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Award-Winning Play, Song of Extinction, to Premiere in New York City with the Hostos Repertory Theater

Thursday, October 11, 2012 - The Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture and the Hostos Repertory Company are proud to announce the forthcoming New York City premiere of Song of Extinction, an award-winning play by E.M. Lewis. Performances will be at the Hostos Community College Repertory Theater from November 8 through November 15.

Hostos Humanities Professor Ángel Morales will direct the production. Morales, who earned an M.A. in Educational Theatre from New York University, has been the Artistic Director of the Hostos Repertory Theater (Hostos Rep) since 2007. Under his leadership, the Hostos Rep also produced Borinquen Vive en El Barrio by Tere Martínez, which played in the 2008 installment of TeatroStageFest. In 2010, the company staged the English/Spanish production of Virgilio Piñera’s Siempre se olvida algo (You Always Forget Something), for which they won four HOLA awards and two ACE awards.

In 2011, the Hostos Rep was one of only five university-based companies, as well as the only one from a community college, invited to participate in the northeast regional competition of the Kennedy Center’s American College Theater Festival. The troupe presented Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s production of boom!, and cast member Abe Rasheed was a finalist in the festival’s individual category.

Morales said he is excited that Song of Extinction is coming to Hostos. “The fact that a play of this caliber is going to have its New York City premiere at Hostos, and that it could serve as an opportunity to integrate various academic disciplines, is exciting and a privilege.”

Morales added that Hostos students and faculty would be able to take advantage of the play’s diverse intellectual subject matter and participate in several post-performance discussions. Song of Extinction is also the fall selection for Hostos Community College’s “Book of the Semester” project. The “Book of the Semester” project is an interdisciplinary initiative to inspire students to read and develop critical thinking skills. With Song of Extinction, the themes that will be analyzed include literature, history, education, science, and music.

Song of Extinction is the story of a young man named Max, a musically gifted high school student who is going to fail biology if he doesn't complete a 20-page paper on extinction in a week’s time. His mother Lily is dying of cancer, and school is the last thing on his mind. His father Ellery, a biologist obsessed with saving a rare Bolivian insect, is incapable of dealing with his wife's impending death or his son's distress. Max's biology teacher, Khim Phan, tries to figure out why Max is failing the class. Helping Max, however, pushes Khim into a magical journey of his own — from the Cambodian fields of his youth into the undiscovered country beyond.

Song of Extinction explores the science of life and loss, the relationships between fathers and sons, Cambodian fields, Bolivian rainforests and redemption.

Playwright E.M. Lewis won the 2009 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award from the American Theater Critics Association (ATCA) for Song of Extinction.  The award includes a plaque and a cash prize of $25,000 — the largest national award for a new play. The Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award was created in 1977 to honor plays that are first performed outside of New York City, where there are many new play awards.

Song of Extinction also won awards at the Ashland New Plays Festival and the University of Oregon’s EcoDrama Festival, the Ted Schmitt Award for the premiere of an outstanding new play from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and the Production of the Year from the LA Weekly Awards.

The cast of the Hostos production includes award-winning Hostos student Abe Rasheed in the role of Max, Vice President Carlos Molina of the college’s Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Hostos student César Acuria, and Hostos alumnus Sergio Mauritz Ang.

Also in the cast are actors Arnold Kim and Anna Savant. Anna Savant is originally from San Francisco and has lived and performed in Munich, Tokyo and in various cities around the United States. She studied classical theater at ACT in San Francisco, is a graduate of the New Actors Workshop in New York and is a member of the ensemble of Co-Op Theater East and the Killington Shakespeare Retreat. Arnold Y. Kim originally hails from Boston, but has been connected to New York City since 1987.

Show dates and times

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
12:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Thursday, November 15, 2012
2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Repertory Theater
450 Grand Concourse at 149th Street

General Admission $10

(Free Admission for CUNY students, faculty and staff)

For more information, please call 718-518-4455 or go to

Reviews of Song of Extinction by award-winning playwright EM Lewis:

"Critic's Choice…artfully balances its theme of mortality between the intimate and the macroscopic…explores inner psychological states with remarkable eloquence and clarity…"
- The Los Angeles Times

"The interplay of the three (views on extinction) in Lewis' smart and honest script is one small push away from collective transcendence" - Los Angeles Weekly

About the Hostos Repertory Company

An initiative of Hostos Community College Humanities Department and in collaboration with the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture, The Hostos Repertory Company has been the resident theater troupe at the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture since 1983. It has been a leader in promoting arts in the South Bronx, and this production will surely add to its legacy.

The Hostos Rep incorporates both professional actors and members of the Hostos family — students, faculty, staff, and administration — in its productions. Over the years, it has earned a reputation for being an important voice in Spanish-language and bilingual theater.

In recent years, the company has participated in theater festivals such as the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Regions I & II, TeatroStageFest, and New York City parks. During the summer of 2009, it had a two-week run at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre with its acclaimed production of playwright Tere Martínez’s Borinquen Vive en El Barrio.

In October of 2010, the Hostos Rep’s production of Siempre se olvida algo (You Always Forget Something) received three HOLA (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) awards including Best Play, Outstanding Achievement in Direction, and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Cast.

About Hostos Community College:

Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, part of The City University of New York (CUNY) system, was founded in 1968.  In addition to associate degree programs that facilitate easy transfer to CUNY’s four-year colleges or baccalaureate studies at other institutions, Hostos also has an award-winning Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development that offers courses for professional development and certificate-bearing workforce training programs. In four decades, Hostos has grown from a class of 623 in the Fall of 1970 to over 7,000 students in the Spring of 2012. The College also serves an additional 12,000 students through its Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development. For more news and stories about Hostos Community College, visit www.hostos.cuny.edu.

Media Contact:
Soldanela Rivera - srlopez@hostos.cuny.edu
Rich Pietras – rpietras@hostos.cuny.edu
Phone: 718-518-6872, 718-518-6513


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