“La Reina Yolanda,” a one-woman show by Leesa Castaneda, on its way to Fringe

Orlando Fringe

“La Reina Yolanda” is a one-woman show by Leesa Castaneda that will be performed at the Orlando Fringe Festival next month.

ORLANDO – The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival kicks off at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 16 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, and runs through May 29. This year the nearly three-week long festival will feature the largest line-up of shows in its history.
The shows this year will include “La Reina Yolanda,” a one-woman show written and performed by Leesa Castaneda, a veteran actress in the Orlando theater scene. She’s one of the founders of the Greater Orlando Actors Theatre, or GOAT.
“La Reina Yolanda” will chronicle one woman’s life, from her childhood to her eventual battle with Alzheimer’s. As Leesa noted, “Sometimes the greatest journeys are the ones in our own mind.”
The play will focus on Yolanda, a fierce Latina whose life becomes beset by tragedy and hardship. To cope, she leans on her sharp mind — which becomes considerably more difficult as her mind becomes ravaged by Alzheimer’s.
Yolanda faces some agonizing choices: the fight for her mind, sense of self and the family she’s fought hard to protect.
Freeline Media reached out to Leesa to talk about the play, which was directed by her husband, veteran director and actor Paul Castaneda. Continue reading

Revisiting the 1920s with Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost”

Jim Helsinger as Don Adriano de Armado, Jacob Dresch as Costard, and Maxel Garcia as Moth star in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Love’s Labour’s Lost.” (Photo by Tony Firriolo.)

ORLANDO — Were the 1920s one of the last truly great decades, a time of economic prosperity when the nation was not at war, when Jazz was born and the parties never stopped? Was it the last moment of wide-eyed optimism before the Great Depression, World War II and other upheavals brought everything crashing back to Earth?
Hard to say. But it’s worth noting that if anyone books a ticket to see the Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of William Shakespeare’s “Love’s Labour’s Lost,” they should also catch the ongoing production of “The Great Gatsby”.
Both plays are set in the 1920s — “Gatsby” in New York and “Love’s” in Navarre, Spain, and the production values in both are first rate — from the music of the era to one of the true stars of both shows, the fine work of the Shakespeare’s Swingin’ Sewin’ Society and Costume Shop Volunteers, who made those elegant outfits that evoke the 1920s. Try to see both productions, if you can, because they most definitely work together in this evocation of a bygone era. Continue reading

Hey, Artists: Freeline Media is covering Orlando Fringe

Freeline Media will be covering the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in May. (Photo by Michael Freeman.)

ORLANDO — Artists, producers and directors who have a show in the upcoming Orlando Fringe, take note: Freeline Media will be covering the festival in May, so get your press releases and contact information ready. The curtains are gearing up to rise!
The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival was created in 1991 by Terry Olson (who is now the director of the Orange County Division of Arts and Cultural Affairs), Andy Anthony and Rick Kunst, and held in 1992 in downtown Orlando. The concept was simple: a festival featuring multiple theatrical shows, most in venues in empty storefronts. In 2004, the festival started to relocate to Loch Haven Park, and from 2005 on, the festival has been held entirely in that park and in nearby Ivanhoe Village. It’s the longest running Fringe Festival in the United States.
This 14-day festival is held in May, leading up to Memorial Day Weekend. Continue reading

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