East Harlem playwright pitches plan to make El Barrio city’s Latino theater capital

An East Harlem playwright wants to make El Barrio the city’s undisputed Latino cultural center by designating an uptown theater district that would showcase four underutilized auditoriums. The El Barrio Theatre Development Project, dubbed ELBA, would include the Hecksher Theatre, the Red Carpet Theatre, the Julia De Burgos Cultural Center Theatre and the Poet’s Den Theatre.

Eugene Rodriguez

Eugene Rodriguez

An East Harlem playwright wants to make El Barrio the city’s undisputed Latino cultural center by designating an uptown theater district that would showcase four underutilized auditoriums.

“This community needs an injection of money,” said Eugene Rodriguez, a 67-year-old playwright and head of the Puerto Rican Intercultural Drama Ensemble. “We are a train ride away from Broadway. We need to get them to come uptown.”

The El Barrio Theatre Development Project, dubbed ELBA, would include the Hecksher Theatre on Fifth Ave. near 104th St.; the Red Carpet Theatre, on 124th St. and Second Ave.; the Julia De Burgos Cultural Center Theatre, on 106th St. and Lexington Ave., and the Poet’s Den Theatre on 108th St. near First Ave.

Most of the theaters are available for rental, but Rodriguez said some local groups can’t afford the space.

Rodriguez’ plan calls for $7.5 million for five years, including $2.5 million in city funding to cover theater programming, rent, capital improvements and district endowment. He has been floating the idea to local groups and investors for years, now.

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One thought on “East Harlem playwright pitches plan to make El Barrio city’s Latino theater capital

  1. Pingback: Harlemite Plan For El Barrio A Capital Of Latino Theater

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