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“GRINGOLANDIA” World Premiere at the Adrienee Arsht Center


Zoetic Stage and the Adrienne Arsht Center


for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade


County present the World Premiere of





A fascinating new play by Miami native Hannah Benitez which explores the collision of two worlds

Thursday, January 13, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. – Preview

Friday, January 14, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. – Opening Night

Through Sunday, January 30, 2022

Tickets: $55, $60*

Carnival Studio Theater


Miami, FL– Zoetic Stage (@ZoeticStageMIA) and the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County (@ArshtCenter) are proud to present the world premiere of GRINGOLANDIA, written by Hannah Benitez (@hannahbenitezzz), commissioned by Zoetic Stage. GRINGOLANDIA tells the story of a Cuban family from Miami who embarks on a journey of closure, truth and cultural connection.

 Accompanied by his millennial children, a Cuban man returns to the country from which he escaped 50 years ago on a quest to recover a precious family heirloom. Through a series of misadventures with funny and fascinating locals, Carlos, Michi and Danny find themselves in a place frozen in time, but surprisingly familiar. GRINGOLANDIA promises to be a uniquely theatrical experience with live music and video. A mixed-media event that will transport audiences to the beautiful, yet heartbreaking, island that is so close, and so far away.

This fascinating new play by this gifted young Latina playwright explores the collision of two worlds, and the importance of accepting our past in order to move into the future.

Tickets to GRINGOLANDIA are $55 and $60*. Tickets may be purchased at the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at arshtcenter.org.

The cast – all Miami natives – includes James Puig, Alicia Cruz, Stephanie Vazquez, Gabriell Salgado and Yarelis Gandul.

James Puig (Carlos) is delighted to make his Zoetic Stage debut in GRINGOLANDIA. Jim last appeared in Miami New Drama’s world premieres of The Cubans and Fake for which he received another Carbonell Award nomination. A product of South Florida theatre, Jim appeared in seven Broadway shows including, most recently, TDF’s The Prince of Broadway. Off-Broadway credits include:  New York City Center, Circle Repertory Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, Lincoln Center, Playwrights Horizons, The Actors Studio and ten productions with the New York Shakespeare Festival.  Regionally, Jim has performed at The Kennedy Center, Yale Rep, McCarter Theatre in Princeton, Denver Center, Actors’ Playhouse and in 14 productions including Rum and Coke and The Kiss of the Spider Woman at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, where he made his professional debut in 1980. TV audiences have seen him in CheersTattinger’sMiami Vice and recurring roles in I Have Reservations and All My Children.

Alicia Cruz (Michelle) is a Miami native, born and raised by a Cuban father and American mother. Before graduating from Florida International University with a BFA in Acting, she spent two years hitchhiking around the United States. This is her first Zoetic Stage production.

Gabriell Salgado (Daniel) is thrilled to be back for his second show with Zoetic Stage after making his professional debut with them as ‘The Creature’ in Frankenstein this past October. After graduating with a B.F.A. from New World School of the Arts, he went on to do several commercials, short films, and local theater productions. He was last seen in Frankenstein, previously seen in Seven Deadly Sins produced by Miami New Drama and will be seen next in Zoetic’s production of A Little Night Music in March/April. He is also currently working on Zoetic Stage’s 2nd Annual Finstrom Festival of New Work as Festival Coordinator and one of the adjudicators on the panel.

Stephanie Vazquez (Mujer) is a Miami native and New World School of the Arts college alumna currently living in New York City, where she debuted her self-written one woman show Paola y la Luna at the Tank NYC. She is excited to be making her Zoetic Stage debut with GRINGOLANDIA. Other credits include: Florida Studio Theatre’s Reading Series, GringoLandia Reading at Teatro LATEA.

Yarelis Gandul Cabrera (Musician) studied percussion in Cuba and has performed nationally and internationally with several bands.  She joined the Alba Tropical Jazz Band, made up of a selection of some of Cuban jazz music’s most recognized young people. She has been a percussionist for world-renowned artists such as Nestor Torres, Ed Calle, Jose Negroni, Donato Poveda, Francisco Cespedes among others.

Hanna Benitez

Miami native Hannah Benitez is currently a finalist for American Shakespeare Center’s contest, Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries, with her farcical adaptation of Henry 6 entitled, The 6th, or, The Patriots.  Coming up, her existential romantic comedy, Adaptive Radiation, is running at American Academy of Dramatic Arts this February in New York City. The play is then getting its third production later this year at University of Tennessee. It premiered originally at Denizen Theater in New York in 2018. Other productions of her plays include: Ashe In Johannesburg (Burning Coal Theatre), Give My Regards (Bucks County Center for the Performing Arts) and Dike (Urbanite Theatre). Her play, Dike, was developed with The New York Theatre Workshop as Director Tatiana Pandiani’s 2050 Fellowship Project. She was featured in American Theatre Magazine 6 Theatre Workers You Should Know. She is currently working on a commissioned play with Miami New Drama for their upcoming season.

