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Pedro J Torres

Brooklyn Academy of Music

New York City’s Jay Z

New York City’s Jay Z

Among the most notable hip-hop acts to come from New York City is Jay-Z. The Brooklyn-based mogul has climbed up from a dire childhood to now be married to Beyonce, the reigning Queen of Pop, and boast a vast empire including real estate, a record label, a streaming service, a clothing line, and more.

Born Shawn Carter in 1969, Jay Z grew up with his mother and three siblings in a housing project after their father left the scene. From a very early age, Jay Z was musically inclined and very much enjoyed wordplay and language. However, struggling with poverty, young Shawn turned to selling drugs and becoming heavily involved in the underground drug trade. As he pursued rapping as a passion, he learned a lot of business acumen, management, and cutthroat tactics from his time dealing drugs. In more recent interviews, Jay Z has expressed his regret for actively making money from the destruction of his community but is thankful for the lessons he heard.  

Multiple albums, numerous record deals, and countless features later, Jay Z and his wife have become the power couple to be reckoned with and have used their fame and wealth to bring attention to some important social issues and fund a few big moments in hip-hop and US history at large. Here’s a short rundown of the cultural influence Jay-Z and his family have had:

Music Stylings: Jay Z’s rapping style is highly syncopated with a fast flow and strategic pauses that allow for more structure. Having established a unique style, other rappers followed suit, and Jay-Z’s influences can be heard from artists from Kanye West to Alicia Keys. His signature sound has become synonymous with Brooklyn, and his hit song “Empire State of Mind” Can be heard at every Yankees game.

College Funding: Jay-Z and Beyonce are both passionate about funding higher education for low-income students who want to pursue a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, especially from a Historically Black College or University (HBCU). Through the Shawn Carter Foundation, Jay-Z and his mother have helped subsidize if not fully cover the cost of secondary education for eager young adults who need financial assistance.

Smart Financial Decision: In addition to his appearances on the Billboard Top 100, Jay-Z has diversified his assets and enjoys a comfortable income as a result. An entrepreneur who scraped his way out of a miserable situation, Jay is now a huge advocate for financial literacy and better money practices for others stuck in poverty. In his music, he discusses the importance of ensuring financial stability for generations to come and marketing one’s talents.

Support for Families Affected by Gun Violence: After the tragic and untimely death of Trayvon Martin, Beyonce and Jay Z have together helped to support Sybrina Fulton, his mother, as she tours the planet advocating for an end to racism and violence in general. The power couple has helped her to host events and has appeared at gatherings to support and uplift moms who have lost children to street violence.

Broadway Begins March 29th with “Three Tall Women”

Broadway Begins March 29th with “Three Tall Women”

Despite the cancellation of the first two preview performances on February 27 and 28, the previews for Three Tall Women, the Broadway debut of Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning 1994 drama, began on March 1. The show, which stars Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf, and Alison Pill, is still set to open on March 29 at the Golden Theatre.

The autobiographical play made its debut in 1994 at the Vineyard Theatre. Albee based it on his upbringing in New England and his rejection by his adoptive parents after coming out as gay. The three women have no names, just A, B, and C. After having won two Oscars for Women in Love and A Touch of Class and having been a Labour MP in the UK for 23 years, Glenda Jackson returns to Broadway in the role of A, an rich woman in her 90s with dementia. After having recently been nominated for an Oscar for Lady Bird and also after returning to the role of Jackie on TV’s Roseanne that earned her three Emmys, Laurie Metcalf is joining in the role of B, A’s caretaker. Joining them is Tony Award-nominee Alison Pill as C, who takes care of A’s legal affairs. In the first act, B and C listen to A’s disjointed ramblings about her life, her childhood, her marriage, and her estrangement from her gay son. In the second act, B and C become younger versions of A.

The director of show is Joe Mantello, who, among his long list of theatre credits, directed both the stage and screen versions of Love! Valour! Compassion! Its producer, Scott Rudin, has a long list of Broadway and Hollywood credits in addition to having an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, which is an achievement that very few people are able claim, and he was the first producer who can do so. The show has been produced before in New York in an off-Broadway production, in Vienna, Austria, and twice on London’s West End, and it marked a return to form for Albee. But it is only now that it is finally coming to Broadway in a production full of award winners both on and off the stage.

