Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Working Theater in Collaboration with Magnum Foundation Present World Premiere of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s La Ruta, April 10 – May 12, 2013

ImageProxyWorking Theater, the 28-year-old Off-Broadway company, in collaboration with Magnum Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the Magnum Photos legacy and supporting photography around social justice issues, have joined forces to present Ed Cardona, Jr.’s LA RUTA, a world premiere immigration-themed play that will be staged inside the trailer and cab of an actual 48’ truck. An accompanying photographic installation about the immigrant experience will also be presented. This unique collaboration will shed a deeper light on one of today’s hot-button issues – immigration reform. Previews begin April 10, 2013 with an official press opening on April 18th. Tamilla Woodard, known for her innovative site-specific work (HOTEL PROJECT), will direct the production. The play will be performed in various communities throughout New York City in order to directly realize Working Theater’s mission to bring theater to working people.

LA RUTA, an immersive theatrical experience, follows the crossing of several undocumented immigrants into the U.S. to make a better life for themselves and their family. Audiences experience the journey alongside the characters, surrounded by the harsh reality of their environment and the poignant narrative unfolding within.

Magnum Foundation is organizing a photo-based installation–featuring both award-winning Magnum photographers and emerging documentary photographers–outside of the truck that will focus audiences on the experiences of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Images from the renowned Magnum Photos archive will also be projected within the performance to illuminate the interior worlds of the characters.

“Through LA RUTA, we, at Working Theater, in partnership with Magnum Foundation, hope to raise awareness about the plight of undocumented immigrants,” said Working Theater’s Producing Artistic Director Mark Plesent. “Our goal is to challenge our diverse communities to consider the experience of this large, yet too often misrepresented immigrant constituency.” The cast includes Brian D. Coats (MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, Public Theater), Zoë Sophia Garcia (THE ELABORATE ENTRANCE OF CHAD DEITY, Actors Theatre of Louisville), Annie Henk (THE PLAY ABOUT DAD, 59E59), Sheila Tapia (CQ/CX, Atlantic Theater Company), Bobby Plasencia (VESUVIUS, South Coast Repertory), Gerardo Rodriguez and Jacob Alden Roa.

The production team includes Raul Abrego (scenic design), Emily DeAngelis (costume design), Lucrecia Briceño (lighting design), Dave Tennent, IMA & Kate Freer, IMA (projection design), Sam Kusnetz (sound design), and Production Core (Production Supervision)The production stage manager is Michael Aaron Jones and the assistant stage manager is Sarah Levine.

Community partner venues include, the Bronx United Federation of Teachers (Bronx), St. John the Divine (Manhattan), International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (Queens) and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden (Staten Island).

The performance schedule is April 10th through May 12th, Wednesday through Saturday at 6:30 pm and 8:30 pm and Sunday at 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Additional performances in Manhattan on Tuesdays at 6:30 and 8:30.

Tickets are $25 (General Admission) and $23 (Students/Seniors/Union Members) and may be purchased in advance at or by calling 800-838-3006. For group rates, contact Due to mature content, patrons under the age of 13 will not be admitted. Latecomers will not be admitted. The running time is 70 minutes without intermission.

WORKING THEATER (Producer). Now in its 28th season, Working Theater is New York’s only professional Off-Broadway theatre company dedicated to producing plays for and about the working men and women of New York. Past productions include Lisa Ramirez’s play about nannies, EXIT CUCKOO directed by Colman Domingo; Roberto Aguirre Sacasa’s KING OF SHADOWS; PORT AUTHORITY THROW DOWN; HOLD PLEASE; ABUNDANCE; RECONSTRUCTION; Israel Horovitz’s HENRY LUMPER, Rob Ackerman’s TABLE TOP; Stefanie Zadravec’s HONEY BROWN EYES and many others. For more information, visit

MAGNUM FOUNDATION (Collaborator) The Magnum Foundation champions in-depth, independent documentary photography that fosters empathy, engagement, and positive social change. The Magnum Foundation supports, trains, and mentors the next generation of photographers and seeks to increase the exposure of both historical and contemporary documentary photography in the digital age. An independent public charity, the Magnum Foundation carries forward the core values held dear by Magnum photographers and sustains the practice of high-quality documentary photography. For more information, visit

