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Latino Theatre Initiative brings in playwright, professor

CARBONDALE Thunder River Theatre Company presents a staged reading of “Tomas and the Library Lady” at 4 p.m. Saturday at its downtown Carbondale venue.

This new bilingual play for young audiences by California State University professor José Cruz González is based on Pat Mora’s award-winning book about a Mexican family who travels from Texas to Iowa to work in the fields. Random House has granted TRTC special permission for the reading.The play and book tell the real-life story of Tomas Rivera, the Mexican-American author and educator who became chancellor of the University of California at Riverside. González is speaking as part of TRTC’s ongoing Latino Theatre Initiative. He will direct a staged reading of the play with local Latino actors interested in participating in the event, as well as a couple of members from TRTC. González will also discuss his work with Latino youth in Los Angeles and the Hispanic farm families from California’s Central Valley.

González served as project director of South Coast Repertory’s Hispanic Playwrights Project for 11 seasons. His plays include “Lily Plants a Garden,” “The Red Forest,” “September Shoes,” “Always Running,” “Mariachi Quixote,” “Cousin Bell Bottoms,” “Two Donuts,” “Salt & Pepper,” “The Highest Heaven,” “Manzi (The Adventures of Young César Chávez),” “The Magic Rainforest (An Amazon Adventure),” “Marisol’s Christmas,” “La Posada,” “Harvest Moon,” “Calabasas Street,” “Spirit Dancing” and “Odysseus Cruz.”

He has written for PAZ, a new series produced by Discovery Kids for the Ready Set Learn! block on The Learning Channel. González received the 1997 National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Residency Program for Playwrights, and in 1985 he was a NEA director fellow. He is a graduate of the University of California, Irvine, where he received his master’s in fine arts in directing. He teaches theater at California State University at Los Angeles. González is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc. and an associate artist with Cornerstone Theater Company.Saturday’s family-friendly event is free to the public and is supported through a grant from the Iselin Foundation. Further support has been provided by the Thunder River Lodge. Latino adults and children interested in participating in the play, and those wishing additional information, should contact TRTC educational coordinator Nancy Ball at 963-1168, 618-9932, or nnbee@sopris.net.


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