El Tablero - Education Resources

School Time! Taking a Field Trip to Repertorio Español


The school year is about to begin, and no school year is complete without a field trip to Repertorio Español. For decades, Repertorio has played host to tens of thousands of students, many of whom have never been to a theater before. It is here that they can see the books they’re reading in class come to life on stage whether it’s Bernarda Alba, the novels of Gabriel García Márquez, the plays of Federico García Lorca, the theatrical adaptation of El Quijote or historical dramas like En el tiempo de las mariposas.

Plays are always followed by a Q&A session with Executive Producer Robert Weber Federico himself – a rare opportunity in any theater – where the students and teachers can begin the conversation directly after the play, with the experts still on stage.

Part of Repertorio Español’s arts-in-education program, ¡DIGNIDAD!, these field trips are incredibly important and add a much needed dose of performing arts to student’s academic careers. Not all students, however, have the resources to enjoy the arts, and in line with its mission of making the arts accessible to all, Repertorio subsidizes ticket prices for many students and schools. This, however, is impossible to do without the support of audience-members and Repertorio-fans like yourself. Consider making a donation on Repertorio’s website so that we can continue to assure that no one is unable to visit the theater because of a lack-of-resources, and check out some of the great plays that are a hit with our student groups!

Crónica de una muerte anunciada

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An adaptation of one of Nobel Prize Winning Gabriel García Marquez’s novel of the same name, this action packed play delves deep into a small town with a dark secret in 1950s Colombia. A message of social responsibility runs strong in this story, and the direction of the renowned director Jorge Alí Triana makes for an unforgettable and chilling experience in this excellent production.

La gringa


An excellent choice, particularly for beginners in Spanish language, La gringa follows the story of María, a Puerto Rican girl from New York City who goes to Puerto Rico to find her roots. The play concentrates on a theme of belonging and origins, while exploring the complexity of culture and belonging. Written by playwright Carmen Rivera, the play will be celebrating 20 years on Repertorio’s stage!

Amor en los tiempos del cólera

michael palma for rep love in the time-500-8

One of Gabriel García-Márquez’s most renowned novels, this adaptation by playwright Caridad Svich dives into the romantic mind of Florentino Ariza who spends 50 years in love with Fermina Daza. Starring artists Zulema Clares and Luis Carlos de la Lombana – two of the most recognizable faces of the Hispanic stage – El amor en los tiempos del cólera is an excellent and passionate love story that stays true to the epic novel of the same name.

La zapatera prodigiosa

michael palma for rep la zapatera prodigiosa 008

La zapatera prodigiosa is a rare treat – one of the least produced comedies by the famous playwright Federico García Lorca. Unlike the somber La casa de Bernarda Alba (see below), La zapatera prodigiosa is a funny and clever comedy about a woman married to a much older man, and the toll that the town gossips take on their relationship. With live music and vibrant costumes and scenery, La zapatera prodigiosa is an excellent, fun, and educational way to spend a field trip!

La casa de Bernarda Alba

michael palma for repertorio alba 012

Federico García Lorca’s most iconic play, La casa de Bernarda Alba is a dark journey into a world of women run by a totalitarian mother. Directed by Artistic Founder of Repertorio, René Buch, this play stays true to its original direction for an explosive journey into this troubled world conjured by García Lorca.

El Quijote

Qué felices son las Barbies!

Directed by renowned director Jorge Alí Triana, El Quijote is a carnival-like adventure into the world of Don Quijote, the famous man of La Mancha and his sidekick, Sancho Panza. A vibrant and action filled journey into the fantastical world of the modern world’s first novel, the play is the perfect choice for teachers who have added the book to their curriculum and want to have their students see it come to life!

Olga Pericet: Flamenco sin título

Michael Palma for Repertorio Olga Pericet 015

Flamenco star Olga Pericet has taken New York City by storm since the premiere of her show, Flamenco sin título here at Repertorio this past April. She has also opted to provide some performances tailor made to school groups during the second run of her show this November. Only for a limited time, taking students to see Olga Pericet: Flamenco sin título is a magical experience in one of New York’s hottest and most critically acclaimed Flamenco performances.

En el tiempo de las mariposas

michael palma for repertorio mariposa 004

Based on the Julia Álvarez novel of the same name, En el tiempo de las mariposas is a historical drama that follows the story of the Mirabal Sisters, four human-rights activists who defied the reign of terror of Dominican strongman Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Hailed by audiences, critics, Ms. Álvarez and even the families of the sisters themselves, En el tiempo de las mariposas brings to life on of the most critical moments of Latin American history that to this day affects Dominican and Latin American politics.

