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BLESS ME, ULTIMA

MIRIAM COLON (Ultima) came to United States when a special scholarship was created for her, by the University of Puerto Rico, for training at Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Workshop and Technical Institute in New York City. Subsequently she became the first Puerto Rican accepted at the famed Actor's Studio, where she has been a member for the last thirty-five years. Also for the past thirty-five years she is one of the pioneers of the Hispanic Theatre movement in New York City; and she co-founded the Nuevo Circulo Dramatico, the first Spanish language arena theatre in New York.

In addition to her activities as an actress, producer and director, Ms. Colon is a cultural advisor at the state and federal levels. She was appointed by then Governor Nelson Rockefeller to the New York State Council on the Arts, wherein she served for more than ten years. At the national level, she served not only as a panelist on the Expansion Arts Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts, but also on the Institutional Advancement Pilot Program Panel. She was also a member of the National Hispanic Task Force.

As President and Founder of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company Inc., Ms. Colon has steered its course since its inception and has successfully insured its survival as its artistic head, strategist and fundraiser, producing 104 plays.

During the last 35 years, she has brought to the attention of this country at least 50 world premiers or United States premiers of plays by dramatist from Chile, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, New York, Colombia, Brazil, Mexico, etc.

Through Mr. Colon's dedication and the help of hundreds of corporations, foundations, government sources and the grassroots community, the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre was able to obtain a firehouse, from the City of New York, which was converted to the Theatre's permanent home at 304 West 47th Street in New York.

Her work as a stage, television, and film actress includes: ONE EYED JACKS and THE APPALOOSA, both opposite Marlon Brando, and THE POSSESSION OF JOEL DELANEY, starring Shirley MacLaine. She also interpreted the title role in the film ISABEL LA NEGRA, with Raul Julia, Jose Ferrer and Henry Darrow, and was a leading performer in BACK ROADS, opposite Sally Field. Ms. Colon was seen in a starring role in the Universal's SCARFACE, opposite Al Pacino. She performed in CITY OF HOPE for Esperanza Productions directed by John Sayles and THE LIGHTING FIELD for USA Cable directed by Michael Switzer. Other film credits are John Sayles' LONE STAR, SABRINA, Gabriel Garcias Maruqez's film EDIPO ALCALDE, directed by Colombia's Jorge Ali Triana and ALL THE PRETTY HORSES directed by Billy Bob Thornton. Her latest film credit is the starring role in THE BLUE DINER produced and written by Natasha Estebanez and directed by Jan Egleson. On Broadway she played in THE INNKEEPERS, IN THE SUMMER HOUSE and THE WRONG WAY LIGHT BLUB; Off-Broadway Ms. Colon has had major roles in over a dozen plays including THE OXCART, MATTY AND MORON AND MADONNA, WINTERSET, ME CANDIDO, THE PASSION OF ANTIGONA PEREZ and THE F.M. SAFE. She also interpreted the role of Calpurnia in the New York Shakespeare Festival's production of JULIUS CAESAR and starred in the Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre's productions of FANLIGHTS (Los Soles Truncos) by Rene Marques, SIMPSON STREET by Eduardo Gallardo, ORINOCO by Emilio Carballido and SENORA CARRAR'S RIFLES by Bertolt Brencht. She also interpreted the role of Bernarda in Federido Garcia Lorca's THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, and at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre.

Ms. Colon has received numerous awards and citations during her busy life as an actress and as a community leader. In 1978, the National Council of Christians and Jews selected her winner of the Extraordinary Woman of Achievement Award. On November 24, 1981, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund honored her for Contributions to the Advancement and Enrichment of Human Potential. In I982 she was the recipient of the Mayor's Award of Honor for Arts and Culture presented by New York City's Mayor Edward Koch. In 1984 the Board of Regents and the University of the State of New York awarded her the Medal of Excellence for Outstanding Leadership. In 1985 she received the Athena Award from the New York Commission on the Status of Women for her Outstanding Contribution to the city of New York during the past 10 years. In May 1986 she was awarded, in Los Angeles, the Maclovio Barraza Leadeship Award presented by the Asociacion de Cronistas de Espectaculos de Nueva York. I987, Ms. Colon received the ACE Award presented by the Asociacion de Cronistas de Espectaculos de Nueva York. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan presented her with the Puerto Rican Coalition's Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1996 the Bronx Puerto Rican Day Parade selected Ms. Colon as the 1996 "Embajadora de las Culturas y Artes" (Culture and Arts Ambassador). In 1996 the Latin Communications Group and El Diario-La Prensa named Ms. Colon "Latina Influyente" (Influential Latina) for the Woman's International Month. In 1997 the South Bronx Mental Health Council awarded Ms. Colon the "Isaac J. Perez Award". In 1998 The Puerto Rican Cultural Center of New York awarded her the "Julia de Burgos Cultural Award". In 1999 the City of Jersey City awarded Ms. Colon with the "Hispanic Heritage Lifetime Achievement Award"

Internationally, in 1998 Ms. Colon was awarded the LORCA AWARD in Granada, Spain, in recognition of her sustained dedication to bring Puerto Rican and Latin American Spanish dramatic literature to the attention of the Hispanic audience in the United States.

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