Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Report on the 2016 HOLA Awards

It was a nice autumn evening on Thursday, November 2, 2016 for the 2016 HOLA Awards, which were held in a new location– the Flamboyán Theater in The Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center, the same building where HOLA is located. The new location did not diminish the glamour of the event as the theater was transformed in a sea of red and black and the attendees were resplendent in their appearance.

The evening was a celebration of Hispanics in the entertainment and communications industries and an awards ceremony for outstanding work in New York Latino theater during the 2015-2016 season. Chanteuse (and 2016 HOLA Awards recipient) Jeannie Sol electrified the crowd with her opening number (Celia Cruz's "Quimbara"), which she performed with her co-stars from the 2016 HOLA Award-winning show La Gloria (from Teatro SEA)– 2016 HOLA awards recipient Daniel Fetecua and Milteri Tucker– who went into the audience and grabbed two of this year's honorees, Modesto Lacén and Sunny Hostin, respectively, to dance. The number was one of several Sol would do (including one sans microphone, showcasing her powerful voice). [Clockwise from left: Hostin and Fetecua; Lacén and Tucker; Fetecua, Sol, and Tucker.]

The ceremony started and masters of ceremonies Javier E. Gómez and Évi Siskos kept the show going at a steady clip (the duo had charisma and chemistry to spare). An early memorable moment was when 2016 HOLA Awards recipient Claudio Weisz, taking a page out of the playbook of Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Tonys, sang his acceptance speech to the tune of "Maybe This Time" from the Isherwood-Kander-Ebb musical Cabaret. That moment, as well as Fetecua's dancing skills were referenced by Hostin in her speech for her HOLA Award for Excellence in Media, which wound up being quite inspirational to those in attendance. [Above, left to right: Siskos and Gómez; presenter (and 2016 HOLA Awards recipient) Vivienne Jurado and Weisz.]

Among the many inspirational acceptance speeches given that night were HOLA Special Recognition honoree Víctor Cruz, who gave a shoutout to the performers union SAG-AFTRA, thanking them for their help in his career and behind the scenes of his feature film The Stockroom; HOLA Excellence in the Telenovela Genre honoree Lacén, who briefly got choked up when talking about the impact and visibility to Afro-Latinos he has brought to his new fans (from the telenovelas "Celia" and "La esclava blanca"); HOLA Special Recognition Award honoree (and an HOLA Awards recipient that evening) Ana Margarita Martínez-Casado, who received a standing ovation while receiving her award for over 50 years (technically over 60, according to her) in entertainment; HOLA Awards recipient Maite Uzal, whose mother flew in from Madrid to see her daughter receive the award; and J. Edgar Mozoub, who repeated as HOLA Performer's Choice Award recipient for the second year in a row. [Above, clockwise from top left: Cruz; Lacén; Uzal; Martínez-Casado; above right: Mozoub.]

The Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA) would like to thank the staff of Clemente Soto Vélez Cultural and Educational Center (Verónica Caicedo, Jaime Pérez, Tal Sharon, et al.), the staff of Teatro SEA (Eduardo Leáñez, Daisy Payero, et al.), the staff of Va Presto, 
Peter De La CruzGonzalo ArmendárizLouis Perego Moreno (Tío Louie), Anthony Ruiz, Charles DíazJosé A. Esquea, Jeannie Sol, Max Hernández, Xandra Leigh Parker, Éric-Dominique Pérez, Patrick Michael Valley, Camila Jurado, Ricardo Aguirre, Chris Gilliam, Dan Lane Williams, the honorees and awardees, and all those in attendance for helping make the 2016 HOLA Awards such a success.

[Photos of the room; Lacén and Tucker; Fetecua, Sol, and Tucker; Hostin and Fetecua; Jurado and Weisz; Cruz; Lacén; Martínez-Casado; Uzal; and Mozoub by Charles Díaz. To see more of his photos of the 2016 HOLA Awards, click here, here and here. Photos of Gómez and Siskos by Anthony Ruiz. To see more of his photos of the 2016 HOLA Awards, click here.]

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