HAMILTON's Lin-Manuel Miranda Donates to The Sol Project for ALLIGATOR

By: Oct. 28, 2016
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The Sol Project, the new New York-based theater collective raising visibility for Latinx playwrights, has received funding to support the initiative's first production, Hilary Bettis's Alligator, directed by Elena Araoz, presented in collaboration with New Georges at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres, November 27-December 18, 2016.

The Time Warner Foundation has provided the initial grant with matching gifts from acclaimed composer and artist Lin-Manuel Miranda, as well as an anonymous donor.

"The Sol Project will both preserve and continue the remarkable storytelling tradition in the talented Latinx community," says Lisa Garcia Quiroz, President, Time Warner Foundation. "We recognize their potential to fundamentally change and forward the city's arts and cultural communities. I believe The Sol Project has the power to ensure that the richness and vibrancy of New York's Latinx community is experienced city-wide and that the voices of emerging and established artists will always be heard. The Time Warner Foundation proudly supports this initiative and we are thrilled that our support will be instrumental to its success."

Founded by Artistic Director Jacob G. Padrón, and powered by a collective of actors, directors and producers, the project will utilize a synergistic network of Off-Broadway companies and regional theaters to develop and produce works by a cohort of 12 emerging and established writers. "I am deeply grateful to these generous funders who believe in the mission and vision of The Sol Project. They join us in fulfilling the promise of the American theater being a space for all," said Padrón.

At this time, the project's honorary board also welcomes two new members, both legends - singer and actress Chita Rivera and actor Edward James Olmos. Other members include Daphne Rubin-Vega, Junot Diaz, Raúl Castillo, Priscilla Lopez, Sandra Marquez, John Ortiz, Tony Plana, Rosalba Rolón and Diane Rodriguez.

"I believe The Sol Project is a huge wave in a movement that has been a long time coming. Its clear goal to grow the American theater-grow it to include American stories that for far too long have had such difficulty getting produced is historic, exciting and a welcome relief. I am proud to be a part of this movement to whatever degree I can serve," said Sandra Marquez, Jeff Award-winning actress and first Latina to be invited to the ensemble of Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

Obie Award-winning actress, Diane Rodriguez, who was recently appointed to the National Council of the Arts by President Obama, said, "The Sol Project is a wonderful moment of self-empowerment. It is a celebration of Latinx theater makers and their talents and highlights our contribution to the American theater. No doubt this is only the beginning of a long-term project that will deepen and mark our contribution to U.S. stages and beyond. It is part of a glorious beginning that has taken hold in the last three year through the Latina/o Theatre Commons that is long overdue."

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Public Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and Women's Project Theater join New Georges as the first six of 12 trailblazing theater companies that have signed on to present a Sol Project playwright as part of their respective main stage seasons.

Padrón conceived The Sol Project after the 2013 Latina/o Theatre Commons National Convening, where he realized that if there was to be true representation of Latin stories on America's stages, more had to change on a local level. Considering the influence New York's vibrant theater scene has on many regional theaters, he formed the initiative to activate and unite the Latinx theater community in New York, with the ultimate goal of seeding change nationwide. "Creating more opportunities for our writers and inciting a shift of this scale is not possible without our pillars, dedicated Latinx theater companies like Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre and INTAR, who have been supporting these artists for years; they truly paved the way for us," says Padrón.

Bettis's Alligator is a play about twin orphans from the Florida Everglades. The play weaves together sex and enemies, blood and whiskey, hope and murder. Bettis merges the raw, visceral energy of a grungy rock club into the story, asking the question: How do we truly love one another in the face of our deepest, darkest monsters? Alligator will kick off New Georges's 25th season, running November 27-December 18, 2016 at the Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at the A.R.T./New York Theatres. Tickets are now on sale (link).

In collaboration with Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, Martin Zimmerman's Seven Spots on the Sun, directed by Weyni Mengesha, will be The Sol Project's second production. Seven Spots will run April 26-June 4, 2017. More information about this production as well as future collaborations is forthcoming.

The production of Alligator at New Georges will coincide with the 2016 Latina/o Theatre Commons NYC Convening on December 1-4, hosted by The Public Theater, which will also serve as The Sol Project's third producing partner.

Find The Sol Project at www.solproject.org and on social media at Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The Sol Project is a New York City-based theater initiative dedicated to producing works by Latinx playwrights, bringing the stories and culture of their community to the fore of American theater. Founded by Artistic Director Jacob G. Padrón, and driven by a collective of actors, producers and directors, The Sol Project will elevate the visibility of Latinx writers in New York and nationally by activating a synergistic network of off-Broadway companies and regional theaters while prioritizing diversity within casts, crews and creative teams. Twelve playwrights, both emerging and established, are first partnered with off-Broadway theater companies to execute main stage productions. Regional partners will then commit to the continued life of each play with subsequent productions. By placing Latinx plays in conversation with works in the seasons of major companies, the project is slated to not only make a difference in the lives of gifted Latinx playwrights; it will contribute a bold, kaleidoscopic body of work to what will become the new American canon. The Sol Project's artistic collective is Claudia Acosta, Elena Araoz, Adriana Gaviria, David Mendizabal, Padrón, Kyoung Park and Laurie Woolery. The initial six company partners are New Georges, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater, The Public Theater, LAByrinth Theater Company, Atlantic Theater Company and WP Theater.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride