The 27th Annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival Brings the Theatre Goodness from L.A., New York, and Buenos Aires

The International Hispanic Theatre Festival kicks off its 27th go-round of celebrating Hispanic arts and culture this Friday, bringing the best of Hispanic theatre, arts, and theatrical awesomeness to the stage through July 29.

In years past, Teatro Avante and the IHTF honored Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and all parts in between with plays from those respective nations, but this year's festivities will focus on Latino theatre and arts from the good ole U. S. of A. (mostly), including plays from Los Angeles, New York, and Mexico City. (Yes, we know Mexico City is not in the U.S., but it sorta was back in 1846 or so. So zip it, professor!)

The festivities get kicked off Friday night at the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theatre where IHTF will present a lifetime achievement in the performing arts award to Teresa Maria Rojas, the founder of festival academic partner Promoteo Theatre of Miami-Dade College. Aside from being a giant in theatre and arts, Rojas was also once a mentor to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Nilo Cruz, so you know she's badass and very much deserving of the award.

L.A.-based Urban Theatre Movement will get things rolling opening night with a production of Miguel Piñero's Short Eyes (warning: contains nudity, if that sort of thing bothers you). The play will be performed in English.

On July 13 and 14, you can catch the politically charged Infieles (Unfaithful) by playwright Marco Antonio de la Parra over at the Miami-Dade Wolfson Campus auditorium.

July 18-19 will feature some musical theatre when Argentina-based company Flor de un Dia will put on Nada del Amor Me Produce Envida (Nothing About Love Produces Envy In Me). It's a play about a seamstress who coincidentally has to make two identical dresses for two different clients, of one which is (*record scratch* ) Eva Perón!

On July 19-20, you can catch Teatro Zero from New York's performance of Aviones de Papel (Paper Airplanes), a play that delves into the theme of domestic violence and isolation, while on July 21, another New York-based company, Teatro Sea, will put on a free bilingual play for the whole family, El Encuentro de Juan Bobo y Pedro Animal (The Encounter of Juan Bobo and Pedro Animal). That play will be performed at the Key Biscayne Community Center.

As it does every year, the fest will also have a free International Children's Day on July 22 at Miami Dade-College InterAmerican Campus, with bilingual programs and kid-friendly performances.

These are just a few of the things you'll be able to experience this month via the International Hispanic Theatre Fest. As it is every year, the IHTF is jam-packed with Hispanic arts, culture and theatre goodness and remains one of the prominent festivals preserving Hispanic arts while delivering some moving, and thought-provoking productions. Shows are performed in Spanish with English subtitles displayed on an overhead screen (unless otherwise noted).

If you haven't checked out the festival in the past, we highly recommend it. Hispanic theatre is always an experience, their actors uber-talented, and their playwrights mostly nuts -- so you know you're in for some ball-tripping good times at the theatre.

For further details on all festivities, productions, information on venues, show times and all other questions and ponderings, visit Teatro Avante's website.

The 27th Annual International Hispanic Theatre Festival kicks off on July 12 at the Arsht Center's Carnival Studio Theatre (1300 Biscayne Blvd.) and runs through the 29th. Tickets are $30 ($25 for students and seniors). Call 305-445-8877 or visit teatroavante.com.

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