For our Season 2 finale, producer Sammy Lopez joins us to talk about the recently launched Industry Standard Group, his experiences growing up in LA and going to see shows with his abuelita, and his love for the art of gathering.  


Sammy Lopez is a Latinx artist dedicated to uplifting underrepresented voices and stories through the arts. He is a producer, director, digital marketer, and social media manager working on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and online. He is on the producing and social media team for The Old Vic's A CHRISTMAS CAROL and co-produced BE MORE CHILL on Broadway. With Holtzman-Lopez Productions he is developing the new musicals GUN & POWDER (2020 World Premiere at the Signature Theatre), HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO (In Development), BRADICAL (Zoom Edition now streaming on Broadway On Demand), as well as producing the Syracuse University Lewis Hecker Drama Showcase. 


As a social media manager, Sammy is on the team at Marathon Digital representing Broadway productions, regional theatres, and other live entertainment clients in New York City and he is the Chief Media Strategist of, a new website dedicated to promoting artists by removing traditional barriers of entry in theater. In Los Angeles, he spent time developing the social media strategy at Center Theatre Group's Mark Taper Forum, Ahmanson Theatre, the Kirk Douglas Theatre, in addition to working on the LGBTQIA+ Chicano activist/performer Dan Guerrero's acclaimed solo show GAYTINO. 


He is a Supporting Teaching Artist with CO/LAB Theater Group, a non-profit organization offering individuals with developmental disabilities a creative and social outlet through theater and he is proud to be on the New 42 Board of Directors, opening new worlds to young people and families at the New Victory Theatre. Lopez is a founding member of The Industry Standard Group (TISG), a multicultural commercial investment and producing organization strategically formed to promote work reflecting diversity and increase the presence of BIPOC investors and producers in the commercial producing arts and entertainment field. Sammy is a graduate of the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts and the College of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University. 


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On December 4, 2016, The Sol Project officially launched its initiative with the opening night of Alligator by Hilary Bettis, in partnership with New Georges. This week, David and Joey catch up with Hilary to chat about what the future of the American Theatre looks like, what it’s like to go from writing for the stage to writing for the screen, and cultural competency when producing stories of underrepresented communities.


Hilary Bettis is a critically-acclaimed playwright whose work has been developed and produced all over the country including, Roundabout Theatre, New Georges, The Sol Project, Miami New Drama, Studio Theatre, Alley Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, amongst others. Accolades include, Egerton Foundation New Play Awards, National Endowment for the Arts Grant, and a finalist for the Blackburn Prize, Kendeda Award, Nuestras Voces National Playwriting Competition, American Blues Theater’s Blue Ink Award, amongst others.


In television, Bettis won the 2019 Writer’s Guild of America Award for her work on the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe and Emmy Award winning FX series “The Americans.” She wrote for the Hulu miniseries “The Dropout,” starring Kate McKinnon, and Amazon’s “Rodeo Queens” starring Dakota Johnson and Fred Armisen. She’s an alumni of the Sundance Institute Episodic TV Lab, and is developing projects for AMC, Hulu, and PatMa. She’s a graduate of The Juilliard School. Proud member of The Kilroys and WGAEast.


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This week, David and Joey chat with Helen Hayes Award-winning performance artist Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi to hear about her incredible upbringing by a family of artists, the road that lies ahead for Black and Brown trans and gender nonconforming (TGNC) people post the 2020 election, and the importance of the role an artist plays in our society. Today’s episode is released in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance.  

Dubbed "The Ancient Jazz Priestess of Mother Africa", Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi is a Black, African, Cuban, Indigenous, American Trans performance artist, author (Yemaya’s Daughters, Brew, Wither, Baltimore: A Love Letter, Keeper, Remains: A Gathering Of Bones, Incarnate, For Black Trans Girls Who Gotta Cuss A Mother Fucker Out When Snatching An Edge Ain’t Enough, Solace, Infrastructure Of A Nation). 

She is a Helen Hayes nominated actress, author, educator, speech writer and Helen Hayes Award winning Playwright (Klytmnestra: An Epic Slam Poem (2020), For Black Trans Girls…, Ghost/Writer, The Diaz Family Talent Show, Quest of The Reed Marsh Daughter, The Dance of Memories), Advocate, Dramaturg, a 2x Helen Hayes Award nominated choreographer (2016, 2018) and co-editor of the Black Trans Prayer Book.

