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Hostos Center Presents Urban Theater Company In Marco Rodriguez' ASHES OF LIGHT


Hostos Center Presents Urban Theater Company In Marco Rodriguez' ASHES OF LIGHT

A mother's love knows no boundaries... After a five-year self-imposed absence, Julio César, a young man with a buried secret, returns home after the death of his father. Over the course of two evenings, mother and son, two estranged generations of Dominicans living on New York's Upper West Side, attempt to rekindle the love and appreciation for each other and their roots. However, unexpected revelations threaten to destroy an already thin bond between mother and child in Dominican-American Marco Antonio Rodríguez's riveting award-winning comedy/drama Ashes of Light ("La Luz de un Cigarrillo") performed in English (sprinkled with Spanish) for the first time in New York.

Directed by Miranda González, Ashes of Light will be performed by the UrbanTheater of Chicago, and presented by the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, as part of Dominican Heritage Month, in the Repertory Theater at Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse, in the Bronx on Saturday, February 23, at 7:30 PM. Reserved seating tickets are $20 and $5 for students and under 18. For tickets, call (718) 518-4455 or online at

La Luz de un Cigarrillo - the Spanish version -- enjoyed massive critical and box office success during its initial five week run at Off-Broadway's LATEA theater in 2011, and continued with an "extended by popular demand" two weeks of additional performances. La Luz de un Cigarrillo won five HOLA Awards (Including Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting) from the Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) and four ACE Awards (including Best Director and Best Drama) from the Association of Latin Entertainment Critics.

The English version was adapted and premiered in 2017 by UrbanTheater of Chicago at the Victory Gardens Theater during the First Chicago International Latino Theater Festival with extended runs in 2018 at Batey Park, the Company's Humboldt Park venue. The cast includes Sipriano Cahue (Julio César), Nydia Castillo (Luz), Karla López Galván-Raigoza (Lydia) and Maritza Nazario (Divina).

Born and raised in New York City, with roots from the Dominican Republic, Marco Antonio Rodríguez (Playwright) is a graduate of LaGuardia High School of Music and Art in NYC and holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Southern Methodist University. He has acted, written, produced and directed hits such as Pico de Gallo, Heaven Forbid(s)! (named Outstanding New Play by The Dallas/Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum) and the Southwest Premiere of Rick Najera's Latinologues, which later moved on to Broadway. His short screenplays, Silence, Mariscal and Covenant, all placed 1st at the NYC Midnight international screenwriting competitions. Mariscal was a finalist in the Slamdance writing competition. Marco Antonio has written guest commentary for Latino Leaders Magazine and TCG (Theatre Communications Group). He is the recipient of a Banff International Literary Translation Centre Writing Residency in Alberta, Canada and a CUNY Dominican Studies Archives Library Research Grant. His In the Name of Salomé, an adaptation of Julia Alvárez' fictional account of the life of the pioneering Dominican female educator, Salomé Ureña, was performed by Repertorio Español at Hostos in March 2017.

Miranda González (Director) is the Artistic Director of UrbanTheater Company. She also was a founding ensemble member of Chicago's Only All Latina theater company Teatro Luna, and has devised and developed plays since 2000. After performing as an actress for 10 years, she decided to turn her artistic endeavors towards directing. Previous directing and development credits include: La Gringa, GL 2010, Of Princes and Princesas at the 2010 Goodman Latino Theatre Festival; 10x10 Festival, Lullaby, The North/South Plays workshop at the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; Crossed, Crime Scene Chicago with Collaboraction; and Melissa DuPrey's Sushi-Frito at Free Street Theater.

Iván Vega (Producer) is an actor, producer and co-founding Artistic Director of UrbanTheater Company (UTC) and current Executive Director since 2010. He serves as a proud board member of The League of Chicago Theatres. His recent credits include: Water &Power/UTC; Julia de Burgos: Child of Water/UTC; First Class/UTC & Theater on the Lake; Cuba and his Teddy Bear/UTC; Broken Thread/UTC; Eulogy for a Small Time Thief at Batey Urbano/UTC. TV credits include: The Line (CBS pilot) and Chicago P.D. (NBC).

Sipriano Cahue (Julio César) made his UrbanTheater Company debut in Ashes of Light. Some of his favorite past credits include: You, Me & Tuno (Teatro Luna), Luz Estrada (Mercy Street Theatre Company), 'Gator Bait & A Piece of My Heart (A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Company), and he recently came off a nine month run as a part of the long-running Chicago classic, Tony n' Tina's Wedding.

Nydia Castillo (Luz) joined the UrbanTheater Company ensemble in 2015. Her acting credits with UTC include Julia de Burgos: Child of Water, Adoration of the Old Woman, La Gringa and now Ashes of Light. She has been an Aguijón Theater ensemble member since 2001, where her acting credits include: Monday Falls on León Rodríguez, The Virtuous Burglar, The House of Bernarda Alba, Yerma, Eréndira, Las Soldaderas, Antígona, Within, Querido Voyeur, Blowout!, and Adverses - an adaptation of Electra the Greek tragedy.

Karla López Galván-Raigoza (Lydia) is a Mexican/Peruvian actress, director and teaching artist. She graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a B.A. in fine arts. Karla has also received extensive theater training in the city of Mexico. In 2003, she founded Teatro Tariakuri, a Chicago Latino theater company based in the south side. In 2004 she opened with En otoño los gatos tienen colita at Village Player Theater in Oak Park. Karla has directed many productions, catering to both adult comedy and children's production.

Maritza Nazario (Divina) was born in the countryside of a small town in Puerto Rico, surrounded by trees, streams and mountains. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in theater and has extensive experience as a playwright, poet, actress and theatrical director. She is currently the Executive Director and Acting Instructor of En Las Tablas Performing Arts, a not-for-profit, performing arts community organization in Chicago, which she co-founded 10 years ago. Some of her latest projects include: La Gringa; Con Maleta en Mano; Rumpope, Coquito and Eggnog; The Science of Women; Gracias, Rafael; and Face to Face with the Bolita Complex.

Founded in 2005, UrbanTheater Company is committed to the creation and exploration of urban-inspired works that convey, illuminate and empathize with the human experience. As a platform for multicultural representation in the performance arena, UrbanTheater Company serves as a bridge between Chicago's urban and Latinx communities and a vehicle of performing arts. UrbanTheater Company engages itself in the work of community responsibility and strives to raise awareness and contribute to the important conversations concerning many of the social issues facing our diverse backgrounds.

Founded in 1982, The Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, based at Hostos Community College of the City University of New York, serves the cultural needs of residents of the South Bronx and similar inner-city communities who do not have the means or inclination to attend arts events in mid-town Manhattan. The Center, which includes a 900-seat theater, a 367-seat theater, and museum-grade art gallery, creates forums in which the cultural heritages of its audiences are affirmed and nurtured. The Center's programming consists of a performing arts presenting series; a visual arts exhibiting series; periodic festivals promoting cultural traditions, especially Afro-Caribbean; The Hostos Repertory Company; and an individual artists' program with commissions and residencies. Nearly 60,000 partake in the Center's programs each year.

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