MISSION

Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater (aka Pregones/PRTT) is a multigenerational performing ensemble, multidiscipline arts presenter, and owner/steward of bilingual arts facilities in The Bronx and Manhattan. Our 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.

HISTORY

Pregones was founded in 1979 when a group of artists led by Rosalba Rolón set out to create new works in the style of Caribbean and Latin American “colectivos” or performing ensembles. Soon established as a Bronx resident company with a home season, Pregones remains in the vanguard of an arts renaissance radiating throughout and beyond The Bronx. Spurred by stage and film icon Miriam Colón, PRTT was founded in 1967 as one of the first bilingual theater companies in all of the U.S. It is credited for nurturing the development of hundreds of Latino artists, legitimating cultural connections throughout the Spanish-speaking world, and pioneering models for community engagement. Following merger in 2014, our New York City season plays a decisive role in empowering underrepresented artists and audiences to claim their rightful place at the front of the American theater.

  • Founded
  • Miriam, Raúl and Lucy
  • 1967 to 1976
  • Event Sub Label
  • 1969
  • 1969
  • 1976
  • 1979
  • YYYY
  • 1981
  • 1983
  • 1985
  • 1986
  • 1986
  • 1987-90
  • 1988
  • 1990
  • 1990
  • YYYY
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1996
  • 1999
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2005
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 1967 - Miriam Colón founds The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater

    1967

    Puerto Rican theater icon and movie star Miriam Colón founds The Puerto Rican Traveling theater in New York City as a touring company, looking to highlight the tradition of Latino and Puerto Rican playwrights and bring theater to Latino communities in New York.

  • 1953 - Miriam, Raúl and Lucy

    1953
    Above, Miriam Colón, Raúl Julia and Lucy Boscana in the 1966 Greenwhich Mews Theater production of The Oxcart.

    The Oxcart had been produced in both Puerto Rico and New York in Spanish in 1953, two years after it had been written by René Marques. On December 19, 1966, it re-opened in English (translated by Charles Pilditch) at New York’s Greenwich Mews Theatre. The success of this production, directed by Lloyd Richards and with Miriam Colón playing the young lead, paved the way for the creation of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre one year later. (The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company: The First Ten Years. Rosa Luisa Márquez.)

  • 1967 to 1976 - The Oxcart

    1967 to 1976

    Supported by a joint sponsorship from Mayor Lindsay’s Summer Task Force Program and the Parks Department, Colón began by touring a production of The Oxcart through various neighborhoods, often to audiences who had never seen theater before. “At the press opening on August 8th, Mayor Lindsay joined an audience of 1,200 at the Carver Amphitheatre on 102nd Street, between Park’ and Madison Avenues in New York City. (Márquez – p.71)

  • 1970 - NYC supports first tour of The Oxcart

    1970
    Above, the first traveling stage used by the company for outdoor performances throughout NYC.

    “The production then toured fourteen locations in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens in a self-contained bus and a flat-bed truck with drop-down side wings that extended into a stage.” (Márquez – p.71)

  • 1969 - The PRTT Training Unit for Actors is born

    1969

    In 1969 the company founds The Training Unit – providing theater training to young actors. Classes included Acting, Voice and Movement. The Unit became the premiere place for Latino actors to train professionally in New York.

    With the acquisition of a small in-door locale on 18th street in New York City in 1972, the PRTT began to address two areas of concern: a laboratory theatre in which new plays could be tested and a training unit to offer theatre courses to minority students. Thirteen plays were produced by the Laboratory Theatre between 1972 and 1976, several of which were later chosen for the summer touring season.

  • 1969 - Free Outdoor Theater Tradition Grows Strong!

    1969
    Miriam Colón and Raúl Julia watching an outdoor performance of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. Circa 1969

    After the first tour of The Oxcart, the company continued touring and producing theater. Highlights of the first 15 years include

    • La Farsa del amor compradito by Luis Rafael Sánchez, directed by Pedro Santaliz; (1968)
    • Winterset by Maxwell Anderson, directed by Ramon Gordon; (1968)
    • Crossroads by Manuel Méndez Ballester, directed by Roberto Rodríguez Suárez; (1969)
    • Los títeres de Cachiporra by Federico García Lorca, directed by Jorge González; (1969)
    • The Golden Streets by Piri Thomas, directed by Miriam Colón; (1970)
    • El maleficio de la mariposa by Federico García Lorca, directed by Norberto Kerner; (1970)
    • A Dramatized Anthology of Puerto Rican Short Stories directed by Pablo Cabrera; (1971)
    • The Passion of Antígona Pérez by Luis Rafael Sánchez, directed by Pablo Cabrera; (1972)
    • Pipo Subway no sabe reir by Jaime Carrero, directed by Jaime Sánchez; (1972)
    • Noo Yall by Jaime Carrero, directed by Pablo Cabrera; (1973)
    • The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit by Ray Bradbury, directed by Alba Oms; (1974)
    • Piri, Papoleto and Pedro by Piri Thomas and directed by Pablo Cabrera; (1975)
    • Eleuterio the Coquí adapted from the Tomás Blanco short story by Miriam Colón, Rosa Luisa Márquez and Pablo Cabrera (1976).
    • Simpson Street by Eduardo Gallardo; (1979)
  • 1976 - The Firehouse on 47th Street

    1976

    After a year of negotiations with the administration of then NYC Mayor Beame, in May of 1976, the company acquires a four story firehouse on 47th Street and begins renovations to make it it’s permanent home.

