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“The Theatre of Rice & Beans” Premiere

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It’s not everyday that a lifetime achievement is immortalized in a documentary, but that’s exactly what happened at the May 12th premiere of The Theater of Rice & Beans. The film by University of Florida professor Tony Mata is an in depth look at the origins and trajectory of Latino theatre in New York, as well as the stories of René Buch, Miriam Colón and Max Ferra who founded Repertorio Español, The Puerto Rican Travelling Theatre and INTAR, respectively.

Also in attendance were some of the Latino stages’ biggest talents, including Zulema Clares, Ana Margarita Martínez Casado, Carmen Rivera, Chita Rivera, Miriam Cruz, among many many others. Check out just a few of these photos from this big night out!

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Luís Carlos de la Lombana & Founding Artistic Director René Buch

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Founding Artistic Director René Buch

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Carlos Navedo (Impacto News) and Actress Zulema Clares

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Manny Alfaro (HOLA), Public Relations Associate Kevin Tighe Martínez (Repertorio Español), Carlos Navedo (Impacto), Actresses Zulema Clares and Ana Margarita Mart’inez Casado, Director Leyma López

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Actresses Zulema Clares and Ana Margarita Martínez Casado, PRTT founder Miriam Colón and Director Leyma López (Repertorio Español).

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Actresses Ana Margarita Martínez Casado and PRTT founder Miriam Colón.

 

 

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Acerca de - Artists Stories

Meet the Brain Behind the Barbie

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280_280_2Wanda Arriaga is bringing her energetic show, ¡Qué felices son las Barbies! to Repertorio this spring, joining Saulo García and John Leguizamo as Repertorio’s next comedy. The Puerto Rican actress and comedienne will be pretty in pink as she brings her hysterical show to the stage. After touring internationally, this witty and sharp monologue is bound to be one of this spring’s most unique theatrical experiences in the world of Latino theater.

¡Qué felices son las Barbies! is a fantastic comedy that takes on some of the biggest issues that are both Latina and universal. The show follows Bárbara Pérez, a cabaret singer who has comfortably settled into a cycle of extreme diets and plastic surgery with the ultimate goal of becoming the physical embodiment of her childhood Malibu Barbie. Joining the character of Bárbara are several of her colorful friends – a psychologist named Cathy who draws her advice from the pages of Cosmopolitan Magazine, a Cuban bruja (witch) named Mariblanca, and Bárbara’s ex-boyfriend Kenny whose mysterious penchant for male friends and insistence on sleeping in separate beds have Bárbara perpetually suspicious.  As she spins the tale of her complex love life, she dives into a parade of her past disastrous amours.

In all, ¡Qué felices son las Barbies! is an electric comedy that examines the self-image pressures in a society obsessed with physical appearance. As Wanda assumes the character of Bárbara, she tackles some very serious issues. Physical beauty, obsession, addiction, and a childhood scarred by sexual violence and poverty all rear their head in the history of Bárbara Pérez. When one throws superb direction by Mario Colón and traditional boleros and merengues into the mix, ¡Qué felices son las Barbies! becomes a journey of laughs that stays with the audience long after the show is over. Audience members can look forward to a production with a one-of-a-kind and lively beat, unique in its style and distinct in its mission to entertain and enlighten. With strong themes and an ultimately empowering and important message, the show will premiere during the symbolic month of March – Women’s History Month.

Arriaga has for the past two decades been one of Repertorio’s most dynamic and recognizable actresses. Most recently, she stole New York’s heart in the role of Ramonita, the long suffering mother in Carlos Ferrari’s La nena se casa. A major recipient of both ACE and HOLA awards, Arriaga is also one of the co-founders of the prestigious Teatro Círculo and starred in the HBO short The Acting Lesson, which won Best Short at the 2012 New York Latino Film Festival. It is in ¡Qué felices son las Barbies! that Wanda will be rounding up her broad talents into one very funny and very pink production.

To support this inspiring production and for a very special video by the artist herself, check out the ¡Qué felices son las Barbies! Kickstarter page, where you can make a small donation.

¡Qué felices son las Barbies! will be premiering on Thursday, March 6th at 8:00 pm. For tickets, visit www.repertorio.org or call (212) 225-9999

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Acerca de - Artists Stories

San Juan’s Argentine King of Satire

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Carlos Ferrari, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Theater, Playwright

Argentine Carlos Ferrari’s “Boricuafilia” makes for a distinct flavor in “La nena se casa,” premiering September 19th at Repertorio Español

Carlos Ferrari’s “La nena se casa” is more than just a cruel comedy – it’s an intricate look into the eccentricities, pretentions and anxieties of Puerto Rico’s affluent upper-middle class. The extremes to which Juan, an ardent social climber, will go to are almost as bizarre as his daughters’ names — aptly named Yanisoria, Brifimar and Auriler. Just as important as the homely character of Auriler (played by Hannia Guillén) are the problems that plague contemporary Puerto Rican society – class divisions, decadence and the degradation of the island’s ecosystem for the financial benefit of a selective few. The themes at the heart of this play are undoubtedly Puerto Rican yet widely universal. What may be of surprise, however, is that this glimpse of the tribulations of Sanjuanero cosmopolitanism is being seen through an Argentine lens.

Carlos Ferrari has repeatedly brought Puerto Rico to the stage. “En’dito, tan bueno que era” was received with great acclaim, and “Puerto Rico, Fuá” to this day remains the most successful play produced in Puerto Rico. His play “The Preposterous Case of Miss Piña Colada” was among one of Repertorio Español’s most successful, and funniest, comedies produced.

Born, raised, and educated in Argentina, Ferrari was enchanted by La Isla del Encanto when he first stepped foot on the island in the 1960s. Since then, his plays have concentrated on the trials, tribulations, confusion and chaos of life there. Through the roars of laughter that greet “La nena se casa” wherever it is staged, one can see a perfect storm of cultural syncretism – Argentine literary tradition superimposed on the rich, vibrant complexities of contemporary Puerto Rican culture.

Nelson Landrieu, Wanda Arriaga, Hannia Guillén, Sandor Juan, Repertorio Español.

(Clockwise) Nelson Landrieu, Wanda Arriaga, Hannia Guillén, Sandor Juan

Repertorio Español comfortably provides a home to this fantastic production of mixed background. Though all characters are distinctly Puerto Rican, the actors that play them are not necessarily so. Wanda Arriaga (Ramonita), and Jerry Soto (Toñito) are both Puerto Rican. The others, however, encompass a myriad of Latin backgrounds. Gredivel Vásquez (Yanisoria) hails from Venezuela, Hannia Guillén and Sandor Juan (Wilfredo Pérez Pérez) both proudly represent their Cuban heritage, the prolific Nelson Landrieu (Juan) brings Uruguayan spark to the production, and Dalia Davi (Brifimar) is a prime example of the home grown talent of the New York Latin community.

Director José Zayas, of Dominican and Puerto Rican background, remarkably directs this production and furthers the subtle multiculturalism of “La nena se casa.” Through his direction, one can again see the cross of cultures that makes not only Carlos Ferrari’s work, but all work produced in Repertorio, so unique and appealing to a universal audience. The outstanding Latin flavors that both Zayas and the ensemble bring to this hybrid of Argentine and Puerto Rican theatrical tradition will undoubtedly come together to create one of the funniest and most appealing comedies that Repertorio Español has staged.

La nena se casa will premiere at Repertorio Español on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at 7pm
SCHEDULE, TICKETS AND INFORMATION: Repertorio.org or call 1-212-225-9999  

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