Hispanic Theatre Festival Bringing Bar Manolo to CDC Theatre in Cranford Spanish-language theatre is alive and well in New Jersey. For the second straight year, the CDC Theatre in Cranford NJ will feature its Hispanic Theatre Festival, its Festival de Teatro Hispanico, for four performances July 26-28.

Despite a large and vibrant Hispanic population of 1.2 million in the state, the creators of this event recognized that there are no Spanish-language plays being performed on an ongoing basis that cater to that community in central New Jersey. Last summer, the CDC Theatre, the longest continuously-producing community theatre in New Jersey, bridged that gap by mounting the premiere Hispanic Theatre Festival.

It featured two one-act plays – Ana y las langostas (Ana and the Locusts) by Argentine playwright Alicia Dolinsky and Bony y Kin (Bony & Kim) by Puerto Rican Carlos Canales. The play being showcased this season is Bar Manolo, a full-length comedy by European playwright Jean-Pierre Martinez. Directed by long time CDC Theatre member Joel Redmount, the story unfolds in a friendly, comfortable bar that happens to be across from a cemetery. The bar owner, Manolo, relies on a steady stream of customers looking for a little respite from the activities across the street.

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This particular afternoon features the interplay of two philosophical funeral workers, a professor who may or may not be having an affair with one of his students, a flooded basement, a damaged coffin, a misplaced cell phone, a lost lottery ticket, a waitress frustrated with her bad luck with online dating, a befuddled old lady and a host of other characters, all of whom Manolo greets with a friendly smile and an offer of watered-down cognac. The cast will feature Robert Asencio of Elizabeth, Paula Carrerio of Millburn, Merari Cortes of Edison, Milagros Cortes of Linden, Flora Cadillo of Union, Willy Illas of Perth Amboy, Norma Melendez of Montclair, Lili Rebelo of Cranford and Jose A. Rivera of Union.

Performances will take place at the CDC Theatre, 78 Winans Ave. In Cranford, NJ, on Thursday July 26, Friday July 27 and Saturday July 28, all at 8pm, with a matinee performance on Saturday July 28 at 2pm. Knowing it wouldn’t truly be a Festival without appropriate music and food, the Producers of the event are looking to provide complementary refreshments on Opening Night, in the spirit of the evening. CDC Theatre looks forward to exploring the richness of la cultura Latina, as reflected in plays that mirror the pride, the drama and comedy of the human experience, as showcased through a Spanish language lens.

Tickets will be available for purchase through the website www.cdctheatre.org or available at the box office prior to each performance