By the Hand of the Father

Acclaimed play to be performed in LatinoLA in June & July

Published on LatinoLA: June 20, 2003

By the Hand of the Father

Those who missed By the Hand of the Father in its recent broadcast on "Austin City Limits" on PBS or its critically praised earlier Los Angeles productions, will have the opportunity to see this groundbreaking theatre work featuring original music composed by renowned singer/songwriter Alejandro Escovedo and performed by the international recording artist Rosie Flores in June and July.

About Productions? melding of music, video and spoken word to tell the poignant story of Mexican-American fathers will be presented for one performance only at the Ford Amphitheatre Sunday, June 29 at 8:30 p.m., followed by six performances at Plaza de la Raza Margo Albert Theater July 10-13. The Plaza performances are Thursday, July 10 at 8:00 p.m.; Friday, July 11 at 8:00 p.m.; Saturday, July 12 at 2:30 and 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, July 13 at 2:30 and 7:00 p.m.

Rosie Flores has just moved into the role of the lead singer in By the Hand of the Father. The renowned singer/songwriter who is based in Nashville but spent most of her formative years in Southern California,. tours the U.S. extensively and has recorded numerous albums including the acclaimed Rockabilly Filly. Her most recent CD is titled Speed of Sound and features her honkytonk, rockabilly and jazz sensibilities.

The performances will also feature actors Rose Portillo and Kevin Sifuentes whose performances have been described as "providing the show its moments of high emotion," as well as "quietly compelling." Guest artists joining them at the Ford include the legendary Latin jazz percussionist Pete Escovedo, and award-winning Tejano singer and bandleader and member of Los Super Seven Ruben Ramos.

By the Hand of the Father is presented by the Ford Theatre Foundation in collaboration with Miami?s Teatro Avante as part of the Ford Amphitheatre?s Latino Arts Festival International. Tickets at the Ford are priced at $20 with a $12 ticket for full-time students and children 12 and under; and at Plaza at $15 and $12. Tickets are available through the Ford ? http://www.fordamphitheatre.org,
323 461-3673.

The production is a collaboration between Escovedo, writers Theresa Chavez (About Productions' Artistic Director), Eric Gutierrez and Rose Portillo, and internationally-exhibited video artist Janice Tanaka. Directed by Chavez, By the Hand of the Father is an emotional and insightful piece that presents a variety of familial themes that transcend cultural boundaries. The critically successful theaterwork also resulted in an extremely well-reviewed CD, produced by J. Steven Soles and released by Texas Music Group in 2002. Last presented in Southern California in July 2002 at the Luckman, By the Hand of the Father has earned enthusiastic notices both in L.A. and on international tour. A May 2001 production in Chicago was hailed by No Depression magazine as "perhaps the most significant labor of Escovedo's long and esteemed career." The L.A. Weekly found the piece "...a moving homage...the writers have mounted a multimedia, nonlinear and uplifting, albeit candid history of their fathers."

Through stories told by Portillo and Sifuentes, music performed by a seven-piece ensemble and video, the production delves into a seldom heard American immigrant history that reflects the struggles of men and their families who crossed the border in the early part of the 20th century and found a home in the cities of the Southwest. As an extension of the show About Productions has created a website to invite the submission of individual reflections of immigrant histories and familial stories. The website address is http://www.aboutpd.org.

"This generation of men, born in the early decades of the 20th century, lived in a world that no longer exists," comments Chavez. "By the Hand of the Father is an attempt to remember that world for ourselves as sons and daughters and to record, as writers, a history that we are deeply connected to. I have been inspired by the collaboration with Alejandro. Working with the songwriting form has created unique theatrical possibilities and broadened the scope of About Productions."
"After working on the CD recording I was intrigued to see the live production and when I did, it touched my heart deeply," stated Rosie Flores. "I'm thrilled to be part of such a powerful piece that I feel so in touch with on a personal level. These stories reflect the lives of both my father and grandparents."

For the Ford-Plaza de la Raza performances the By the Hand of the Father Ensemble will include percussionist Hector Mu?oz, guitarist David Pulkingham; accordionist Oto?o Lujan and Elliott Baribeault on bajo-sexto (the traditional Mexican bass) from Los Pochos; violinist Daphne Chen (Ford only); cellist Matthew Fish (Plaza only), and cellist Adrienne Wood (Ford only).

By the Hand of the Father has been presented at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum in Chicago, the International Hispanic Theatre Festival in Miami, Arizona State University, the Experience Music Project in Seattle; the Texas Union Theater in Austin; and the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary and the Banff Centre for the Arts, both in Alberta, Canada.

About Productions is a critically acclaimed interdisciplinary theater company based in Los Angeles. In its fifteenth year, the company has produced more than 35 interdisciplinary theaterworks and educational projects that have been seen throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company's artistic approach is collaborative and often fuses elements of video and film, photography, choreography and music. Its goal is to create original interdisciplinary theaterworks that provoke new perspectives on history, humanity and culture. Paula Batson Productions is an independent production company focused on music projects such as the SXSW Las Manitas shows in Austin, Texas which spawned the music group Los Super Seven; the production of Philip Litell's The Night Market at Highways in Santa Monica, California; as well as the 2001 CD release from artist Bob Neuwirth.
By the Hand of the Father at the Ford Amphitheatre and Plaza de la Raza is supported by The James Irvine Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Dept., The Capital Group Companies, the Los Angeles Times, the Holiday Inn Hollywood Walk of Fame, Patina Catering, the Otra Beer Co. and Latin Style.

FORD INFORMATION: The John Anson Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East off the 101 (Hollywood) freeway just north of Hollywood Bowl and south of the Universal Amphitheatre. The Ford is disabled accessible and portable wireless listening devices are available upon request. On-site, stacked parking costs $5 per vehicle. Free shuttles to the Ford stop at the following locations at performance times: the Cherokee parking structure at 1718 North Cherokee just north of Hollywood Blvd. 1.3 miles south of the Ford (non-stacked parking costs $3 per vehicle with validation available at the Ford), the Hollywood/Vine Red Line Metro Station, and the Universal City Red Line Metro Station.

By the Hand of the Father is part of the Ford Amphitheatre 2003 Season, a multi-disciplinary arts series produced by the Los Angeles County Arts Commission in cooperation with Los Angeles County-based arts organizations. For a complete season schedule, directions to the theater and parking information, log on to http://www.fordamphitheatre.org. TeleFutura KFTR ? TV 46 is the television media sponsor for the 2003 season.

PLAZA DE LA RAZA INFORMATION: Plaza de la Raza is located at 3540 N. Mission Road in Los Angeles; 5 minutes east of downtown in Lincoln Park; Mission exit off the 5S Fwy, Main exit off the 5N. Parking is free in the lot at North Mission and Selig Place.

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