TRAIL OF TEARS Begins 7/10 at Nuyorican Poets Cafe

TRAIL OF TEARS, a startling new docudrama chronicling the effects of the Native American Removal Act on present-day Native Americans, will receive its world premiere in a production presented by Rebel Theater, The Eagle Project and The Nuyorican Poets Café. Performances begin July 10, 2015.

Conceived by Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, TRAIL OF TEARS blends elements of documentary theater, first person narrative, political satire and traditional musical theater to tell the story of the Native American Removal Act. Signed into law in 1830 by President Andrew Jackson, the Act led to the displacement and death of thousands of Native Americans.

Using the event as a framework for examining not just the loss of life but the loss of culture and identity that came with it, TRAIL OF TEARS offers an unprecedented look at unimaginable loss, as present-day Native Americans and other theater artists dramatize the space where the past resonates with the present and where memory becomes a dramatic tool for healing.

TRAIL OF TEARS will feature Native Americans from five different tribes in its cast, including the Eastern Band of Cherokee, Azteca/Huastec Maya, Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape, Choctaw and Sioux, as well as a diverse ensemble of artists. Together they will dramatize through storytelling and song the effects still felt by Native Americans: the ethnic stereotyping, the shame and fear felt as a reaction to the brutality imposed on their ancestors, and the effects of families torn apart through violence.

"TRAIL OF TEARS is a docudrama that aims to examine one of the first American tragedies through historical documentation, modern testimony and satire," said Thomas J. Soto, author of TRAIL OF TEARS. "Theater can be a powerful tool for social change and education as well as an important platform to draw attention to events which have been primarily overlooked." Soto's other plays include Gods and Dogs and The Ballad of Trayvon Martin.

TRAIL OF TEARS will be directed and co-choreographed by Indo-Caribbean American artist, educator and activist Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, the founder and Artistic Director of Rebel Theater Company. Maharaj founded River Voices, an African American and Latino playwriting festival in collaboration with Arkansas Repertory Theatre. Maharaj is the former Associate Artistic Director of Syracuse Stage and the Lark Play Development Center, and an alumnus of Lincoln Center Directors Lab and TCG Young Leaders of Color. He was the assistant director of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival A Raisin in the Sun.

The cast of TRAIL OF TEARS will feature Christopher Augustine, Samantha Clark, Wolfen de Kastro, Nerea Duhart, Christopher Robert Ellis, Tony Enos, Darleen Rae Fontaine, Olivia Hoffman, Alana Inez, Javon Minter, Crystal Montalvo, Michael Nephew, Richard Perez, Lamar Perry, Ryan Victor "Little Eagle" Pierce and C.G. Reeves.

Performances of TRAIL OF TEARS will be held on Friday, July 10 at 7pm; Saturday, April 11 at 7pm; Tuesday, April 14 at 7pm; Wednesday, April 15 at 7pm; Friday, July 17 at 7pm; Saturday, July 18 at 7pm; Sunday, July 19 at 3pm; Monday, July 20 at 7pm; Thursday, July 23 at 7pm; Friday, July 24 at 7pm; Saturday, July 24 at 7pm; and Sunday, July 26 at 3pm.

Tickets ($26.50) are available by visiting www.nuyorican.org

The Nuyorican Poets Café is located at 236 East 3rd Street in New York City.

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