavior and how we interact with each other. My work is not funny just to be funny, it has a message and addresses social issues like women’s empowerment, race and relationships that are not always easy to address unless people are laughing. We live in a time right now that these issues need discussing. In my new show, “Shades of Machos” I address all of these issues and more.
UM: What advice do you have for someone trying to overcome similar obstacles?
Don’t focus on the obstacles, focus on moving forward. If you are playing a big game in life there will be obstacles. The bigger the game, the bigger the obstacles. If it were easy everyone would be doing it. Acknowledge yourself for having the courage to step out and go for it. Know that there will be people who will not understand what it is that you are trying to do, or care to understand or will even put obstacles in your way. If failure happens, don’t stop. There will be failure but what is key is not to let it stop you. Get the lesson and keep it moving, then apply it to what you learned to further executing what you are up to. It is important for you first to know and have an understanding of your value and what you have to offer to the world. At the end of the day that is what matters the most. What you believe about yourself and what you can do. It is also so import to do good work, great work, commit to excellence in everything you do with your work. I also think we as artist must identify what it is that we are doing that is bigger than us. What is your message, how will you use your platform to elevate people and to contribute to people. If it is just about you, it is easy to get caught in the trap of people pleasing verses staying committed to the work and your purpose for being here. Focus on your vision and take actions everyday that move you closer to making the vision a reality. We live in a time that artists can create content and reach the audience directly. Find your voice, bring your voice to the audience and build your value. Also, connect and partner with people who share your vision and who see your value.
UM: How did the partnership with MUNDOFLIX come about?
I heard that Mundoflix was a new platform for Latin content and I had a variety special called Viva America that was filmed under my production company and funded by the Kresge Foundation. So we reached out to the head of development at Mundoflix who was already familiar with my work and saw the project previously. He thought it was a great idea to distribute Viva on Mundoflix. A docudrama that documents the making of my new comedy concert, “Shades of Machos” and tours is also being filmed.
UM: What can we expect from your upcoming comedy concert special “Shades of Machos?”
I called the show “Shades of Machos” because of the subject matter and because in this show I talk about what machismo looks like in the Latino, Black and White communities verses my last show which focused on Latin machos. I’m taking on a number of new topics considering there is so much happening in our country and in the world today. I also address race issues like Black Men being a target as well as Latino families being separated, and my own background growing up as a mixed race women as Cuban/Hungarian women as that was a interesting experience for me and full of comedic moments to pull from. My grandmother who is Hungarian helped raise me and was in denial that I was anything other than Hungarian, even through I am darker skinned. One time when I was little I said grandma, someone called me the N word and she was like “what are they blind you are not Black, you are Hungarian, just Hungarian after spending a lot of time on the beach in Aruba.” So I use comedy to tackle the topics that can seem serious at first. I of coarse talk about women’s issues from my perspective as a career women who was raised in a traditional family and what feminism looks like for me. I’m modern but yet domestic women in many ways as well.
Also, we have Latin music and dance through out the show. I am excited that Bachata, Reggaetón sensation, Toby Love is coming in from New York with his dancers to perform. He is Billboard Music Award Winner and will be singing his biggest hits like “Tengo Un Amore” in the show. It’s really going to be an amazing night.
UM: Where can our readers go to keep up with the latest projects and releases?
They can go to my website mariacosta.com. Be sure to sign the email list to get updates on projects directly.
If they would like to buy tickets to the “Shades of Machos” show they can visit the tour page on my site at: https://www.mariacosta.com/
They can also connect with me on social media: Instagram: drealmariacosta
Thanks you for chatting with Unrivaled Magazine!