She is the founder of The Inanna D Initiatives, which curates, produces and cultivates events and initiatives designed to center and celebrate the work of TGNC Artists of Color.

Considered one of the most prolific artists of our time, she is the first Trans woman of color to be nominated for a Helen Hayes Award (2016) and in DC to publish a work of Fiction (Yemaya’s Daughters (2013).  

She is the curator and a co-producer of Long Wharf Theatre’s Black Trans Women At The Center: An Evening of Short Plays.

Her radio play, Quest of The Reed Marsh Daughter, can be heard on the Girl Tale’s Podcast, and her play The Diaz Family Talent Show can be read on the Play at Home Website.

She was featured as Patra in King Ester and acted as a story consultant for the series. She wrote episode 9 (Refuge) of Round House Theater’s web series Homebound, and was one of the writers for Arena Stage’s short film The 51st State.

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Welcome to the second half of our fall season! This week, David and Joey chat with Obie Award-winning actor Liza Colón-Zayas to hear about her legacy with LAByrinth Theater Company, her long-time relationship with playwright Stephen Adly Guirgis, and the importance of visibility and representing the full spectrum of humanity on stage and screen. 

Liza Colón-Zayas is an original member of LAByrinth Theater Company. She earned the 2020 Obie, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards for her performance in Stephen Adly Guirgis’s critically acclaimed Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven. She has originated roles in eight Guirgis plays including: In Arabia We’d All Be Kings, Our Lady of 121st Street, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and The Little Flower of East Orange - all directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Liza received a Lortel Award for her performance in the Pulitzer-winner Between Riverside and Crazy. She received an HOLA Award for the Pulitzer-winner Water By The Spoonful by Quiara Algeria Hudes as well as Lortel nominations for Living Out, and Mary Jane. Liza toured Europe in The Story of a Soldier and Othello, directed by Peter Sellers. She has a recurring role as Principal Fallow on the Peabody Award-winning series David Makes Man (OWNTV).

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In this episode leading up to the 2020 Presidential Election, David and Joey sit down with directors Estefanía Fadul and Galia Backal to discuss their collaboration on Carla’s Quince, an immersive virtual experience that uses theatricality to empower Latinx voters in the U.S. to use their vote to create the change they want to see in their communities.


Estefanía Fadul (she/her) is an NYC-based Colombian-American director and producer of new work. Recent: Carla’s Quince created with The Voting Project, Noelle Viñas’ Zoom Intervention (Weston Playhouse, NYTimes Critics Pick), Christina Quintana’s Azul (Southern Rep) and Scissoring (INTAR), Stefan Ivanov’s The Same Day (Sfumato Theatre, Bulgaria), and Preston Max Allen and Jessica Kahkoska’s Agent 355 (Chautauqua, NYSAF). Estefanía is the inaugural recipient of New York Stage and Film’s Pfaelzer Award, an alumna of the Drama League’s Fall Fellowship and TV Directing Fellowship, O’Neill/NNPN National Directors Fellowship, Foeller Fellowship at Williamstown, Van Lier Fellowship at Repertorio Español, and NALAC Leadership Institute. She is a co-leader of the New Georges Jam, and a member of the Latinx Theatre Commons steering committee, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and SDC. B.A. Vassar College.


Galia Backal (she/her) has acted as director and creator for collaborative works including A Very Girly Story (EAT), One Day Older (Theatre Row), Silence (The Tank), Nightcap (Match:Lit Theatre Company), and If I Dare (Layton Studios). Galia is a cohort member of the 2020 – 2021 Roundabout Directors Group, The Civilians 2020 - 2021 R & D Group. She has worked with The Sol Project, The Drama League, Samuel French, Atlantic Theater Company, The Broadway League, Theatre for a New Audience, The Tank, and LaGuardia Performing Arts Center. Recent productions include Inútil by Alisha Espinosa (Teatro LATEA), Canciones Project Workshop by Beto O’Byrne (The Sol Project), The End Of Incorporated Filth by Chloe Hayat (The Chain Theater), West Side Story (Bay View Music Festival), Latch by Tom Mularz (Samuel French OOB Festival), Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph (Schaeberle), and July 7, 1994 by Donald Margulies (Schaeberle). 




