jakub | March 3, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | ICONS 2: Jose Jiménez


American Theatre and the Classical Theatre of Harlem present ICONS, co-produced with Venus Radio Theatre.

ICONS is a podcast series of personal monologues based on figures from the Harlem Renaissance, curated and directed by CTH’s literary director, Shawn Rene Graham, and developed by the Classical Theatre of Harlem in partnership with Venus Radio Theater. The first season of ICONS focused on five Black women whose artistic work was central to the vibrant Harlem Renaissance. The second season focuses on Hispanic and Latinx voices. ICONS 2: El Barrio Lives! explores the rich history of East Harle by commissioning four writers of Latinx descent to breathe life into lesser known figures from Latin America and the Caribbean, whose impact on the Harlem community from the early part of the 20th century resonates today.

This episode: The Young Lords Way by Raquel Almazan, performed by Jose Febus, dramatizes Young Lords organizer Jose Jiménez advocating for social change in his community.

Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Jose Jiménez was taken as an infant by his mother to the United States the following year. They lived for a time with his father near Boston, but within two years the family moved to Chicago to join relatives. As a youth, he ran with a street gang, but made a turnaround in 1968 and devoted himself to reviving the Young Lords to work on issues of human rights, beginning in Chicago. Issues included redlining, displacement of the poor, welfare rights and dignity, police relations, and community needs. In addition to establishing breakfast, education, and health programs, they organized politically to negotiate with city officials. They also set up chapters in other cities with Puerto Rican and Latino populations to work on social justice issues.

Raquel Almazan is an interdisciplinary artist, facilitator, and activist. They earned an MFA in playwriting from Columbia University. Their work has been featured Off-Broadway, throughout the U.S. and internationally in Greece, Italy, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Canada, and Sweden; including several of her plays within the Latin is America play cycle, written in dedication to Latin American countries. They are a recipient of grants from the Map Fund, Doris Duke Foundation, NYFA NYC Women’s Fund, NYSCA, and the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, as well as the Kennedy Center’s Latinidad Award, Kate Neal Kinley Playwriting Fellowship, and more.

Jose Febus will be seen in the 2024 film, His Three Daughters by Azaza Jacobs on Netflix, Marimacha, El Carito, Not Guilty, and others. He has appeared on TV in Sesame Street, The Blacklist, Manifest, Blindspot, The Path, and Law & Order. Febus has performed in numerous readings including, Manning at LatinX La Jolla Festival, Ms. America Pretty at LatinX Playwrights Circle, Baby Love at Sol Project, El Bacalao at Flea Theatre, and Atacama at Bay Street Theater.

ICONS was adapted, produced, and edited for Audio Theater by Eric Emma and features sound design and mixing by Andy Stein. Listen to season one of ICONS: Harlem Renaissance in Motion on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

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