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Repertorio to honor Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family at Annual Gala

Miranda Family


On Tuesday, June 7th, 2022, at 6 pm, Repertorio Español will honor Lin-Manuel Miranda and the Miranda family during the celebration of its 54th season. The evening will begin with a reception at Guastavino’s (409 E 59th St, New York, NY 10022), followed by dinner, remarks, entertainment, and dancing with a live band. The company is thrilled that the songwriter, actor, and director Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family, including his father, the philanthropist, political strategist, and community advocate, Luis A. Miranda Jr. will be in attendance. Their unwavering support for Repertorio and their tireless contributions to underserved communities over many years will be commemorated on this most special occasion.

Additionally, the Company and Board members will pay tribute to Repertorio’s Executive Producer Emeritus, Robert Federico for leading and helping establish Repertorio at the forefront of Latinx/Latine theater in America for five decades.

Proceeds from the Gala will benefit Repertorio’s education program, ¡Dignidad!, a program that makes possible for over 16,000 students with limited access to the arts to experience live theatre, theatre that uplifts and instills cultural pride, and reflects the experiences of Latinx/Latine students – many for the very first time. ¡Dignidad!, also provides the opportunity to some 1,000 students in different NYC schools to become active participants in making theatre, learning, exploring, and finding their own creativity.

For over 40 years, Luis A. Miranda, Jr. and Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda have championed community activism, viewing philanthropy as a three-pronged approach through giving, fundraising, and advocacy efforts. Along with Luz Miranda-Crespo, Lin-Manuel, Miguel Towns, and their respective spouses, Luis Crespo and Vanessa Nadal, they have created and supported institutions focused on underserved populations in Upper Manhattan, communities throughout NYC, across the country, and in Puerto Rico.

On September 14th, 1970, through a mutual friend, Robert Federico was introduced to Gilberto Zaldívar, René Buch, and Repertorio Español for the first time. In 1971, Robert designed his first production for the Company, and in 1972, became associated full-time with the Company when it relocated to its present location at the Gramercy Arts Theatre.

During the fifty years at Repertorio, Robert designed sets, lights, and costumes for over 100 productions; toured with the Company to 30 states and 15 countries; became involved in fund-raising, strategic planning, and audience development; initiated a playwriting competition and a young director’s project; and developed “Dignidad” expanding Repertorio’s service to teachers and students at the theater as well as in the classroom.

His proudest achievements include producing the works of contemporary Latina playwrights; bringing theatre in Spanish to over 800,000 students in the course of his tenure; and continuing the dynamic quality of the mission when in 2005 Repertorio’s Board of Directors appointed Robert as the Executive Producer.

Robert: “Working/living at Repertorio for 50 years has been both an honor and a joy; I am not sure which I feel greater. I would not want my life any other way!”

In 2021, Robert retired so that a new generation could experience the same joy and honor.

Andrew & Kathy Thomas, Mariana Núñez Sabater & Juan Sabater, María Cristina Anzola & John Heimann, Manuela Arnal & Luis Paz-Galindo, Laura Blanco, Laura Brillembourg-Osio & Miguel Osio, Adam Dayan, Esq., Daisy Expósito-Ulla & Jorge Ulla, Daniel & Rebecca Flores, Horacio & Julia Herzberg, Carlos López-Oña, Francisco J. Martínez-Colón, Hollace L. Roe Mejer & Ernesto Mejer, Felinda Mottino, Javier Rodríguez, Agustín Romo Calvo, Anita Sibony de Adelsberg, Roger Thomas, Esq. & Sava Thomas, Alfred & Nora Torres, Pedro & Cecilia Torres, Alfred & Nora Torres, Pedro & Cecilia Torres and Christiane Macedo.