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This week, David and Joey kiki with star of screen and stage Robin de Jesús about his role as Emory in The Boys in the Band, figuring out how to age gracefully like Jane Fonda, and never losing the will power to stay curious. 


Robin de Jesús is a three-time Tony Award nominated actor. He received his first major role in the 2003 cult-classic film, Camp. He has since gone on to perform in various Broadway productions including: Rent, In The Heights (for which he received his first Tony nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical), La Cage Aux Folles (his second nomination), Wicked, and The Boys in the Band (for which he received his third nomination).

Additional theater credits include the Paper Mill Playhouse's productions of Grease and Godspell, the Shakespeare Theatre of NJ's production of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, the St. Louis Muny production of Aladdin as the title character, and the off-Broadway productions of Malpractice Makes Perfect, Zorba Musicals in Mufti, Patti Issues, Domesticated, and Homos or Everyone in America.

Robin can also be seen in various feature films and television projects such as Gun Hill Road (2011), Hair Brained (2013), How to Make it in America (2010) and in the recurring role of "Jose Silva" on Law & Order: SVU. He can be seen in the newly released Netflix film adaptation of The Boys in the Band (2020), produced by Ryan Murphy, where he reprises his Tony award-nominated role. He is currently in production for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film adaptation of Tick Tick Boom.


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On this episode, David and Joey celebrate the launch of La Gente: The Latinx Theatre Design Network with three of its organizing members: Ana Maria Aburto, Regina Garcia, and Tanya Orellana. They talk about the origins of the network, the call for V.E.A. (visibility, engagement, and advocacy), and the abolition of unpaid/underpaid work.


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Welcome to the fall 2020 season of SolTalk! In this episode, Sol Project Associate Artistic Director David Mendizábal and Associate Producer Joey Reyes chat with director Lileana Blain-Cruz about some of her most recent projects, being a theatre artist in the time of sheltering-in-place, and what it means to create a safe rehearsal space. 

Lileana Blain-Cruz (she/her) is a director from New York City and Miami and was recently announced as resident director at Lincoln Center Theater. She is a recipient of a Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award and an Obie Award for Marys Seacole at LCT3. Recent projects include Anatomy of a Suicide at The Atlantic Theater Company, Fefu and Her Friends at Theater For a New Audience, Girls at Yale Repertory Theater, Faust at Opera Omaha, and The House That Will Not Stand at New York Theater Workshop. 

She was a member of the Lincoln Center Director’s Lab, an Allen Lee Hughes Directing Fellow at Arena Stage, and a Usual Suspect of New York Theater Workshop. She was awarded a 2018 United States Artist Fellowship and the Josephine Abady Award from the League of Professional Theater Women.   She received her BA from Princeton and her MFA in directing from the Yale School of Drama, where she received both the Julian Milton Kaufman Memorial Prize and the Pierre-Andre Salim Prize for her leadership and directing. Upcoming projects include Dreaming Zenzille at St. Louis Repertory Theater and McCarter, and The Listeners, a new opera by Missy Mazzoli which will premiere at Opera Norway and Opera Philadelphia. Learn more at

David Mendizábal (he/him) is an NYC based director, designer, one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company, and Associate Artistic Director of The Sol Project. Learn more about David and his work at  

Joey Reyes (they/them) is a queer and non-binary grandchild of a Mexican immigrant, born and raised in Southern California with six younger siblings. In addition to being The Sol Project's Associate Producer, they also serve as the Executive Assistant and Line Producer at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. Follow them on IG & Twitter at @mxjoeyreyes.

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The Sol Project's Founder and Artistic Director, Jacob Padrón, sits down with two Latinx actors currently on Broadway: Irene Sofia Lucio who plays Patricia in Jeremy O. Harris's Slave Play and Arturo Luis Soria who plays Jason #2 in Matthew Lopez's The Inheritance. They discuss their experience making their Broadway debuts, bringing their whole selves into the roles they play, and the importance of recognizing and learning about the legacy of Latinx artists that have come before us.

