Join us for two Amplify Series conversations next week inspired by Brian Quijada’s acclaimed one-man show WHERE DID WE SIT ON THE BUS?, produced in partnership with Victory Gardens Theater. The Amplify Series conversations are designed to discuss the themes, issues, and sociopolitical resonances of the plays on our stages.

An HD on-demand video of WHERE DID WE SIT ON THE BUS? is currently streaming now until March 7th. Click the button below to learn more about the creative team and to get your tickets now!

Monday, March 1st @ 7:30pm

GUESTS: Hilary Bettis, Brian Quijada, Mary Mendez Rizzo, and Raul Torres.

Join us for a one-hour virtual conversation with accomplished artists of both stage and screen as they discuss the current challenges in the entertainment industry, their work to disrupt problematic storytelling, and the future they are building for Latinx artists and stories.

HILARY BETTIS is a playwright, TV/film writer, and filmmaker. She hails from a Chicana mother who grew up on the border and a Southern father who grew up Methodist. Her work is a culmination of these cultures, exploring the American identity through a rural Latinx lens.  Her play 72 Miles to Go was briefly brought to life off-Broadway with the Roundabout Theatre Company at the Laura Pels Theatre, before closing due to Covid. The New York Times calling it “poignant” and Vulture calling it “powerful”. The play was a recipient of the 2019 Egerton Foundation New Play Awards, National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and a finalist for the prestigious Blackburn Prize. She’s a graduate of the Lila Acheson Wallace Playwright Fellowship at The Juilliard School, and has developed work with the Alley Theatre, O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, Studio Theatre, Miami New Drama, New Georges, amongst many others. She is currently under commission at Roundabout Theatre, Ensemble Studio Theatre, and is writing the Broadway musical book  “Lives in Limbo” with Sergio Trujillo, Michelle Rodriguez,  and Julio Reyes Copello. In television, she won a 2019 Writer’s Guild of America Award for her work on the Emmy (Best Writing) and Golden Globe (Best Drama) series “The Americans” on FX, which she wrote on for the final two seasons. Bettis is an alumni of the highly-competitive Sundance Institute Episodic TV Lab, and is currently developing projects with Hulu, AMC, PatMa, and Netflix.  Bettis is a member of the Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group at Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theater, a Usual Suspect at NYTW, an Affiliated Artist at New Georges, The Kilroys, and a proud member of the WGA. She is represented by CAA and Grandview. www.HilaryBettisWriter.com 

BRIAN QUIJADA is an actor, playwright, musician, an award-winning solo performer, and Co-Artistic Director of The Wild Wind Performance Lab at Texas Tech University. Brian was born in the Greater Chicagoland Area to Salvadoran parents. After majoring in Theater and English at The University of Iowa, and spending a year post-graduation in Chicago, Brian moved to New York City, where he is now based. His acting work has been seen all across The United States and internationally. Brian’s writing work has been produced from coast to coast and focuses on immigration, the human condition, identity, and the Latinx-American experience. As an educator, Quijada has taught solo performance, social justice, verse writing, and devised theatrical looping master classes for Carnegie Mellon University, Point Park University, Carlow College, Slippery Rock University, University of New Mexico, KCATCF Region 7 (Pacific Northwest) and Region 3 (Northern Midwest), Western Washington University, Hunter College, Los Medanos College, Texas Tech University’s Wild Wind Performance Lab, and The Kennedy Center. Quijada is a two-time Jeff Award winner in Chicago and a two-time Drama Desk Nominee in NYC. He is a proud member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre in New York City.

MARY MENDEZ RIZZO is an educator, counselor, and actor. A Rochester native, Mary’s Puerto Rican culture was the major influence in shaping her passion for education and service. Mary is a lifelong “fan-girl” of theater and movies, but it wasn’t until 2013 that she stepped on stage for the first time. Mary’s theatrical roles include playing Conchita in Anna in the Tropics (Blackfriars, 2018), Bette in The Undeniable Sound of Right Now (Blackfriars, 2018), Camila in In the Heights (Geva, 2017 and RLTC/OFC Productions, 2014), Madame Renaud in La Cage aux Folles (RAPA, 2015), and Maritza in the Rochester Latino Theater Company’s 2013 production of Mi Casa es Su Casa. In 2019, Mary was cast as a background extra in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” (scheduled for release in December 2021) and has done several national and local commercials. But her all time favorite roles are being a mom to Juliana and Joshua, and wife to Salvatore. Mary is a graduate of the Rochester City School District, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University at Buffalo, and a Masters degree in Counselor Education from SUNY Brockport. When she is not acting, Mary works as an Educational Consultant with a focus on Student Engagement and Accreditation, and as a wellness educator with a focus on healthy relationships, yoga, and personal safety for women and girls. You can learn more about Mary and her work by visiting her website imperfectmindbody.com.

RAUL TORRES is a Rochester native and School of the Arts alum whose enthusiasm for singing led him onto the path of musical theatre and acting. Although he is a vocalist at heart, Raul has spent the last several years cultivating his acting abilities in non-musical productions throughout the Rochester community. Raul has had the pleasure of bringing joy and drama to diverse audiences of venues all over the city; from Kodak Theatre on the Ridge all the way to the Strong Museum of Play. A passionate member of the Rochester Latino Theatre Company, Raul is eager to connect his love for acting and musical theatre with his passion for social equity, diversity, and inclusion. Through local theatre, Raul hopes to empower and encourage local youth to follow their passions in the arts and push beyond the limitations of society. 

Wednesday, March 3rd @ 7:00pm

GUESTS (from left to right)

Dr. Hilda Chacón, Dr. Isabel Córdova, Julio Saenz, Dr. Joseph Viera

Join us for a one-hour virtual conversation with Dr. Hilda Chacón, Dr. Isabel Cordóva and Dr. Joseph Viera, scholars and historians with a specific focus on Latinx history and identity, as they unpack topics in Latinx history and delve into the intersectional and complex nature of identity. Moderated by Julio Saenz.

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