The legacies of three titans of the Latino theatre will be celebrated Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015 during a film screening of Theatre of Rice & Beans, a documentary film produced by University of Florida (UF) theatre professors Tony Mata and Ralf Remshardt, at the Library of Congress’ Mary Pickford Theater located in the James Madison Memorial Building in Washington, D.C. The film first debuted in Gainesville, Florida, in January 2014 and has since been screened at Tribeca Cinemas in New York. The Washington, D.C. screening will take place at 6 p.m. and is open to invited guests.
What do three titans of the Latino theatre talk about, laugh about and argue about over a meal of rice and beans? What stories of hardship and triumph do three veterans of the American stage have to share after careers lasting more than four decades? Theatre of Rice & Beans explores those questions as Mata sits down with René Buch, Miriam Colón, who was recently honored by President Barack Obama with a 2014 National Medal of Arts, and Max Ferrá, founders of New York City’s three most influential Latino playhouses, to enjoy a meal of rice and beans.
“Ralf and I are honored to have been invited by Librarian of Congress James Billington to screen Theatre of Rice & Beans at such a prestigious institution," said Mata. "This is the first documentary created about a vital part of American theatre history. I wanted to give back to our community and wanted to make sure that Miriam’s, Max’s and Rene’s stories were never forgotten, as they were my surrogate parents of the theatre.”
The film features commentary by playwrights María Irene Fornés and Nilo Cruz, Broadway directors Hal Prince and Graciela Daniele and Broadway actors Chita Rivera and Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others. The documentary tells an untold story of the American theatre and speaks to coming generations of theatre artists, addressing financial struggles, artistic breakthroughs, stereotyping and the future of Latino theatre. The film also features a musical score by UF School of Music alumnus Sam Hamm, with additional music by Professor Welson Tremura.
“Tony and I dedicated countless hours to this project, and I'm very proud that we were able to see it through, virtually learning how to make a film in the process,” said Remshardt. “Through persistence and quite a bit of luck, we were able to gather a rich tapestry of people who had worked in or had been influenced by the three theatres we portray. This an important work— part history lesson, part scholarship, part homage—and there's nothing quite like it out there.”
To learn more about Theatre of Rice and Beans, visit www.theatreofriceandbeans.com.
About the School of Theatre + Dance
The School of Theatre + Dance is one of the University of Florida College of the Arts’ institutionally-accredited schools. Undergraduate students can pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in acting, dance, musical theatre, theatre production—including costume design, lighting design and scenic design—or a Bachelor of Arts degree in dance studies or general theatre. Minors are also offered in dance and theatre as well as certificates in arts in medicine and dance in healthcare. Student organizations, showcase programs and other intensives provide students with invaluable professional experiences. UF is home to three School of Theatre + Dance performance venues, including the Constans Theatre, Black Box Theatre and G-6 Studio. To learn more about the School of Theatre + Dance, including upcoming performance dates and ticket information, visit www.arts.ufl.edu/theatreanddance.
About the College of the Arts
The College of the Arts is one of the 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. The College of the Arts offers baccalaureate, master’s and Ph.D. degree programs in its three institutionally-accredited schools — the School of Art + Art History, School of Music and School of Theatre + Dance. The college is home to the Center for Arts in Medicine, Center for Arts and Public Policy, Center for World Arts, Digital Worlds Institute, University Galleries and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. More than 100 faculty members and approximately than 1,200 students work together daily to engage, inspire and create. The college hosts more than 300 performances, exhibitions and events each year. Faculty and students also exhibit and perform at other local, national and international venues. To learn more, visit www.arts.ufl.edu.
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Leah Spellman, APR, Public Relations and Marketing Manager
University of Florida College of the Arts
Office: 352.273.1489 | Cell: 904.419.3346