Tag Archives: Theatre

Hamilton in Puerto Rico

The 58th GRAMMY Awards - Photo by Theo Wargo/Wire Image

Do not throw away your shot to see the musical Hamilton… while on a Caribbean vacation…while contributing to rebuilding Puerto Rico.

On September 20, 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico, knocking off power to the entire island, devastating homes and landscape, and creating a humanitarian disaster on the U.S. territory.

By August 2018, the death toll had risen to 2,975. (The number of casualties has since increased.)

But while the devastation was vast, Puerto Rico has been steadily rebuilding, reopening and reviving its tourism market. In an effort to continue his support for the island, Lin-Manuel Miranda will once again star in the title role of Hamilton, when the Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winning musical plays San Juan from January 12 to 27, 2019.

As expected, general ticket sales (which went on sale November 10) quickly sold-out, but limited tickets are still available through trip packages offered by Discover Puerto Rico. Additionally, premium tickets sold for $5,000 each, will raise money for Miranda’s Flamboyan Arts Fund, dedicated to strengthening arts on the island.

Puerto Rico wants visitors to know they are open for business. Remember the S.O.S. photo that went viral immediately following Hurricane Maria? The plea has evolved into an invitation and a message that we are “Bienvenidos” on the island. Catch a glimpse of the progress in the touching video below: 


You can play a role in the rebuilding effort merely by visiting. Be in the room where it happens and let the theatricality of Hamilton affect you while effecting positive change in Puerto Rico.

…And Peggy!

*For additional travel information, visit DiscoverPuertoRico.com.


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Cleveland: A Cultural Center in the American Heartland

1-Photo courtesy of Destination ClevelandThis summer, the cultured traveler is looking beyond the coasts and discovering a contemporary art center in America’s heartland. With the inaugural FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, the city of Cleveland has commissioned more than 100 local, national and international artists to join the city’s evolving transformation into a prominent cultural center. And everyone’s invited to the party. After all, in 2014 Cleveland hosted the Gay Games, an international sporting event for LGBTQ athletes and their allies, and in 2016 hosted the Republican National Convention that nominated Donald Trump. (For the record, Cleveland voted for Hillary Clinton by 66.1%). It is the rare city where everyone is welcome, and where the moxie of its people is on par with their midwestern charm…

Read the full article published in Travel Squire

ilthy, photo by Ivan Quintanilla

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“I’m From Driftwood” in New York

Three years ago, after seeing the film Milk, Nathan Manske was struck by an image of Harvey Milk—one of the first openly gay elected officials in the U.S. and the subject of the film directed by Gus Van Sant—in San Francisco holding a sign that said “I’m From Woodmere, NY.”  The sign was intended to show how far people had traveled to attend the 1978 San Francisco Gay Pride march.  But it meant something more to Nathan. It meant that there are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in every small town and every big city across America and, indeed, the world.

Inspired, Nathan, who is from Driftwood, Texas, set off with a video camera on a 50-state tour to collect stories and spread a simple message to queer youth:  “You are not alone.”  The result, “I’m From Driftwood,” has exploded into an online community and non-profit organization that has collected and documented nearly 1,000 stories from all over the world, through videos and written testimonials.  Fifty-one of these stories have been organized into a book and this weekend they are finding their way onto the New York stage.

For the first time ever an ensemble of actors will bring these stories to life at Project Y Theatre Company’s New York New Playwright Festival.  Adapted by Luke Harlan, Joe Basile, and Jeffrey James Keyes, and directed by Luke Harlan, I’m From Driftwood will play the Access Theatre located at 380 Broadway at White Street on Friday, Oct. 14th at 8pm and Saturday, Oct. 15th at 9pm.

Visit their website for tickets and more information.



Filed under Gay/ LGBTQ, U.S.A.

NYC: Glee Getaway

Cast of Glee in New York

The bright lights of Broadway have been seducing dancers, singers and actors since, well, the invention of the light bulb.  Recently, however, musical theatre has found new mainstream appeal thanks to the hugely popular television show, Glee.  Now, the latest generation of hopefuls can follow New Directions and relive the Glee season finale with the InterContinental Times Square’s “Gleekend Package.”  Yes, kids, the hotel setting of Mr. Schuester & Co. during Nationals can be your NYC home, just a time-step away from all the action.

The Gleekend Package includes:

  • Overnight accommodations in a Standard Room* (minimum two-night stay)
  • Daily breakfast for two at the hotel’s Ça Va Brasserie by Todd English
  • Two Gleekend Slushies at Ça Va Brasserie (alcoholic or non-alcoholic)
  • Two Gleekend T-shirts
  • NYC map inspired by all the sites visited by New Directions
  • Picture frame with photo of Glee cast filming at the InterContinental New York Times Square

Additionally, the InterContinental Concierge team can arrange for Broadway shows, classes at the nearby Broadway Dance Center, guided tours of Lincoln Center, or one-on-one singing lessons.

