Luar Mercado Lopez, center, plays Pablo in ‘Sister Act’ through Sept. 9 at Raleigh Little Theatre. | Contributed Photo

Septemebr 3, 2018 – As an undergraduate student at Barton College, Luar Mercado Lopez found solace and an escape from his studies through the school’s theater program.

“Theater allowed me to express myself in a way that was outside myself,” Lopez said. “It was a way to use fiction or a character to connect with someone else.”

Lopez, 22, said the professors in Barton’s theater department, especially Adam Twiss, assistant professor and director of theater, and Sherry Allen, artist-in-residence for musical theater, helped to hone his skills as an actor.

“They were instrumental to my growth as an actor and a person.”

Now an optometric technician, Lopez continues to utilize the acting chops he gained at Barton through community theater. He currently is playing the role of Pablo, a Spanish-speaking member of a group of gangsters accused of murder, in the musical comedy “Sister Act” at the Raleigh Little Theatre.

“I’m not a bad guy in real life, but it’s fun to play one sometimes,” Lopez said.

Upon graduating in 2017 with a degree in health promotion and gerontology, Lopez, who originally is from Lillington, moved to Raleigh. However, he said Wilson always feels like home.

“Wilson is such a close community, and I loved being a part of it,” Lopez said.

Although Lopez would welcome the opportunity to be a full-time actor, he sees his involvement in theater and the arts community at large as an opportunity to give back and provide entertainment to people who may be bombarded with the daily grind of life.

“I like that theater brings all types of people together. It gives an escape from reality, even if it’s just for a couple of hours.”

“Sister Act” runs Thursday through Sunday until Sept. 9. Tickets range from $22.48 to $26.23. For more information, call 919-821-3111 or visit

By LaMonique Hamilton Barnes
Originally published on