Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Alejandro González Iñárritu's BIRDMAN Continues Generating Awards Season Buzz As It Earns London Critics' Circle Film Awards Nominations

Michael Keaton in a scene from
Alejandro González Iñárritu's
Birdman (or the Unexpected
Virtue of Ignorance)
The Alejandro González Iñárritu film Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) picked up additional awards season buzz as it earned seven nominations from the London Critics' Circle Film Awards (it tied for the most with the British film Mr. Turner, written and directed by Mike Leigh). The feature received nods for Film of the Year; Director of the Year (González Iñárritu) ; Screenwriter of the Year (González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bó); Technical Achievement Award (Emmanuel Lubezki, for cinematography); and acting nominations for Michael Keaton (Actor of the Year), Edward Norton (Supporting Actor of the Year) and Emma Stone (Supporting Actress of the Year).

The London Critics' Circle Film Awards will take place on Sunday, January 18, 2015. For more information, click here or here.

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.


Marlene Forté and Tony Plana, shown above, from left to right, will guest-star on episodes of the ABC Family television series "The Fosters" (which also stars 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Cierra Ramírez). For more information, click here.

Rhina Valentín will host Carnaval: Celebration of Life. The live event (produced by La Reina Del Barrio) will feature carnivalesque performances, a film screening and art for sale, among other things. The event will take place at Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at Club Level, located in Manhattan's El Barrio neighborhood. For more information, click here. To buy tickets, click here (note that all tickets are to be sold in advance and that there will be no tickets sold at the door).

Flor Bromley did a voiceover for Rosetta Stone.

Eduardo Ramos acted in a holiday commercial for Macy's.

Teresa Yenque is currently filming the feature film The Preppie Connection (written by Joseph Castelo and Ashley Rudden and directed by Castelo).

Mel Nieves' play Between a Hot Dog and a Hard Place has been selected as a finalist of the Downtown Urban Theater Festival, scheduled to take place in April 2015 at HERE Arts Center, located in Manhattan's SoHo neighborhood.

If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can find out more information on how to do so by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?

Monday, December 15, 2014

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.

Olga Merediz and Miriam Colón, shown above, from left to right, can be seen playing Rosario Dawson's mother and grandmother, respectively, in the feature film Top Five (written, directed and starring Chris Rock), currently playing in movie theaters across the United States.

TEBA is presenting Las damas de Atenea. Written by 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Pablo García Gámez and directed by Héctor Luis Rivera, the show will take place in January and February at the Broadway Blackbox Theater (located in Manhattan's Washington Heights neighborhood) and feature Bárbara González, Alexandra Manzano, María Richardson, 2014 HOLA Awards recipient Kathy Tejada and Rivera in the cast. For more information, click here.

Thalía Hispanic Theatre (formerly Thalía Spanish Theatre) is presenting Tango 5 Senses/Tango 5 sentidos. Conceived, designed and directed by Ángel Gil Orrios, it features music, arrangements and musical direction by Raúl Jaurena and the singing talents of Marga Mitchell and Barreiro. The show will run from January through March at Thalía eponymous theater, located in the Sunnyside neighborhood of Queens. For more information, click here.

TTO Entertainment is presenting ROY G BIV: A Story Through The Eyes of a Rock Icon. Written by R. Ernie Silva and Anthony Pearce and starring Silva, the show features choreography by  2014 HOLA Awards recipient Daniel Soto and will be directed by José A. Esquea. The production will take place in January at the LaGuardia Performing Arts Center, located in the Long Island City/Queens Plaza area of Queens. For more information, click here.

If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can find out more information on how to do so by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?

González Iñárritu-helmed BIRDMAN leads the nominations of the Critics' Choice Movie Awards; Zoë Saldaña, Rosario Dawson also nominated

The feature film Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), co-written and directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, led all other films nominated for a 2015 Critics' Choice Movie Award with thirteen (13). 

