DCT Announces THE PEARL PROJECT Theater Festival

Featuring World Premiere Productions of Award-Winning Filipino American Playwrights Eric Gamalinda and Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza; and DCT Playwright Fellow Kristine Reyes

Opens at Theatre Row's The Clurman Theatre on July 6, 2010 Obie Winner Ching Valdes-Aran and Broadway's Ali Ewoldt (Les Miserables), Lead an Ensemble of 15 Filipino and American Artists; NEA/TCG Award Recipient Nelson Eusebio Directs Ching Valdes-Aran Ali Ewoldt

Beginning July 6, 2010, some of the finest Filipino-American and American artists will converge in a theater festival—The Pearl Project—at Theatre Row’s The Clurman Theatre in world premiere presentations of original plays written by Palanca Award (Philippine’s Pulitzer Prize) winners Eric Gamalinda, Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza, and DCT Playwright Fellow Kristine M. Reyes.  The limited engagement runs until July 25, 2010.  THE PEARL PROJECT, a Filipino American theater festival, will present two full-length plays and two one-acts in repertory: ·     

  • In Eric Gamalinda’s full-length play, Resurrection, starring Obie winner Ching Valdes-Aran, the unexplained suicide of a young woman triggers a series of relentless changes in a family, tearing it apart.
  • Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza’s full-length play, The Encounter, dramatizes an unexpected visit by the incumbent President of the Philippines in his political rival’s prison cell.
  • Quarter Century Baby, a one-act play by Kristine M. Reyes, starring Ali Ewoldt, tells the story of a parents’ surprise visit to their Filipino daughter and her American boyfriend—a visit which causes turmoil and reveals painful truths.
  • Something Blue, a one-act play by Kristine M. Reyes, follows an estranged father’s quest to reconnect with his daughter on her wedding day.  

“The theater is a profound venue to examine the universality of the human condition.  The human heart beats from the same place in all of us regardless of race, color, gender, and religion. Filipino-Americans have had a rich theater tradition based largely on stories about the immigrant experience.  I am thrilled to add another dimension to this tradition by presenting works that examine the universal themes of family, love, ambition, and desire to connect and live a meaningful life—expressed by my generation of Filipino American artists,” said Victor Lirio, DCT’s Artistic Director.  

Eric Gamalinda has received numerous awards and grants for his writing and film, including the Asian American Literary Award, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Philippine Centennial Literary Prize, the National Book Award, and a number of Palanca Literary awards for fiction, poetry, essay and playwriting in the Philippines. Most recently, he was a finalist for the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize for his new novel, The Descartes Highlands.  

Kristine M. Reyes is a Filipina-American playwright based in New York City.  She was the recipient of Diverse City Theater Company’s First Draft Fellowship for her full-length play, Queen for a Day, in 2005.  She has studied at The Primary Stages School of Theater, and at Ensemble Studio Theatre with Romulus Linney, Edward Allan Baker, and the late Curt Dempster.    

Jorshinelle Taleon-Sonza holds a Ph.D. in Postcolonial Literature from Drew University and an M.F.A. degree from the Actors Studio at The New School.  Her trilogy of plays, Migration Blues, was produced by the University Diversity Initiative at The New School; and her play, Missing Person, was presented at the Circle in the Square Theater as part of Actors Studio's repertory season.  In 1996, Sonza won the prestigious Palanca Literary Award for her play, Dog Days in America—which also earned a spot in the University of Massachusetts’ Southeast Asian Women Playwright Archive.  In 2007, Jorshinelle received her second Palanca Literary award for her play, Pure.

Director Nelson T. Eusebio III is the artistic director and co-founder of Creative Destruction. He has developed and directed work for companies including Pan-Asian Rep, Ma-Yi Theatre Company, South Coast Repertory, Laguna Playhouse and the Mark Taper Forum. Recent directing credits include: 8TRACK: B-Sides & Mash-Ups; God, Sex and Blue Water; Obama Drama: A Political Theatrical Spectacular!; 365/365 . He was a former resident director for Ensemble Studio Theatre and is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab and the Rhodopi International Theatre Collective. Eusebio holds a B.A. in Drama from UC Irvine and an M.F.A. in Directing from the Yale School of Drama.  He is the recipient of the NEA/TCG Director's Career Development Award.

Renowned stage actor Ching Valdes-Aran won an Obie Award for her performance in Flipzoids. Among her celebrated stage performances are productions of Dogeaters at The Public Theatre, Last of the Suns, The House of Bernard Alba and Macbeth on Broadway (as Lady Macbeth opposite F. Murray Abraham). Broadway actor Ali Ewoldt appeared in the revival of Les Miserables as Cosette.  She most recently played Maria in the international tour of West Side Story.  Further casting and directors' names will be announced.  Tickets are $18 and can be purchased on Ticket Central at www.ticketcentral.com or 212-279-4200 beginning June 1, 2010.  The Clurman Theatre is located at 410 West 42nd Street in New York City.

About Diverse City Theater Company
Formed in 2003, DIVERSE CITY THEATER COMPANY (“DCT”) develops and produces powerful and thought-provoking works that examine our society’s diversity issues from social, cultural, gender and demographic perspectives.  DCT advocates the non-traditional casting of actors to reflect the rich spectrum of our national culture and the universality of the human spirit.  For its 2009 season, DCT presented the New York Times-acclaimed world premiere of Warren Bodow’s Race Music.  The company’s 2008 production of Cassandra Medley’s Noon Day Sun earned Time Out New York’s Critics Pick, NBC’s “Best Bets,” and several nominations for the Audelco Award including Best Dramatic Production of the Year and Best Play.  In 2007, DCT’s production of Snapshots made the New York Times Critics Choice list for New and Noteworthy, calling it “gutsy” and “a quality not often seen in New York theatre.” DCT is the recipient of two nominations for Actors’ Equity Association’s The Rosetta Lenoire Award (2008, 2009) for “outstanding contributions made to the universality of the human spirit in the American theatre.”  Now in its sixth season, DCT is an independent, non-profit 501(c)(3) theater organization.  For more information about DCT, visit www.diversecitytheater.org .

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