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GUEST POST: Cuenca, Ecuador and what the cast of “La zapatera prodigiosa” is excited for…


This October, Repertorio Español will be touring Federico García-Lorca’s La zapatera prodigiosa to Cuenca, Ecuador – the home of the Escenarios del mundo (World Stages) International Theater Festival. An ancient colonial city perched high in the Andes, Cuenca has a lot to offer. We asked a few cast members what they were excited about to see in Cuenca – check out what cast members Jerry Soto, Edna Lee Figueroa and Zulema Clares had to say, and stay tuned for updates about what the rest of the cast can’t wait to see!


“I am really looking forward to explore Cuenca. I love the fact that it is a walking friendly UNESCO World Heritage Site and I’m really excited about visiting the Museum of the Aboriginal Cultures.” – Jerry Soto


Cuenca  was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999. The city is famed for its historic district which holds some of Latin America’s most well preserved and unique examples of Spanish colonial architecture. Its history spans long before the arrival of the Spaniards in 1557,–  the indigenous Cañari people had settled the area as far back as 500AD and referred to it as Guapondeleg. To this day, indigenous culture runs strong through the veins of the area, with a thriving artisanal textile and pottery industry that stretches back millennia.


“Ecuador is very close to my heart after I had the privilege to filmed “Medardo” in Guayaquil, I heard so many beautiful things about Cuenca and now I will have the opportunity to experience it first hand; its people, food, beauty and its theatre. I’m so grateful for this!”  – Edna Lee Figueroa


Cuenca is about nine hours south of the capital Quito and four hours east of the Pacific coast port city of Guayaquil. Its centric location in Ecuador makes it a prime area for tourism, culture and theater. Home to a population of slightly over 400,000 people, the city hits well above its weight when it comes to its cultural influence and historical significance – the surrounding countryside houses the Cajas National Park, an ecological wonderland and pristine example of the Andean environment.


“‘La Zapatera Prodigiosa’ is about the the spirit of the woman fighting against a cruel and recalcitrant society who judges her, but it’s also a mirror of the human soul that wants to be free and wants to dream. I feel so happy to share this message in Ecuador and around the world! Also I will love To meet the city, the people, the theatre life there! To meet some colleagues and to share our experiences on stage and to try the food particularly the seafood that is so famous in company of my dearest friends of Repertorio Español.” – Zulema Clares


Zulema Clares is right to be excited about Cuenca theater! The Escenarios del mundo Theater Festival was founded 8 years ago and has been growing steadily ever since. Once a quiet, Andean city known for its colonial architecture, the city, like much of the rest of Ecuador, is becoming increasingly cosmopolitan. The Escenarios del Mundo festival not only focuses on the vibrant local theater, but brings companies from around the world including Brazil, Belgium, Estonia, France, and the United States.

Repertorio Español will tour to Ecuador in October. To see “La zapatera prodigiosa” state-side before it sets sail, visit www.repertorio.nyc or call (212) 225 9999 for info and reservations.  

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GUEST POST: Why see a Siglo-de-oro play, by Van Lier Fellow Diego M. Chiri

Diego M. Chiri by Natt McFee

As part of the Van Lier Young Directors Fellowship, the fellows must direct one Siglo de Oro (17th Century Spanish) play. Before they premiere their shows – El laurel de Apolo, El burlador de Sevilla and El gran Semíramis – we asked them a simple question: why should you see a Siglo de Oro play?

Diego M. Chiri, Van Lier fellow, responded (English translation below)…

Las obras del siglo de oro, más allá de ser textos literarios o obras de arte, son también documentos históricos que nos ayudan a observar y comprender los valores, las necesidades y el entendimiento de los seres humanos de hace más de cuatro siglos. A través de ellos podemos apreciar como era la relación con ellos mismos, el mundo que los rodeaba y su relación con lo divino y lo sobrenatural. Como si fueran máquinas de tiempo, las obras de Calderón de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, Cristóbal de Virués, entre muchos otros, impulsan al público de hoy en día a conectarse con el pasado y con el pensamiento de nuestros ancestros. A través de los personajes de estas obras (sus alegrías y tristezas, sus amores y desamores, sus virtudes y defectos), podemos ver que los temas, las inquietudes y los problemas de ayer no son tan diferentes a los de hoy en día… las mismas interrogantes sobre la vida y la muerte, o lo que puede calificar como moral o inmoral, siguen vigentes en nuestros tiempos. Es por eso que es importante ver una obra de Siglo de Oro. Estos textos nos alimentan de cultura y de una filosofía cargada de matices muy reconocibles para todas las épocas.

