Repertorio Español Archive Open for Research

By Natalie Baur, CHC Archivist

Selections from the Repertorio Español records

Selections from the Repertorio Español records

The records of the Repertorio Español theater company in New York City held by the Cuban Heritage Collection have been processed, and a detailed finding aid for the collection is now available. Researchers can consult folder-level descriptions of the collection to access the rich history of the ground-breaking Latino theater company. Materials in the collection include administrative records, correspondence, clippings, slides and photographs, audiovisual materials, and ephemera documenting the company’s productions and relationships with emerging Latino theater writers, designers, and actors.

Production photo, "Café Con Leche," Repertorio Español.

Production photo, “Café Con Leche,” Repertorio Español records.

Repertorio Español was founded in 1968 by two Cuban-born theater artists, Producer Gilberto Zaldívar and Artistic Director René Buch, to introduce the best of Latin American, Spanish, and Hispanic-American theater to a broad audience in New York City and across the country. From its earliest days, Repertorio has maintained a dramatic ensemble, attracting many talented veterans and emerging Hispanic actors. Several of these artists are documented in the collection, including Ofelia González, the first actress to win an OBIE Award without having performed in English, and Pilar Rioja, a legend in Spanish dance. Pablo Zinger, Musical Director, initiated a musical ensemble that presented zarzuela, operas, and musical anthologies; and Jorge Alí Triana, of Colombia’s Teatro Popular de Bogotá, began an association with Repertorio and since then has adapted and directed some of the company’s most epic works.

Today, the company continues its tradition of promoting the appreciation of bilingual Latino theater and supporting emerging artists through innovative programming and community engagement.

Lesbia Varona at CNN

Lesbia on set of the NotiMujer interview.

On September 20th, Professor Emeritus Lesbia Orta Varona of the UM Libraries’ Cuban Heritage Collection appeared to an international audience on CNN en Español. Lesbia was featured as La Mujer de la Semana on NotiMujer, a program geared to Spanish-speaking women in the United States and Latin America. The program is produced in Miami and hosted by Mercedes Soler.

Lesbia appeared as part of NotiMujer’s Hispanic Heritage Month celebration. She was recognized as one of the founders of the Cuban Heritage Collection, and spoke about the work she has done and the importance of having such a repository of Cuban culture in the United States.

Hispanic Heritage Month, which honors the contributions of Hispanic-Americans, runs from September 15th to October 15th.