jakub | February 17, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | ICONS 2: Lillian López


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: Cuartito (For Lillian López) by C. Quintana, performed by Sol Marina Crespo, dramatizes how Lillian fell in love with the library.

Lillian López (1925–2005) was a Puerto Rican activist and librarian. She worked for the New York Public Library from 1960 until 1985, spearheading the South Bronx Project, an effort to revitalize communities in the Bronx through library workshops and outreach, and also advocating for library services for underserved communities, especially speakers of languages other than English.

C. Quintana, or CQ is a queer writer with Cuban and New Orleans roots based on Canarsee and Munsee Lenape land in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn. Most recently, CQ’s adaptation of Beastgirl with music by Janelle Lawrence, which premiered at the Kennedy Center, directed by Rebecca Aparicio, was nominated for two Helen Hayes Awards, including the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play or Musical Adaptation and Outstanding Production. CQ’s audio play The 126-Year-Old Artistan Audible Emerging Playwrights Fund commission, directed by Estefanía Fadul, will be available on the Audible platform this summer. Her other plays include AzulScissoring, Citizen ScientistEvensongEnter Your Sleep, and more. Her television writing credits include Orphan Black: Echoes (AMC) and The Baker and the Beauty (ABC).

Sol Marina Crespo has worked with artists such as Steven Soderbergh, John Leguizamo, Tony Plana, Rubén Blades, and Miriam Colón, and she’s been featured on HBO, Hulu, Amazon, and NBC among others. As a writer, she’s been commissioned by Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater and Flux Theatre Ensemble. Sol is always ready with wit, stories of culture shock, and dad jokes aplenty.

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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