I have an unbridled creative spirit. My creative expression began as a young boy building elaborate sets with wooden blocks and playing theatre with my Fisher Price "Cabezones" (toys with big heads). My grandmother and great-grandmother would share stories of opening nights at the Old Met, dressed in fur and long coats. They sang me lullabies and songs of Spanish Zarzuela to go to sleep. My other grandmother had LPs of Broadway shows and on a Parcheesi Game Board I would play Evita and A Chorus Line. While my identical twin brother was trying to play war with his GI Joe's, I was simultaneously and fabulously play WAR! The Musical with my toys. My toys had soliloquies, dream ballets and grand finales. It is in response to this expression that I was a professional actor for 15 years.
When I was seven years old my family visited Disney World in Orlando, FL for my little sister's 4th birthday. It was the summer of 1984 and history was being made: Walter Mondale selected Geraldine Ferraro to be the first woman nominee for Vice President. I was raised in a rarity, a Cuban-American Democrat household. The rental house was completely quiet except for my father and I watching the delegates from the different states align with the Mondale/Ferraro ticket. There was confetti, balloons, bunting (let's face it a lot of POLITICS! The Musical) and I was mesmerized. My interest in political advocacy and leadership began. I got rid of styrofoam in the High School Cafeteria. I interned on Capitol Hill before college through an internship with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. As the son of immigrants who fled Fascism and Communism in the 20th Century, I have always had a keen interest and respect for the political system and the opportunities and responsibilities I believe we have as citizens to contribute to our fellow man.
When I was young my Spanish grandfather would summer in Miami Beach and my siblings and I would spend a month with him and my grandmother at the beach. This one summer he drove down to Miami from Delaware with a globe. That summer every night we would gather at the dinner table after dinner and he would dictate to me the countries of the world and their capitals. When your family is a product of historical events and your ancestors come from different parts of the world it becomes very helpful to have an understanding of where your family comes from and what the historical events were that shaped their journeys. The lens for these conversations were also in Spanish, my native language, and this awareness of literature, history and culture from Cuba and Spain was an exciting counterpoint to the literature, history and culture that I was learning about the United States and it's British history and lineage.
So what does all of this equal. A bilingual, theater loving, politically active, global citizen and do gooder. I decided to transition to Social Entrepreneurship full time in the late Fall of 2014. For several years I was feeling unsatisfied as a professional actor. I was living the expression of the little boy who loved to sing and dance. I was living LIFE! The Musical. But I was missing a desire to really be of service and make an impact on the world that I had so carefully studied since I was a little boy. To quote Whitman, "I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable . . . " I have sounded the barbaric YAWP and now I'm moving forward. Self expressed, unapologetic, and fearlessly in service of a better world.
A little more about me:
- I'm an identical twin. The main difference is that I exercise and moisturize.
- I have an acute case of "Showtunitis" and I spontaneously break out into show tunes at the drop of a hat.
- I consumed all of Battlestar Galactica in a week and a half.
- Winter is coming.
- As a Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellow at Penn, I spent a summer in London and saw 40 shows in 5 weeks.
- I was in the Penn Glee Club when I was in college and directed their annual musical review for 4 years.
- I completed my first marathon in November 2015.
- It took me over 5 years to call myself an actor. I was a stage actor for 15 years performing primarily Shakespeare and Musical Theater in repertory companies all over the US.
- It took me 2 hours to call myself a photographer. The first wedding I photographed was in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
- I don't eat anything that lives in water - my grandmother took me to a fish market when I was 5 and since that day my twin and I swore it off.
Click here to see a video of the Penn Glee Club dance like no one is watching as a tribute to Whitney Houston's passing in 2012. I would lead the students in a line dance called the Cha Cha prior to every rehearsal to this song.