24th Street Theatre celebrates two decades in 2017-18 with a season that looks both forward and back while highlighting the company’s unique appeal to a wide range of audiences.
“The upcoming season marks our 20th year of magical theater that speaks to the urgency of the times in which we live,” says executive director Jay McAdams. “We’re proud to offer an eclectic mix of provocative theater to adults and kids alike that’s as fun as it is important. And to do it in both English and Spanish.”
24th Street Theatre company members Jesus Castaños Chima and Tony Duran are set to appear in shows that bookend the new season. Beginning Sept. 9, Chima and Duran revise their roles in a revival of one of 24th Street’s most acclaimed shows in its 20-year history: the Spanish language political drama La Razón Blindada by Arístides Vargas (performed with English supertitles). In March, the pair returns, along with Davitt Felder and Andrew Huber, as undocumented workers seeking to become “perfect Americans” in a bilingual play for families: the world premiere of ICE, commissioned by 24th Street and written by Leon Martell. In between, audiences can look forward to 24th Street’s annual Dia de los Muertos celebration on Nov. 2; a two-performance engagement of Pang! by award-winning performance artist Dan Froot and Company in Dec.; and 24th Street’s third annual holiday production of La Víspera (“The Eve”), written by Victor Vazquez and starring members of 24th Street’s surrounding immigrant community. In addition, the theater continues year-round with its popular field trip program for schools, Enter Stage Right, which serves over 10,000 students a year from multiple school districts.
The 24th Street Theatre 20th Anniversary Season schedule is as follows:
Sept. 9 – Oct. 15 (Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.):
La Razón Blindada (“Armored Reason”) —This sublimely witty and provocative play, written and directed by Argentine playwright Arístides Vargas, was triply inspired by the classic novel El Quixote by Cervantes, The Truth About Sancho Panza by Franz Kafka, and testimonies from Chicho Vargas and other political prisoners held in Rawson Prison during Argentina’s “Dirty War” of the 1970s. Jesus Castaños Chima and Tony Duranreprise their roles as political prisoners who are allowed to interact with one another for one hour a week — but must remain in their chairs and never stand. As they entertain each other with stories of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, we witness the power of theater to transport them, and us, into the realm of the imagination despite repressive conditions and even as we remain bound to our seats.
Thursday, Nov. 2 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.:
Dia de los Muertos — Latin surf rock band The Space Sanchos headlines 24th Street Theatre’s annual, free block party. Celebrate the joyous tradition of Mexico’s most famous holiday with entertainment on two stages, homemade tamales, face painting, crafts booths and a graveyard where families can make their own altars for their departed loved ones.
Dec. 2 – Dec. 3 (Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m.)
Pang! — Performing amidst a forest of microphones, sound effects, props and musical instruments, award-winning performance artist Dan Froot and Company presents a triptych of live radio plays based on the life stories of three families living with hunger in Miami, Cedar Rapids and South Central Los Angeles.
Dec. 14 – Dec. 17 (Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday, and Sunday at 4 p.m.)
La Víspera (“The Eve”) – A warm, funny and unique holiday play about love and sacrifice created from stories shared by members of the local University Park immigrant community during workshops with professional theater artists. Stay after the performance for homemade tamales, champurrado (hot chocolate) and a traditional star-shaped piñata. Presented in Spanish with English supertitles.
March 10 – April 29 (Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m.)
World premiere of ICE — A bilingual, humorous, musical journey in search of what it means to be “American.” Two men arrive in the U.S. with big dreams… but no documents. With a love of baseball, Tia Victoria’s salsa recipe and the help of a talking sock, the pair works day and night to make their taco truck the “Uncle Sam” of mobile restaurants. Will a contest to be “the most American food truck” at Dodger Stadium for the 4th of July prove to Immigration, Naturalization and Customs that they truly belong? Written by Leon Martell, commissioned by 24th Street, directed by Debbie Devine and featuring Jesús Castaños-Chima, Tony Duran, Davitt Felder and Andrew Huber. Appropriate for ages 7 and up.
24th Street Theatre is best known for its unique niche as a presenter of critically acclaimed, award-winning productions geared for both adult and family audiences. In addition, the company is recognized locally, nationally and internationally as a leader in arts education and community outreach. Using art as a tool to positively impact the world around them, 24th Street’s programming includes free after school enrichment programs, Teatro Nuevo Latino Initiative projects, a music series, outreach programs for at-risk teens, free community events, professional development programs for teachers, arts-ed school workshop and gallery exhibits.