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  • Writer's pictureAzuay Esteban

Uniting Cultures: The Power of 'Too Many Tamales' and BFA's Mission

The Legacy lives on!


In the heart of Los Angeles, where the vibrant tapestry of Latinx culture intertwines with the American dream, stands the Bilingual Foundation of the Arts (BFA). For 50 years, this cultural beacon has been illuminating the stage with productions that celebrate diversity, family, and the rich heritage of the Hispanic community.

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At the forefront of BFA's repertoire for the past thirteen years is the enchanting play, "Too Many Tamales." Originally penned by Gary Soto, this heartwarming tale has been skillfully adapted by Lina Montalvo, a driving force behind the production since its inception. As a testament to its enduring popularity, the play not only captures the essence of Soto's narrative but has also become a cherished tradition during the holiday season.


The storyline, skillfully woven by Lina bMontalvo, places a spotlight on Hispanic traditions that come alive during the festive Holiday season. Beyond the delightful mishaps involving too many tamales, the play serves a deeper purpose – a celebration of tradition, sharing, and the unique blend of language and flavors that define the Hispanic experience.


"We try to encourage tolerance," reflecting on the play's broader mission. Through the art of theater, BFA endeavors to teach audiences about the richness of cultural diversity. "Too Many Tamales" becomes a gateway, inviting viewers to embrace the differences that make each community unique.


The play, in its festive adaptation, incorporates not only the traditional elements of the original book but also adds a melodic touch with Christmas songs. The goal is clear: to create an experience that not only entertains but also educates, fostering a sense of unity and understanding.



Yet, the impact doesn't end with the applause. "Too Many Tamales" becomes a catalyst for a larger mission championed by BFA – one that recognizes the importance of family as the nucleus of support, especially for immigrants in the USA. In a country that thrives on its melting pot of cultures, the play underscores the significance of preserving heritage and language.


As BFA positions itself as a cultural cornerstone, it embraces the role of providing more than just entertainment. The theater becomes a platform for reuniting families, educating audiences about the proud heritage of being Latinos, and celebrating the richness of bilingualism. It's a mission that extends beyond the stage, shaping narratives that resonate with the challenges and triumphs of immigrant life.

In a world that often emphasizes differences, "Too Many Tamales" and BFA stand as a testament to the power of storytelling and the arts in fostering unity, pride, and a shared understanding of the immigrant experience in the USA. As the curtain rises on this festive production once again, it invites us to not only savor the magic of the holidays but also reflect on the deeper connections that bind us all together.

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