For tickets visit
Or contact Rafael Sánchez, Executive Artistic Director,
Repertorio Español: 212-225-9958 |
Individual tickets are: $1,000

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By Lia Christine Dewey and Jesus M Garibay – Fellows, BIPOC Critics Lab

On January 1, 2021, Repertorio Español welcomed Rafael Sánchez as their new Executive Artistic Director. In this role, he joins the company’s over half-a-century long legacy. Robert Federico, Executive Director Emeritus, retired after ensuring the growth and evolution of Repertorio Español will be in good hands with Sánchez. He moves on hoping to provide space for what has been a core value during his tenure, young Latinx artists.

“When I was a child I used to play pretend at home. I designed pretty costumes and set pieces. I can’t believe that my job as a grown-up consisted of exactly that… but with real humans.” – Robert Weber Federico

After more than 50 years of centering and celebrating Latinx artists, including developing a series of programs to bring arts education to New York City schools, Robert Federico says he never quite considered his legacy at Repertorio Español as it was unfolding. When he first began at the Repertorio in 1971, he could not fathom the magnitude, nor the impact his work was going to have on the lives of countless Latinx artists. “When you work in theater, to be able to work in a theater is the reward itself,” he said.

Federico began as a designer and administrative volunteer with Repertorio, but quickly became involved with the company more holistically. For him, everything fell into place during a tour to the Festival Cervantino celebration in Guanajuato, México where, for the first time, the company discovered just how significant Repertorio Español actually was. He remembers that not only were they praised and recognized as a professional international company – something the group was unfamiliar with at that time, regularly being seen as a minority theater in the United States – but they began to see clearly the ramifications their newly realized status could have on Spanish-speaking artists and the Latinx public as well. The touring group went back to New York City with a new understanding of the absence and need for a Latinx artistic life. He knew it was there, latent yet dormant.

Reflecting on his fifty-year tenure at the Repertorio, he boasts of the company’s commitment to education and the young Latinx community. Throughout the years, Federico urged the importance of students not only learning about Latinx heritage at school but also being able to see their Latinx heritage on stage: “They needed to watch something that could connect them to their roots, their ancestry, to help them understand why they are here and why they are so important. I wanted them to understand the huge role they were about to play in the country’s development and growth.”

Robert Federico feels that he has done everything he wanted to do at Repertorio, and then some. He shares, “When you love what you do, you don’t think about it as a job, and you also forget that you are working because you are enjoying it all so much.” When the time came to find a successor, he found the perfect candidate in Rafael Sánchez. If he had any advice for him as he continues Repertorio Español’s legacy, he laughingly says “Get enough sleep while you can.”

Executive Artistic Director Rafaél Sanchez stepped into his role on January 1, 2021. However, he was no stranger to Repertorio Español. Sánchez had been working as Robert Federico’s right-hand man for three years, but even before he came to New York City he had connections to Repertorio while working with his own company Tantai Teatro in Puerto Rico. When Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017, he first went to the Dominican Republic, then to Miami, then eventually New York City – “The first door I knocked was Repertorio’s.”

When Sánchez arrived to work at Repertorio, Federico wasn’t officially looking for the company’s next leader. But Sánchez diligently shadowed Federico and learned the ropes of the company – particularly once the pandemic hit Sánchez proved himself, demonstrating his skills transitioning to online programming, creating Livestream events, and coordinating the Repertorio team remotely – it became clear that they had found the right leader to usher Repertorio into its next phase.

“It’s an honor and a huge responsibility,” affirmed Sánchez. Repertorio Español has been serving New York audiences for over half a century, it is “the” organization for Latinx theater in the United States and maybe even the world, Sánchez remarked. The company’s founders Gilberto Zaldívar and Rene Buch, and later Robert Federico, built Repertorio with a dedication to engage the community they sought to represent. Sánchez welcomes the challenge to step into this robust legacy, he feels an immense amount of support as he implements new ideas to complement the original vision for the company as he develops the next phase in the life of the Repertorio.

