BY JACKIE STRAWBRIDGE
The Queens Theatre is putting local and international Latinas in the spotlight.
For its 17th annual Latino Cultural Festival, the Queens Theatre chose the theme “Extraordinary Women, Illuminated.”
The six-day celebration of Latin culture begins on July 29, and will feature Latina artists from the worlds of theater, dance and music.
According to Willy Mosquera, Queens Theatre’s house manager and programming director for the festival, “the original idea [of the Latino cultural festival] was to bring international artists, but at the same time be a platform for a lot of the local artists in New York.”
He said he aims to design diverse programming that brings interesting artists into contact with one another.
The 2014 program includes a reading of Barbara Colios’ play, “Cuerdas,” a bolero celebration with singers spanning three generations and a performance by the female mariachi group Mariachi Flor de Toloache.
The concept behind this year’s theme was “taking things out of the ordinary,” Mosquera said.
“One of the acts is a salsa band – all women.
People are probably used to seeing mainly men, with some women singing.”
“I feel that it doesn’t matter whether it’s men or women doing concerts.
I want people to really enjoy themselves, and probably go home thinking, ‘that was different,’” Mosquera added.
Whitestone resident Johanna Castañeda is a singer who will perform traditional and folkloric Colombian music at the festival.
She has performed in previous Latino cultural festivals, but this year’s will be her first as a solo artist.
“I actually thought it was a great idea to have a female concert,” Castañeda said.
“It’s a woman power show, which I love.”
Castañeda said that working in a male-dominated music scene has been challenging at times.
“There’s always this attitude like we are not able to do it as well, but actually I don’t think that’s the case,” she said.
“I worked in music for a long time and I’ve traveled all over the place with a lot of guys, and I think one of my messages is always trying to show that we are also able to do it.”
“Extraordinary Women, Illuminated” kicks off with a multi-media tango show from the group Glamour Tango, July 29 on the Queens Theatre mainstage at 8 p.m.
Tickets for the festival performances range from $14 to $30.
For a full listing of festival programming, visit queenstheatre.org.
Reach Jackie Strawbridge at (718)357-7400, Ext. 128, email@example.com or @JNStrawbridge.