Bronx’s FREE SummerStage Festival Comes to St. Mary’s Park

City Parks Foundation Presents
SUMMERSTAGE in St. Mary’s Park
Presented by Capital One Bank
FREE Music, Dance, Family, Film and Theater Programs
at St. Mary’s Park 

Bronx, NY – On Wednesday, June 24, 2015 the nonprofit City Parks Foundation (CPF) continued its SummerStage 30th anniversary season with its first show in the Bronx. The concert featured performances by Freestyle singer Judy Torres and acclaimed DJ Tony Touch and was attended by over 650 people. The event was the first in a series of free SummerStage events taking place in the Bronx over the next several weeks that will feature a variety of music in multiple genres including Hip-Hop, Opera and Salsa and dance, theater, film and family programs.For downloadable, high resolution photos from the first few shows, please visit:SummerStage in Crotona Park Photos
Photos courtesy of City Parks Foundation

In June of 1986 Sun Ra and the Omniverse Jet Set Arkestra performed a free concert in the Naumberg Bandshell in Central Park, and the summer music landscape in New York City changed forever. Today, nearly 30 years later, SummerStage is New York City’s largest free performing arts festival, presenting work in all performing arts disciplines, with a focus on New York’s unique neighborhoods. SummerStage has touched the lives of more than six million fans from around the world.

“As an organization we are dedicated to working in traditionally underserved neighborhoods across the city,” said Heather Lubov, Executive Director of City Parks Foundation. “By presenting artists and genres that reflect the cultures and communities in these parks, introducing disciplines such as dance or theater alongside musical performances, and providing all of this fantastic art free of charge, we are building new audiences and fostering a broader interest in the arts here in New York City.”

“SummerStage is the festival that truly celebrates New York City,” said Director of Arts & Cultural Programs for City Parks Foundation, Ian Noble. “From the iconic to the avant garde, from opera to hip-hop, film to circus, there is no other festival like it. Not only do we select our artists to reflect the nature of each neighborhood, but each park and audience becomes part of the adventure and charm of each and every show.”

“Capital One Bank is proud to support SummerStage as it showcases the diversity and artistic vitality of New York,” said Michael Slocum, President, Commercial Banking and Northeast Regional President, Capital One. “The arts play an important role in building strong, healthy communities, and we are pleased to help the festival reach new audiences across the city.”

The remaining SummerStage schedule for Queens is below. For the most up-to-date scheduling and line-up for all SummerStageprogramming, follow SummerStage via the below links and visit for festival information.

Twitter: @SummerStage
Instagram: @SummerStageNYC
Facebook: SummerStage NYC

About City Parks Foundation

City Parks Foundation (CPF) is the only independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to offer programs in parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City. We work in more than 350 parks citywide, presenting a broad range of programs in an effort to promote healthy and vibrant communities. Our programs and community building initiatives reach 425,000 people each year.








Friday Jul 10 7:00 PM Nuyorican Poets Cafe featuring La Bruja with Patty Dukes, Reph Star, and Nene Ali St. Mary’s Park BX Theater
Saturday Jul 11 7:00 PM Hip Hop Dance: From the Street to the Stage a Co-Presentation with Dancing in the Streets / Master Class: Brandon “Peace” Albright St. Mary’s Park BX Dance
Sunday Jul 12 4:00 PM Family Day: Mister G / Soul Street Dance / DJ ASHO St. Mary’s Park BX Family
Sunday Jul12 7:00 PM Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros / screening: “Celia: The Queen” St. Mary’s Park BX Music & Film


Friday, July 10
Nuyorican Poets Cafe featuring La Bruja with Patty Dukes, Reph Star, and Nene Ali
St. Mary’s Park, BX
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
The Nuyorican Poets Cafe and Caridad de La Luz (aka La Bruja) showcase Bronx artistry in a concert featuring cool and socially conscious Hip Hop/spoken word by Reph Star and Patty Dukes (aka Circa ’95), Nene Ali and DJ Fred One. Hosted by songstress-poet-playwright-comedienne La Bruja, who was praised by the New York Times for her “irrepressible, ebullient energy and talent.”

