…and if you don’t believe me, ask a dog!
On June 29th Pregones Theater turn 36. That’s a pretty cool age. According to old wisdom, 36 is the age of ‘togetherness, elegance and generosity”. I venture to say that our ensemble practice speaks to togetherness, our collective good looks and poise speak to elegance and our day to day practice speaks to generosity.
On a Summer evening in 1979 –June 29th to be exact—three friends sat around a table to seal a pact and a dream: the creation of a new theater group. There is really nothing original about that. Theater groups abound and they emerge each day around the country. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was that we had found in each other a way to work together, to put into practice some of the principles, aesthetics and politics of the teatro popular being practiced throughout the Americas and the Caribbean at the time. So we shaped ourselves as a touring ensemble and we took our first steps. We were: David Crommett, Luis I. Meléndez (RIP) and myself. More about that process –and some of its hilarious anecdotes–in a future blog.
What led us to decide that it was time? A few hints: we had created a touring piece that was gaining quite a bit of traction; we had actors, musicians, community organizers, scholars and many friends rallying around us; and we could think of nothing else but standing in front of people everywhere –and I mean everywhere- to share the product of our hard work. We didn’t want for people to think only of theaters in big theaters as their only option for cultural enrichment. We saw – and still see – opportunities in hospitals, church altars, lobbies and street corners. More than 500 cities, 38 states and several countries later, a beautiful theater in The Bronx, and a merger with the one and only Puerto Rican Traveling Theater – I’d say Pregones Theater is pretty special.
Dozens of Pregoneros have enriched Pregones’ life. And I like to think that Pregones has enriched their lives as well. At some point soon I should be finalizing the long list of Pregoneros, from day one. I don’t want to leave anyone out. I will reach out to make sure we got it right. For now, to each one of our current PREGONES ENSEMBLE – each actor, musician, designer, production member who makes up our Company- ¡Gracias! To Alvan, Jorge and Desmar – our core Artistic Team – ¡Gracias! To our amazingly dedicated staff: Arnaldo, Magalie, Priscilla, James, Yaremis, Bobby, Jessica, Norma, Julissa, Ismael – ¡Gracias! To our loyal Board of Directors – ¡Gracias! To our Volunteers – ¡Gracias! And last but certainly not least: To our Puerto Rican Traveling Theater family – ¡Gracias! To Miriam Colón – what a ride, my dear friend!
WHY DO IT?
Because we have a Mission: Pregones/PRTT champions a cultural legacy of broad impact through (1) creation and performance of original musical theater and plays rooted in Puerto Rican/Latino cultures, and (2) presentation of other artists who share our twin commitment to the arts and civic enrichment.
But wait! There is more!
Reading about us is not enough. You must experience the work of Pregones and the work of our visiting artists! Here is an example:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PREGONES!!