Por ejemplo, la obra que yo estoy dirigiendo, La Gran Semíramis (la cual se estrena el 13 de Agosto en Repertorio Español), toca temas sobre la ambición, el amor, la pasión y la desesperante necesidad de buscar justicia. La reacción de los personajes ante estas emociones (aunque a primera vista pueda resultar violenta y desproporcionada), resulta ser puramente humano, demostrando así que Cristóbal de Virués fue un gran entendedor del alma humana. La obra narra la historia de una mujer y su relación con el poder. Semíramis, reina de Asiria, asciende al poder para luego caer en desgracia. Lo fascinante de esta obra de Cristóbal de Virués es que es el resultado de un período de experimentación de normas y vías de dramatización y se distingue de otras obras del siglo de oro por su estilo nuevo de 3 jornadas (y no las 4 o 5 acostumbradas), por juntar elementos del teatro tradicional con las innovaciones del teatro moderno y por desarrollar la trama en un período de más de 20 años. El resultado final es un estudio sobre el poder, el mundo cortesano y de cómo el concepto de la fortuna influye sobre las decisiones y vidas de los personajes. Es debido a este perfecto equilibrio -entre pasado y futuro, entra forma y contenido, y entre realidad y ficción-, que La Gran Semíramis atrae a audiencias de todas las épocas, y gana un lugar importante en la historia del Siglo de Oro Español. Esta producción es la primera vez que la obra se monta en Los Estados Unidos o en algún país Americano.

The plays of the Spanish Golden Age are much more than literatura or Works of art, but are also historical documents that help us observe and understand the values, needs and knowledge of people who lived more than four centuries ago. Through these plays we can appreciate the relationships between them, the world that surrounded them and their connection with the sacred and supernatural. As if they were time machines, the plays of Calderón de la Barca, Tirso de Molina, Cristóbal de Virués and many more impel today’s audiences to connect to the past and with our ancestors. Through the characters of these plays – their joy and sadness, the ones they love and those that do not love them back, their virtues and defects – we can find themes, the inequitudes and the problems of the past that are not all that different from today. The same questions over life and death, or what qualifies as moral or immoral, continue to exist today. That is why it is important to see a Siglo de Oro play. These texts nourish us with culture and a philosophy charged with nuances recognizable in any time period.

For example, the play that I will be directing, La gran Semíramis (premiering August 13th at Repertorio Español), touches on themes about ambition, love, passion and the desperate need for justice. The reactions of the characters when confronted with these emotions may at first seem violent and unproportioned, but are purely human, demonstrating that Cristóbal de Virués had great knowledge of the human soul. The play tells the story of a woman and her relationship with power. Semíramis, queen of Assyria, comes to power only to fall into disgrace. What is fascinating about this play by Cristóbal de Virues is that it was written during a period of experimentation with norms and modes of dramatization, and is distinguishable from other Siglo de oro plays for its three-day style (as opposed to the four- or five- day style that was the custom of the day), to bring together elements of traditional theater with the innovations of modern theater and to develop the story in a period of over 20 years. The final result is a study of power, the court and how the concept of fortune influences the decisions and lives of those characters. It is due to this perfect balance between past and future, between form and content, and between reality and fiction, that La gran Semíramis attracted audiences throughout all epochs and won an important place in the history of the Spanish Golden Age. This production will be the first time that the play will be staged in both the United States and the Americas in general.  

La gran Semíramis premieres on August 13th at Repertorio Español (138 E. 27th Street). For tickets, visit www.repertorio.nyc or call our box office at (212) 225 9999. 

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Ten Strange Facts You Didn’t Know About Repertorio Español

Qué felices son las Barbies!

Repertorio Español is not only a theater, but an eccentric and quirky community. From ghosts to schnauzers to Ms. Universe, here are ten of the most surprising things about Repertorio Español.

Ofelia Gonzalez won an OBIE Award without ever having performed in English…

One of the original members of the Company from its founding, Ofélia González was the first woman to win an OBIE Award without ever having performed in English.