Rates for the Gleekend package begin at $399/night and can be booked on the hotel’s website or by calling 1.877.331.5888

InterContinental New York Times Square

*In-room pillow fights not encouraged.

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PIFA Builds Puentes/Bridges

An infusion of Latin flavor is spicing up the Paris-inspired Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) on April 29. “Puentes/Bridges” features the collaboration of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Intercultural Journeys with the student musicians of Artistas y Musicos Latino-Americanos (AMLA), an organization dedicated to teaching and inspiring Latin music and dance throughout the Philadelphia area. Presented at Taller Puertorriqueño, “Puentes/Bridges” features Ricardo Morales, the Philadelphia Orchestra’s principal clarinetist, along with the renowned Udi Bar-David on cello and Rolando Morales-Matos on percussion, accompanied by AMLA’s jazz quintet.

Known as the Corazón Cultural del Barrio (Cultural Heart of Latino Philadelphia), Taller Puertorriqueño has gone from a grassroots, Puerto Rican graphic arts community center to a world-class institution that celebrates the arts of Puerto Rico, Latin America and the Caribbean. This unique PIFA event provides an opportunity to stroll through their galleries before grooving to the free concert at 8p.m.

A little art, a little music, a little dancing… a whole lot of Latin flavor!

Click here for further event details, follow the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts on Facebook and Twitter for the most up-to-date information, and stay tuned to Traveling IQ for continued coverage, with PIFA’s support.

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PIFA: App(lause)

And we’re off!

Last week, the spark of innovation, creativity and collaboration ignited the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) at the Kimmel Center with gravity-defying aerials by Grounded Aerial, a gala performance of Pulcinella by the Pennsylvania Ballet, and an 81-foot, 6,000-light-bulb replica of the Eiffel Tower.

With over 1,500 artists and 135 events through May 1, how ever will you manage your month of world-class culture?

Don’t worry, there’s an app for that.

The Official PIFA iPhone/Android  App allows you to:
• Search by date, genre, collaborator or venue for all PIFA events
• Search for events/venues near you using GPS capability
• View @PIFAPhilly tweets to stay up-to-date on PIFA news
• Save events for which you plan on purchasing tickets and add them to your calendar
• Take photos and videos of your own art and upload them straight from your phone using the PIFA app.

Visit the  App Stores of  iPhone or Android to download, and let the PIFA app guide you to the new artistic movement of our generation.

For more information follow the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned to Traveling IQ for continued coverage, with PIFA’s support

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From Cuba to PIFA

Commissioned by the Arden Theatre as part of the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), the play Wanamaker’s Pursuit tells the story of a young Nathan Wanamaker’s arrival in Paris in search of the latest fashions for his family’s department store, and the unexpected discoveries of his journey. Though a work a fiction, the play is inspired by historical events and characters of early twentieth century Paris, and the story of Wanamaker’s, the first modern department store in Philadelphia and, arguably, in the United States.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with the playwright, Rogelio Martinez, and learn about his own path to PIFA.

Traveling IQ:  First of all I’m very excited to chat with you because we are both from the same small town in Cuba.  For all I know we played together as children… Sancti Spíritus is not that big of a place.
RM:  Yes, it’s very rare.  I always tell people you may meet other Cubans, but I’m the only Cuban you will ever meet who admits he’s not from Havana.

Well, now there are two of us.  How old were you when you left?
I came (to the U.S.) when I was nine, but I can remember Sancti Spíritus very clearly.

At what point did you get interested in theatre?
My family settled in Union City, NJ.  At the time it had the second biggest Cuban population, after Miami.  I think I got interested when I actually went to the theatre for the first time, in New York.  I was always interested in film because as a little boy in Cuba I went to the movies all the time.  And suddenly I went to see a play and I realized I was much more interested in the live experience, in how audiences respond instantly.  You can go see a comedic movie and a lot of the laughter is held inside.  But you see a funny play and the laughter pours out.  There’s something about how the audience becomes one.  It’s one of those few moments where the world comes together.  And there’s nothing like it.

What was that first play?
Hmmm… That answer becomes progressively more embarrassing.  It was Speed the Plow by David Mamet.  And I’m not embarrassed because of David Mamet… I think he’s an amazing writer.  But the reason my mom took me was because Madonna was in it.  I didn’t know what I was walking into.  I just knew that Madonna was in the play.  And I walked out and my head was abuzz. Everything was like “wow.”  I’d just seen something remarkable.

So Madonna is responsible for getting you involved in theatre?
You know, often times we writers wonder why they bring someone from Hollywood. And I think we have to look at the positive side.  It gets people in the seats that would not otherwise have come.  And that creates new audiences—or you hope it does.  I’m not saying that everyone will venture out and see more theatre but some will.  And that’s important.

Well, that’s definitely one—good—way to look at it.
It’s a tough business and the only way to stay in it for a while is to remain positive… I think.

How did you get involved with PIFA?
Well, Terry (the director) and I met working on another of my plays and he asked if had any ideas for a piece about Paris?  The festival was celebrating 100 years, so I started exploring Paris 1911, and I found those limitations really interesting.  There’s something really exciting for a writer to have boundaries because you can walk right up to the ledge and push the boundaries of the play.