What is Sánchez’ new vision for the company? At the top of his list: expanding Repertorio’s offerings and audience base to accommodate even more celebrations of Latinx identity. In his own words, “I want to open Repertorio to the biggest audience ever!” Specifically, he wants to activate younger audiences and artists at Repertorio. “Theater has to reflect what society is, and that starts with companies like Repertorio Español embracing new artists,” – Sánchez already sees this vision growing to fruition through the Miranda Family Voces Latinx Playwriting Competition and the New York Community Trust Van Lier directing fellowship. He hopes to provide even more resources and opportunities to young Latinx artists who need them.

“I just want to share with everyone the joy that I have for having this opportunity, how seriously I take this responsibility…” he expressed. “Everything happens for a reason. I ended up here after a hurricane, [and] Robert [Federico] always says that Repertorio is a place where tragedy takes on new meaning,” said Sánchez.


Repertorio Español was founded in 1968 by Artistic Director René Buch and Producer Gilberto Zaldívar and has become one of the most successful Off-Broadway theatres. The Company was founded with the mission of producing the finest Spanish-language theatre from Latin America and Spain as well as plays written by Latinx artists. The Company presents a rotating repertory of 13 different plays, musicals, and dance concerts with over 300 performances every year. Its productions are seen by over 50,000 people annually at its home, the historic Gramercy Arts Theatre, and on tour. Every year, approximately 20,000 students are introduced to the heritage of Spanish language theatre through its education program, ¡DIGNIDAD!

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Rene Buch

Now that it is possible, Repertorio Español is honored to host a memorial service at its resident theatre, the Gramercy Arts at 138 East 27th Street, for its Founding Artistic Director René Buch on the eve of his birthdate, December 18th, 2021. René, who passed during the beginning of the Covid crisis on April 19th, 2020, was the Artistic Director of Repertorio from its founding in 1968 until his passing. The Company thanks Isabel Segovia, Luis Carlos De La Lombana, Zulema Clares, Leyma López, Rafa Sánchez and Pablo Zinger for their participation. Repertorio welcomes all friends of René, but it will be necessary that people show their vaccination status and wear masks. Contributions can be made to Repertorio Español’s Founders’ Endowment Fund.

Repertorio Español
138 East 27th Street, New York, NY 10016



Born on December 19, 1925, in the city of Santiago, Cuba, Buch went on to receive a doctorate in law from Universidad de La Habana in 1948. The forties were an important period for theater in Cuba when world-class artists took refuge in La Habana during World War II. Buch was inspired to write his own theater work after being in the audience for every production by French playwright and director Louis Jouvet (1887-1951). Jouvet could not return to his native France at the time because of the war and he continued to work in Cuba, indirectly motivating a young Buch. At the age of twenty, Buch won the National Prize from Patronato del Teatro after entering his first playwriting competition with Del agua de la vida [From the Waters of Life.] This play marked a new era for Buch; he earned support from the organization Pro Arte de Oriente, and under its auspices, founded Acción Teatral de Actores to produce new Cuban theater.

In 1949, he enrolled in the Yale Drama School and taught Spanish language and literature while pursuing his MFA. After graduating, he was Associate Editor for the Arts at Visión magazine and, simultaneously, Editor of the cultural section at El Diario La Prensa. He was then editor for the Spanish edition of the Journal of the United Nations. Buch later became head of Spanish creative copy for J. Walter Thompson as well as book editor for Reader’s Digest.

By 1968, Buch was back in the theater with La dama duende, which earned him awards for Best Director and Best Work in Spanish by the Association of Latin Entertainment Critics of New York (ACE). The company began in its mission to produce canonical theater in Spanish as well as works translated into Spanish. Under Buch’s direction, Repertorio established a collaborative acting ensemble, where actors would rotate between different plays. His vision led Repertorio to great success, including national and international tours of the company’s multiple productions.

