Co-written by theater, film, & latin music industry veteran David Maldonado, I Like It Like That follows the story of the Rodriguez family. Roberto (Domingo Quiñones) along with his wife Carmen (Shadia Fairuz), live in Spanish Harlem with their four children Juan (Gilberto Velázquez), China (Caridad De La Luz), Carlos (Jospeh “Quique” González, and Paula (Ana Isabelle). Set in the early 1970’s in New York City’s East Harlem the city is nearing bankruptcy, Juan is sent to Sing Sing for a drug bust, China joins the militant Young Lords Party, and among other issues the family finds a way to stay together with the help of others.
Despite the family drama, this production’s music and singing is so much fun it is bound to have you on your feet. Exploring original pieces by Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri, I Like It Like That also dives into original songs specifically created for the show produced by Wadddy Jáquez. Critic Zachary Stewart couldn’t have said it any better, “Carlos wants to escape the barrio and become a rich lawyer; Gina is an activist who wants to clean up the hood; and Juan has the makings of a great entrepreneur, in and out of the drug trade. Their divergent paths — the ways they push against parental expectations yet come together around family and tradition — are universal to the American immigrant story. In that sense, I Like It Like That feels like El Barrio’s answer to Fiddler on the Roof.” I Like It Like That features music from Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Ismael Rivera, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Ismael Miranda, Johnny Pacheco, Pete El Conde, Hector Casanova, Richie Ray & Bobbie Cruz, La Lupe, Mon Rivera, El Gran Combo, Frankie Ruiz, and Patato & Totico.
You can catch the show on Wednesdays at 3pm and 8pm, Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 5pm & 9pm, and Sundays at 3pm & 7pm only at the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater 304 W. 47th St., New York, N.Y. 10036. You may also visit their website for more information: http://www.ilikeitlikethat.com
Theater as an art form is ancient. The performing arts have been a part of human culture since forever, which isn’t surprising given our never-ending hunger for entertainment and joy. But our need for theater also serves a deeper purpose: it explores the human condition in a way few other mediums are able, and has the power to change attitudes, encourage empathy, and promote prosocial behavior among audience goers. It allows us to open our minds and flourish as people–and that’s a fact supported by science.