Diversifying the Classics

We launched our Diversifying the Classics reading series in Spring 2018. The program expands the playable pre-1900 canon, increases New York audiences’ exposure to World Theatre treasures, and connects NY Classical with cultural immigrant communities. These events, in partnership with local service organizations, present previously underproduced English-language translations and unpublished adaptations from classical texts.

Leonora
by David Stallings

presented in association with Voza Rivers New Heritage Theatre Group and David Heron's Sure Thing Productions

inspired by Henrik Ibsen's 1879 play A Doll's House

Based on a concept by director Antonio Miniño

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Details

June 3, 2019
Williams Institutional CME Church
2239 Adam Clayton Powell Jr Blvd

Cast

Nehassaiu deGannes, Brad Fraizer, David Heron, Oneika Philips, Lisa Tharps, Aya Spence, and James Duke Walker. Stage Directions read by Triple 5.

Synopsis

Four months after Hurricane Charlie destroys Jamaica in the grim summer of 1951, Leonora is heedlessly celebrating Christmas with her family. As a black Jamaican woman polished from a young age to marry into a white family, she's used to living a sheltered life. Over the course of three balmy winter days, the shingles of Leonora's life will be rattled one by one; starting with the arrival of her childhood friend Kalisa, and ending in a tempest of self discovery she cannot ignore.

Acknowledgements

Sponsored by Council Member Bill Perkins & the New York City Council Cultural Immigrant Initiative. This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Media Coverage

Caribbean Life News ‘LEONORA’
Jamaica Observer Heron has a date with Leonora
Caribbean News Weekly Caribbean actors and actresses dominate new play in New York
Harlem World magazine Full Casting Announced For Staged Reading Of NY Classical’s Leonora In Harlem
Broadway World New York Classical Theatre, Voza Rivers/New Heritage Theatre Group And David Heron To Present LEONORA

Women & Servants
by Lope de Vega

a reading of a new translation by Barbara Fuchs, PhD

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Details

December 10, 2018
Church of the Epiphany
1393 York Avenue

Cast

Luis Moreno, Gabriel Sloyer, Frankie Alvarez, Gisela Chipe, Zoe Sofia Garcia, Gilbert Cruz, Mark Torres, Michael Earle Fajardo, Guadalís Del Carmen, Alexandra Lin Holden

Synopsis

Eavesdrop on “women and servants” as they plot to outsmart fathers and masters to marry those they love. Lope de Vega's Women and Servants (Mujeres y Criados, c. 1613-14) was recently rediscovered in an overlooked 17th Century manuscript in Madrid's Biblioteca Nacional, the comedia emerges from its 400-year sleep with a remarkable freshness: it presents a world of suave self-fashioning and accommodation, where creaky notions of honor and vengeance have virtually no place. 

The Widow of Valencia
by Lope de Vega

a reading of a new translation by the UCLA working group for the Comedia in Translation and Performance

 

Details

June 18, 2018
Church of the Epiphany
1393 York Avenue

Cast

Ceci Fernandez, Elizabeth Ramos, Gerardo Rodriguez, Michael Earle Fajardo, Keith Contreras, Gilbert Cruz, Mariana Newhard, Jose Luaces, Carlo Alban, Gabriel Sloyer, Jack Mastriani

Synopsis

Hers is a balancing act of appearances and disappearances, aspirations and desires. How long can she keep everyone in the dark? The Widow of Valencia introduces audiences to Leonarda, a young woman intent on protecting the freedom afforded by her husband’s death. Though she rejects her suitors by day, she makes her own arrangements by night, selecting a lover but keeping her identity a secret.

Acknowledgements

Sponsored by Council Member Ben Kallos & the New York City Council Cultural Immigrant Initiative

THIS PROGRAM IS SUPPORTED, IN PART, BY PUBLIC FUNDS FROM THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CITY COUNCIL.

Special Thanks to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Actors' Equity Association, the Church of the Epiphany, and the UCLA Diversifying the Classics project!