Caridad de La Luz, aka La Bruja is a Bronx-born performer considered one of America’s leading spoken word poets. In 2014, she was awarded Comité Noviembre’s Puerto Rican Women Legacy Award, and in 2013, The Edgar Allan Poe Award for excellence in writing from The Bronx Historical Society. She was also honored as A Bronx Living Legend by The Bronx Music Heritage Center and was recently presented with a Citation of Merit from The Bronx Borough President. This Renaissance woman has performed internationally; her NYC appearances include shows at The Apollo, The Museum of Natural History and the famed Nuyorican Poets Cafe, where she began her career. The New York Timescalled her “a Juggernaut” after the off-Broadway run of her musical Boogie Rican Blvd. Her acting career has taken her from stage to film: she has appeared in numerous movies, including Bamboozled, Down to the Bone, El Vacilon and Gun Hill Road. She has crossed over internationally as a recording artist with her debut album Brujalicious and her subsequent album For Witch It Stands. She is featured on Prince Royce’s award-winning album Phase II and Bobby Sanabria’s Grammy-nominated album Multiverse. Well-known for her captivating performance of the poem “WTC” on Russell Simmons’ HBO Def Poetry Jam, she was also featured on HBO Latino’s installment of HABLA Women. She works with youth throughout the country, teaching poetry workshops for & NYC Mission Society. She is a board member of Voices UnBroken and a charter member of Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. – Delta Chapter at Binghamton University.

Hailing from New York City, Circa ’95 is an independent Hip Hop music and media group comprised of Patty Dukes and Reph Star. Puerto Rican & Dominican by way of The Bronx and Washington Heights, they rhyme seamlessly through English and Spanish. They have performed throughout the world and their debut album FREE LUNCH is available through their website. When they are not performing or creating in the studio, they teach Hip Hop, Theater, and Mixed Media Arts to young people through their organization, the Rhyme Factory. Circa ’95 is currently touring and in the studio working on their second musical project.

Nene Ali, spoken word / MC, was born and raised in the Bronx. She started writing poetry at the age of 6 and began performing it at the age of 9. In her journey she has gone around this country uplifting audiences with her words. She is the youngest person to receive Miami Heat superstar Dwayne Wade’s “Keeper of the Village Award” and the Nelson Mandela “Community Activist Award,” and has been featured in countless publications.

Saturday, July 11
Hip Hop Dance: From the Street to the Stage a Co-Presentation with Dancing in the Streets / Master Class: Brandon “Peace” Albright
St. Mary’s Park, BX
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hip Hop Dance: From the Street to the Stageis curated by Gabriel “Kwikstep” Dionisio and Ana “Rokafella” Garcia Dionisio, Co-Artistic Directors of Full Circle Productions; and co-Presented by SummerStage and Dancing in the Streets as a joint celebration of their 30thanniversaries.

Multiple generations of hip-hop dancers, including Bronx-based Full Circle Souljahs, street dancer Float Master John, and Hip Hop legend Emilio “Buddha Stretch” Austin Jr., trace the evolution of Hip Hop dance—from Breaking, Locking, and Popping to new forms, such as Flexing and Lite Feet—from the streets to clubs and theatres, and from the Bronx to Harlem, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Tokyo. The program will culminate in a cipher (free style dance circle). Hosted by Rokafella, with music by Behind the Groove DJs KS360 and DP One playing the classics that make you move!

Dancing in the Streets is a 30-year old, not-for-profit arts organizations that presents FREE, adventurous, public performances in unexpected places. In 2007, it launched Hip Hop Generation Next, a series of performances, block parties, and competitions that celebrates the Bronx origins and global evolution of Hip Hop culture. Since Dancing in the Streets moved to the Bronx in 2011, it has produced programs that reclaim, revitalize, and promote the rich cultural history of the Bronx, including The Bronx Revolution and the Birth of Hip Hop, a multi-media production about the birth of Hip Hop by Joanna Haigood in collaboration with Hip Hop pioneers.

Full Circle Productions is a non profit Hip-hop dance company based in the Bronx that preserves, evolves and shares its vibrant energy with students and audiences. Co-Artistic Directors Kwikstep and Rokafella are internationally acclaimed break dancers, choreographers, filmmakers, and musicians.

Emilio “Buddha Stretch” Austin Jr. is a roving ambassador of Hip Hop dance who travels the world as choreographer, dancer, teacher, and competition judge. He has been

Illstyle & Peace Productions is a Philadelphia-based hip hop crew of DJs, beatboxers, and dancers. Under the direction of Brandon “Peace” Albright, the electrifying dancers’ spins, dives, flips, and kicks “seem to defy the laws of physics” ( Washington City Paper).

