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Originally from Tucson, AZ, Marlene Montes is an actor/singer/dancer with over 25 years of experience performing professionally in the arts, living and working on both coasts and many cities in between. Her most recent notable credits include playing Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and Emma Goldman in Ragtime in rep at Utah Shakespeare Festival. Some of her favorite credits include playing Soyla in Arizona Theatre Company’s production of American Mariachi (the best-selling play in ATC’s history), reprising the role in South Coast Repertory's production of American Mariachi; In the Heights (as Daniela, Moonlight Stage Productions, 2017 Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Resident Musical); Legally Blonde (as Paulette, New Village Arts Theatre, nominated for Best Actress in a Musical by Broadway World). Other regional credits include: She Loves Me (South Coast Repertory), In the Heights (Performance Riverside); GypsyCabaret (Cygnet Theatre); The World Goes ‘RoundSouth Pacific, Tommy (Moonlight Stage Productions); The 1940’s Radio Hour, The Return to the Forbidden Planet, The Full Monty (New Village Arts); The Marvelous Wonderettes (The Music and Theatre Company); 8-Track: The Sounds of the 70s (Derby Dinner Playhouse), and The Pajama Game (Starlight Theatre), to name a few. Marlene received her BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Arizona and is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association.



My Return to Live Theatre!!!

After playing two of her dream roles in rep, Ruth in Pirates of Penzance and Emma Goldman in Ragtime, at Utah Shakespeare Festival, Marlene is happy to be returning to San Diego to work on the world premiere staged reading of a new musical, The Raft!


The Raft is a new musical written by Rebecca Bellingham, with songs by acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Catie Curtis, whose melodies and harmonies are soul-stirring and richly layered. The play follows Rebecca and Gabby as they navigate life after college, discover love, face loss, and grow into themselves. Ultimately, it is a testament to the power of women's friendship and the creativity that sustains all of us as we move through life in all its stages. 


Living That Virtual Theatre Life

During this last year and a half, Marlene has participated in a wide array of virtual theatre including numerous play readings and cabarets, including South Coast Repertory Theatre's Community series in The Gardens of Aztlan by Luis Alfaro and Tejuino by Amilcar Juaregui; and she was the female swing for the filming of Luis Alfaro's Electricidad at Center Theatre Group.


Marlene received recognition in The New York Times representing San Diego Repertory Theatre's Latinx New Play Festival. Marlene received rave reviews for her performance in the role of Valentina in Makasha Copeland's Extreme Home Makeover, which was part of the festival, reprising the role at the Theatre Lab of Florida Atlantic University.


"Both funny and heart-rending, “Extreme Makeover” didn’t even feel like a reading, so in-the-moment and committed was its cast. Marlene Montes as a widowed mother desperate for help to rebuild her family’s life and Catalina Maynard as a skeptical grandmother gave performances that transcended the forced distance of Zoom theater." ~ David L. Coddon, San Diego Union Tribune





"Marlene Montes played Ruth with gusto, especially in the second act when Abate made the character rejoin the pirate band as a full-fledged pirate. Montes’s energy and exuberance in the role was one of the production’s most memorable aspects." ~ Utah Theatre Bloggers Association

"Montes is a study in contrasts. She is the hopeful spinster who deliberately deceives a man twenty-six years her junior, but when scorned, she becomes a satirical powerhouse. Like any good nursemaid, Montes is forever teaching her charge a lesson and sometimes takes indecent glee in the process."~ Front Row Reviewers


“Another gem is Marlene Montes as Soyla, the stylish, bombastic hairdresser who joins the band because “Why not?” She’s hilarious, independent and full of sisterly advice, which matures from light-hearted and silly to tear-jerking and soulful when she advises Isabel about her splintering love life.


Although Soyla doesn’t get much stage time, she shines enough to leave a mark as bright as her crimson suits.”~ Downtown

“...alluring and uninhibited.”~ Broadway



"Marlene Montes is quirky and funny as Paulette, the heart-of-gold hairstylist who builds Elle’s confidence."~ The San Diego Union Tribune

"Marlene Montes is memorable as the wisecracking, but issued Paulette."~ San Diego CityBeat


"Marlene Montes is a delight as the hopeful and helpful Irish-loving hairdresser, Paulette.”~ Times of San Diego 

“Montes is wonderful. Even though she channels Jennifer Coolidge, the role's originator, she adds her own dynamic personality to make the role her own.”~ Village News


"Big-voiced Marlene Montes amuses as gossipy hairdresser Daniela." ~ The San Diego Tribune


"Savor the comic timing of Marlene Montes as Daniela the hairdresser."~ San Diego Story

"Marlene Montes is red hot, let me tell you."~ Village News

“In the Heights’” players on stage are many, but very worthy of note are… Marlene Montes as the sassy but indomitable unisex salon owner Daniela.” ~ Stage West

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Marlene Montes "is spirited and endearing with impressive pipes!"~ The San Diego Union Tribune

"Marlene Montes is dazzling as sexy Ginger Brooks and wows the crowd with her rendition of “Blues in the Night. Powerful!" ~ The San Diego Reader

"Marlene Montes is a hoot!"~ San Diego Jewish World

"Sultry-voiced Marlene Montes does a hilariously sexy turn on a commercial for Eskimo pies, as well as her knockout number, “Blues in the Night…”~ KSDS-FM

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