Little Stars Are Doing Big Things at The Castillo Theatre

The All Stars Project Inc. is a 100 percent privately funded organization dedicated to the development of minorities and the less fortunate through the arts, theatre and performance.  Centrally located on 42nd Street in the heart of NYC’s theatre district, is their spacious 31,000 square foot learning center, complete with four theatres, several rehearsal spaces and a host of future Broadway stars.

There are a plethora of programs to choose from – an adult improvisation group, youth theatreUX, a development institution for people of all ages – but last night, I had the pleasure of catching a dress rehearsal of the first part of the Young Playwrights from Castillo festival which opens tonight and runs through Sunday.

The festival, which also has a second part that runs June 24-26, consists of three provocative new plays written by young playwrights who graduated from the Youth Onstage! program. 

Bruised by Sita Sarkar, directed by Brittney Jensen
I Am What I Am Not by William H.E.J. Santos, directed by Ben Vershbow
Nine Falls From Grace: The Political Guide To Navigating Heaven by Darnelle Cadet, directed by Ruby Lawrence.

Hot button topics such as religion, the afterlife, politics, mental health and womanhood are not simply addressed but tackled head on in this two hour festival full of solid acting.

One of the highlights: Jesse Vega (picture a young John Leguizamo) who ignites the stage with charisma, presence and natural comedic timing as Hector in I am What I am Not. As does his scene partner Kimarra Cannonier, who plays a disgruntled, gay therapist who stumbles upon a drunken Hector in the park and tries to give him an impromptu therapy session much to his chagrin.

Performances are one weekend only: Friday, March 4 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 5 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, March 6 at 2:30 p.m.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students and seniors. Group rates are available. Tickets can be purchased through the Castillo Box Office at 212-941-1234 or go to


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