Sunday, July 12
Family Day: Mister G / Soul Street Dance / DJ ASHO
St. Mary’s Park, BX
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM
A 2014 Latin GRAMMY nominee, Mister G is a former indie rocker who was awarded the first songwriting scholarship in the history of Berklee College of Music. Called a “kid-friendly bilingual rock star” by The Washington Post, Mister G is the winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and was named one of the “Best Live Acts for Kids and Families.” His CDs have been selected as best albums of the year by People Magazine,Parents magazine,, and The Washington Post.

Houston based Soul Street Dance is one of the most dynamic premier street dance companies in existence. Their technical and artistic skills, stage presence, and wit allow them to push the performance envelope to an amazing standard of excellence. Although they are called a “Dance Company,” their talents far outstrip any one category. In addition to dance, Soul Street performers are actors, athletes (with uncanny strength), and lately, songwriters and musicians too.

Ariel Fernandez-Diaz aka DJ ASHO is a Cuban cultural ambassador who has held notable performing and curatorial residencies at institutions such as the Bronx Museum of the Arts and at numerous hip clubs up and down the Eastern seaboard and New York City. A dream came true when he was invited to offer his DJ distinctive repertoire at a very special Central Park Summer Stage event a few years back. Known from Miami to Oakland, in the DC area, he was the catalyst behind AfroCuba! which brought a rich mix of fans together on a weekly basis. In Cuba, he was among a generation of Black youth who identified with Hip Hop as a form of musical resistance. Previously, he’s worked as an engineer, producer, DJ, and author/columnist having established a leading magazine for youth and young adults focused on Black culture and identity. While he still considers himself a “Hip Hop head,” he’s deeply knowledgeable about the diverse music from his island nation. No musical set from DJ Asho is ever quite the same. Though, he does consistently combines amazing selections ranging from obscure and historical Yoruba tracks to the greatest hits from Timba and Son with nods to Fela and Boricua heavy weights such as Hector LaVoe and the Fania era. A musical ride with DJ Asho is pure alchemy; just the right dose of heady musicology and straight up fun to feed the mind and heal the soul.

Sunday, July 12
Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros / screening: Celia: The Queen in association with ImageNation
St. Mary’s Park, BX
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Selected by NPR/WNYC as Manhattan’s best band of 2015, gritty, witty and streetwise, the Havana-born Gerardo Contino, “El Abogado de la Salsa,” is a Cuban singer and songwriter. This former lead singer of the Cuban mega-group NG La Banda is a party onstage: he loves to improvise, to pull the audience into call and response, and to provoke fans into hip-shaking abandon. Since moving to New York City, Gerardo started his own band, Gerardo Contino y Los Habaneros, with Axel Tosca Laugart, Luisito Quintero, and John Benitez. They released their debut album, Somos Latinos, in 2013 to very high critical acclaim. He has toured all over the world and in his new hometown, NYC, he has performed at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Sounds of Brazil (SOBs), BB King Blues Club, Le Poisson Rouge, the Bronx Museum, Live at the Gantries, Roulette, Gonzalez y Gonzalez, Taj, and many others.

Celia the Queen, is a loving look at the amazing life and legacy of a woman whose voice symbolized the soul of a nation and captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Erupting onto the Cuban music scene as the lead singer for La Sonora Matancera, Celia Cruz broke down barriers of racism and sexism. With the powerful weapon of her voice and the warm tolerance of her heart, Celia soon became all things to all people. The film shows the diversity of the people whose lives she touched, from stars like Quincy Jones, Andy Garcia, and Wyclef Jean to ordinary people all over the world who loved not only her music but her incredible spirit.


The 2015 SummerStage festival is presented by:

Capital One Bank, Disney, Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, Ommegang, Rekorderlig Cider, AQUAÇAI, City Winery, Hendricks Gin, and JWT are official SummerStage sponsors. Additional funding generously provided by the Dalio Foundation; Howard Gilman Foundation; The Harold and Mimi and Steinberg Charitable Trust; J.E. & Z.B. Butler Foundation; The Shubert Organization; The Fan Fox & Leslie R. Samuels Foundation; and the Harkness Foundation for Dance. New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; National Endowment for the Arts, through the Access to Artistic Excellence Program; Queens Borough President Melinda Katz; NYC Council

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