Theater Opening: YBOR CITY (The Actors’ Gang in Culver City)

Post image for Theater Opening: YBOR CITY (The Actors’ Gang in Culver City)

by Tony Frankel on February 6, 2024

in Theater-Los Angeles


Ybor City tells the story of overworked Cuban cigar factory immigrants in 1931,
who find themselves inspired by the spirit world toward revolution.

Ybor City in Tampa, Florida which dates from the 1880s, was founded by Vincente Martinez-Ybor, who moved his cigar factory from Cuba to Florida; others followed. Ybor built the community including housing for cigar factory workers, then a highly specialized trade. The area was populated by thousands of Cuban immigrants in addition to immigrants from Spain, Italy, and other countries – and for the next half century, it annually stocked the world with hundreds of millions of cigars. The entire enterprise — a town owned and populated by immigrants — was highly successful and had a strikingly multi-racial and multi-ethnic population.

Ybor City’s cigar culture flourished until the Great Depression.Worldwide demand plummeted following the mechanization of the manufacture of cigars. This modernization led to the eventual abandonment of this formerly vibrant neighborhood. To tell the stories of both this remarkable community and her own migrant experience, writer/director Mariana Da Silva has created Ybor City, a sensory-rich production that combines popular Latin songs, projections, movement by Stephanie G. Galindo, and language. Opening on March 7, 2024, it is The Actors’ Gang’s first fully bilingual production (English and Spanish supertitled in both languages), and the cast of this 90-minute work is made up from The Actors’ Gang ensemble.

The Actors’ Gang Artistic Director Tim Robbins, who has guided the writing and production, said, “This innovative approach invites audiences into a mesmerizing world where movement and language converge, transcending cultural and linguistic barriers. As the lector reads to the workers – particularly Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote and Henry David Thoreau’s essays – we also celebrate the transformative power of literature. Ybor City portrays a vibrant culture at its peak – blending historical drama, fantastic realism, supernatural intrigue, and the revolutionary spirit — as it speaks directly to the human heart.”

Ybor City
The Actors’ Gang at The Ivy Substation, 9070 Venice Blvd. in Culver City
March 7-30, 2024; Thurs-Sat at 8; Sat March 30 at 4; Fridays post-show talkbacks
for tickets ($25), call 310.838.4264 or visit Actors’ Gang
Thursdays Pay-What-You-Can at the door

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