Founding Artistic Director René Buch is a licensed justice-of-the-peace…

Rene BuchEM300
While living in his native Cuba, René Buch married several couples in his hometown of Santiago. Whether or not they’re still married remains unknown…

Repertorio Español has been home to eight different schnauzers and seven cats over the past 47 years…

With names ranging from Cohiba, Bacardi, Tiger and Christmas.

Flamenco dancer Pilar Rioja danced at Radio City Music Hall before becoming Repertorio’s flamenco headliner…

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She did not enjoy her stay there, and happily agreed to start performing at Repertorio.

Actresses Selenis Leyva and Laura Gomez from Orange is the New Black acted together in Repertorio’s play Doña Flor y sus dos maridos

Laura still performs in the play on occasion.

Acclaimed Fashion Photographer Bill Solano lived above the theater throughout the 1970s…

Silano redefined fashion photography in the 1960s and 1970s, during which time he lived in what are now the Repertorio Español offices…

Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta offered to donate some of his designs to Repertorio’s production of Serenata Dominicana

epa04455516 (FILE) Dominican American fashion designer Oscar de la Renta smiles during the presentation of his collection 'Resort 2010', during the ninth edition of the Cali Exposhow in Cali, southwest Colombia, 15 October 2009. De la Renta died at the age of 82 on 20 October 2014, his family confirmed.  EPA/CARLOS ORTEGA
Repertorio would have absolutely taken them, but the only size available was a size zero…

Repertorio Español’s home, The Gramercy Arts Theater, used to be a Swedish Baptist Church in the late 19th Century…

Bramhall Playhouse Lobby
It was also a home, a tenement, a dress shop and a meeting hall before it was turned into a functioning theater.

Founder Gilberto Zaldívar’s funeral was held on Repertorio’s stage…

The late, great Zaldívar dedicated his life’s work to building Repertorio, and there was no place more appropriate to say farewell than on the stage he built.

Founding Artistic Director René Buch also published several of his own recipes…

René Recipe
Including a recipe for cuban black beans that was published in The New York Times…

Want to be included in the wonderfully weird world of Repertorio Español? Follow us on Facebook and sign up for our email list for updates, programming and tickets!

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#ThrowBackThursday: Vintage Photos of Repertorio from 1930s-1940s

Bramhall Playhouse Balcony2

Repertorio Español’s iconic home on 27th street, the Gramercy Arts Theater, has functioned as a theater long before founders Gilberto Zaldivar and René Buch moved Repertorio there in 1971. Thanks to The New York Public Library, new photos of the Gramercy Arts Theater have surfaced, giving us all a taste of what the building looked like in the 1920s and 1930s.

Years before Repertorio Español was even a concept in the minds of its founders, the theater functioned as The Davenport Free Theater. It’s founder was Benjamin Butler Davenport, born in 1871 in Stamford, Connecticut whose frustration with (and own personal failure on) Broadway lead him to build a fully free theater that functioned solely on donations from audiences. Ironically, the theater functioned almost identically as Repertorio Español does today – a repertory style theater in which ten or more plays were presented in rotating programming. Davenport himself was a firm believer in making theater and the arts accessible to those who may not have access to the arts, claiming “I have dedicated my life to spreading the idea that nobody should pay for theater admissions. We have free schools, free art museums, free symphony concerts and libraries, why not theaters?”

The Davenport Free Theater (which was also known by various other names, including The Bramhall Playhouse) functioned from 1915 well into the 1940s, from which time it was rented out to various commercial productions. The building was later bought by Robinson Callen, a Korean War veteran and by 1971, the space had caught the eye of Repertorio Español’s founders, René Buch and Gilberto Zaldivar, as the perfect home for their young, three year old theater company. The rest is history, but thanks to the awesome new online tool, OldNYC¸ powered by The New York Public Library, new, never before seen photos of Repertorio’s past life have surfaced. Check them out below!

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She’s Back! Flamenco Star Olga Pericet Returns to Repertorio in November

Michael Palma for Repertorio Olga Pericet 015 (1) - Copy

After a critically acclaimed run of her show “Flamenco Untitled” at Repertorio this past April, Flamenco star Olga Pericet will return in November, 2015.

