The music! The dancing! The nativity!
For one night only, El Puente celebrated Three Kings Day at the Grand Street Campus (850 Grand St.) on January 10, with performances by Teatro El Puente, El Puente’s Dance Ensemble, a short film by the group’s Community Health and Environment Institute, and of course, an appearance by the Three Magi themselves.
“It was amazing!” said El Puente founder Luis Garden Acosta. “Every year it gets better but this year it has to be the ultimate expression of what is possible when you have so many young people so talented and so committed to showcase that talent for the good of the community.”
Produced by Maribel Lopez and written and directed by Teatro El Puente’s Dominic Colon and Annie Marino, the colorful play tackled the theme of environmental justice and the challenges of climate change that residents face in Williamsburg.
In addition, a 20-minute video written and filmed by young people opened the show, which featured dance performances choreographed by Rozz Nash and Arkadiusz “E-Roc” Lesniak in a set designed by artists Crystal Bruno, Clara Waloff, Joe Matunis, Rolando Almonte and Alfred Cervantes.
Executive Director Frances Lucerna noted the commitment of many young actors and filmmakers in this year’s show, particularly the work of Che Vistas, El Puente’s interns, in cleaning up a local garden and Beacon Program students who shared their work regarding recycling strategies, energy conservation and healthy living.
“The message was very clear and very important for people who were there, regarding the environment, the commitment that young people had to lead this effort with greater awareness and strategies for dealing with our environment,” said Lucerna. “That was very strong. It certainly is a testimony of the teaching artists who work with young people and comments from people I spoke with, commitment that young people had to the work itself.”
Evelyn Cruz, a constituent liaison to Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-Williamsburg), called the show, “spectacular” and was happy to celebrate the culture, tradition and heritage of the holiday with El Puente.
“It’s a holiday celebration of bringing peace, joy and the travel of the Three Kings, who traveled on the earth to deliver peace to the masses,” said Cruz.
Council member Diana Reyna (D-Williamsburg) agreed, praising the play and its actors.
“It gives me great pleasure to note that our community is taking pride in traditions of the past, while building a neighborhood for the future,” she said.