Buch worked his way through an impressive array of theater works, ranging from 17th-century classics to new Latinx theater. Notably, Buch directed canonical works from Golden Age masters as well as the New York premieres of a remarkable display of contemporary theater in Spanish. Buch’s prolific work as a director includes productions for CSC and the Pearl Theater in Manhattan, The Milwaukee Rep, Albany’s Capital Rep, La Compañía de Albuquerque, Washington’s Folger Theatre, the Oregon’s Ashland Shakespeare Festival, and The Old Globe in San Diego. For the musical stage, he directed zarzuelas and some of Repertorio’s greatest musical anthologies, making music part of his vision for the company’s artistic legacy.

His impressive talents made him a visionary, and numerous awards serve as a tribute to his craft. These include an OBIE for Artistic Trajectory (1989), a Drama Desk Award for Artistic Achievement (1996), an ENCORE Award for forty years of Sustained Excellence in Management by the Arts & Business Council of New York (2007), and Theatre Communications Group’s Theatre Practitioner Award (2008) among others. Buch was awarded a Lifetime Achievement OBIE Award (2011) and was bestowed with The Order of Isabella the Catholic (2012) by King Juan Carlos I of Spain for his contributions to Spain-U.S. cultural relations.
Throughout his life, Buch’s creativity not only shone brightly in the world of Theatre, but also as a lawyer, journalist, editor, and painter; his recipe for Cuban black beans was featured in the New York Times (1969). René’s artistic legacy will go on, inspiring theatre-makers, -goers, and actors alike.

“René was a wonderful director to work with. He was welcoming and eager to collaborate. He was known for being demanding, and yes, he was quite demanding. But it was all to serve the art. His artistry was all about exploration and discovery – it was about the possibilities. I was so blessed beyond blessings that he directed ‘La gringa’”. – Carmen Rivera, Playwright of ‘La gringa’ with 25 years in Repertory.

“I would never forget seeing the Spanish version of ‘Anna in the Tropics’ at Repertorio, and being in awe of his direction, the economy, and simplicity of his production, which made the language soar to greater heights”. ­– Nilo Cruz, Pulitzer Prize Winning Playwright.

“René liberated me from naturalism into the world of the theatrical imagination. I would have never been the playwright I became without Rene’s love, knowledge, talent, and mentorship”. – Eduardo Machado, Playwright.

By phone: 1-212.225.9999 |

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Michael Palma for Repertorio VL Laurel de Apollo 046
Photo by Michael Palma Mir: El Laurel de Apolo, directed by Estefanía Fadul (Van Lier 2014-2015).

REPERTORIO ESPAÑOL, the nation’s pre-eminent Spanish language theater, is proud to announce the 2022-2023 The New York Community Trust Van Lier Fellowship for Directors. This fellowship enables emerging Latine/Latinx directors the unique opportunity to mount two professional theater productions at Repertorio Español.

The requirements for the Van Lier Fellowship include that candidates must be Hispanic/Latinx, 30 years old or younger, having completed a BA or MFA in dramatic arts, and must not be currently enrolled in any university or a full-time theatre training program. They must live in one of the five boroughs of New York City, plan to remain in New York City, and be citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Ideal fellows have some previous experience in directing, an integral knowledge of classical Spanish theatre, contemporary Latin American theatre as well as a familiarity of Hispanic-American playwrights.

The Van Lier Fellowship gave me my first opportunity to find my voice as a director. To this day, it has been one of the most fruitful experiences of my life and it opened my possibilities by giving me the opportunity to work in Spanish. I highly recommend this to all young Latinx directors who are looking for grow in their careers. — Victoria Collado (Van Lier 2014-2015).

Three directors will be chosen to participate in the Van Lier Fellowship based on their production proposals and in-person interviews. Fellows will direct two distinct works in Spanish over two summers. The first round of productions will be contemporary works written in Spanish or works by Latinx playwrights which will happen in the summer of 2022. Round two will be plays from the Siglo de Oro (Spain’s Golden Age) which will happen in the summer of 2023.

