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January 9-19, 2020

Back by Popular Demand at PRTT in NYC — Playing Now!

Following sold-out and standing ovation engagements at The Public Theater in NYC, Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, Ann Arbor Summer Festival in Ann Arbor, MI, and Cara Mía Theatre Company’s Latinidades Festival at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas, TX, Pregones/PRTT’s acclaimed production of Flaco Navaja’s EVOLUTION OF A SONERO returns to its home at Puerto Rican Traveling Theater for a strictly limited NYC encore run!

“I be the son of hardcore South Bronx Puerto Rican nationalists. An aguinaldo, bomba y plena, salsa, rumba singing actor-activist.” This self-declaration opens celebrated poet, actor, singer, all around entertainer, and Pregones/PRTT ensemble member Flaco Navaja’s first full-length play. Part coming of age story, part love letter to salsa and The Bronx, Evolution of A Sonero delivers a testament to human resilience in a spirited concert theater tribute. Backed by five world-class Latinx musicians in the role of The Razor Blades band, Flaco Navaja draws from Héctor Lavoe, The Doors, KRS-1, and many humorous friends and family that shaped him.

Cannily directed by Jorge B. Merced to showcase the artistry in its storytelling, the charisma of each of its characters, and the collective talents of its cast, Evolution of A Sonero is as much about Flaco Navaja’s creative evolution as it is about the cultural mix that makes our América great!

Performed in English and Spanish, for the first time with dual language supertitles.

Encore run produced by Pregones/PRTT in collaboration with Ben DeJesus. Evolution of A Sonero was developed with support from Pregones/PRTT’s Step Up Artists in Residence initiative, funded by The New York Community Trust.

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Praise for Evolution of A Sonero:

“A boiling, bubbling stew that puts out a tantalizing aroma that will have you dancing in your seat, laughing, groaning, humming, and clapping.” –The Front Row Center

“Navaja dominates the stage with his beautiful voice, irresistible smile, and dynamic talent for impersonating the people from his life with loving humor.” –TheaterMania

“This complex performance tells the story of a neighborhood and its people. It is formatted as the various musical parts of the rumba, right down to ending with a coda.” –Theater Jones

Evolution
About The Lead Artists – Click to Open

FLACO NAVAJA • Born and raised in The Bronx, Flaco is a singer, poet and actor. If Héctor Lavoe boxed Rubén Blades and KRS-1 was the referee you’d get Flaco. His poetry combines singing, beat-boxing, and spoken word, having way with words that is second only to his way with a song. An equally passionate performer in English and Spanish, he is an ensemble member of Pregones/PRTT where his credits include the Off-Broadway run of El Apagón/The Blackout, adapted from the short story “La noche que volvimos a ser gente” (The Night We Became People Again) by José Luis González. He as a fixture of the Nuyorican Poets Café and star of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Film & TV credits: Pride & Glory, Fighting, Gun Hill Road, Law & Order, C.S.I. NY, East Willy B, and more.

JORGE MERCED • Associate Artistic Director at Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater. He’s an acclaimed theater actor and director, and a graduate of CUNY-City College Department of Drama. He also trained with Osvaldo Dragún, Eugenio Barba, Miguel Rubio & Teresa Ralli of Yuyachkani (EITALC 89 – Cuba), Augusto Boal (Brazil & France), and Alvin Ailey Center. Numerous credits with Pregones/PRTT include El Apagón/The Blackout, Baile Cangrejero, Aloha Boricua, Neon Baby, El Bolero Was My Downfall, among others, and the decade-long run of the LGBTQ Asunción Playwrights Project. Other Directing credits include: Fellini’s La Strada with René Buch and Verano Verano (IATI), Swimming While Drowning (Cara Mía). He is a member of The Lucille Lortel Awards Nominating Committee.

