SOLORZANO, FRANCISCO E.
SOLÓRZANO, FRANCISCO E. (?–?). Francisco E. Solórzano, actor, organized the Compañía Teatro Solórzano, also known as the Compañía Dramática Solórzano, in Laredo, Texas, sometime before October 1, 1910. The dramatic company was the first to take up residence in Texas. Solórzano acquired a lease on a theater on the south side of Laredo's central marketplace possibly as early as 1904, but his company did not take up permanent residence there until 1910. On October 1, 1910, Solórzano and his company inaugurated a residency in Laredo with a production of the first act of Don Juan Tenorio. A subsequent act followed each evening for seven nights, indicating the type of fare typical in the state prior to the arrival of Carlos Villalongín (see CARLOS VILLALONGLÍN DRAMATIC COMPANY). Initially the company performed variety and short comic pieces in the evening, while Solórzano showed films during the day. By February 1911, however, the Compañía Solórzano was performing full-length plays. By September 1911 Solórzano had purchased the theater that subsequently bore his name. Solórzano, who was to become a prominent figure in the development of Mexican-American theater in Texas, was a member of what may have been the first professional Spanish-language company of any kind to appear in Texas. This touring group performed at the Salón-Teatro del Mercado in Laredo in 1884. Solórzano went on to become a theater manager, company manager, and director of at least two major Mexican theaters before he appeared again in Texas. He performed irregularly in Laredo and other Texas cities throughout the first decade of the twentieth century. Initially the Compañía Teatro Solórzano of Laredo gave performances each evening. By December 1911 full-length plays were offered only on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, with short comic pieces on other days. Members of the troupe excelled in serious acting, so the repertory was probably dominated by more serious dramas. The only plays known to have been produced by the group were the romantic tragedy Don Juan Tenorio and the historical drama Maximiliano I. Solórzano employed a musical director and probably hired someone to manage the theater when the company was on tour. He also hired several actors and directed all productions. He probably continued to operate a theater in Laredo for a number of years. On July 9, 1916, sources indicate that Solórzano reopened a "Teatro Principal" in Laredo with a leading Mexican opera company, indicating that while he remained in Texas, he either rebuilt the Teatro Solórzano or moved to a new location.
Elizabeth C. Ramírez, "Compañía Teatro Solórzano," in American Theatre Companies, 1888–1930, ed. Weldon B. Durham (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1987). Elizabeth C. Ramírez, Footlights across the Border: A History of Spanish-Language Professional Theatre on the Texas Stage (New York: Lang, 1990).