Episode 56: Celebrating Hispanic Culture at the Alley Theatre

Alley Theatre’s Hubbard stage presents the production of “American Mariachi” in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, along with the support of its community initiative, “El Zocalo.” Today, Blanca Quezada meets with Baldemar Rodriguez, Alley Theatre’s manager of community partnerships, to discuss the upcoming production and “El Zocalo’s” commitment to celebrate, grow, and interact with Houston’s diverse Latin culture and artistic community.

Baldemar talks about how and why the Alley Theatre created its community initiative, “El Zocalo,” and its work with the Latin community for the past few years. He also discusses the production of “American Mariachi,” as well as behind-the-stage endeavors that helped create the production by Jose Cruz Gonzalez and director KJ Sanchez.

“American Mariachi” tells the story of family, love, and tradition, about the freedom to dream big. It’s the 1970’s and girls can’t be mariachis. At that time, a young girl decides that she and her cousin are going to create an all-girls mariachi and go against disapproving relatives, but she brings Mom along for the ride. This play also incorporates the amazing live mariachi music that will remind us how impossible dreams can come true.

Baldemar stated that we can visit the Alley’s website, “American Mariachi,” for post-show chats, information on workshops, how to get more information on the show before attending, and learning more about the Alley.

Baldemar additionally mentioned that the Alley Theatre’s El Zócalo is also launching Yo Soy Houston Mariachi as part of Alley Theatre’s 77th season production of American Mariachi. They’re excited to highlight the Mariachi community in Houston. They look forward to presenting scheduled performances and featuring them in a lobby display during the “American Mariachi” run from September 22 through October 22, 2023.

For more information visit: https://alleytheatre.org/plays/american-mariachi/.

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Timestamps (AI generated)

[00:01:56] Welcome Baldemar. You’re an accomplished communicator and artist in Houston. You have received awards for your work in film and theater. Your plays, like Las Nuevas Tamaleras, are memorable and funny.

[00:03:26] Baldemar fulfilled a dream to work at Alley Theatre, enjoying the opportunity to connect the community with the arts. He previously collaborated with Alley Theatre while working at Talento Bilingue de Houston.

[00:06:48] El Zocalo Initiative connects Alley Theatre with various communities and organizations, advising on productions, promoting art and cultural projects, and giving Houston a voice.

[00:11:55] Community came out to see a resonating production with more Latino actors added to the resident acting company, expanding the range of productions.

[00:14:47] The Alley Theatre is the largest regional theater in the country, offering opportunities for various roles in the creative departments. It is regarded by the community as a valuable resource for productions. Efforts are made to involve and support local artists in Houston.

[00:18:30] Multiple career paths and creatives exist in one building, introducing people to the world of theater and various roles from accountants to prop makers to set designers. People often don’t realize these are actual careers.

[00:26:13] Recently had Educarte Tu Voz workshop led by a renowned Mariachi instructor. Discussed history, influence, and different music genres. Another workshop planned with singing and educational components to educate community about Mariachi origins.

[00:28:07] The play runs from Sep 22-Oct 22. Spanish translations on Sep 29, Oct 7 and Oct 14 for accessibility.

[00:34:51] To get tickets, call box office at 713-220-5700. For group sales, call 713-315-3346. Company aims to cater to community needs.

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