How was the Wanamaker connection born?
The Wanamaker name has always been synonymous with Philly.  So Terry and I started talking about the idea of a buyer for the store, a fictional heir that goes to Paris during the most exciting time.  And he meets Paul Poiret, one of the greatest designers of the twentieth century, along with Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso; and he meets them at a moment in time before we knew them, before they became who they’d eventually become.  And I think that’s also an exciting element of the play: you see people becoming iconic.

How did the city of Paris affect the character of Wanamaker?
It’s the story of learning new rules, new languages…understanding how cultures work. Here we have a young man arriving in Paris and the rules are completely different than what he is used to.  He is master of one world but here he’s in a world where he has no control.  And in a sense that’s the story of anyone who arrives here from a different country.  I think that’s what makes the play have a universal appeal.

Rogelio Martinez, playwright

*Wanamaker’s Pursuit runs March 31-May 22 at the Arden Theatre in Philadelphia. Click here for tickets.

For more information follow the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts on Facebook and Twitter, and stay tuned to Traveling IQ for continued coverage, with PIFA’s support.

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PIFA: Paris… Philly

Photo courtesy of PIFA

How can one decade affect the course of history?  More than a century later, the arts—music, theatre, visual, dance, design—borne in Paris between 1910 and 1920 inspire a new art movement across the Atlantic.  From April 7 to May 1, the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), introduced to Traveling IQ readers last week, draws on the collaboration, creativity and innovation of this artistically essential decade.

Nowhere are these principles more evident than in the tornado of talent known as the Ballets Russes.  By 1910, less than one year into its infancy, the Ballets Russes in Paris was preparing to launch some of the greatest artists of the past century.  In the eye of the storm, stood the company’s director, Serge Diaghilev, often called “the greatest theater producer who ever lived,” for his ability to recruit the most exciting artists of the time.  Imagine a company that can commission the music of Stravinsky, Ravel and Strauss, to be choreographed by Nijinsky, Balanchine and Massine, with sets and costumes designed by Picasso, Matisse and Chanel.

Inspired by the wave of collaboration and creativity rolling through Paris throughout this decade, PIFA welcomes a modern generation of artists to create a new cultural revolution.  “One hundred years ago, Paris was the epicenter of creativity,” says festival executive director J. Edward Cambron.  “What happened during that time shaped how we defined the arts throughout the 20th century, and now, Philadelphia’s cultural community is poised to fuel the same spirit of ingenious creativity.”

Stay tuned as Traveling IQ explores the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts through May 1, with PIFA’s support.

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Philly: Ring My (Artistic) Bell!

Photo courtesy of Grounded Aerial, GPTMC

This spring, the city best known for ringing the bell of liberty is pumping up its artistic volume with the first-ever Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA).   From April 7 to May 1, 2011, all the city’s a stage celebrating the partnership between local and international talent, and traditional and innovative artistry.

With performances and presentations featuring virtually every artistic genre—music, dance, theatre, fashion, visual arts, puppetry, circus arts and many more—PIFA has your interests covered.  Over the three-week festival, join 1,500 artists in discovering 31 commissioned new works at 135 events based on PIFA’s principles of collaboration, creativity and innovation. Whether you’re a novice or seasoned art aficionado, make Philadelphia your artistic home this April.  To learn more about performances, schedules and travel packages, follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter or at PIFA.org.

Stay tuned as Traveling IQ explores the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts through May 1, with PIFA’s support.

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NYC Goes MAD for Dance

Jennifer Muller, Photo by Paula Lobo

Artists find inspiration in many things.  Among them… other art. On February 9, New York’s Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) celebrates the marriage of visual art and dance by unveiling its first dance series, “Dance:  Under the Influence.”

MAD explores the point at which craftsmanship, art and design intersect in the visual arts today.  Now, “Under the Influence” adds a new artistic collaboration to the intersection, highlighting choreographers who are inspired by the visual arts.    The program is guest-curated by arts writer, editor and George Balanchine biographer, Valerie Gladstone.

“MAD is a very hands-on museum.  They are very interested in process,” explains Valerie.  “Part of their attraction to this project is presenting something in the museum that is alive.  Most things in a museum are inanimate.  MAD is interested in exploring beyond that, and bringing new audiences to the museum.”

And when the audiences do arrive, they can expect a diverse experience of dance. “Under the Influence” is showcasing new performances at every show, ranging from flamenco to tap, from classical ballet to contemporary styles—some are excerpts from the companies’ repertories, while others are original work.

The series premieres on February 9 at 7:00pm, with performances by Jennifer Muller, Heidi Latsky and Ballet Hispanico, and continues one Wednesday a month through May 18, 2011.  Tickets are $18 ($15 for MAD members).

Who knew a night under the influence could be so culturally enriching?  To learn more details, visit the program’s  website.

Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle, New York

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