By Tim Wheeler
In Room 201 of the Spectrum Theater on Fountain Street here on Grand Rapids Community College’s campus, a small group of talented actors gather to tell a story about diversity and hip hop.
“Welcome to Arroyo’s,” written by Kristopher Diaz, may be a lesser known and relatively newer play, but that did not stop GRCC from taking on the diverse and unique story about Puerto Rican and hip hop culture.
“If I had to put it into one sentence, I would say it is a love letter to hip-hop,” said Stage Manager and Assistant Director Danira Stanojevic, 23.
This is Stanojevic’s first time being an “actual stage manager” and she is excited to be working with the talented students, and some highschoolers, on this production.
Sky Rodriguez, 18, a junior at University Preparatory Academy, has found himself in yet another GRCC show as a chorus/dancer despite not being a traditional student.
“I am dual enrolled,” Rodriguez said.
Last year when taking Intro to Theater, he was approached to audition for the show “Wilderness” and immediately said he was going to audition and after he was excited he got the part despite being only in high school.
“I am very proud,” Rodriguez said when speaking of being apart of GRCC theater.
Marck Kiselevach, 22, a personal interest student here at GRCC, is excited to be taking part in his second GRCC production where he plays Alejandro.
“I travel around the midwest to do workshops,” Kiselevach said, explaining his passion for theater.
The show met with some adversity with the audition process coming in conflict with the tornadoes West Michigan experienced in early September. “We even had to add extra audition dates for students,” Stanojevic said. But they now have their full cast and they are ready to go.
“It was a fairly interesting audition process compared to other productions I have auditioned for,” Kiselevach said. “You knew it was going to be different from the get-go when the audition sheet asked for moving or dancing experience.”
The show will include some “traditional hip hop dance moves,” Kiselevach said, which after months of rehearsals they hope to perfect.
“Welcome to Arroyo’s” will play at GRCC’s Spectrum Theater at 8 p.m. on Nov. 7-9. Tickets are $12 but only $5 for GRCC students if they have their Raider Card on them at the door. GRCC will also provide live audio description for audience members who are blind or have low vision.
Theater at GRCC is an exciting community to be a part of Stanojevic said, adding if you are “chasing that dream” to definitely join local theater.
“Grand Rapids may not seem like that big of a city but we have so many wonderful theaters,” Stanojevic said. “Theater is so enriching and it changed my life, and I think everyone here can say the same thing.”