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Children's Theatre Of Charlotte Invites Mexican American Artists To Direct TOMÁS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the book, and Children's Theatre of Charlotte will present the play adapted by José Cruz González starting January 29.

Children's Theatre Of Charlotte Invites Mexican American Artists To Direct TOMÁS AND THE LIBRARY LADY

"Teachers and librarians are important people."

These words were spoken by Pat Mora, author of the children's book "Tomás and the Library Lady," in an interview with Colorin Colorado. The award-winning book, illustrated by Raúl Colón, discusses the life of young Tomás Rivera, a child of migrant farmworkers who travels to Iowa with his family for work and befriends a librarian who teaches him to read in English. This act of kindness propels Rivera to become the first person of color to serve as chancellor in the University of California system, inspiring Mexican Americans with his legacy.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the book, and Children's Theatre of Charlotte will present the play adapted by José Cruz González starting January 29. The play, which premiered at Childsplay in Arizona, received the American Alliance for Theatre and Education Distinguished Play Award.

The two artists coming in from out of town to direct and compose the show are Alicia Tafoya and Gabrieal Gonzales. The married couple are educators who collaborate on works together nationwide whenever possible.

"Educators have the ability to help set the tone developmentally especially the younger they are. As the educator you have the responsibility to guide your students on their journeys of learning while allowing them to lead themselves," said Gonzales, music director for the show and educator at Keystone School in San Antonio, TX.

The director of the show, Alicia Tafoya, shares this sentiment. While directing in Charlotte, she works remotely as Assistant Professor and Head of Performance in the Department of Theatre at the University of Central Oklahoma.

The play with music and projection storytelling features elements of Chicano Culture, migrant work, and important Latin American history that is often not taught in the education system. "When I was a child there were no stories being told about people like me," Tafoya said. "Regardless of age, identity, or locale, change and learning are universal experiences. This story does an excellent job of positioning the two main characters as both the student and the teacher. In addition to universal themes, this story offers modern audiences the opportunity to explore cultural differences in a positive way and encourages us all to embrace the beauty of those differences in language, food, and stories."

Tickets for "Tomás and the Library Lady" are available until February 13. For more information regarding the show or Children's Theatre of Charlotte's 2021-22 season, please visit ctcharlotte.org.



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