DEADLINE is Tuesday, February 1, 2022, timestamp. Applicants must write (in English or Spanish) proposals for the 2 productions they wish to direct. For an application, please send an e-mail expressing your interest to with the words “Van Lier” in the subject line. More information is available on the website

The Van Lier Experience changed my life! I had just moved to NYC after graduating from college and I didn’t really know anyone in the city. After receiving The Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, I met a community of artists that has become a sort of substitute family. I was able to discover and develop my own voice as a theater director in a professional setting while working on plays that mattered to me. The experience gave me the freedom and the challenges to allow me to grow into the director I am today. — Diego Chiri (Van Lier 2014-2015).

A public charity, The Trust is a grantmaking foundation dedicated to improving the lives of residents of New York City and its suburbs. They bring together individuals, families, foundations, and businesses to build a better community and support nonprofits that make a difference. They apply knowledge, creativity, and resources to the most challenging issues in an effort to ensure meaningful opportunities and a better quality of life for all New Yorkers, today and tomorrow.


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Photo: Lucille Oken (Community Relations Manager, Bank of America), Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luis Miranda and Rafael Sánchez (Executive Artistic Director, Repertorio Español).


REPERTORIO ESPAÑOL (138 E. 27 St.) – one of Off-Broadway’s longest-running, continuous theaters, and the only company that presents plays in Spanish with simultaneous English translation in true repertory form in NYC – marked its rebirth after more than a year and a half, with an intimate reception followed by a performance of Junot Díaz’s Pulitzer Award-winning LA BREVE Y MARAVILLOSA VIDA DE OSCAR WAO (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao), directed and adapted for the stage by Marco Antonio Rodríguez.

Robert Weber Federico (Executive Producer, Repertorio Español), Cast of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Marco Antonio Rodríguez (Director and Playwright) & Rafael Sánchez (Executive Artistic Director, Repertorio Español).

Repertorio Español’s reopening was honored with the presence of many supporters, Board members, good friends, and lead sponsors including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Luis MirandaJulio Peterson (Vice President of Real Estate at The Shubert Organization), and representatives from Lucille Lortel and Howard Gilman foundations, and the evening’s reopening sponsors, Bank of America and Telemundo.

This historic reopening was made possible with the support of Bank of America that will match any contribution over $25. Bank of America will donate an equal amount up to $100,000, thereby doubling the impact of any contribution made to Repertorio. This match signifies a vital challenge that will allow the renowned theatre company to continue supporting the innovative work of Latinx artists in the community and celebrating their voices and culture now by being online also with the entire world.

Emphatically, Repertorio Español wants to express its sincerest gratitude to Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer for his steadfast support and advocacy on behalf of the performing arts venues that were closed during the pandemic crisis. His tenacity, leadership, and commitment towards the COVID19 Relief Bill and the American Rescue Plan, made it possible for Repertorio to continue to exist and finally to be reborn.  ¡Gracias Senator Schumer!


Our community has been terribly impacted by the pandemic and the temporary closure of theaters, but it is time to meet again. To help us bring back all the productions you love, for any contribution you make over $25, Bank of America will match an equal amount to Repertorio up to $100,000. Help us get back on our feet!


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FROM THE FOUNTAIN by Joel Pérez for first place, in the second edition of the competition. The playwright will receive a cash award of $3,000.

Repertorio Español announces the winners of The 2021 Miranda Family Voces Latinx Playwriting Competition, an initiative to develop and promote Latinx plays that resonate with and accurately depict the Latinx experience. The competition is inclusive of all playwrights who are at least 18 years of age and residents of the United States or Puerto Rico.

“I am so humbled by and grateful for this incredible honor. The Voces Latinx National Playwriting Competition showcases so many thought-provoking, exciting, and vital pieces of theater that should be part of the canon of American theater. I urge theaters across the country to develop and program the plays by the artists featured in this competition and open your doors and stages to a diverse range of Latinx voices. We are here. We have been here. We are American theater.” – Joel Pérez

The 2022 Miranda Family Voces Latinx National Playwriting Competition begins now! Submissions are due by Tuesday, February 1, 2022. A readings series will be held in June of the top 5 plays. For info please visit or email


1st Place: (Award: $3,000)
FROM THE FOUNTAIN by Joel Pérez from New York, NY.

