Kennedy Center's BARRIO GRRRL! Kicks Off National Tour

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Kennedy_Centers_BARRIO_GRRRL_Kicks_Off_National_Tour_20010101

The Kennedy Center production of Barrio Grrrl! begins a national tour on Saturday, January 22, 2011 as part of the Center's 18th Theater for Young Audiences on Tour series for young people and their families. The three-month tour of school and public performances will travel to 17 cities in 13 states from January 22, 2011 to April 16, 2011. The musical features book and lyrics by Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award® nominee Quiara Alegría Hudes (In the Heights), music by Tony Award® winner Bill Sherman (In the Heights), direction by Peter Flynn, and choreography by Devanand Janki. This production for young people and their families is recommended for ages nine and up.

Spunky nine-year-old Ana is faced with this very big decision. On the one hand, as her alter-ego Barrio Grrrl with her invisible sidekick The Amazing Voice, she's pretty busy preserving justice in the barrio and protecting her neighborhood. On the other hand, in the world where Ana lives with her abuelo (grandfather) and misses her mom who is far away in Iraq, reality is sneaking up on her. It's time for Ana to decide what's most important: being a superhero or a girl who works little miracles in real life.
The cast includes Desirée Rodriguez as Ana, Michelle Liu Coughlin as The Amazing Voice, Christina Aranda as Mom, Diego Prieto as Abuelo, Deonna Bouye as Odette, Vishal Vaidya as Sandip, and Chris Wilson as Oscar.

Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist. Her work for musical theater includes the Tony Award®-winning Best Musical In the Heights (book). Her plays include Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue, and 26 Miles. She has been honored with the Lucille Lortel Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting, and the Clauder Prize. Originally trained as a musician, Hudes graduated from public school in Philadelphia and went on to receive a B.A. in music composition from Yale and an M.F.A in playwriting from Brown. She has found many homes for her writing including New Dramatists, where she is a resident writer; Page 73; ALLIANCE THEATRE; Miracle Theatre; Hartford Stage, where she is the Aetna New Voices Fellow; the Goodman Theatre, where she is the Joyce Fellow; and Philadelphia Young Playwrights, which produced her first play in the tenth grade and where she now serves as a mentor and board member. She is currently working on a trilogy of plays about music in American life.

Composer Bill Sherman won the 2008 Tony Award® for Best Orchestrations for In the Heights and the 2008 Grammy Award® as the co-producer of the In The Heights original Broadway cast album. He also earned a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Orchestrations for the Off-Broadway production of In the Heights. Bill is the composer for Sesame Workshop's new "The Electric Company," AMC's "Storymaker's", the second season of MTV's "Gamekillers," as well as Nike's "Kobe Mentu." He has also contributed songs to "Sesame Street" and "Chasing Broadway Dreams," a documentary about In The Heights on its road to Broadway. Bill is a proud member of New York's premier hip-hop, improv, and comedy group, Freestyle Love Supreme that traveled to the Aspen, Edinburgh, Melbourne, and Montreal comedy festivals.

Director Peter Flynn is the Artistic Director of the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY where his credits include staging Claudia Shear's Dirty Blonde starring Tony Award® nominee Emily Skinner, and David Mamet's November. His work on Broadway includes Actors' Fund concerts of On the 20th Century starring Douglas Sills, Marin Mazzie, and Joanne Worley, Chess starring Josh Groban, and Funny Girl with 16 Fanny Brices including Whoopi Goldberg, Bebe Neuwirth, and Jane Krakowski. His Off-Broadway credits include Henry & Mudge, Junie B. Jones (nominated for two Lucille Lortel Awards including Best Musical), and Rhapsody in Seth (Actors' Playhouse starring Seth Rudetsky). Other New York credits include The Broadway Musicals of 1953 (Town Hall); Romulus, a new opera (Guggenheim Museum); and Babes in Toyland (Avery Fisher Hall). Peter Flynn's regional credits include Gypsy (St. Louis MUNY); Man of LaMancha (Maltz Jupiter Theater; Carbonell Awards for Best Director and Best Musical); How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Children of Eden (Arvada Center in Denver); The Piano Lesson and The Crucible (Tampa Performing Arts Center); The Santaland Diaries (Pittsburgh City Theatre); A Child's Christmas in Wales (National Theatre of the Deaf). As a writer has created the script for two musicals with composer/lyricist Brooks Ashmanskas, Lily based on Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth and the upcoming For Love of the Game, based on the Michael Shaara novel and commissioned by the Huntington Theatre.

Choreographer Devanand Janki directed and choreographed the hit Off-Broadway show Zanna, Don't! (winner of the Lortel, Callaway & GLAAD Media Awards). His other New York credits include Junie B. Jones (Lortel nominations), Cupid & Psyche, Henry & Mudge (Lortel nomination), and John Patrick Shanley's Romantic Poetry (MTC). His Broadway concert credits include director for Hair with an all star cast featuring Jennifer Hudson (Grammy® Nomination), choreographer for Funny Girl featuring 16 Fanny Brices, including Whoopi Goldberg, Bebe Neuwirth, and Jane Krakowski; associate for Dreamgirls and Seth's Rudetsky's Broadway 101 (The Actors' Fund). His Lincoln Center credits include Amahl and the Night Visitors, Babes in Toyland, Anything Goes in concert (assoc.). His regional credits include the regional premiere of Rent (Director, Hangar Theatre); How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back? and Disney's Aladdin (Director, Chicago Shakespeare); Andrew Lippa's Asphalt Beach (AMTP), Man of La Mancha (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); The Full Monty (Director, Foothills Theatre); The Scarlet Pimpernel (Gateway Playhouse); the workshop of Lily (Huntington Theatre). His international credits include One Man's Dream II (Tokyo Disney); the Korean Premiere of Zanna, Don't! and the 20th Anniversary concert for Japan's #1 Boy Band: Shonentai. His live industrial credits include projects for Coca-Cola, MAC Cosmetics, Benjamin Moore Paints, and Dove. Mr. Janki served nine years as an Artistic Associate for Broadway Bares, which benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. As a performer, Devanand appeared on Broadway in Miss Saigon, Cats, The King & I, Side Show, and Tours of A Chorus Line and West Side Story.

Photo Credit: Quiara Alegría Hudes by Peter James Zielinski

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