Monday, October 16, 2017

Dia de Los Muertos: Interactive, Theatrical Production Explores Mexican Culture at JCTC


While some want to build a wall, Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) embraces diversity and celebrates our multicultural society.

On October 29th, JCTC presents an acclaimed, theatrical production about the culture, history and traditions of our neighbor to the south, Mexico.  Dia de Los Muertos: Mexican Myth, Legend and Ancestry will be presented through JCTC-KIDS – JCTC’s children’s programing division – at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City.

Created by Mexico Beyond Mariachi (MBM) – a Music and Dance company, whose theatrical productions are intended to redefine the perception of Mexican culture for the next generation – Dia de Los Muertos is a bilingual, family friendly, interactive multimedia performance show told through storytelling, live music and dance.

MBM was created 15 years ago as way for audiences to experience traditional Mexican performance culture. Formed by a select group of artists in Mexico – as well as those practicing their art in the United States – its mission was to create in-depth arts in education and school performance program and the company has presented programming to more than 100,00 students in over 250 schools and community venues on the East Coast.  In 2015, MBM built on their success by mounting a full scale touring show of Dia de Los Muertos and playing performing arts centers  to further help tell the Mexican story to young audiences and families nationwide. The acclaimed production has performed for sold-out shows at major  venues and international children’s festivals, reaching new audiences with its message of equity, tolerance and unity.

“The Mexico Beyond Mariachi program appeals to the non-Latino community as an introduction to a culture that, like the country of Mexico, is just beyond the horizon of mainstream American culture,” said Timothy G. Hart, Division Director, Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission. “Using a judicious mix of Spanish and English, the program creates cross-cultural impact.”

The White Eagle Hall presentation will be its first Jersey City production of this company, which actually has Hudson County roots. “As a longtime member of the Hudson county community I’m thrilled to be performing at the newly renovated White Eagle Hall in an authentic celebration of Dia de los Muertos,” said Peter Basil Bogdanos, Co-founder, Executive Director of MBM, and a long-time North Bergen resident.

Dia de Los Muertos – is a vibrant  production that interweaves traditional Mexican music and dance with the stories, myths, and legends of the Day of the Dead (November 2), a holiday whose history actually predates Christopher Columbus and the Spanish Conquest of the country now called Mexico. Both vibrant stage musical and interactive lecture – Dia de Los Muertos is an informative, transformative and entertaining show that spans more than 2,000 years and takes audiences to the heart of  Mexican culture, past and present. Using the Day of the Dead traditions as a beginning point, the dramatically narrated program covers the roots of  Mesoamerican civilization and continues chronologically demonstrating how time, geography, climate and foreign influence have affected Mexican cultural and artistic modes of expression.

“We are so proud that JCTC-KIDS is expanding our programing by bringing this incredible production to Jersey City,” said Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC.  “Dia de Los Muertos is an entertaining program for the whole family. The history of the United States and Mexico has long been intertwined. Instead of building walls, we need to celebrate our diversity by learning about other cultures and embracing the bigger world.”  

Originally constructed in 1910, the newly restored White Eagle Hall is an impressive new venue for arts and entertainment, including concerts, theater, performances and other events in the New York/New Jersey Metropolitan area. White Eagle Hall features complete food & beverage service, with two bars on the mezzanine level and one on the balcony level. The restoration enhanced the intimacy and charm of this historic venue while adding the latest in sound and lighting technology, creating a distinctive and memorable audience experience.

Jersey City Theater Center, Inc. (JCTC) presents programming at Merseles Studios and White Eagle Hall. JCTC is a nonprofit, 501c3 arts organization committed to inspiring conversations about the important topics of our times through innovative and progressive performing and visual arts that celebrates diversity, bringing communities closer together and enhancing the quality of life. 

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