Playwright Bio: Joel Pérez is an award-winning actor and writer living in NYC. His theater work includes Fun Home (Broadway), Kiss My Aztec! (La Jolla Playhouse) and Sweet Charity (New Group; Lortel Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical). TV work includes Jesus Christ Superstar Live! (NBC), Person of Interest (CBS) and Odd Mom Out (Bravo). He writes and performs with the musical theater sketch show SHIZ. He recently wrote and performed Black Beans Project at The Huntington Theatre and his new solo musical comedy Playing With Myself at Ars Nova. His play, The Church of the Holy Glory, premiered at Ars Nova ANTFest 2018. He is a 2021 Time Warner 150 Artist Grant recipient for his original comedy pilot You’re Tired. You’re Poor. He is a 2019 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Playwriting from NYFA. Follow him at @misterjoelperez and visit

About FROM THE FOUNTAIN: After an extended self-imposed exile, Fernando returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his Pentecostal pastor father, Ernesto, at the church he grew up in. Memories flood Fernando’s mind as he attempts to sort through the wreckage of his fractured family. From the Fountain is a play about faith, home, and what we are willing to sacrifice for our family.

2nd Place: (Award: $2,000)
MACHINE LEARNING by Francisco Mendoza from Brooklyn, NY.

Playwright Bio: Francisco Mendoza is an Argentinian writer currently living in Brooklyn, NY, after spending several years in Brazil. His work has been developed or presented at The New Group, the MacDowell Colony, and Northern Stage, among others. His scripts include stage plays Machine Learning (The Lark’s Playwrights Week, Yale Drama Series Runner Up, San Diego Rep Latinx Festival), Tooth For Tooth (Finalist, Sundance Theater Lab; Finalist, Princess Grace Fellowship), and Patriarch (Great Plains Theatre Conference).

About MACHINE LEARNING: When his estranged, alcoholic father is diagnosed with liver cancer, computer scientist Jorge dreams up a nursing app to manage the disease in his stead. As the machine’s capabilities grow, however, the possibility of leaving it in charge of the treatment becomes more real, forcing Jorge to reckon with his responsibilities as a son—and as a creator.

3rd Place: (Award: $1,000)
AGOSTO INFINITO by Antonio García del Toro from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico.


Playwright Bio: Antonio García Del Toro is a Puerto Rican playwright, theatre director, and professor of language and literature, backed by a vast trajectory in professional theatre from a young age. His works in literary criticism and creation have been published in numerous specialized magazines. For more than fifty years he has been an active participant in the world of professional Puerto Rican theatre, most recognized for his direction and dramaturgy. Dr. García del Toro, recently retired from the Inter American University of Puerto Rico where he taught courses in Puerto Rican Language and Literature, Italian, and Theatre for more than thirty years.

About AGOSTO INFINITO: Following the death of his young son, a professor and his wife flee from a country ruled by one of the most fearsome dictators of the Twentieth Century. Under a new assumed identity, the couple open and operate a bookstore in a small city and spend the following years under the fear of their past catching up to them. The arrival of a young psychologist disrupts their present forcing them to relive the past and helping them make way towards a better future.

Runners Ups (Award: $500)

THE EL PASO PLAY: 23 ACTS OF KINDNESS by Gregory Ramos from Rancho Mirage, CA

Playwright Bio: Professor and Chair of the University of Redlands Department of Theatre Arts where he teaches directing, playwriting, and diversity in the U.S. American Theater. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, began his professional career as a dancer, and has taught at the University of Texas at El Paso and The University of Vermont. MFA, Playwriting UCLA. He’s a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and The Lincoln Center Director’s lab.

About The El Paso Play: 23 Acts of Kindness: Inspired by interviews with community members in El Paso, Texas in the months after the mass shooting at Walmart in 2019 and told through 12 characters’ stories and impressions of the event, the play explores immigration, gun control, and the rise of white supremacy in America. Part docudrama, part theatrical montage, and part prayer for the future of America, a community reaches toward our shared humanity and collective healing.

