March 03, 2007

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Latino International Theatre Festival of New York, Inc. announced the launch of TeatroStageFest, a two week theater festival showcasing the sights and sounds of award-winning theatre companies, performers, playwrights and directors from New York City, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Spain. The festival, which will run from April 30 through May 13, 2007, is expected to draw more than 5,000 theater-goers at seven venues in the emerging Fourth Arts Block of the East Fourth Street Cultural District and surrounding areas creating New York's own Calle Cuatro.

Joining the Mayor announcement were Festival Chairman and Latin Media and Entertainment Commission member Jose W. Fernandez, co-founder and Executive Producer of TeatroStageFest Susana Tubert, Time Warner Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Lisa Quiroz, and Kim Davis, President of Global Philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase. Time Warner and JP Morgan Chase are the festival's founding and lead sponsors, respectively.

"Last year, New York City welcomed a record-breaking 44 million visitors and with the help of exciting new events like TeatroStageFest, we will continue moving towards our goal of attracting 50 million tourists by 2015," said Mayor Bloomberg. "But this event is not only about tourism but about strengthening our position as the nation's theater capital and mecca for young, creative, and emerging artists. New Yorkers from every ethnic community have come together to enjoy all that Latino art and culture have to offer."

TeatroStageFest grew out of an idea by members of the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission, created in 2003 to work with the Mayor's Office to position New York City as a global capital for the Latin media and entertainment industry. Commission member Jose W. Fernandez, together with Susana Tubert, Executive Producer of the Festival, created a plan to bring together the Latino theaters that are part of New York's cultural life, and showcase them alongside theater from other Spanish speaking countries.

"Bringing this festival to fruition has been a dream come true," said Festival Chairman and LMEC Commissioner Fernandez. "The time has come for a celebration of theater from three continents that will appeal to Latino and non-Latino audiences alike. We are grateful to Mayor Bloomberg and our visionary sponsors for helping to make TeatroStageFest a reality."

Set against the backdrop of hip downtown New York, TeatroStageFest will spotlight center-stage talented New York theater professionals and production companies from around the world at two theaters of La MaMa E.T.C, Teatro Círculo, Teatro IATI, the Daryl Roth Theatre, New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, Joe's Pub at the Public Theater and the Instituto Cervantes. TeatroStageFest will consist of seven theater productions; a series of artist panel discussions with top Latino playwrights and performers; the Young Playwrights Latino Challenge Awards, which is open to all New York City high school students; and concert performances at Joe's Pub at The Public Theater, showcasing renowned Latino singers who have taken star turns in the theater, including Tony Award nominee Daphne Rubin-Vega, Grammy nominee Danny Rivera, and Latin Grammy nominee Frankie Negrón. TeatroStageFest productions will be in Spanish, English and/or bilingual. The productions conducted in Spanish will be accessible to non-Spanish speaking audiences through the use of projected English super titles.

Many of the theaters that will host TeatroStageFest form part of the Fourth Arts Block, an association of the 13 nonprofit cultural and community service organizations located on East Fourth Street between Bowery and Second Avenue in Manhattan. In January 2006, Mayor Bloomberg presented the keys to six buildings formerly owned by the City and sold to the cultural organizations that make up the Fourth Arts Block for $1. The sale of the buildings created a unique partnership between the existing tenants and the cultural arts organizations who renovated and refurbished the buildings sites with a $4 million contribution from the City. Among the tenants of the six buildings are three Latino theater companies playing host to TeatroStageFest this spring.

The executive producer of TeatroStageFest is festival co-founder Susana Tubert, recipient of the prestigious Director Fellowship from the Theatre Communications Group/National Endowment for the Arts. Tubert was recognized as one of the 50 Most Influential Latinas in New York City by El Diario/La Prensa. Her directing credits include Viva la Vida!, starring Tony Award-winner Mercedes Ruehl, Bad Girls by Joyce Carol Oates and the hit musical Four Guys Named Jose …and una Mujer Named Maria! - produced by Enrique Iglesias and Dasha Epstein.

"We are thrilled to bring together Latino theater artists from New York with those coming from abroad. TeatroStageFest will be an exciting two-week destination for all New Yorkers," said Executive Producer Susana Tubert.

Time Warner is the Founding Sponsor of the Festival, JPMorgan Chase is Lead Sponsor and the Principal Media Sponsors are The New York Times Company, El Diario/La Prensa, and People en Español. Additionally, American Airlines has pledged its support by providing tickets for many of the performers coming to New York from abroad. Through TeatroStageFest's partnership with NYC and Company, the festival will be highlighted along the Fourth Arts Block with promotional street banners along East and West 4th Street and on Astor Place.

"Time Warner is proud to be the founding sponsor of TeatroStageFest," said Time Warner Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Lisa Quiroz. "When we were asked to provide the seed grant for the festival, we jumped at the chance to bring what is a wonderful idea to fruition here in New York City. Not only did the opportunity marry beautifully with our philanthropic arts mission, it allowed Time Warner to play an integral role in celebrating Latino artists and showcasing their work to a wide and diverse audience."

"JPMorgan Chase believes in working to improve the communities they serve by supporting arts and culture programs that celebrate diversity. Central to JPMorgan Chase's mission is the principle of investing in our communities, in keeping with our goal of building vibrant communities where people can live, learn and thrive," said Global Philanthropy for JPMorgan Chase President Kim Davis "TeatroStageFest is a celebration of the arts featuring the Latino community, but truly, it's a festival for all New Yorkers, and we're excited to be part of it."

TSF Production Program: (partial list)

Local New York City Productions
" The Red Rose, produced by the Pregones Theater from the Bronx, starring Grammy nominee Danny Rivera.
" Daughter of a Cuban Revolutionary, written and performed by Marissa Chibas and produced by INTAR Theater.

International Productions
" Hamlet, starring Robinson Díaz, a Colombian/Mexican co-production by the Asociación Proyecto Hamlet Colombia in cooperation with the Iberoamerican Theater Festival of Bogotá and Festival Internacional Cervantino
" La Omisión De La Familia Coleman, a cutting edge, dark comedy by Argentina's "new voice", writer/director Claudio Tolcachir.
" Aiguardent, a dance-theater tour de force performance by award-winning Catalan dancer Marta Carrasco.

TeatroStageFamily Series
" Los Titingós De Juan Bobo, colorful musical comedy that takes its inspiration from the beloved Puerto Rican folktales of Juan Bobo, the town simpleton, by Teatro Círculo.
" Ruandi, a puppet play with music following the magical journey of a runaway Cuban slave boy in his search for freedom, by Teatro IATI.
" Additional events include concert performances at Joe's Pub, artist panels with Latino theater professionals, and the Young Playwrights Latino Challenge Awards Ceremony.

TeatroStageFest is produced by the Latino International Theater Festival of New York, Inc. (LITF/NY), a non-profit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. The mission of LITF/NY is to support year-round New York-based Latino theater solo artists and companies, encourage artistic dialogue and collaboration between local, national and international groups, and to be the portal to a global community that promotes exchanges with other cultural organizations and theater festivals from around the world.

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