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Roundabout Theatre Company Announces Final Two Readings for THE REFOCUS PROJECT, SEASON TWO

This year's series features Latinx playwrights.

Roundabout Theatre Company Announces Final Two Readings for THE REFOCUS PROJECT, SEASON TWO

Roundabout Theatre Company will present the second season of The Refocus Project, its multi-year project to elevate and restore marginalized plays to the American canon. This year's series of readings, for which Roundabout is partnering with Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (PRTT), will feature Latinx playwrights. The final two readings will be The Harlem Hellfighters On A Latin Beat on Thursday, June 23 at 7pm, and El Corrido De California on Monday, June 27, 7pm.

The plays have been selected in partnership with Pregones/PRTT and have been workshopped and performed in a reading series this month on Pregones/PRTT spaces, featuring on stage and behind-the-scenes artists from both theaters. In the fall, a streamed version of three readings will be available online featuring both English and Spanish.

The play streaming series is free of charge. All suggested donations will directly support Pregones/PRTT and their ongoing work championing the rich Latinx cultural legacy of theatre.

The Refocus Project also features a robust selection of materials, available to industry professionals and the public, including an online resource library and community and education events.

Audiences can access The Refocus Project here.

The Refocus Project launched in 2021 in association with Black Theatre United, spotlighting twentieth-century Black plays and their playwrights: Angelina Weld Grimké, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Childress and Samm-Art Williams.

THE REFOCUS PROJECT: SEASON TWO PLAYS

THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS ON A LATIN BEAT (2010), DIRECTED BY ROSALBA ROLÓN

Thursday, June 23, 2022 at 7pm
Location: Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (304 West 47th St)

Concert reading of Pregones/PRTT's original ensemble musical play, written by Rosalba Rolón with music by Desmar Guevara, James Reese Europe, Rafael Hernández, and the Harlem Hellfighters 369th Infantry Band (2010; texts ranging 1917-1940).

The Harlem Hellfighters' extraordinary valor and musicianship made the 369th Infantry the most celebrated regiment of the First World War era. A motley and multicolor crew, they tumble on stage with a marvelous ruckus of ragtime jazz, military bugle calls, and Latin rhythm trailing behind them. Among them are legends James Reese Europe and Rafael Hernández-two musical giants of the 20th century-always eager to relive the adventures that brought them together in the fabled summer of 1917.

Harlem Hellfighters on a Latin Beat is inspired by the 16 Puerto Rican musicians recruited to join the famously all-Black regiment as the U.S. prepared to enter World War I. Created by members of Pregones Theater and first produced by the company in 2010, this musical tells the story of the Harlem Hellfighters pieced together by the ghosts of Black and Puerto Rican men long gone but not forgotten.

EL CORRIDO DE CALIFORNIA BY FAUSTO AVENDAÑO (1979), DIRECTED BY GALIA BACKAL

Monday, June 27, 2022 at 7pm
Location: Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre/Laura Pels Theatre (111 West 46th Street)

California, 1846. Don Gerónimo Segura, a Mexican rancher and mayor of the village of Santa Bárbara, welcomes his son Rafael home after five years of military service in Mexico City. Rafael, however, comes bearing news-the United States, the neighboring country his father so deeply admires, has begun a hostile takeover of California. In the ensuing conflict, Don Gerónimo and the citizens of Santa Bárbara are forced to choose between their honor and keeping themselves and their loved ones safe.

Set at the start of the Mexican American War, El Corrido de California, which translates to The Ballad of California, is a bilingual play that dramatizes this turbulent period that is rarely spoken about in American history books. Fausto Avendaño, a playwright, translator, and professor at California State University, Sacramento, was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, and spent his childhood in Los Angeles and San Diego, California. He is the author of several other works of historical fiction about early-day Californians and Mexican-Americans.

ABOUT THE PLAYWRIGHTS

Fausto Avendaño, a member of the Spanish and Portuguese faculty at California State University, Sacramento, was born in Culiacán, Sinaloa, Mexico, and spent his childhood in Los Angeles and San Diego, California. He holds a B.A. in Spanish from California State University, San Diego, and an M.A. in Spanish and a Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese from the University of Arizona. Avendaño is the author of El corrido de California and has translated several literary works from English into Spanish.

ABOUT PREGONES/PRTT

Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (aka Pregones/PRTT) is a multigenerational performing ensemble and multidiscipline arts presenter operating with venues in the South Bronx and Manhattan's theater district. Its mission is to champion a Puerto Rican/Latinx cultural legacy of universal value through creation and performance of original plays and musicals, exchange and partnership with other artists of merit, and engagement of diverse audiences. Pregones Theater was founded in 1979 when a group of artists led by Rosalba Rolón set out to create and tour new works in the style of Caribbean and Latin American colectivos or performing ensembles. Spurred by stage and film icon Miriam Colón, Puerto Rican Traveling Theater was founded in 1967 as one of the first bilingual theater companies in all the U.S. Following merger in 2014, Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater plays a decisive role in empowering diverse artists and audiences to claim their place at the front of the American theater.

Rosalba Rolón, Artistic Director of Pregones/PRTT, is an accomplished actor, director, and dramaturg specializing in the adaptation of literary and non-literary texts for stage performance with live music. Distinctions include United States Artists Fellowship, Ford Foundation Visionaries Fellowship, Doris Duke Artist Award, and Creative Capital Award (with Paul Flores and Yosvany Terry). Rolón's numerous theater credits include We Have IRÉ with Paul Flores, Betsy!with Roadside Theater, Dancing In My Cockroach Killers with Magdalena Gómez, The Harlem Hellfighters on a Latin Beat based on the Puerto Rican presence in the all-Black 369th Regiment of the US Army, El bolero fue mi ruina adapted from a story by Manuel Ramos Otero, Quíntuples by Luis Rafael Sánchez, and many others. She is a member of The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards Nominating Committee.

Roundabout Theatre Company celebrates the power of theatre by spotlighting classics from the past, cultivating new works of the present, and educating minds for the future. A not-for-profit company, Roundabout fulfills that mission by producing familiar and lesser-known plays and musicals; discovering and supporting talented playwrights; reducing the barriers that can inhibit theatergoing; collaborating with a diverse team of artists; building educational experiences; and archiving over five decades of production history.

Roundabout Theatre Company presents a variety of plays and musicals on its five stages: Broadway's American Airlines Theatre, Studio 54 and Stephen Sondheim Theatre, and Off-Broadway's Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre, which houses the Laura Pels Theatre and Black Box Theatre.

American Airlines is the official airline of Roundabout Theatre Company. Roundabout productions are supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Hochul and the New York State Legislature.

For more information visit: www.roundabouttheatre.org


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