GRINGOLANDIA is directed by Zoetic Stage Artistic Director Stuart Meltzer. He is the recipient of numerous Carbonell Awards for Best Director. He is also a Carbonell Award winner for Best New Work for his play The Goldberg Variations. Altogether, he has been honored with eighteen Carbonell nominations. Fuácata! or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe, a one-woman show he co-wrote with Elena Maria Garcia just finished a successful run at Actors’ Playhouse.  His directing credits include American Son, The Wolves, Sweeney Todd, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Dracula, Fun Home, Dancing Lessons, Wrongful Death and Other Circus Acts, Topdog/Underdog, The Caretaker, Sunday in the Park with George, After, Passion, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Stripped, Betrayal, Trust, Detroit, The Great God Pan, Assassins and Fear Up Harsh. He is the recipient of five Silver Palm Awards for his work as the Resident Director of Zoetic Stage.  He received his MFA in Directing from the Actors’ Studio in 2002.

“Zoetic Stage is thrilled to celebrate its 10th Anniversary with this important and relatable world premiere. Hannah Benitez has crafted a smart contemporary story that is reflective of our community, and we are excited to present the first of what we suspect will be many productions,” said Meltzer.

The play’s creative team features scenic design by Michael McKeever, properties design by Jodi Dellaventura, lighting design by Rebecca Montero, costume design by Marina Pareja, intimacy direction by Nicole Perry, sound design by Matt Corey, and dramaturgy by Kathleen Capdesuñer. For detailed cast and creative bios, click here.

PNC Bank is the presenting sponsor of the 2021-2022 THEATER UP CLOSE series. WLRN is the media sponsor. The Arsht Center’s THEATER UP CLOSE series gratefully acknowledges the founding support of Adrianne and Jerry L. Cohen.

Arsht Center Commitment to Safety

The Arsht Center remains deeply committed to the health and peace of mind of our guests, artists and staff. Based on guidance from national and local health officials, masks and proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test are required. Guests may volunteer proof of vaccination in lieu of a negative test. Learn more here. This event will be seated at full capacity. We will also maintain enhanced cleaning, sanitation and air filtration procedures. Any policy changes will be sent directly to ticketholders and updated regularly at arshtcenter.org/covid-19.

*All programs, artists, ticket prices, availability, dates and times are subject to change without notice. Visit arshtcenter.org for up-to-date information.
**Postponed from the 2019-20 Theater Up Close season.

 The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of the Miami-Dade County Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council and the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, as well as the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. The Adrienne Arsht Center also receives generous support from individuals, corporations and local, state and national foundations.

Set in the heart of downtown Miami, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is committed to welcoming and connecting ALL people to the arts, to the Arsht Center and to each other. Our stages are alive year-round with artists from around the world, innovative programming from our resident companies and local arts partners, free community events that reflect Miami’s unique identity and arts education experiences for thousands of Miami children each year.

 Since opening in 2006, the Arsht Center, a 501C3 non-profit organization, has been recognized as a catalyst for billions of dollars in new development in the downtown area, a leader in programming that mirrors South Florida’s diversity, a host venue for historic events and Miami’s hub for arts education.

Each year, we serve more than 60,000 young learners and offer more than 100 culturally diverse and inclusive education programs — many enhanced by the Arsht Center’s relationship with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, local teaching artists and Miami-based arts organizations.

The Arsht Center is also a home stage for three resident companies — Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet and New World Symphony — and a launch pad for local artists to make their mark on the international stage. Our 300+ events each year include the Center’s Signature Series of classical, jazz, Broadway, local theater and much more. We present a robust series of touring Broadway musicals direct from New York, the largest jazz series in South Florida, a major annual Flamenco Festival and an award-winning Miami-based theater program. In addition, our Family Fest, Free Gospel Sundays, CommuniTEA LGBTQ+ celebration and Heritage Fest are among dozens of free events that bring together people from all corners of our community. For more information, visit arshtcenter.org.

About Zoetic Stage

Zoetic Stage was founded in 2010 to create fresh, bold interpretations of contemporary plays and musicals, and is dedicated to enhancing South Florida’s national artistic profile by producing regional premieres and developing new works to become part of the American stage repertoire.

In 2020, Zoetic Stage was named the Best Theater Company by the Miami New Times. The theater has been nominated for an impressive 120 Carbonell Awards (of which 15 were for Best Production of the Year) and won 42, including six for Best New Work and four for Best Production of a Play or Musical. Zoetic Stage productions have received over thirty Silver Palm Awards for Outstanding Achievement.

Zoetic Stage is an Associate Member of the National New Play Network and a member of the South Florida Theater League.

Visit www.zoeticstage.org for more information.

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