BEN DEJESUS • As an award-winning filmmaker, TV director, music video veteran, and theater producer, Ben DeJesus has over 15 years of experience creating content through a Latinx perspective. In his Broadway producer debut, Ben was nominated for a Tony Award for John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons, which also toured nationally. Ben began his career as a stage actor before joining MTV, becoming one of the original producers and writers of the iconic series MTV Cribs. His passion for pop culture, music and theater has fueled his work since. Ben also recently directed the acclaimed American Masters film Raul Julia: The World’s a Stage and the PBS documentary John Leguizamo’s Road to Broadway. Ben is the head of NGL Studios, a production company co-founded with partners John Leguizamo and David Chitel.

PREGONES/PRTT • Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater is an award-winning acting and music ensemble, multidiscipline arts presenter, and owner/steward of bilingual arts facilities in The Bronx and Manhattan. The organization’s 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. Recent productions and year-round programming include ¡Guaracha!, a New York Times Critic’s Pick musical adapted from the novel La guaracha del Macho Camacho by Luis Rafael Sánchez; hit Off-Broadway shows I Like It Like That, Spamilton, and Eli Castro’s Made In Puerto Rico; and the ongoing Stage Garden Rumba multidiscipline performance series in community gardens and Casitas of the South Bronx.

Directions to PRTT in MANHATTAN – Click to Open

Puerto Rican Traveling Theater
304 West 47 Street
(b/w 8 & 9 Avenues)
New York, NY 10036

Trains to Times Square/Broadway District

For more information call us at 718-585-1202

This performance is made possible, in part, with public funds from The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with City Council; and The New York State Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Southwest Airlines is the official airline of Pregones/PRTT. For a full list of our funders, visit www.pregonesprtt.org.

Logos of funding agencies.

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Event Details

  • Location

    PRTT in Manhattan

  • Written by

    Flaco  Navaja

  • Directed by

    Jorge B. Merced

  • Designers

    Lucrecia Briceño, Lighting

    Emilio Sosa, Costumes

    Milton Ruiz, Sound

  • Featuring

    Flaco Navaja

    The Razor Blades:
    Waldo Chávez
    Carlos Cuevas
    Gabo Lugo
    Víctor Pablo
    Hommy Ramos

Following sold-out and standing ovation engagements at The Public Theater in NYC, Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, CA, Ann Arbor Summer Festival in Ann Arbor, MI, and Cara Mía Theatre Company’s Latinidades Festival at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas, TX, Pregones/PRTT’s acclaimed production of Flaco Navaja’s EVOLUTION OF A SONERO returns to its home at Puerto Rican Traveling Theater for a strictly limited 12-performance encore run!

“I be the son of hardcore South Bronx Puerto Rican nationalists. An aguinaldo, bomba y plena, salsa, rumba singing actor-activist.” This self-declaration opens celebrated poet, actor, singer, all around entertainer, and Pregones/PRTT ensemble member Flaco Navaja’s first full-length play. Part coming of age story, part love letter to salsa and The Bronx, Evolution of A Sonero delivers a testament to human resilience in a spirited concert theater tribute. Backed by five world-class Latinx musicians in the role of The Razor Blades band, Flaco Navaja draws from Héctor Lavoe, The Doors, KRS-1, and many humorous friends and family that shaped him.

Cannily directed by Jorge B. Merced to showcase the artistry in its storytelling, the charisma of each of its characters, and the collective talents of its cast, Evolution of A Sonero is as much about Flaco Navaja’s creative evolution as it is about the cultural mix that makes our América great!

Performed in English and Spanish, for the first time with dual language supertitles.

—–

Praise for Evolution of A Sonero:

“A boiling, bubbling stew that puts out a tantalizing aroma that will have you dancing in your seat, laughing, groaning, humming, and clapping.” –The Front Row Center

“Navaja dominates the stage with his beautiful voice, irresistible smile, and dynamic talent for impersonating the people from his life with loving humor.” –TheaterMania

“This complex performance tells the story of a neighborhood and its people. It is formatted as the various musical parts of the rumba, right down to ending with a coda.” –Theater Jones

—–

This performance is made possible, in part, with public funds from The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with City Council; and The New York State Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. Southwest Airlines is the official airline of Pregones/PRTT.