video trailer by Paola Martini: YouTube
Teatro Paraguas presents Welcome to Arroyo's by Kristoffer Diaz, a play about family, community, grief, redemption, Graffiti and Hip Hop. DJs Trip Goldstein (Jonathan Harrell) and Nelson Cardenal (Matthew Montoya) put a fresh spin on Greek chorus narration. Mixing hot jams and comic relief, they transport us to New York City's Lower East Side in 2004....
Alejandro Arroyo (Rick Vargas) and his angry little sister Molly (Alix Hudson) are struggling to keep their lives together in the wake of their mother's death. Without the glue that held them together, the siblings fight to redefine their own relationship. Alejandro has converted his mother's bodega into a lounge calledArroyo's, but can't seem to get any customers.
Molly is busted by handsome Officer Derek (Daric Gutierrez) while tagging the Police Station wall. Love at first sight, or 90 days detention?
Alejandro and Molly knew their mother as a hard-working woman, running a no-frills bodega and taking care of her family. But young wannabe hip-hop historian Lelly Santiago (Cristina Vigil) has returned to the neighborhood with a theory about their mother's past that could change everything.
Alejandro must deal with the mystery of his mother, his under-performing lounge, his sister Molly's rebellion, Lelly's distracting cuteness, and his DJs' desire to perform in his bar. Can he successfully fill his mother's place in the community and transform Arroyo's into the “hottest watering hole south of Houston Street”?
Kristoffer Diaz is a playwright and educator, living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His full-length plays include The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (finalist for the 2009 Pulitzer), Welcome to Arroyo’s, Rebecca Oaxaca Lays Down a Bunt, F**king Vigwan,and #therevolution.
Welcome to Arroyo's was developed at the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, The Lark Summer Play Festival, Donmar Warehouse, South Coast Repertory, and New York University. Kristoffer Diaz says of Welcome to Arroyos, “this is my baby, the first full-length play I ever wrote. It’s been a long, hard road for this bad boy. I could say a million things about this play and the process of bringing it into the world, but I’ll just mention what the whole experience taught me: never give up on writing the things that absolutely matter most to you. This is hip-hop theater with a traditional narrative structure, a love song to the Lower East Side, and the single play that (even more than Chad Deity) explains who I am and why I am.”
Roxanne Tapia currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors at Teatro Paraguas. Trained in music and theater at the College of Santa Fe, this is her directorial debut at Teatro Paraguas. Welcome to Arroyo's called to her because of its perfect fit with Teatro Paraguas' mission to present contemporary Latino plays. Tapia says, “Welcome to Arroyo's is lighter in tone than often seen in Latino drama, while still presenting themes that are important and relevant to the community. The only crime is graffiti, by a character who considers herself an artist. It's about young adults struggling to find their place in their family, in their community, and in the world. It's going to be fun, too! Kristoffer Diaz gives us an energetic, musical ride through the LES.”
Teatro Paraguas is also partnering with New Mexican artist Sebastian VELA Velazquez to create the artwork for the set. Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico, artist Sebastian “Vela” Velazquez began creating artwork the moment he could lift a pencil. Deeply inspired by his creative Argentinean family, cultivated upbringing, and numerous artists throughout history, Velazquez’ roots echo loudly in his unique style of art. As a child, he began working with acrylics as his medium and while a teenager, he advanced to large scale mural work, which he currently prefers. Velazquez balances his love of art with his participation in community projects, teaching artwork to children and teenagers, and involvement with activism focused on social change. Through his art, Sebastian hopes to continue to beautify the world and touch many lives in doing so.
Welcome to Arroyo's opens April 7 at Teatro Paraguas Studio and runs through April 24, with performances Thursday through Saturday nights at 7:30 pm, and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm. The performance on Saturday, April 9th will be a special event, with refreshments plus a chance to meet the artist Sebastian VELA Velazquez, the actors and director in a special gala reception after the show. Tickets for the gala performance are $25/person. Buy tickets for Welcome to Arroyo's