The Critics' Choice Movie Awards (formerly known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award are bestowed annually by the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) to honor the finest in cinematic achievement. The nominees were announced on Monday, December 15, 2014Written ballots are submitted during a week-long nominating period, and the resulting nominees are announced in December. The winners chosen by subsequent voting are revealed at the annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards ceremony in January. Additional, special awards are given out at the discretion of the BFCA Board of Directors.

Alejandro González
Iñárritu
.
Some of the nominations Birdman received include Best Picture, Best Comedy, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, and Armando Bó), Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), Score (Antonio Sánchez), and Best Acting Ensemble. 

Other Latinos nominated for Critics' Choice Movie Awards include Tony Revolori (Best Young Actor/Actress, The Grand Budapest Hotel; also nominated in the Best Acting Ensemble category), Zoë Saldaña (Best Actress in an Action Film, Guardians of the Galaxy), and Rosario Dawson (Best Actress in a Comedy, Top Five).

Tony Revolori.
The Book of Life (directed by Jorge Gutiérrez, co-produced by Guillermo Del Toro, with a score by Gustavo Santaolalla and starring Diego LunaZoë SaldañaKate Del Castillo, 2014 HOLA Awards honoree Héctor ElizondoDanny TrejoCheech MarínAna De La Reguera, Plácido Domingo, Carlos Alazraqui, Eugenio Derbez, Gabriel Iglesias, and Anjelah Johnson, among others) was nominated for Best Animated Feature.

Zoë Saldaña.
Also nominated for Best Animated Feature were Big Hero 6 (co-starring Génesis Rodríguez), The Boxtrolls, How To Train Your Dragon 2 (co-starring América Ferrera), and The Lego Movie.

The Argentine film Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes), written and directed by Damián Szifrón (and co-produced by Agustín and Pedro Almodóvar), received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. The film stars Ricardo Darín, Óscar Martínez, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Érica Rivas, Rita Cortese, Julieta Zylberberg and Darío Grandinetti and also features a score by Gustavo Santaolalla

Rosario Dawson.
The American film Jodorowsky's Dune (directed by Frank Povich), about Chilean-French director Alejandro Jodorowsky's failed attempt to bring the Frank Herbert's science fiction novel Dune to the big screen during the mid-1970s, received a nomination for Best Documentary.

The 20th Critics' Choice Movie Awards will be hosted by Michael Strahan and take place at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, California on Thursday, January 15, 2014. The ceremony will air on the A&E network. For more information, click here.

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.

Teresa Yenque, shown at right, can be seen in the recurring role of Miranda in "The Affair" (Showtime) and in a guest-starring role in "Constantine" (NBC). In addition, she shot the film Sweets (directed by R.E. Rodgers and written by Paxton Winters, based on a story by Rodgers and Ed Vassallo). The film stars 2014 HOLA Awards honoree Pedro Pascal, Sarita Choudhury, Kevin Corrigan, Raúl Castillo, Yul Vásquez and Aaron Roman Weiner, and is expected to hit theaters in 2015. Finally, she and Johnny Huertas are each receiving a Special Award for Distinction and Merit from the Asociación de Cronistas de Espectáculos de Nueva York (ACE) on Monday, March 30, 2015 at the 47th annual Latin ACE Awards, scheduled to take place at Kaufman Center in Manhattan's Upper West Side.

Pietro González is performing in the ensemble-created performance piece City Non-Specific. Created and presented by LaMicro Theater, the piece will take place in December at the Alchemical Theatre Laboratory, located in Manhattan's West Village/Chelsea area. For more information, click here.

Robin De Jesús will take over the role of Boq in the Broadway musical Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz (written by Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman and based on the novel by Gregory Maguire; directed by Joe Mantello and choreographed by Wayne Cliento) starting Tuesday, December 16, 2014. Wicked is being presented on Broadway at the Gershwin Theatre. For more information, click here.

Lucio Fernández released the music video for his single "I Miss You" (lyrics by Mark Goodman and Constanza Palavecino, music by Fernández), off his album American Mambo. The video can be seen below. For more information about the album or the artist, click here or here.



