Over the past year, Pregones/PRTT’s mighty family —made up of artists, staff, board, patrons, and donors at all levels— has helped our organization adapt, reinvent, and embrace new ways of doing what we do best: uplift Puerto Rican/Latinx voices in two languages, reach and connect across cultures and creative disciplines, and grow the circle of participation and belonging in the theater. Unimaginable losses and unanticipated lessons only brought us closer to each other, and to our mission. Today we labor to move safely past the worst of the pandemic, and we also pause to share highlights of our good fortune!
To everyone who has collaborated, watched, contributed, and cheered: THIS ONE’S FOR YOU!
Pregones/PRTT is getting ready for the joyous return of Stage Garden Rumba to Bronx plazas and community gardens, this time as part of Con Edison’s new Arts Al Fresco Series. Designed and implemented in dialogue with local artists, activists, and community members, this year’s talent roster is bursting with bounce back energy after a year of quarantine, quiet streets, and collective agitation! The arts, the environment, and social justice take center stage again as we forge new paths to creative, mental, and physical wellness for all New Yorkers. Special thanks to our leading South Bronx community partners at We Stay/Nos Quedamos.
Our award-winning acting and music ensemble is cooking up new scenes of forthcoming musical Torched! —about the Bronx fires of the 1970s— to be exclusively previewed at Stage Garden Rumba locations this summer. Conceived and directed by Rosalba Rolón with music by Desmar Guevara, the production is also being developed with Omar Pérez in the role of Artistic Associate and an advisory circle of actual survivors and scholars of the fires. The show counters cliched misconceptions about why and how the Bronx burned with stories from those who were there. A full concert preview of Torched! is scheduled for later this year at PRTT in Manhattan.
Building on our successful collaboration over the past year, Pregones/PRTT and BronxNet Community Television will renew digital broadcast partnership in 2021-2022. Programming weekly on Mondays, monthly on first Wednesdays, and sporadically on Fridays and weekends, our Latinx-focused arts content has been drawing a growing number of viewers from a Tri-State subscriber base of over 300,000 households. In the works are brand new episodes of Spotlight: Creatives at Work, Bronx Film Wednesdays, and Choice Replays! mainstage performances.
Pregones/PRTT is also a proud participant in WQXR’s Project Airlift, part of the classical radio station’s initiative to support artists and arts organizations in the greater New York area during the COVID-19 pandemic. On-air promotional spots enhance awareness of our original musical theater productions as well as established series like March Is Music, Bronx Piano Sundays, and Stage Garden Rumba.
You may notice some changes if you visit us up on Walton Avenue. The first phase in planned redevelopment of Pregones/PRTT’s Bronx arts facility is officially underway with demolition of the two-story building affectionately known to our artists and audiences as La Casa Blanca. We have lovingly classified mementos and documents tied to our occupancy at this intimate space since 1999 and look forward to sharing select treasures with the public in the coming weeks! The demolition is made possible thanks to a capital grant from New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, administered by Homes & Community Renewal. This support is part of a larger capital undertaking, also supported by Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. and the NY City Council, to establish a new state-of-the-art facility that will serve as Pregones/PRTT’s New Headquarters and Education Center.
Pregones/PRTT was recently named recipient of a Leadership Grants for Arts Organizations award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. We proudly join other distinguished and exemplary recipients “that have demonstrated excellence in and sustained commitment to the fields of dance, jazz and theater.” This multi-year investment is largely dedicated to boosting compensation for artists of color and growing cash reserves for emergency response.
New and increased funding was also announced by the Ford Foundation, in the form of a generous multi-year commitment towards general operations and overall organizational health; Jerome Foundation, in the form of a first-time grant to our company that will support ongoing opportunities for early career artists; National Endowment for the Arts, in the form of a grant towards a new staging of original Pregones/PRTT production The Harlem Hellfighters On A Latin Beat; and National Performance Network, in the form of Engagement Fund support for week-long virtual residencies by two iconic and widely acclaimed Latinx theater companies: Su Teatro from Denver, Colorado, and Agua, Sol y Sereno from Santurce, Puerto Rico (pictured).
Pregones/PRTT is thrilled to welcome award-winning playwright Christin Eve Cato in her new role as company Resident Dramaturg. Collaborating closely with Artistic Director Rosalba Rolón, Associate Artistic Directors Alvan Colón Lespier and Jorge B. Merced, and Musical Director Desmar Guevara, the Resident Dramaturg will help map creative priorities for Pregones/PRTT, position our original repertory at an advantage in the field, and identify career advancement opportunities for fellow ensemble members. Introduction of this new position is a decisive step towards artistic succession planning, made possible with multi-year funding from the Mosaic Fund in The New York Community Trust.
At a time of accelerated social change and transformation, we are grateful to have our labor recognized and supported by distinguished leaders in philanthropy and peers in the field. Pregones/PRTT remains rooted in history, looking ever towards the future, taking what we have learned and how we have adapted to build ever more generous practices and spaces. While the themes for resilience and overcoming may be overplayed at the moment, we do wish to honor and express gratitude for the opportunities of the past year to recommit to one another, to develop new masteries, and to continue our work of creative community building. We look forward to greeting you again, virtually and in person, real soon.
For related inquiries, please email [email protected] or call 718-585-1202.
Arnaldo J. López, Ph.D., Managing Director
Pictured: Pre-pandemic happening by multidisciplinary theater collective Agua, Sol y Sereno at Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. The troupe’s virtual residency with Pregones/PRTT took place on May 12-15, 2021. Photo by Doel Vázquez.