“Raise your right hand! Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” This is how the first courtroom scene in Pregones/PRTT’s The Red Rose begins. The occasion? Puerto Rican activist Jesús Colón is called to testify, along with hundreds of other people, before the infamous United States House of Representatives’ Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).

The thrilling story is coming to the historic Puerto Rican Traveling Theater with performances in December and throughout the Holidays, ending on Three Kings Day weekend in January. It is a celebration and a much-anticipated revival of this musical play brought to life for the first time in 2005. The Red Rose was the inaugural production of our then brand-new theater on Walton Avenue in The Bronx. International star Danny Rivera, “La Voz Nacional de Puerto Rico,” joined as a special guest collaborator and performer.

For our 2023 run, award-winning Pregones/PRTT composer/musical director Desmar Guevara again leads the musical charge with a powerhouse ensemble of 10 Latiné actors and musicians, featuring big-voiced original cast member José Joaquín García in the role of Jesús Colón.


New York City – It doesn’t take much to connect the challenges that the working class and poor migrants from around the world experienced in New York City during the first fifty years of the 20th Century with what we are seeing today. One such story is that of a young black boy who stowed away in a commercial ship traveling from Puerto Rico to New York City in 1917. Once here, he cast his luck with other immigrants and was seen and treated as one, no matter the newly minted citizenship status of Puerto Ricans imposed with the U.S. Jones-Shafroth Act of the same year. He was, for all daily-life purposes, indeed an immigrant. After swimming in the ocean of stories, reflections and articles written by Jesús Colón between 1925-1959, I have no doubt that The Red Rose is a magnificent way to connect and build conversation amongst all migrants, with and without the “gift” of citizenship.

The Red Rose exposes the HUAC’s persecution and interrogation of more than 1,000 Puerto Rican organizers and activists, called the Puerto Rican Reds, in New York and Puerto Rico. In creative conversations with colleagues, and after examining multiple HUAC interrogation documents, I chose to reveal the courtroom drama through the specific interrogation of Jesús Colón. The script draws on official deposition transcripts from historical archives, sometimes heavily redacted by government agencies, interwoven by some of Colón’s most colorful, heart-wrenching, and imaginative stories—some real, some not. From “Little Things Are Big” to “The Cockroaches in My Apartment,” the audience will look at a broad range of experiences and talents guiding Jesús Colón’s artistic and life choices. We also pay due recognition to others who organized and helped develop strong, hard-working communities alongside Colón and despite the obstacles.

Today, when countless immigrants from countless points of origins crisscross New York City’s five boroughs learning to navigate, shape, and conquer its many challenges and opportunities, I urge us to think of those who came before and those who will follow. Today’s struggling immigrants are tomorrow’s writers, poets, scientists, public officials, educators, culture bearers, and change makers. We are all immigrants. This is our City. This is our story. I hope that, as you watchThe Red Rose, you feel energized, tap your feet, and find joy in building along with others.

A few years ago, I wrote about the genesis of the idea of staging a selection of Jesús Colón’s writings. Please check out  Rosalba’s Theater Journal (  to learn more about the role that our Associate Artistic Directors Alvan Colón Lespier and Jorge B. Merced played as we explored and eventually created the very first round of what would later become The Red Rose. GRACIAS Alvan and Jorge for those very important, essential experiments that made it all possible.


Why is it titled The Red Rose? Well, come see the show!  A perfect Holiday experience!

Jesús Colón (1901–1974)



The creative energies of our cast, band, designers, choreographer, and production teams have infused inspiring energy in this re-make of The Red Rose. In this new round, some of the original artists have come on board. These include: Desmar Guevara, composer /musical director; José Joaquín García, actor; Sergio Reyes, violinist; and Harry Nadal, costume designer. Jessica Moya, who served as stage manager in the 2005 production, has organized a magnificent Production Team in her role as Production Manager of our theater.

The team is greatly enhanced by choreographer Yaraní Del Valle, lighting designer Lucrecia Briceño, set designer Raúl Abrego, projections designer Eamonn Farrell, and sound designer Eduardo Resendiz.  Keeping us in shape are fabulous stage manager Majo Ferrucho and assistant stage manager Tala Munsterman.

Finally, to the entire staff of Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, THANK YOU!  I can say with certainty that none of it could be done at this level if not for your hard work and support.


Our Bronx-Manhattan Theater Express is filled with in-person and online programming! Some of the Express stops: 21 Islands International Short Films Festival, March Is Music, a revival of The Desire Of The Astronaut, a workshop production of the brand new Parrots of The Pagoda, collaborative programming with R.Evolución Latina, The Sol Project, Nuyorican Poets Café, and Harlem 9, artist residencies by People’s Theatre Project and Kyoung’s Pacific Beat, and TeatroFest NYC 2024 from the Alliance of Teatros Latinos. Catch all the details and get your tickets at and follow @pregonesprtt on social platforms.

Rosalba Rolón
Artistic Director

Pictured Top: Photos from the new 2023 staging of The Red Rose at Puerto Rican Traveling Theater by Krystal Pagán.

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