Are You Going to the 2018 New York Musical Festival?

Are You Going to the 2018 New York Musical Festival?

Pedro J Torres Musical Festival 2018

The center of New York City’s theater district is home to a major organization in the musical industry. The New York Musical Festival (NYMF) is a festival that promotes musical theater, and is aimed at enhancing the vitality of musical theater every year, keeping theater alive and well. The New York Musical Festival has been in existence for over a decade and continually introduces new content to all attendees in NYC. According to NYMF, over the course of the festival, over 400 shows have premiered. This has led to the introduction of more than 8,000 artists to over 300,000 audience members. In 2013, the New York Musical Festival received a Drama Desk Award, a sign of the festival’s significance to the world of musical theater.

The Festival Details

For the 2018 New York Musical Festival, varying passes are offered. These passes offer the ability to not only book tickets in advance of the general public but also offer pass holders the chance to enter the theater before individual tickets holders. There are three levels of passes, ranging from $124-$559.

1.) Pass – $124

This is an individual pass. It provides a combination of one lanyard and pass in addition to four tickets and one invitation to the opening night celebration of the festival.

2.) Pass Plus – $297

With up to a combination of two passes and two lanyards, this pass is great for couples or friends. It provides ten tickets, two invitations to the opening night celebration of the festival, and exclusive access to all readings for two people.

3.) Pass Premium – $559

The pass premium features a combination of up to four passes and lanyards, making it great for small groups. Up to twenty tickets are included with the pass in addition to four invitations to the opening night celebration of the festival. Additionally, the premium includes exclusive access to all readings for four people and four invitations to the closing night celebration.

These passes are not necessary for entrance to the 2018 New York Musical Festival, but give holders additional benefits in addition to discounts off of the festival tickets.

Involvement

Outside of the musical festival itself, the NYMF participates in and hosts a variety of community programs. One of their most notable programs is the Next Link Project, which trains musical theater writers and provides mentorship for the writers.

The New York Musical Festival is one of, if not, the largest annual musical theater events in the United States. Past performances have proved fruitful for many performers at the festival, as multiple performers have gone to perform on Broadway, nationally, and globally.

About Pedro J Torres

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has had a long and illustrious history long before Pedro J. Torres arrived on the scene a few years ago.  Beginning in 1861, the inaugural performance included Mozart and Verdi on the program.  First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln attended a performance during their opening week.

One of Pedro J. Torres favorite things about BAM are their incredible and historical venues, like the opera house in Fort Green on Lafayette Avenue.  The Howard Gilman Opera House is known for its ornate tall ceilings. Known for its Beaux arts style and start of the art sound system, the venue is frequently sought after for major stars, orchestras, and events.

With Pedro J. Torres immense business experience in Venezuela, he is able to offer his guidance and expertise in BAM’s different business areas.  BAM turned their former ballroom into a café to offer dinner to patrons before live events. This café even has an event series of free concerts for the public to enjoy.

The café began in 1999, and the performances are currently curated by Darrell McNeill.  The café has a helped many artists launch their careers and has also served as a home for intimate performances by established artists.  Artists include Licorice, Early Grehound, Sekou Sundiate, Daniel Bernard Roumain (DBR), Haale, ETHEL, Travis Sullivan’s Bjorkestra, Eisa Davis, Morley, Carl Hancock Rux, and Stew.

Established artists include TV on the Radio’s Kyp Malone, Jeffrey Gaines, Joe Bataan, Corey Glover, Marc Ribot, Don Byron, Gary Luca, Fishbone’s Angelo Moore aka Dr. Madd Vibe, Grady Tate, Vernon Reid, and Marshall Crenshaw.

BAM offers a professional development program that Pedro J. Torres is excited about contributing to. The 14 month long program, which is located at the new BAM Fisher facility offers professional development and deeply discounted theater and rehearsal studio rentals to a group of Brooklyn non-profits and organizations.  The program is a collaboration with DeVos Institute of Arts Management at the Kennedy Center. Every year they focus on a new discipline to help their participates have long term success.

Pedro J Torres is excited to be a part of this legendary institution.

Pedro J. Torres is on the board of trustees at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, located in scenic Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York.  As a fan of Avant guard music in the burgeoning Brooklyn arts scene, he feels right at home in this role.