Mother and son acting duo Jose and Teresa Yenque to headline ensemble virtual reading of Flowers Behind the Mountain
— Event recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month with donations supporting non-profit Arts for a Better Tomorrow —
NEW YORK, NY and LOS ANGELES, CA – October 4, 2020 – (LATINX NEWSWIRE) – On Friday, October 9th an ensemble cast of Hispanic Hollywood actors are joining forces for a virtual reading of award-winning play Flowers Behind the Mountain. Written by Playwright Barbara Bennion, the story shares the real-life harrowing experiences of five Latino migrants crossing the border from Mexico, Central America and South America. The play is being presented in an abbreviated version by Hollywood & New York City actors Teresa Yenque, Jose Yenque, Barbara Bonilla, Francis Mateo and Patrick Michael Valley.
Proceeds from the virtual reading of Flowers Behind the Mountain will benefit Arts for a Better Tomorrow (ABT). The non-profit, founded by Jose Yenque, provides educational, therapeutic and social integration programs for underserved youth who have faced traumatic experiences.
For Yenque, both the play and Arts for a Better Tomorrow have deeply personal connections and profound meaning. Yenque reflects, “In the midst of a global pandemic, Arts for a Better Tomorrow (ABT) continues to help youth with social emotional arts education and equip them with coping skills and strength to help them and their communities. We chose Ms. Bennion’s play Flowers Behind the Mountain because of its powerful message of resilience, hope and determination to inspire solutions. This is precisely what ABT instills in our youth through the arts on both sides of the US/Mexico border.”
While Jose Yenque is best known for acting roles in major Hollywood films and television productions including Traffic, Lucifer, Law and Order: SVU and Bye Luna, it is his work with underserved and marginalized youth communities that he finds most rewarding.
He highlights, “Traffic gave me my introduction to orphanages in Tijuana, and it was eye-opening. I met youth with natural inner-strength and resilience and it was inspiring. Their instinctive abilities to survive and thrive, are what needed to be nurtured and the arts served as the perfect empowerment platform. Supporting people who have been traumatized – who have been abused, and living in challenging circumstances. “This is my passion. With COVID-19, the importance of social and emotional wellness is top-of-mind and this awareness helps our cause, Arts for Better Tomorrow.” He adds, “Our team is small, but we work hard and are determined to continue to make a difference in the lives of our youth and their communities.”
Yenque is the first to admit that it’s his mother, Teresa Yenque (30 Rock, Law and Order, The Affair), who will be the headliner for the virtual reading of Flowers Behind the Mountain. And, he wouldn’t have it any other way. He notes, “I’m so incredibly honored to be part of an ensemble with my mom, Teresa. We don’t get to work together artistically enough. She has done so much for the industry and for me. Our mother/son relationship has always been unique since I first saw her on stage at the age of 7. And now she is part of this. It’s all extra-special. This is a proud moment for me and our family. We are a passionate group of Latino actors, but we have a powerful story to tell.”
Flowers Behind the Mountain won the Mario Fratti/Fred Newman Political Play Contest and was presented at Castillo Theatre in Manhattan. Other readings have been held at City College of New York’s Conference on Immigration and Education, Penguin Repertory Theatre, Christ Church and San Marcos Mission, and Temple Beth Abraham, in Tarrytown, NY. For Jose, the play selected is deeply meaningful and incredibly timely and relevant for today’s virtual audiences. He notes, “This play is about being in search of a better life. This reading is about bravery, dignity and strength; it all starts with hope. The message from the five immigrants going through what they do, and to persevere is amazing. The play is all about hope, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but it’s important to stay positive. The other side of the US/Mexico border is like another world entirely. People are still dying and people are losing hope. We can and must do better”
The virtual reading will take place on Friday October 9th, 2020 at 6pm PST – 9pm EST.
To donate to Arts for a Better Tomorrow, visit artsbt.org.
About Arts for a Better Tomorrow
When Actor Jose Yenque visited a Tijuana orphanage in 2001, he saw the need to address the emotional wellness of youth who have experienced traumatic situations. Arts for a Better Tomorrow (ABT) provides educational, therapeutic, and social integration skills through performance arts. ABT’s mission is to provide students with the tools necessary to become active, functional, and self-sufficient members of society.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Jose Yenque, Teresa Yenque, and the entire cast are available for interviews for print publications, internet, and radio stations.