jakub | February 10, 2024

AMERICAN THEATRE | ICONS 2: Petra Allende, La Alcaldesa del Barrio


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: For The Salud of Our Seniors by Christin Eve Cato, performed by Annie Henk, which imagines a meeting between the Puerto Rican activist and an elected official.

Petra Allende (June 29, 1920 – April 1, 2002) was a Puerto Rican factory worker and clerk, who worked as an activist in New York City’s El Barrio neighborhood. In the 1960s, she began working to overturn laws which required literacy to vote. In the 1970s, she campaigned for daycare facilities for working mothers and adequate supports for the poor, and later turned her attention to elder rights in the 1980s. Affectionately known as “La Alcaldesa del Barrio” (The Mayor of the Barrio [Spanish Harlem]), the street on which she lived in Manhattan, East 111th Street, was renamed Petra Allende Way in 2012.

Christin Eve Cato is a playwright, dramaturg, and performing artist from the Bronx. She holds an MFA in playwriting from Indiana University and completed her BA in political science and philosophy at Fordham University. Cato is also a graduate of Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School for Music and Art and the Performing Arts. She is affiliated with NYC theatre companies, WP Theatre, Pregones/PRTT, INTAR Theatre, and the Latinx Playwrights Circle. Recent productions include, The Diamond (People’s Theatre Project); Sancocho (Visión Latino Theatre Company); American Made (Samuel French OOB Festival); and an audio play journey, The Mayor of Hell’s Kitchen Presents: A Time Traveling Journey Through NYC’s Wild West (The Parsnip Ship and Playwrights Horizons).

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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