Ed Cardona, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

Ed Cardona, Jr. Photo by Lia Chang

ED CARDONA, JR. (Playwright). Ed’s play AMERICAN JORNALERO received its world premiere at INTAR Theatre in the spring of 2012; the play was also selected as a finalist by the 2011 Metlife Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition. Ed is also currently a member of Theater 167’s theatrical ensemble which is developing its next project JH3am, a collaborative work based on Jackson Heights, Queens, N.Y.C. after 3:00 am. An Artistic Associate for the Working Theater’s 25th Anniversary Season, he adapted PABLO’S CHRISTMAS (commissioned and published by Dramatic Publishing, 2009) from the children’s book by Hugo C. Martin. Ed has also been a resident playwright with the Hispanic Playwrights-in-Residence Lab at INTAR Theatre, The Professional Playwrights Unit at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre and the Hall Farm Center for the Arts & Education in Townsend, VT. He is a founding member of NY Madness. Ed received his M.F.A. in playwriting from Columbia University where he received the John Golden Award for his thesis play, PICK UP POTS! Multimedia: Photos of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s American Jornalero at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre

TAMILLA WOODARD (Director) is a director, actor and adapter residing in New York City. She is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama, an alumnus of The Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and a founding member of The Internationalists, a collective of directors from around the world creating an interactive global theatrical community. Most recent work includes co-creator of the site specific performance HOTEL PROJECT, that had its American premiere at Washington Jefferson Hotel and the Summit Grand Hotel in January 2012; VALIANT by Lanna Joffrey (InterAct Theatre); NIGHTLANDS by Sylvan Oswald (New Georges) and the development and direction of Saviana Stanescu’s POLANSKI POLANSKI (starring Grant Neale and produced by Nomad Theatricals at PS122/ SoloNOVA festival in New York City, Teatrul Odeon in Bucharest, The Sibiu International Theatre Festival, TIFF International Festival in Cluj and HERE in NYC). New Dramatists honored her with The Charles Bowden Award and the League of Professional Theatre Women with the Josephine Abady Award. She serves as an adjunct professor teaching solo performance at City College’s Center for Worker Education. More about Tamilla at

Wednesday, April 10 thru Sunday, April 14 UFT Bronx Borough Office 2500 Halsey Street, Bronx, NY 10461 For tickets:
Tuesday, April 16 thru Sunday, April 28 The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY 10025 For tickets:
Wednesday, May 1 thru Sunday, May 5 IBEW Local 3 Headquarters 158-11 Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Avenue, Flushing, NY 11365 For tickets:
Wednesday, May 8 thru Sunday, May 12 Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301 For tickets:

Other articles on Working Theater:
Working Theater presents The Best of TheaterWorks!: Stories from the 99%, at The Dorothy Strelsin Theatre at the Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex
Working Theater presents The Poetry of Philip Levine with Jeffrey Eugenides, André De Shields, Gene Gillette and Lisa Ramirez on May 7
Photos: Working Theater’s Production of Rob Ackerman’s CALL ME WALDO at Abingdon Theatre Arts Complex An Emerson-Loving Electrician Takes the Stage in Call Me Waldo
1199SEIU President George Gresham to receive Labor Leadership Award at 2011 Working Theater Annual Awards Ceremony
André De Shields & Alison Fraser Star in Reading of Michael Aman’s The Unbleached American at Theater Row on 5/9
Working Theater Presents Staged Reading of Chay Yew’s Visible Cities at The Studio Theatre on Theatre Row
Photos:The Working Theater’s Off-Broadway production of HONEY BROWN EYES by Stefanie Zadravec at The Clurman
Lia Chang Photo Slideshows of Productions in the Working Theater’s 25th Anniversary Season
Multimedia: Photos of Ed Cardona, Jr.’s American Jornalero at the Dorothy Strelsin Theatre
Photos of André De Shields in Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory: From Douglass to Deliverance
Achieving the American Dream, Professional Charmer Andre De Shields Sees Theater is a Way to Life
André De Shields Celebrates Black History Month Starring in The Working Theater’s Production of Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory at The Abingdon in February 2010
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang

Lia Chang

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist.

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