After ten years of writing the script and a long hiatus of live theater, Nuyorican-Chapín-Bronx born artist Juan Ramirez Jr. gets back to his roots with The Love Hate Club. The play is a Latiné examination of our love lives, but also the evolution of our maturity and the people we chose to let into our individual little worlds over time. The play also addresses often overlooked, but critical relationship issues like change. As Ramirez perfectly puts it “Be the person you want someone else to fall in love with.”
Brilliantly directed by Simran Pal Kaur, the story weaves through the conversations of leading actors Lucille Vasquez and Angela Reynoso, touching upon heartbreak and self-worth. It is an urban exploration of the heart with a layer of mythology sprinkled on top with a powerful and mischievous performance by Natasha Collado as Cupida. Christopher Guity supports the leading ladies with a strong presence and Nadja Gonzalez’s humor gives the play something extra with her brutally honest humor.
This is Ramirez’s second experience with the Broadway Bound Theater Festival and he is delighted to be working with fellow alumni from Lehman College in the Bronx. Festivals have always had an inclusivity problem and it is Ramirez’s honor to be on the Broadway Bound Theater Festival’s All Artists Anti-Racism Advisory Board where the conversation is ongoing as how to represent the entirety of American life.
With his wife Cristy Reynoso, Ramirez has also written the digital web series B:|ch Face which is going to be featured in the Austin Film Festival which they will be attending. They are also producing Table Read My Screenplay Top 10 Shorts winning original web series titled #30s, along with co-writer Amira Mustapha. Never apologizing for his art, he has also been awarded the prestigious Bronx Council on the Arts New Work grant.
The Love Hate Club is about the raw truths that guides us to the next chapter in our lives and every actor is extremely passionate about their roles as they are committed to the theme of new beginnings. Sometimes dark, sometimes hilarious, the story takes you back to a moment in all of our lives where we wondered what we were thinking being with a toxic significant other; the performances exuding both pain and hope.
Both leads expressed sincere dedication to their roles with Angela stating that “I have never played a character who is the exact opposite of who I am. Mia carries such a calculated, strong and bold persona, when really, all she wants is to be loved, to be someone's first choice, as we all do, I'm sure.” When interviewed, Lucille emotionally said “I'm excited for the entire play to see life soon because whoever experiences it will see people at their most vulnerable states and that is when we see the most truth being told. That is the moment, though brief, that should be highlighted and encouraged because in this age of gratification, moments of raw truth are not easily found.”
As for Ramirez, the work is never done. Along with Conch Shell Productions, led by Magaly Colimon-Christopher, and funded through the City Artist Corps Grant, Aftershocks: A Tetralogy Of Our Times, is a four-part virtual hybrid theater performance, where his comedy short Sheep will explore the fear behind the vaccine. He also gives back to his community as a teaching artist with Art Defined, a Bronx based non-profit, where they’ve partnered to develop The Flip The Script Anthology Series, where young writers will develop and produce their first works. It is his life’s work to give a voice to the unheard and shatter societal boundaries.
Juan sends a special thanks to Lehman Stages and Art Defined for making this production a reality.
The Love Hate Club will premier live on October 1st at 8pm, and run October 2nd at 5pm, and 3rd at 2pm at Theatre Row in the heart of Times Square.
You can follow Ramirez at both @AJuanManShow | @R_RProduction