News release from Unity Coalition:
2014 LEGENDS HONORS AWARD RECIPIENTS ANNOUNCED – PRESENTED AT THE UNITY COALITION|COALICION UNIDA LEGENDS BALL ON APRIL 9th
January 2014…Miami, Florida - Every year, Unity Coalition|Coalicion Unida – The first & only organization for the South Florida Latino|Hispanic|LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) Community - advancing Equality since 2002, honors allies of the LGBTQ community, present & past that have made a positive mark & contribution and celebrate the good, noble & outstanding within our community.
This year’s recipients are a stellar list of the who’s who of South Florida Theatre and the Arts. The list of honorees includes South Florida Symphony conductor Sebrina María Alfonso, Broadway Producer/Director Richard Jay-Alexander, choreographer & producer Pedro Pablo Peña and acclaimed theatrical director David Chacón-Perez. They will each receive the Legends Honor Medal at the annual LEGENDS BALL, set for Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at the Jackie Gleason Rehearsal Hall in Miami Beach.
Past honorees include: Michael Aller, Billy Bean, Mayor Matti Bower, Xavier Cortada, Robin Schwartz, Elaine Lancaster, Mikey Verdugo, Merle & Danny Weiss, Det. Juan Sanchez, Comm. Michael Gongora, Dale Stine and many more.
ABOUT the 2014 Honorees
SEBRINA MARIA ALFONSO | Conductor, South Florida Symphony Orchestra
Sebrina made her New York debut conducting the American Symphony Orchestra at the finals of the Stokowski International Competition in Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. The audience greeted this prize-winner with a standing ovation following her performance and pronounced her the clear winner in the audience poll announced at the end of the proceedings.
Following an appearance with the San Jose Chamber Orchestra, Maestro Alfonso’s work was described as “Alfonso ushered her audience into chambers of fantasy, imagery & feeling – elements essential to fine music-making. This is the way conducting used to be” – San Jose Mercury News.
In 2002, Ms. Alfonso became the first Cuban American conductor invited to conduct Cuba’s premiere orchestra where she received standing ovations from standing room only concerts. Ms. Alfonso continues a relationship with that orchestra and has traveled to Cuba on at least four other occasions…and on the lighter side she was asked by the Tourist and Development Council for the State of Florida to conduct an underwater concert for over 400 divers, which received recognition worldwide.
With her national reputation continuing to expand, Sebrina has been the subject of feature stories on CBS Radio News, CNN, the AP Press, MS Magazine (New York), Deco Drive and Miami News (ABC), and has been profiled in Reuters.
It is Ms. Alfonso’s clear love of music and passion to grow, expand, and discover that drives her and the South Florida Symphony towards the future.
RICHARD JAY–ALEXANDER | Broadway Producer & Director
Richard Jay-Alexander (born Richard Alexander Fernandez) is enjoying a 39–year career that has encompassed just about every kind of job and position one could experience in the entertainment field. He is one of those rare individuals who got to work in the arts, having studied theatre, music and opera and has unique accomplishments which have taken him all over the world and onto every kind of stage, arena, nightclub, venue or studio.
Richard began as an actor, singer and dancer. He made his Broadway debut in 1978 in ZOOT SUIT, written and directed by Luis Valdez, at the Winter Garden Theater. Next, he was in the Original Broadway Cast of AMADEUS and quickly came a career matriculation into Directing and Producing.
He is synonymous with such blockbusters as LES MISERABLES, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, MISS SAIGON and many others, having also run British Mega-Producer, Cameron Mackintosh’s American company for over a decade.
Richard has directed and/or produced for television, film, videos, commercials, many Grammy nominated recordings and sometimes even still choreographs, when called upon. He has worked with many of the greatest stars of our time, including Barbra Streisand, Bernadette Peters, Kristin Chenoweth, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Russell Watson, Lea Salonga, Bette Midler, Sam Harris, IL VOLO, IL DIVO, Chris Botti, Natalie Cole, Johnny Mathis, Betty Buckley, Sir Ian McKellen and many more. After years of living between New York, Los Angeles and Miami, he now makes Miami his home.
Richard Jay (as he is known) loves talent and holds an unparalleled track record for discovering new and young talent. Among his many “finds” would be a young Lea Michele. He has also been the guy who gives people their first jobs or “breaks” as they are called. He continues to work steadily and is always excited by new opportunities and people with ideas.
