A Captivating New Musical Brings the Story of Maria of Ágreda to Houston
By: Christian Brown of BrightCatch Media
Marge Lundquist, Tama Lundquist, Tena Lundquist Faust
It is evident that Houston is an ever-growing vibrant metropolis, booming in industry and in the arts. Having cultivated a thriving artistic hub, Houston is the perfect market for developing and launching new works of theater. One such is the world premiere of the new musical, Lady of Ágreda, a Mystical Journey, which is coming to Queensbury Theatre at CityCentre, March 12, 2020 and will run until April 5.
Donna Fujimoto Cole
At the helm of the anticipated production is Executive Producer, Donna Fujimoto Cole, the President and CEO of Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc. and the Executive Producer of Pantheon Producers, LLC and Lady in Blue Productions, LLC. A local resident and business owner in Houston’s Energy Corridor, Cole has found a way to pursue her passion for both industry and art by being a champion for captivating stories about influential women.
Lady of Ágreda, a Mystical Journey is produced by Pantheon Producers, LLC in association with Lady in Blue Productions, LLC. Directed by Bruce Lumpkin, the book of the musical is by Marley Singletary, and the music and lyrics are by Cynthia Jordan. It tells the mesmerizing true story of the 17th- century mystic, Maria of Jesus of Ágreda, Spain, known in Europe and the New World as the mystical Lady in Blue.
Maria is a nun and spiritual writer who is revered and criticized for her miraculous bilocation between her cloistered monastery in rural Spain and the Jumano Indians of West Texas, where she believes she has traveled over 500 times since the age of 18. Maria humbly rises to the rank of Abbess at her convent, where she writes over 14 spiritual books. Her revelations and reports of bilocation quickly captivate the mind and heart of King Philip IV of Spain.
Through a correspondence of over 600 letters, Maria becomes a lifelong spiritual and political advisor, as well as a trusted friend, of the King. Although she is an instant international sensation, a friend of the King, and an inspiration to the Franciscan missionaries in the New World, Maria’s controversial writings, relationship with the King, and claims of bilocation are called into question by some of her fellow nuns. She is tried by the Spanish Inquisition for heresy twice over the course of her life.
As one of the most spiritually and politically controversial and influential women of the 17th century, Maria is a woman well ahead of her time. She embodies strength, integrity, and courage and realizes the power of her words.
When Cole first heard about Maria of Ágreda from composer and lyricist Cynthia Jordan, she was drawn to the compelling story, and knew instantly, when she saw the blue bonnets painted on the electrical box outside her subdivision, that this was a divine sign that she must produce Maria’s story. You see, there is a Texas legend that says wherever Maria’s blue cape touched the ground blue bonnets grew. Believing this is a musical that will resonate with a multitude of people from diverse backgrounds and belief systems, Cole says: “I’m thrilled to produce the world premiere of Lady of Ágreda, a Mystical Journey. Maria is the most unlikely woman of the 17th century to be so powerful and influential while being tormented by authorities. Many aspects of her story are relevant today, and people will find great spiritual inspiration in this mystical journey.”
While Cole searches for, finds, and produces meaningful stories about independent, strong, influential women, her own story is quite remarkable. She attended University of Texas—Pan American and graduated from Manpower Business Training Institute in computer operations and programming in 1972. In 1980, when she was 27 and divorced with a four-year-old daughter, Cole founded Cole Chemical using $5,000 from her savings.
Today, Cole Chemical provides chemical, fuel, and synthetic lubricant sales with chemical supply chain management solutions to a wide range of customers and industries. Its customers include: Chevron, Colgate, ExxonMobil, Georgia Power, Lockheed Martin, Phillips 66, Shell, Toyota, and United Airlines. The company consistently receives quality awards from Fortune 500 companies and the US Small Business Administration.
Cole has received many local and national awards. She is recognized for her leadership, philanthropy, and business success as a quality supplier to industry, and for mentoring others in business, as well as young professionals and students.
She has also served on numerous national and regional boards. Currently, Cole is assistant treasurer of the Rockwell Fund and sits on the boards of The U.S.- Japan Council and The Center for Asian Pacific American Women and on theadvisory boards of International Supply Management of Houston, Rice University’s Chao Center for Asian Studies, The Women’s Home, and the National Veterans Network.
Pantheon Producers, LLC, of which Cole is cofounder, is a production company whose mission is to tell great stories about strong women and supportive men in film, television, plays, and musicals to change the way men treat and perceive women and how women see themselves. Through the arts, Cole believes they can send out powerful messages to mentor millions by inspiring people to be empowered to improve the quality of life for themselves, their families, and communities.
Cole founded Lady in Blue Productions, LLC specifically to focus on the development of Lady of Ágreda, a Mystical Journey. She is joined on the Houston production by a seasoned team of professionals, including Deborah Kainer (CPA), Marley Singletary (Line Producer/Book Writer), Cynthia Jordan (Composer/Lyricist), Bruce Lumpkin (Director), Dana Lewis (Choreographer), Rebecca Skupin Marcontell (Stage Manager), Jack Jacobs (Lighting Designer), Ryan McGettigan (Set Designer), Kristin Knipp (Costume Designer), Valerie Kelly (Associate Costume Designer), Jayson Kolbicz (Wig and Makeup Designer), J’Mill Smith (Costume Assistant), and BrightCatch Media (Marketing).