The Latino - An exploration of language, dialect and identity

I am half Mexican.   I've always known this, but for the most part have never felt it.  Basically I was raised as a white Jewish kid from Kansas.  But when we moved to Los Angeles (my mom's hometown) when my brother and I were 9, we were exposed to a whole new reality.  Mariachis, drunken uncles, mysteriously sexy (yes I could already tell somehow!) cousins and aunts, Spanglish, homemade tamales and my 100 year old great grandma. (though the story was that 'no one really knows how old she is')   This was my mom's family.   I look back on these experiences with gratitude. I was immersed in a social tapestry that I could hardly understand, but it was feeding my imagination and teaching me about myself and my identity.  Or was it?  When I looked in the mirror, I still saw a Jewish kid with strong glasses, and well, kind of dark skin.  I was learning Hebrew prayers and going to Passover Sedars and living in Westake Village and playing the clarinet. 
     I ended up taking a couple years of high school Spanish, but most of my practice speaking the language came in my 20's and 30's when I worked as a waiter and bartender.   I worked with Mexicans who in many cases had crossed into the states to look for more opportunities, more money, more freedom.   This 'restaurant Spanish' they spoke came quite quickly to me and my accent was acceptable.  I would tell the cooks and busboys that I am half Mexican but they would look at me incredulously;  not doubting the fact that my mom is Mexican, but doubting my own conviction in being Mexican myself.
     Throughout the years, this identity question has presented itself in many ways.  But more and more, the "universe" if you will is pointing me toward owning my Mexican heritage.  Over the last 6 months alone I have had multiple people come up to me talking in Spanish, I've been flown to Mexico City to be in a commercial photo shoot,  I've had 2 Spanish Market commercial auditions and just recently I was cast in a new musical in which one of my roles is called "The Latino" - a Mexican immigrant in search of more opportunities, more money and more freedom.  In the show, the character passionately reminds Kansas tourists (YES THAT'S RIGHT - KANSAS) that we are all descendants of immigrants, and we are all undocumented.   As I am working on the accent of the character (using many resources, but mostly trying to find native mexican immigrants as examples) I occasionally take a look in the mirror (literally).  As my accent starts to emerge, so is the image of me in the mirror as a Mexican-American man looking back at me. I see the Mexican in me, and I even FEEL it.