Washington, D.C. – GALA concludes its 47th season with the premiere of KUMANANA! An Afro-Peruvian Musical Revue, conceived and directed by GALA’s co-founder Hugo Medrano with associate direction and choreography by Luis Sandoval Zapata, script by Anita González and Music Direction by Roberto Arguedas. Performed in Spanish with English surtitles, KUMANANA! opens June 7 and runs through June 25, 2023, at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20010.
KUMANANA! pays tribute to Victoria and Nicomedes Santa Cruz, who played a pivotal role in the resurgence of Afro-Peruvian arts during the 1960s and 1970s. Through their poetry, music, dance, and choreography, they focused attention on neglected cultural genres of Afro-Peruvian heritage and rekindled interest and appreciation for the music, dance, and poetry that had been long forgotten.
KUMANANA! showcases the original music and writings of the Santa Cruz siblings and celebrates the resilience and creativity of a people who refused to be silenced or marginalized. The show is appropriate for ages 10 and up and runs approximately 2.5 hours.
Noche de GALA and Press Night is Saturday, June 10, 2023, at 8 pm. The production is made possible with the generous support of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
ABOUT THE LIBRETTIST
Anita Gónzalez (Librettist) is a professor of Performing Arts/African American Studies, at Georgetown University and co-Founder/Leader of their Racial Justice Institute. She directs, devises, and writes dance theatre works. Her innovative stagings of historical and cross-cultural experiences have appeared on PBS national television and at Lincoln Center Out-of Doors, The Working Theatre, Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, New York Live Arts, and other national and international venues. Her musical writings include Zora on My Mind, Courthouse Bells for Boston Opera Collaborative, Ybor City, Ayanna Kelly and Home of My Ancestors. Gonzalez also founded the Anishinaaabe Theatre Exchange in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to engage Ojibwe communities in dialogue through theatrical performance. The NEA, NYFA, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Mid Atlantic Arts Association, the Bellagio Center, and the FIDEOCOMISO for United States/ Mexico Arts exchange have funded her work.
ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Hugo Medrano (Director/Play Conception) is the longest serving artistic director in the Washington region. He has directed and performed in classical and contemporary plays in Argentina, Spain, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Cuba, New York, Miami, and Washington. He has directed over 125 theater productions and numerous musical revues, including Ella es tango, Puro Tango and Puro Tango 2; Perú Negro, El Bola-Cuba’s King of Song, Caribeana Imperia; Candombe: Tango Negro; Raíces cubanas I and II, Latido negro-Peru’s African Beat, and Brasil: As coisas do samba. He was nominated for a 2000 Helen Hayes Award for his direction of La dama boba, received a Helen Hayes Award nomination for his performance in El protagonista, and received the 1994 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actor for his role in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Luis Sandoval Zapata (Associate Director & Choreographer) is an actor, director, choreographer, dancer and teacher. He is the founder and director of Teatro del Milenio, a theater group that has produced plays based on Afro-Peruvian culture since 1992. Some of their notable works include Viento y Ausencia, Karibú, Noche de Negros, Callejón, Kimba fa la ciudad suena, and Mama negra mama tierra. In addition to his work with Teatro del Milenio, Luis has also directed choreographies of zapateo and Afro-Peruvian dances with different ensembles in the United States. Despite being self-taught, Luis has honed his skills through workshops and training programs. He has participated in research workshops on actor training with the RAICES group, studied choreography, contemporary dance, and African dances at the Montpellier World Dance School in France, and attended workshops with Eugenio Barba and the Odin Theater in Denmark. Luis has toured extensively throughout Latin America, the United States, and Europe as both a director and actor.
Featured in the cast and making their GALA debut are Marco Campos Olivares (Nicomedes Santa Cruz), Vicky Leyva (Victoria Santa Cruz), Anaí Padilla Vásquez (Actor 1), Omar Cruz Navarro (Actor 2), Luis Sandoval Zapata (Actor 4) and Grisele Núñez (Actor 5); and Karent Hinestroza (Actor 3) who returns to GALA after appearing in GALita’s Séneca: The Library Mouse.
Scenic Design is by Milagros Ponce de León, who previously designed GALA’s La vida es sueño. Lighting Design is by Luis García, who’s most recent work is A Bicycle Country at University of Maryland, and Costume Design is by Cidney Forkpah, who designed for GALA’s Revoltosa. Sound Design is by Justin Schmitz, who designed for GALA’s Jardín salvaje and La valentía. Projections Design is by Hailey LaRoe, who designed for Revoltosa, and Properties Design is by Luke Hartwood, who is working on his first GALA production. Alyssa Hill is Stage Manager and Jon Townson is the Technical Director. P. Vanessa Losada is Production Manager.
TICKET & GENERAL INFORMATION
Regular tickets are $48 Thursday through Sunday. Senior (65+), Military are $35, and Group (10+) tickets are $35; and Student Under 25 tickets are $25. Noche de GALA tickets are $55 each. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit galatheatre.org or call (202) 234-7174. Tickets are also available on Goldstar and TodayTix.
GALA has 4 wheelchair accessible spaces and an elevator to transport people from the entrance to the lobby, and to the house. Parking is available at a $4 flat rate in the Giant garage on Park Road, NW (must validate parking ticket at theatre lobby for discount). GALA is located one block north from the Columbia Heights Metro station (Green/Yellow lines).
COVID-19 SAFETY PROCEDURES
The wearing of masks is optional IF you are fully vaccinated, pursuant to CDC guidelines, and have received an updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine. There will be 3 mask-required performances of June 9, 11 and 15. The wearing of masks is required IF you are fully vaccinated, pursuant to CDC guidelines, but have NOT received an updated bivalent COVID-19 booster vaccine, or if you are not vaccinated.
All patrons ages 5 and up MUST provide either proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID test (taken within 72 hours prior to show time) to be admitted to the theatre. Children 0-4 years old accompanied by fully vaccinated parents do not need to show proof of a negative COVID test.