PRINCESS CLARA OF LOISADA by Matt Barbot from Brooklyn, NY

Playwright Bio: Matt Barbot is a writer from Brooklyn, NY. His play El Coquí Espectacular and The Bottle of Doom received its world premiere at Two River Theater in January of 2018. The Venetians was a winner of Roundabout Theatre Company’s 2019 Columbia@Roundabout New Play Series. Matt received his MFA from Columbia University and was recently a New York Theatre Workshop 2050 Fellow and a member of The Civilians’ R&D Group.

About PRINCESS CLARA OF LOISADA: With Mamá long gone and Papá in a trance, Lower East Side middle schooler Clara and her older brother José try to distract themselves from their bleak reality with fanciful stories. When strange events make the siblings realize these stories might be true – that, in fact, they may be making them come true – Clara is faced with a choice, and José will fight a magical battle for his sister’s destiny.

By phone: 1-212.225.9999 | Online:

For over 40 years, The Miranda Family has championed community activism. They have created and supported institutions that have served underserved populations throughout New York City, across the country, and in Puerto Rico. They continue to foster the family’s commitment to advocacy for education, the arts, and social justice – along with a sustained focus on relief and rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico post-Hurricane Maria.

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It is with deep sorrow that Repertorio EspañoI announces the passing of one of its most memorable actors, René Sánchez

René Sánchez, featured actor of Repertorio Español from 1975 until 2011, passed away at the age of 93 after a long illness on Tuesday, September 7th in New York City.

rené sanchez

Born in Havana, Cuba, son of a Cuban mother and Dominican father. In 1947, he abandoned his undergraduate studies to join the Municipal Academy of Dramatic Art, graduating in 1950. He began his professional career with directors Francisco Morín and Andrés Castro, who invited him to a three-month course on the Stanislavski method. Later, he joined the company Las Mascaras, becoming their leading actor. His first important role was Victor in Federico García Lorca’s “Yerma” opposite Antonia Rey. He toured the Cuba and participated in plays such as “Cándida,” “Espectros,” “El Tio Vania,” “Cocktail Party,” “Las Brujas de Salem,” “Sin Salida,” “La Oscuridad al Final de las Escaleras” y “Mesas Separadas.” In 1958, he worked on the television show “Escenario Cuatro,” directed by Humberto Arenal, for which he won the prize for Best Actor in 1963, and in film, he appeared as the Priest in Tomás Gutiérrez Alea’s “The Twelve Chairs” before leaving Cuba.  He moved to Spain and joined the Lope de Vega Company where he toured together with actors such as Milagros Leal, Berta Riaza, Mary Carrillo, Gabriel Llopart y Antonio Medina. In Barcelona he played the role of Ruben Darío in “Luces de Bohemia,” directed by José Tamayo.

Rene Sanchez

He worked for Radio Madrid, Radio Nacional and Nuevo Acento. He then moved to New York where he joined Repertorio Español and has spent the last 30 years of his career appearing in plays by Calderón de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, Lope de Vega, Federico García Lorca, Emilio Carballido, Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Carmen Rivera, mostly under the direction of René Buch and opposite the leading actress, Ofelia González. He has also worked with directors such as Antunes Filho and Jorge Alí Triana. Whether as King Basilio in the dramatic “Life is a Dream” or the Pharaoh in the zarzuela/operetta “The Pharaoh’s Court, René exuded a presence that D.J.R. Bruckner in The New York Times called “Commanding.”  He has won many awards including Lifetime Achievement from HOLA and ACE as well as recognitions from the Classic Spanish Theater Festival in El Paso, Texas.


A memorial service will be announced as soon as permitted. The family and friends of René would like to extend their sincerest gratitude to all the healthcare workers during these difficult times.

La Candida Erendida - Ofelia Gonzalez y rene Sanchez


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