jakub | October 3, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Marissa Castañón-Hernández Takes First in Voces Latinx Playwriting Contest 


Marissa Castañón-Hernández, Christin Eve Cato, and José Luis Useche.

NEW YORK CITY: Repertorio Español has announced the winners of the 2023 Miranda Family Voces Latinx Playwriting Competition, an initiative to develop and promote plays that resonate with and accurately depict the Latinx/Latine experience, now in its fourth year. The competition is inclusive of all playwrights who are at least 18 years of age and residents of the United States or Puerto Rico.

Taking the top prize is On the Eastside, by Marissa Castañón-Hernández, who will receive a cash award of $3,000. 

“As a student, from elementary through graduate school, I rarely saw myself represented in the stories and plays we read and performed,” said Castañón-Hernández in a statement. “After I graduated and began participating in community theatre, I learned about the origins of Chicano theatre and its roots in social justice. I found myself engaged and inspired by the authentic and meaningful work of playwrights who used their craft to educate and inspire positive change.”

On the Eastside, Castañón-Hernández’s first full-length play, is set in Austin, and tells the story of a lively Mexican-American family living east of Interstate 35 who face gentrification, long-standing systemic issues, and a brush with law enforcement.

Second place, with an award of $2,000, goes Christin Eve Cato for her play OK, about four Latinas preparing for a non-union bilingual production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma in Oklahoma. Third place, with an award of $1,000, goes to José Luis Useche for his play Locos, about four deranged immigrants locked up in a sanatorium trying to recover what they lost. Runners up, with a $500 prize, include Alex Rodríguez for 3 Drag Queens and A Nativity Scene and Jay Álvarez and John Laffan for Be Careful the Sharks Will Eat You.

For more than 40 years, Luis A. Miranda Jr. and Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda have championed community activism, viewing philanthropy as a three-pronged approach through giving, fundraising, and advocacy efforts. Along with Luz Miranda-Crespo, Lin-Manuel, Miguel Towns, and their respective spouses, Luis Crespo and Vanessa Nadal, they have created and supported institutions focused on underserved populations in Upper Manhattan, communities throughout NYC, across the country, and in Puerto Rico.

Repertorio Español, founded in 1968 by artistic director René Buch and producer Gilberto Zaldívar, has the mission of producing the finest Spanish-language theatre from Latin America and Spain as well as plays written by Latinx artists. The company presents a rotating repertory of plays, musicals, and dance concerts every year.

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