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37 years later, theater company Teatro SEA continues to entertain and educate with bilingual performances

Lower East Side's Teatro SEA supports bilingual arts education
Lower East Side's Teatro SEA supports bilingual arts education 02:21

NEW YORK -- A Lower East Side theater company leads the nation in productions supporting bilingual arts education and Latin American pride.

As CBS2's Dave Carlin reported Wednesday, its shows and workshops build bridges during Hispanic Heritage Month and all year long.

Carlin found actor Federico Mallet in his dressing room, going over lines. Then, he changed into costume to become the great César Chávez.

"César Chávez and the Migrants" is on stage at a Lower East Side theater that is home to Teatro SEA.

Going strong for 37 years, the theater company entertains and educates kids with bilingual performances. Productions in repertory include "The Colors of Frida" and this new one about the Mexican-American labor leader.

Ursula Tinoco plays Delores Huerta.

"This was a hero, was a farmer from very poor and changed laws," Tinoco said. "Non-violent as well, which is also very important."

Manuel Moran is the company's founder and artistic director.

"When I was in third grade back in my hometown in Puerto Rico, a troupe like mine came to my school to present a show," Moran said. "I went to my home I say, 'Mommy, I know what I want to do. I want to do theater.'"

Moran started his company in 1985 when he was just 14 years old and then he moved in 1991 from Puerto Rico to New York City to become a student. He kept the company going and it thrived.

"So many times after a performance a grandma, or an uncle, or a mom comes to me to say, 'Thank you. I used to hear the story from my family and now I can share it with my kids.' They can actually see it in the original language or they can see it in an modern version like we do. We do everything is Spanish and English at the same time," Moran said.

"Kids come here and they see themselves on stage and they see their parents and they see their families. They see their stories and they feel proud," he added.

"These are kids that are second, third generation," Mallet said. "You see their faces light up and that reconnection that they have ... They are someone who gets it, right? Who is like my parents and my grandparents. That is priceless."

Teatro SEA tours the country and creates children's books, helping more and more young people experience the vibrant magic of theater and Latin American culture.

Performances of "César Chávez and the Migrants" will be held on Thursday and again on Saturday. 

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