If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can find out more information on how to do so by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?

Friday, December 12, 2014

HOLA Member Bochinche

Bochinche refers to “gossip”. In this sense, we use it to mention HOLA members or Friends of HOLA who are getting acting, performance or similarly artistic gigs and/or recognition in the media. The names of HOLA members and Friends of HOLA are listed below in boldface. To see what other HOLA members are doing currently, click here.

Joel Pérez, shown at right, performed in a developmental lab workshop of On Your Feet!, the new musical featuring the music of Gloria and Emilio Estefan. With a book by Alexander Dinelaris, the workshop was directed by Jerry Mitchell and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo and took place in November at the New 42nd Street Studios in the theater district of midtown Manhattan. The musical is scheduled to debut on Broadway in October 2015. For more information, click here. In addition, he is scheduled to make his Broadway debut in the musical Fun Home. Written by Lisa Kron (book and lyrics) and Jeanine Tesori (music) and based on the graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel, it played several sold out months off-Broadway at The Public Theater. The Broadway production will be directed by Sam Gold and star Michael Cerveris and Judy Kuhn. Previews begin at the Circle in the Square Theater on Friday, March 27, 2015 with a scheduled press opening in Sunday, April 19, 2015. For more information, click here or here.

2014 HOLA Awards recipient Jeannie Sol will be singing at a Christmas show on Sunday, December 21, 2014 at Ginger's Bar, located in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn.

Jorge Berríos and Laura Riveros star in the Tabula RaSa NYC production of The Winter of April. Written by Ricardo Sarmiento Gaffurri and directed by Ramiro Antonio Sandoval, the production is running in December at Theater for the New City, located in Manhattan's East Village. For more information, click here.

Jason Torres will star opposite Kim Vogels in The Cellist, a short film written and directed by Arnold Pitre. The film is scheduled to start shooting in January 2015 in New York City.

José Sepúlveda will star in the short film Levi (written and directed by Arielle Evans), scheduled to start filming in January 2015 in New York City.

If you are an HOLA member or a Friend of HOLA and want to submit a bochinche item, send us an e-mail. If you live in the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, why not join? If you live outside the New York metropolitan area and want to be an HOLA member, you can find out more information on how to do so by clicking here. If you are not a Friend of HOLA, why not become one?

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Writer-director Alexander Dinelaris on BIRDMAN, THE BODYGUARD musical in the U.K., and getting ON YOUR FEET! with Gloria and Emilio Estefan

By A.B. Lugo.

Alexander Dinelaris.
Alexander Dinelaris is a man of many talents– what we call in Spanish "polifacético"– he is a playwright, screenwriter, director, producer. He has worked with some of the giants in this industry, from filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu to music icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan. His work has been seen on stages across the U.S. and on London's West End. 

His play, Red Dog Howls, has its world premiere at the New York Theatre Workshop, where it was directed by Ken Rus Schmoll and starred Kathleen Chalfant, Alfredo Narciso and Florencia Lozano. He then wrote the book to the musical The Bodyguard (based on the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan and featuring the songs of Whitney Houston), where it was directed by Thea Sharrock, starred Heather Headley and Lloyd Owen and had its world premiere at the Adelphi Theatre in London's West End. After running in London for two years, it will embark on a tour of the United Kingdom in 2015, with future productions planned for Australia, Germany, East Asia and Broadway.

He is currently working on the libretto for the musical On Your Feet! (based on the story and music of Gloria and Emilio Estefan), which recently had a workshop in November 2014 in New York (with direction by Jerry Mitchell and choreography by Sergio Trujillo).

On Thursday, December 11, 2014, he received a Golden Globe nomination for co-writing the screenplay for Birdman (or the Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

Meet el polifacético Alexander Dinelaris.


Where did you grow up? How did you get started as an writer-director?
Sarah Paulson, at left, and
Fredrick Weller in a scene
from Still Life.
I was born and raised in Washington Heights (in New York City) until I was of school age and then I moved out to East Rockaway, Long Island.

