NEW YORK CITY: Roundabout Theatre Company will present the second season of the Refocus Project, a multi-year effort to elevate and restore marginalized plays to the American canon. This year, Roundabout is partnering with Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (PRTT) for a summer reading series featuring Latinx playwrights: René Marqués, Fausto Avendaño, María Irene Fornés, Rosalba Rolón, and Desmar Guevara.
Roundabout launched the Refocus Project in 2021 in association with Black Theatre United, spotlighting 20th-century Black plays and their playwrights: Angelina Weld Grimké, Shirley Graham Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Childress, and Samm-Art Williams.
“Our goal is to shift the theatrical canon by allowing theatremakers, industry leaders, and educators to see these incredible plays performed and brought back to the spotlight,” said Roundabout Theatre Company artistic director/CEO Todd Haimes in a statement. “We are so proud to learn, from season one, that the titles are slowly making their way into theatrical seasons and curricula across the country. Partnering with Pregones/PRTT is a perfect way to ensure that season two will be an equal success, and I am grateful to them for joining us.”
The reading series will include The Oxcart by René Marqués, translated by Charles Pilditch, and directed by Christina Angeles; El Corrido de California by Fausto Avendaño, directed by Galia Backal; Sarita by María Irene Fornés, directed by Rebecca Aparicio; and Harlem Hellfighters on a Latin Beat written and directed by Rosalba Rolón, with music by Desmar Guevara, James Reese Europe, Rafael Hernández, and the Harlem Hellfighters 369th Infantry Band.
The plays will be workshopped and performed in a reading series hosted by Roundabout and Pregones/PRTT in June, featuring artists from both theatres. Three of the readings will be available to stream online in September, in both English and Spanish.
“We are energized by this opportunity to expand the reach of dynamic, relevant plays that have enjoyed great success, staged by companies throughout the U.S. and in Puerto Rico over many decades,” said Pregones/PRTT artistic director Rosalba Rolón. “These works are again taking center stage for the enjoyment of artists and audiences near and far. The selected plays are only a sample of the ever abundant, imaginative, and stylistically varied output of works created by Latinx playwrights and ensembles.”
Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (PRTT) is a multigenerational performing ensemble, multi-faceted arts presenter, and steward of bilingual arts facilities in the Bronx and Manhattan. PRTT’s mission is to promote a Puerto Rican/Latinx cultural legacy through the creation and performance of original plays and musicals, exchange and partnership with other artists, and engagement of diverse audiences.
Roundabout Theatre Company is a nonprofit theatre company based in midtown Manhattan with of mission of celebrating the power of theatre by spotlighting classics from the past, cultivating new works of the present, and educating minds for the future.
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