Mom and Dad at the Kennedy Center

Mom and Dad at the Kennedy Center

photo by Susie Schaffer
the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival

Saturday, I received the Latinidad Award (which used to be called the Latino Playwrights Award) from KCACTF. My folks flew into DC for the event to tourist DC like crazy. Met some fine, beautiful folks from across the country — playwrights like me still in school, professionals firing up the field.

I am where I am because of KCACTF, and someday I hope I can pay ’em back — or forward. It’s an organization that uplifts artists still learning how to write and how to navigate the world, gives them a hand. Years ago, back in 2009 when I first walked into the massive marbled halls of the Kennedy Center, and then down into the Labyrinth of rehearsal rooms, I thought of myself as a writer who sometimes dabbles in plays. When one of the guests asked those of us gathered there how many considered ourselves “artists,” I did not raise my hand. At best, I thought myself a crafts-person.

That week, thanks to that first incredible week, I started to consider myself an artist.

Gregg Henry, AD of KCACTF, is the Patron Saint of American Theatre. I’m not sure who said it first, but they got it right, right, right. The man has changed the landscape of American theatre for the better.

It just so happens that April 15 is my birthday, and this often coincides with KCACTF. This means that I’ve turned 25, 26, 27, and 30 in D.C. thanks to Gregg Henry.

Do theatre for the people, that’s what they said the first time I was there. And I carry that with me.

That my folks got to share this time, well, that was one of the highlights of my life. Look, y’all — few artists live where they’re from. They carry their homes with them. Ain’t it a gift when the people you consider home can join you on a bit of your journey? I think it’s the best gift.

Besos y abrazos,


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