In high school, I was cast in my first musical, as Tevye in our production of Fiddler on the Roof. I feel in love with theater and the rest is history.

I quickly found that I was interested in directing theater and pursued that through college. I really didn't start writing until 1999. Eventually, a play of mine entitled Folding The Monster got some attention and soon Danny Aiello and Rosie O'Donnell did some staged readings for various theater companies in New York. 


Things progressed and after my father died, I wrote a play called Still Life. That was really the piece that changed my life.

What is your writing process? 
For me, most of the time I spend writing is about structuring a piece. I don't feel safe writing if I am not fairly sure what the structure of it is. So I begin with research and then go straight into structure. I will spend months doing that, and when I finally feel comfortable enough with the shape of it, I proceed to procrastinate for long as humanly possible. When I can no longer keep it in, I will fly somewhere on my own (Isabela, Puerto Rico, and a place called Villa Del Mar Hau is one of my favorite spots).

I will stay there with barely any internet or phone service and a lot of coffee, wine and rum and I will work day and night for about 10-14 days until I have my first draft.

That process has become much more difficult, you can imagine, with the births of my two daughters Amalia and Aleyna.


I first met you at a production of your play Red Dog Howls, which dealt with a man dealing with his Armenian grandmother and confronting the past (specifically the Armenian genocide). How did this play and its brutal subject matter arise?
The loss of my father to pancreatic cancer was very difficult for me. A few years after he passed away I came to understand that some of the things in my family history that I was told were not true at all. There was and is a mystery surrounding the Armenian side of my family. But more than that, I was about to become a father for the first time. And somehow I thought that the dysfunction and sadness that I had grown up with would somehow be passed on to my children and that thought terrified me. So I wrote Red Dog Howls about a man who, in order to find his own identity, would have to travel through the horrors of his family's past so that he might finally put that pain to rest and remove the "curse" from his family line.

I was able to see your directing work when I attended a production of Stephen Fechter's The Woodsman, produced by Oberon Theatre Ensemble (for which you are Co-Artistic Director). What do you like about working in theater versus working in film?

Stewart Walker, at left, and
Gabe Bettio in a scene from
Stephen Fechter's The Woodsman
(directed by Alex Dinelaris).
I love the very live and communal energy of the theater, when you are telling the truth and the audience becomes personally involved, there is an electricity that can't be produced anywhere else within the spectrum of storytelling. I also love the collaborative aspects. I love designers. I love stage crew. And most of all, I love actors. When we are all chasing down an honest moment, hunting for real answers, it is as exhilarating as anything I know.


You are also known for writing librettos to several musicals (Zanna, Don't!The Bodyguard, the upcoming On Your Feet!). What are the challenges and joys in collaborating with a composer (or team of composers) in writing a musical?
To be clear, I did not write the book of Zanna, Don't! It was written by its composer-lyricist, the brilliant Tim Acito. I was brought in later to help restructure the book a bit and create some additional dialogue and scenes. It was a wonderful experience.


Dinelaris with
Emilio Estefan.
As For The Bodyguard and On Your Feet!, the difficult part of those musicals is that the songs and their lyrics already exist. So finding a way to make them fit into the story and seem organic, making them actually move the story forward is an incredible challenge.

With Gloria and Emilio Estefan, we also got to have them write a few new songs, so that was a thrill for me. I was in Puerto Rico writing the first draft and I called Gloria and said I needed a new song. I told her what the scene would be about and she was so excited that two days later she had a version of the song (that she wrote with her talented daughter Emily). She left a message on my phone where she was singing some of the verse. Gloria Estefan was singing to me on my cell phone! I have to admit, I still haven't erased that message. 