PEDRO PABLO PEÑA | Choreographer & Producer
Born in Cuba, Mr. Peña danced for Havana’s Opera Ballet, the National Ballet of Cuba, Musical Theater of Havana where he also served as Choreography Director and was founder and director of the First Choreographic Dance Workshop in Havana.
For seven years Mr. Pena was choreographer for Univision’s TV show “Sabado Gigante Internacional” He was selected as choreographer for the Warner Brothers film “The Specialist”. He has been recognized and awarded for his work by ACCA, Fesela Inter-American Chapter of Hadassah and honored by Miami art magazine “Pregones” with the Contradanza Award for his continuous work in the development of dance in Miami and preservation of the Cuban Heritage in exile.
Ballet Concierto Dominicano, National Ballet of Panama, and the Odeon Theater in Vienna, Austria have invited Mr. Peña, to set his choreographic work, “Fusion” in their respective countries. He is Founder and Director of Creation Art Center (1982), Miami Hispanic Ballet (1993), the International Ballet Festival of Miami, one of the most important Ballet Festivals in the United States, and in 2006 he founded the successful Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami and is the Artistic Director.
Since January 2013 Mr. Peña is the General Director of the Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center (The White House of Ballet), home of some of the most recognized arts organizations in Miami under his direction: The Miami Hispanic Ballet (MHB), the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami (CCBM), Creation Art Center (CAC) also introducing the Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami School (CCBM School) and the Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center Music Conservatory.
DAVID CHACÓN - PEREZ | Producer & Artistic Director
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, David Chacón-Perez is a producer and artistic director with experience in the fields of TV entertainment, network news, special events, spectacles and theater. He has developed most of his career in Miami, Florida, where he currently resides since 2000.
As a writer, he has created short commercial capsules for Galavisión (USA) Network, owned by Univision Communications, Inc.. As Artistic Director he has been working in reality shows like Nuestra Belleza Latina and special events for the Univision Network, and currently works exclusively as the Artistic Director of "Grachi", Winner of the Kids Choice Awards ("The Best TV Series of 2010) create by Nickelodeon Latin America Network, part of MTV Networks/Viacom Satellite Broadcasting).
He has participated in more than one hundred productions with companies in the United States, Venezuela, Mexico, Panama, Canada and Europe. His background includes work as an actor, set, costume and graphic designer, casting director, event coordinator, art director, executive producer and artistic director.
ABOUT the Leaders, Legends & Lovelies EXHIBIT, LECTURES & LEGENDS BALL
Celebrating the good, positive & outstanding within our LGBT community, the Unity Coalition|Coalicion Unida (UC|CU) LEADERS, LEGENDS & LOVELIES Lectures, Exhibits & Legends Ball strive to focus on just that – Bringing lecturers from all walks of life in the LGBT & friends of community, the events focus on the similarities rather than the differences we all share, and how we can inspire others to do good, excel, be proud of who they are & just be better people. Our work is 100% funded by events & private donations, and we are 100% staffed & managed by volunteers. Everything that comes in, goes right back out for programming, leading & assisting our LGBTQ community.
As part of our exhibit at the Art Deco Welcome Center (of original theatre & Broadway costumes, memorabilia, etc…), working with exquisite costumes and designs from the Broadway Costume Museum, Wick Collection and Peter Lovello designs, we are celebrating the Theatres of South Florida - Past & Present, including the golden years following 1964 when the Jackie Gleason Show was filmed here.
Exhibit & lectures are free & open to the public April 12-13, 2014 from 10am-6pm at 1001 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach.
The Legends Ball will be held Wednesday, April 9th, 2014 at the Jackie Gleason Rehearsal Hall in Miami Beach, and tickets are $100.
2013 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Heriberto J. Sosa - President, Luis E. Gonzalez- Treasurer, Maria Lago, Max Brava, Angel Camacho, Christopher Padron, Michael Stein, Dr. Ken Wilcox
UNITY COALITION|COALICION UNIDA
The First & Only organization for the So. Fla. Latino|Hispanic|LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) Community - advancing Equality since 2002.
La Primera y Unica organización en el sur de la Florida para la comunidad latina|hispana LGBTQ (lesbianas, gay,bisexual, transgénero, cuestionando)- avansando Igualdad desde el 2002.