Arturo Luís Soria is currently making his Broadway debut at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre as Young Man 8 & Jason #2 in Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance through June 7th, 2020. He is a recent graduate from the acting program at Yale School of Drama, where, in addition to performing, he also produced two of his own plays at the Yale Cabaret. His solo show, Ni Mi Madre, has been featured at festivals in Chicago, as a one-night only event at Barrow Street Theater, at Yale Cabaret, and in the inaugural year of Ken Davenport’s Rave Theater Festival. In 2015, it received the Luso-American Scholarship at the DisQuiet International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal. Hilton Als of The New Yorker likened Arturo to “a young Al Pacino” for his portrayal of the fast-talking, sassy, Puerto Rican, snap queen, Tano, in the World Premiere of Hit The Wall by Ike Holter at Steppenwolf Theatre Company and then off-Broadway at Barrow Street Theatre. Arturo can also be seen recurring on season 2 of the Netflix series Insatiable. He received his BFA in acting from the Theatre School at DePaul University. 

Irene Sofia Lucio is currently on Broadway at the Golden Theatre as Patricia in Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play. Broadway: Wit. Off-Broadway: Slave Play, Love and Information (NYTW), Orange Julius (Rattlestick), Undertaking (BAM), King Liz (Second Stage), We Play for the Gods (Women’s Project). Regional credits: Yale Rep, Studio Theatre D.C., and Cal Shakes, among others. Television: “The Americans,” “Bartlett,” “Madam Secretary,” “Gossip Girl,” and “Casi casi.” Lucio co-created the web series “BUTS” (NBC Short Film Festival winner). A Princeton and YSD graduate, she is originally from Puerto Rico.

Jacob Padrón is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Sol Project. In addition to his work on The Sol Project, Padrón is the newly appointed Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. He is also on faculty at Yale School of Drama where he teaches artistic producing in the graduate theater management program. Originally from Gilroy, California, Padrón is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University (BA) and Yale School of Drama (MFA).

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The Sol Project’s Associate Artistic Director, David Mendizábal, and Producing Assistant, Joey Reyes, interview artists and activists, Guadalís Del Carmen and John Peña. They discuss anti-blackness (both within and outside POC communities), decolonizing the self, and centering pleasure in activism.

Currently based in NYC, Guadalís Del Carmen was born and raised in Chicago. She's an Ars Nova Resident Artist and a Dramatist Guild member. Her plays include Bees and Honey (The Kilroys List 2019), Not For Sale (UrbanTheater Commission/World Premier 2018, Jeff Award Nominee for Best New Play 2019), My Father's Keeper (Steppenwolf Theater's The Mix List 2018, The Kilroys Honorable Mention 2019), Daughters of the Rebellion previously titled Tolstoy's Daughters (Montclair State University New Works Initiative 2018-2019, The Kilroys Honorable Mention 2017, 50 Playwrights Project Best Unproduced Latin@ Plays 2017), A Shero's Journey (Yale Theater Magazine Issue 49, Parsnip Ship Plays Season 4), Blowout (Aguijón Theater, 2013). 

Guadalís has been part of the One Minute Play Festival in Chicago and multiple times in NYC and is a Seattle Public Theatre’s 2017 Emerald Prize nominee. She’s an artistic associate of Black Lives Black Words, through which she has written two of her ten minute plays, Blue Wall of Silence and Racial Science. Guadalís is currently Co-Artistic Director of NYC Latinx Playwrights Circle.

John Peña is an Afro-Latinx Creative Activist from Washington Heights. Combining his passion for queer art, cultural awareness, and community growth; John has founded the Reina Project. Reina Project taps from the wealth of QPOC Talent in NYC to produce spaces that center their narratives, bodies, and liberation through art. Through this John has been able to cultivate a variety of experiences in NYC from an art installation in the Bronx, to a panel at FlameCon 2019, and more. Partnering with countless community members, local orgs, and national platforms, John hopes to continue to display the beauty of QPOC autonomy, art, and liberation.

David (daveed) Mendizábal is an NYC based director, designer, one of the Producing Artistic Leaders of The Movement Theatre Company, and Associate Artistic Director of The Sol Project. Learn more about David and his work at

Joey Reyes serves as the Producing Assistant of The Sol Project and Executive Assistant at Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. They have worked as a producer, administrator, and facilitator on the east coast since late 2017. IG & Twitter: @joeykangarooooo.

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