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Man Brings Theatre, Community Building, To Upper Manhattan

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The New Yorker of the Week created a theatre company in Upper Manhattan that provides arts programming for both children and adults. NY1's Sandra Endo filed the following report.

“[Reinaldo Martinez-Cubero] came here and he wanted to bring arts to Upper Manhattan,” said his student Lilith Ben-Or. “He basically did it by himself.”

Singer, actor, director, and children's theatre founder Reinaldo Martinez-Cubero, known to most as "Rey Rey", is the creator of the Pied Piper Children's Theatre -- a not-for-profit organization that teaches and provides theatre for residents of Upper Manhattan.

Martinez-Cubero created the theatre in 1999 because he says he saw a need for arts programming in Inwood and Washington Heights.

“I decided that I would start a program and I would keep it here in Inwood -- that there was a real need in Upper Manhattan,” said Martinez-Cubero. “There's a lot Downtown, but in terms of community outreach, I thought that not only was there a need for theatre, but also for children's programming.”

Operating out of Holy Trinity Church, Pied Piper has three divisions, the elementary theatre for kids ages five to 12, the intermediate theatre for young adults, and the Delphi Theatre for seasoned actors.

Production coordinator and drama teacher Dayna Beegun says Martinez-Cubero's theatre provides a sense of community.

“It's been amazing,” said Beegun. “I work in the community, I live in the community, and I've been able to bring a lot of kids from the school to Pied Piper. It's a real community-oriented theatre and I wouldn't trade it for anything.”

Aside from providing an artistic outlet for actors of all ages, Martinez-Cubero's students say that he has given them so much more.

“The skills you learn in doing theatre are the kinds of skills that can be applied anywhere,” said Peter Drivas, a Pied Piper student. “They demand a kind of focus and determination that you can really apply anywhere.”

“This community has been changing a lot over the years, but this is probably one of the biggest things that has happened,” said another student, Alex Garvey. “He brought this whole community theatre, that got not just children, but parents and families involved in theatre.

And so for creating a center where Upper Manhattan residents can teach, learn, and perform theatre, Reinaldo "Rey Rey" Martinez-Cubero is the New Yorker of the Week.

For more information on The Pied Piper Children's Theatre go to www.piedpipertheatre.org.

- Produced by Frank DiLella

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