A cold, empty, almost disused room dwelt within the Caguas Fine Arts Center. Those four thousand square feet that it occupied were transformed into a space that was avid for arts and culture.
From being the José Luis Moneró Hall for the past 19 years, since April it has become a welcoming space, completely transformed, ideal for plays, concerts, stand-up comedy and bohemians, in addition to other cultural activities, that you have been called Monero Cafe Theater & Bar.
As a producer, Yvonne Classwho serves as director of the Angel O. Berríos Fine Arts Center, was aware that the creation of this café theater responds to the need for smaller theaters in Puerto Rico, for the presentation of shows.
“When I take over as CEO, one of the things the Board of Directors tells me is how interested they are in developing that room. I, who have been producing all my life, knew of the need for spaces that are smaller, to do things that can be musical, bohemian and, definitely, theater pieces. That is why, for example, the Experimental Room or the Victoria Espinosa Room have more traffic, they are rented more than the larger ones. So there was a need that many producers that I had talked to had to do smaller things, “said the executive director.
For this assignment, Class brought the actor, singer and presenter Carlos Esteban Fonsecawho had expressed his interest in the creation of this concept of theater cafe, to take the reins of the new space, which seats about 200 people comfortably, located on the third level, and which presents a new workshop option for the class country art.
“In the proposal that we presented, it said that this is a café theater, a ‘night club’, a cabaret and an experimental theater room”, said Fonseca about the Moneró Café Teatro & Bar, which offers more versatility than a room, having tables for four people, a 22-foot bar with access for people in wheelchairs, a 12×16 stage, curtains, backstage, lighting and design with led lights, and its own grand piano.
“We have a space where people feel free, comfortable, with a good opportunity to move. The waiters can move easily among them, so we have preferred to keep it for 200 people, because that way the visibility is also excellent”, explained Fonseca, as the concessionaire in charge and in charge of the daily operation of the place, whose official inauguration was a show with the orchestra of Jose Luis Moneroin which tribute was paid to this Puerto Rican singer, who passed away in 2011.
Since then, according to both, the Moneró Café Teatro & Bar has been very well received and has been the stage for a variety of events, such as: “Las Cosas Extraordinarias” with Norwil Fragoso; “A bolero and a poetry” with Jorge Rivera Nieves and Tato Díaz, the play “Quintuples”, the recital “Daniel Rivera sings to Danny”, “Cómetelo Despacito” with René Monclova, Alfonsina Molinary and Jorge Castro; the musical “Contratiempo”, the respective stand up comedy by Marian Pabón and Noris Joffre; the musical presentations of the Acoustic Band, Chabela Rodríguez, Maribella García, Zoraida Santiago and Ana del Rocío; the musical political parody “Hasta las Tetas” with Wilda Rodríguez, among other events.
“He has a life on his own. It is a project that we have done together, so that it could be viable. Give it a push and help, a support base, which is what the Center for Fine Arts has done. It has worked very well because there is a good atmosphere, in which you have your parking lot, all things are close, it has very good security, and it allows you to consume. People have been very happy, so it has been a great surprise, ”Class detailed, for her part.
“The place I say is blessed because it has taken its own course. He has been talking to us, he has been telling us… We have seen that people are looking for good jobs there. The better the work we present, the more people come. Sometimes that’s the complete opposite of what happens in show business, where the slacker the job, the more people back them. Here we have had the pleasure that, the better the work, the more people come to see it”, assured Fonseca, who announced that for next year the presentations of singers such as Chucho Avellanet, as well as Danny Rivera, are planned.
Likewise, as part of the setting of this café theater, it has some pieces by the engraver, graphic designer, painter, draftsman and professor Nelson Sambolín, which permanently adorn the walls.
For Fonseca, the Moneró Café Teatro & Bar has been an extraordinary success, far beyond what he expected in the first few months, and one that promises to continue moving forward. As part of the upcoming plans, as he pointed out, is to present pieces close to the classics.
“Precisely today, when I have a day so full of work, one has to be grateful in life for the things that one lives, instead of complaining. I am at a time when I have a job, that I don’t have a minute to take time off, but far from complaining about being overworked, I thank God every day, because I am living and doing exactly what I am passionate about and what I love. I am more than grateful for the opportunity to do this job and also for the end of the alliance we have made”, said Fonseca.
Finally, Class added that with this space a workshop is also created for culture and art workers, as well as for new cultural entrepreneurs, where various workshops can be held during the daytime, which does not compete with the regular schedule of the theater cafe.
“We want to make it accessible to people. Having a variety with quality, being a space where those cultural managers, those people who want to do smaller things, can do it. At the same time, have a space where cultural and educational activity is being generated all the time. Honestly, I have it as a personal project because, from a room that was cold, it has been converted into a theater cafe because I had the blessing of meeting Carlos Esteban, who had the vision and who also wanted his own vision that has been able to fit perfectly and that has moved. It’s like the universe conspired so that it could happen and happen in an extraordinary way, “he said.
- l“I am menopausal and what”, with Marian Pabón, November 12
- Aníbal Ayala, in concert, celebrating big, November 13
- “Comedia Improvpia”, directed by Carlitos Ruiz, November 17, November 8 and 22
- Chicks, Intimate, November 18
- “La Pepa está en la Ashford”, with Norwill Fragoso, November 19
- “Dreuxilla Divine, 4 balls”, November 26
- “Christmas spoil”, with Silverio Pérez, Chucho Avellanet, Aidita Encarnación, Manny Trinidad, December 16 and 18
- “Together, but this is cab…”, with Herbert Ceruz and Héctor Méndez, December 17