How was your experience having a musical (The Bodyguard) on London's West End?
Heather Headley and
ensemble in The Bodyguard.
London is an incredible city with a theatre tradition steeped in history, so being there was a thrill for me. I have to admit that the process of mounting that musical was incredible frustrating for me. In the end, I was not 100% satisfied with what ended up on the stage. But that is part of the theatrical process as well. And I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Not to mention I developed a love for ale, and got to work with two wonderful actors that I am still friends with today, the luminous Heather Headley and one of the finest actors and men I know in Lloyd Owen.


How did your collaboration with Gloria and Emilio Estefan come about for the On Your Feet! musical?
Nick Scandalios of the Nederlander Organization had seen the first reading of The Bodyguard musical, which he admired. He approached me and asked if I would be interested in meeting the Estefans and talking to them about a musical based on their life and music. I said yes and flew down for a meeting in Miami. I honestly didn't think I wanted to take the job having just come off The Bodyguard, but Nick was very persuasive. And after a few hours with Gloria and Emilio I knew I wasn't going to be able to say no.

You are also one of the screenwriters of the critically acclaimed hit film Birdman (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu), which has been receiving a lot of awards buzz. I saw it, it is a magnificent picture. How did you get involved in this project?

Alejandro had read my play Still Life a while back and loved it. I met him and helped him with his early work on the early drafts of his film Biutiful.

When he first conceived of the idea for Birdman, he called me up and asked me if I would like to write it with him and his writers from Biutiful. I was excited by the insanity of the original idea and I said yes right away.

With Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), you worked with a Latino production, in that the director (Alejandro González Iñárritu), co-screenwriters (González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone and Armando Bó), cinematographer (Emmanuel Lubezki) and score composer (Antonio Sánchez) are all Latino. How was that collaboration?

Birdman, at left, flying, and
Michael Keaton in a scene
from Birdman.
Latino or not, the people you just named are some of the most talented people working in film today. Being able to sit on stage in the St. James Theatre on Broadway [where most of the film is set] and work through scenes with Alejandro and Chivo (Emmanuel Lubezki) was one of the most thrilling times in my career. They are working on a level of visual storytelling that is dizzying. This entire collaborative process (especially getting to know and work with my dear friend and writing partner Nicolás Giacobone) has been a joy from the start. That we are receiving kind words and some awards attention is just a bonus. Alejandro lead us down the rabbit hole and we survived. It will be a story I tell my daughters when they are older.

This time has been incredible for me. My mother is Cuban-Puerto Rican (maternal grandfather from Havana, maternal grandmother from Ponce). That I have been able to work on an enormous Latin musical and work with my Latin brothers on Birdman has been a blessing. Even now, I am talking with [filmmaker] Guillermo Del Toro as we hope to work on a new script together. My grandparents would have been very proud!

Do you have any advice for upcoming writers and directors (who just happen to be Latino) on how to succeed in this business of show?

I only have two pieces of advice. The first is, be thorough and be prepared. Keep learning about structure and form. It is absolutely the secret weapon for success in dramatic writing and I feel I owe my entire career to the fact that I never stopped reading and learning about form. 

My second bit of advice is stay true to your voice. Don't try to be or sound like anyone else. If Birdman proves anything, it is that the world and more specifically the audience is desperate for originality. The only way to be original is to stay true to your voice. Take chances. Make your characters do things that genuinely upset or embarrass you.

You will discover that when you are willing to do that, to lay it all on the line, to let it cost you everything, people will respond. I am very sure of that.

# # # #

Left to right: Alexander
Dinelaris
Alejandro
Gutiérrez Iñárritu
,
Nicolás Giacobone.  
After running in London for two years, The Bodyguard musical will embark on a tour of the United Kingdom in 2015, with future productions planned for Australia, Germany, East Asia and Broadway.

On Your Feet! is scheduled to premiere on Broadway in October 2015.

Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) leads all other motion pictures this year with seven Golden Globe Award nominations. Starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis, Edward Norton, Andrea Riseborough, Amy Ryan, Emma Stone, and Naomi Watts it is currently playing in U.S. movie theaters.

For more information on Dinelaris, click here.