  • 1979 - Pregones Theater is born!

    1979

    Pregones Theater is born. Founding members include: Victor fragoso, Rosalba Rolon, Luis Meléndez, David Cromett, Sandra Rodríguez, Elba Lugo.

  • 1983 - Pregones sets roots in The Bronx

    1983

    Pregones moves to Longwood Avenue in The Bronx. Pictured above, the company rehearsing for its production of High Noon Al Mediodía, directed by Ted Hannah.

  • 1985 - Pregones produces Tiempo Muerto

    1985

    Pregones begins what would become a long lasting relationship with ex-basketball star and South Bronx community leader “Father” Roberto Morales, by producing TIEMPO MUERTO in the basketball court of Father Morales’ episcopal parish at St. Marys in The South Bronx.

  • 1987-90 - Migrants tours extensively through the US

    1987-90
    Clockwise from bottom left: Dianiluz Cora, José García, Rosalba Rolón (center), Julio Santana (with cuatro), Alvan Colón Lespier, Marcella White, Jorge Merced, Jaime Acosta, and Judith Rivera. Circa 1988-89
  • 1988 - The Embrace

    1988
    Above from left: Alvan Colón Lespier, Rosalba Rolón and Jorge Merced in NOT IN MY FAMILY. 1988
  • 1990 - Teatro Festival

    1990
  • 1990 - Baile Cangrejero premieres

    1990

    Afro Caribbean poetry and music spectacle BAILE CANGREJERO premieres at Pregones Theater in The Bronx, conceived and adapted by Jorge Merced, musical direction by Ricardo Pons, and directed by Alvan Colón Lespier. A new slate of musicians join Pons as members of Pregones Ensemble: Waldo Chavez (bass), Alberto Toro (flute) and Desmar Guevara (keyboard).

    BAILE CANGREJERO goes on to become one of the company’s most performed productions, with over 300 performances, three summer tours and three re-stagings.

  • 1991 - El Apagon

    1991
  • 1996 - El Bolero premieres at Pregones’ Studio

    1996

    Jorge Merced in the 1996 production of El bolero fue mi ruina, based on the short story Loca la de la locura, by Manuel Ramos Otero. Adapted to the stage by Merced with Rosalba Rolon. Directed by Rolón.

  • 1996 - Bomber Jackets at the PRTT

    1996

    “The play is an unusually thoughtful investigation of both the dark and the light side of the human imagination and the fearful results it can produce.” – D.J.R. Bruckner – New York Times, April 3 1996

    Bomber Jackets by playwright Rob Santana premieres at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater to great acclaim.

  • 1999 - Who Killed Hector Lavoe

    1999

    WHO KILLED HECTOR LAVOE premieres at the PRTT. Written and directed by Pablo Cabrera, based on a story by David Maldonado. Starring Domingo Quiñones as Hector Lavoe.

  • 2000 - First Block Party on Walton Avenue

    2000

    In 2000 Pregones hosts its first annual Block Party on Walton Avenue.

  • 2001 - La Lupe premieres at the PRTT

    2001

    La Lupe: My Life, My Destiny, by Carmen Rivera, premieres at The Puerto Rican Traveling Theater.

  • 2003 - Asunción Playwrights Project

    2003
    Pictured above: Carlos Valencia and Johary Ramos in the award winning production of BLANCO by Pablo García Gámez and directed by Jorge Merced. 2004

    Seeking to highlight the work of Latino/a Queer playwrights, Jorge Merced establishes the ASUNCION PLAYWRIGHTS PROJECT at Pregones Theater. The project will go on to conduct yearly national competition of plays about LGBTQ issues for the next 10 years.

  • 2005 - The Red Rose

    2005

    In 2005 Pregones inaugurates its new permanent home on Walton Avenue with the original production THE RED ROSE, directed by Rosalba Rolón, with music by Desmar Guevara and featuring singing star Danny Rivera.

  • 2009 - Aloha Boricua

    2009

    In 2009 Preognes premieres the musical ALOHA BORICUA, based on a short story by Manuel Ramos Otero, conceived and directed by Jorge Merced, with music and lyrics by Merced and Desmar Guevara. Additional music and lyrics by Rosalba Rolón.

  • 2013 - Neon Baby

    2013

    NEON BABY is an original Pregones Theater production, conceived and directed by Jorge B. Merced. Inspired by the life of b-boy and muse Juan Rivera, and the book “Queer Latino Testimonio, Keith Haring, and Juanito Xtravaganza: Hard Tails” by Arnaldo Cruz Malavé.

    Music and Lyrics by Desmar Guevara & Jorge B. Merced. Book by Ricardo Pérez González. Choreography by Richard Rivera. Set and Costume Design by Harry Nadal. Lighting Design by Lucrecia Briceño.

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