Pericet’s unique style and “mad whirls” (so described by New York Magazine in their approval index) captivated audiences during its previous three week run, and there is little doubt that the extraordinarily talented dancer will bring that same magic back to Repertorio’s stage just in time for the holidays. From the moment the show premiered in April, Pericet rapidly took New York City by storm, garnering glowing reviews and mentions in publications like The New York Times, The New Yorker, DanceTabs Magazine and many, many more. The wild success of the notably petite dancer drew figures from New York’s world of society and politics, including figures like María Cristina Anzola de Heimann, Commissioner Cynthia López from The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and prolific designer Carolina Herrera who personally visited Ms. Pericet backstage to congratulate her.

Olga Pericet with the prolific Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera.

Olga Pericet with the prolific Venezuelan designer Carolina Herrera.

Even more important, however, was Ms. Pericet’s willingness to participate in Repertorio’s education program ¡DIGNIDAD!, offering several morning performances tailored to school groups to introduce the magic of Flamenco and Spanish dance to students.

In addition to the bailaora, guitarist Antonia Jimenez will be joining the ensemble again. Jimenez is not only an incredible guitarist from the Andalusian city of Cádiz, but is also one of the very few, very rare female Flamenco guitarists. The inclusion of Jimenez, according to Pericet, is a reminder of an almost forgotten fact of the origin of Flamenco – in the early stages of the dance, it was exclusively women who played the role of guitarist, a little known fact nearly lost to history and revived in “Flamenco Untitled.”

Equally as bright as her talent, Ms. Pericet’s warm personality and intimate knowledge of her field makes her more than a superstar dancer and choreographer, but also an approachable expert in one of the worlds most interesting fields of dance.

“Olga Pericet: Flamenco Untitled” returns to Repertorio Español on November 5th, just in time for the early Holiday Season. Tickets are currently on sale on Repertorio’s website, www.repertorio.nyc or at the box office by calling (212) 225 9999. 

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GUEST POST: Why see a Siglo de Oro play, by Van Lier Fellow Estefania Fadul

Estefanía Fadul by Shelly Rodríguez

As part of the Van Lier Young Directors Fellowship, the fellows must direct one Siglo de Oro (17th Century Spanish) play. Before they premiere their shows – El laurel de Apolo, El burlador de Sevilla and El gran Semíramis – we asked them a simple question: why should you see a Siglo de Oro play?

Estefanía Fadul, Van Lier fellow and Artistic Director of Pleiades Productions, responded…

When most people hear “Siglo de Oro” play, I think they picture a stuffy, gilded production with difficult language and plot lines. In other words, the kind of theatre that you (or at least, I) don’t want to spend a precious evening on.

The reality is that it’s just the opposite! Many of these plays were actually a form of popular entertainment at the time, written to appeal to the masses, and not just the nobles who had an understanding of the classical verse. My Van Lier directing project this summer, “El Laurel de Apolo” by Pedro Calderón de la Barca, was the first musical zarzuela in Spain. It took its inspiration from Italian opera, but instead of being sung all the way through, it included both spoken scenes and musical numbers, much like a Broadway musical today. The popular songs and dances in the zarzuelas were enjoyed at court and in the villages alike, creating a communal experience and making them accessible to all strata of society.

I drew inspiration from this knowledge for my production of “El Laurel de Apolo.” We have set out to create an accessible, fun, community experience that the audience today can intimately connect with, in the way they did in 1657. Our new music for the show is written by my collaborator Marios Aristopoulos, based on popular music styles of today- everything from pop to flamenco to rock! Our multi-talented ensemble cast is not only acting and singing and dancing, but also playing the music live on stage. We are finding ways to integrate the audience into the experience and make this a true community gathering.

Although Calderón’s language may be intimidating at first glance, once you dig into it and understand it you realize that the plot lines are actually very simple: tangled love triangles, mistaken identities, warring gods. It is my entire team’s job to fully understand what is happening behind the language in each scene and to transmit the story to the audience in a clear way. Part of this is the actors’ job; they have to know exactly what they’re saying at any given moment so that the audience understands it too. And the other part of it is the creative team’s job, supporting the story that’s being told and finding ways to clarify it visually and tonally to the audience.

Ultimately, Siglo de Oro plays are speaking to much of what still concerns our society today: power struggles, religion, relationships…I could go on! The baroque language heightens these themes in a beautiful way, using imagery and metaphors to help us look at these things in a new way.

El laurel de Apolo premieres on July 9th at Repertorio Español (138 E. 27th Street). For tickets, visit www.repertorio.nyc or call our box office at (212) 225 9999. 
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