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.

Selected photographs and theater programs from the Herberto Dumé Papers

Herberto Dumé (1929-2003) directed the Teatro Nacional de Cuba from 1959 until he left the island in exile. In New York, he founded the Dumé Spanish Theater in 1969. Dumé is best known for his theatrical direction and one-man poetry recitals. The Dumé Papers (link to finding aid) document Dume’s work, primarily during his years in exile from Cuba, and include the scripts of plays that he directed along with photographs, clippings, programs, and reviews and records related to the Dumé Spanish Theater.

Selected items from the Herberto Dumé Papers are digitized and available online. Visit the digital collection here.

New Theater Collections Online

Selections from the collections of three Cuban-born theater artists are now available online. Set and costume designer Randy Barceló was the first Hispanic nominated for a Tony Award for costume design for 1972’s Jesus Christ Superstar. The Leandro Soto Papers feature set and costume designs. And theater production photographs and other items from the Manuel Martín, Jr. Papers are available.

The Randy Barceló Collection

The Randy Barceló Collection Finding Aid

Although best known for his set and costume designs, Randy Barceló was also a dancer, photographer, interior designer, and all around artist. Born in Havana on September 19, 1946, Barceló left Cuba through Operation Pedro Pan at the age of 14. He studied art at University of Puerto Rico and in 1965 moved to New York where he enrolled in the Lester Pollard Theatre Forum School of Design.

Barceló began his career as a dancer and choreographer. At the age of 24 he worked as a designer for the Broadway musical, Lenny. In 1972 he designed the costumes for Jesus Christ Superstar and was nominated for a Tony Award, the first Hispanic nominee for costume design. He went on to design costumes for several on and off Broadway plays and musicals, ballet and dance productions, and operas.

In 1994, Barceló designed costumes for ¡Si Señor! ¡Es Mi Son!, choreographed for Ballet Hispanico by Alberto Alonso and Sonia Calero with music by Gloria Estefan. These were his final designs as he died of cancer on December 6th of that same year.

In 1995, the Barceló family generously donated to the Cuban Heritage Collection Randy’s original costume and set designs,costume plots, drawings and sketches, and classated materials. A year later, the family founded the Fundación Randy Barceló to perpetuate Randy’s artistic legacy.

MDCDCA logoThe Cuban Heritage Collection preserved, arranged, and described the Randy Barceló Collection with funds provided by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.