San Antonio, TX – May 5, 2022 – Aria Creative Productions proudly welcomes Jade Esteban Estrada as its first artistic director. Estrada will begin his new position on Monday, May 9, 2022.
“I’m really excited about hiring Jade again,” said Nicole Erwin, executive director of Aria Creative. “Jade is the artistic advisor of Texas Light Opera and we have worked on several projects together. He’s just a good fit for us and what he brought to the Overtime Theater was high quality work which was noticed throughout the San Antonio theatre community.”
Aria Creative is a multi-award-winning production company providing a showcase for emerging talent. Over the past seven years, Aria has produced a variety of unique shows at various South Texas venues.
Estrada and Erwin will collaborate to create the company’s 2022-2023 season which will include plays, burlesque, and cabaret shows. Aria will continue to co-produce musical works with non-profit organization, Texas Light Opera.
Estrada, a nationally recognized stand-up comedian, actor, dancer, singer, playwright, and composer, ends his four-month tenure as the Overtime Theater’s artistic director effective May 6.
“In such a short time, you transformed The Overtime and stayed true to its vision,” wrote actress and playwright Patricia Zamora on social media. “Thanks for taking us along for the ride!”
“Thank you for all your amazing support, Jade. You were a gift from beginning to end,” wrote Beneath the Surface creator, Michael Song on Facebook.
One of Estrada’s recent achievements has been the creation of the New Play Development Series, a program that gives playwrights an opportunity to further develop new works, and Choreographies, a dance showcase that focuses on the process of choreography.
“I’m excited that my work with the New Play Development Series will continue at Aria Creative,” said Estrada in a statement.
Estrada, whose career has spanned the worlds of comedy, dance, and music, has worked with Aria Creative as an actor, playwright, director, and choreographer.
“When I made the decision to take Aria Creative to the next level, Jade’s work as an artistic director immediately came to mind,” stated Erwin, who is the former executive and managing director of the Overtime Theater. “I believe Aria Creative will greatly benefit from his expertise, talent, and creative vision, which is why I’m so thrilled to welcome him as our first artistic director.”
Born at Lackland Air Force Base, Estrada began his theatre journey in the mid-80s as a member of Los Actores de San Antonio at the Guadalupe Theatre. Before moving to New York at the age of 18, he performed in musicals at the Josephine Theatre under Jerry Pollock, Missy Miller, and Aaron Callies. He also appeared in children’s theatre at the Melodrama Playhouse at Hemisfair Plaza, now the Blue Star Arts Complex.
As a young thespian, Estrada, who is a former assistant to four-time Tony award-winning actress Zoe Caldwell, was drawn to directing. A graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York, he used his expertise to direct and choreograph stage productions in over 20 countries (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Fringe World in Perth, Australia), which is what he was doing when he crossed paths with TV star Charo. From 1998-2002, he was her choreographer and lead dancer in hotel and casino showrooms around the country.
From 2003-2005, Estrada focused on his choreographic work as the founder and artistic director of Experiencia Dance Company, which was housed at Teatro LaTea on New York’s Lower East Side.
For the next five years, Estrada toured his solo musical ICONS: The Lesbian and Gay History of the World, Vol. 1-3, extensively. “You definitely shouldn’t miss New York-based solo performer Jade Esteban Estrada, who has made a career of one-man shows in which he plays various historical gay figures,” wrote the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in 2008.
In 2006, then-Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher paid tribute to Estrada by commissioning him the title of Kentucky Colonel, the highest honor awarded by the Commonwealth of Kentucky that acknowledges outstanding ambassadors of goodwill and fellowship around the world. The San Antonio native joined other honorary colonels which include Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Joan Crawford, Johnny Depp, Muhammad Ali and Pope John Paul II.
In 2008, Estrada was commissioned by the Delaware Institute for Arts in Education to write and perform the solo show Juan Bobo & Friends: Latin American Folk Tales.
In 2009, Estrada, who has appeared on Comedy Central’s The Graham Norton Effect, was tapped to host the 19th Annual GLAAD Media Awards which was aired on Bravo TV.
Estrada, whose international credits include playing the role of Flat Top in the German production of Starlight Express, is also the founder of the Acting Masterclass Series, which he launched in 2009. He has since taught in-person acting classes to hundreds of students in the United States, Europe, and Australia.
“Because Jade is a teacher, he has this nurturing quality that makes him the perfect person for this position,” said Erwin. “He has a wonderful balance of empathy and discipline to impart to our actors and directors, which did not go unnoticed when I worked with him at the Overtime Theater.”
Estrada is perhaps best known as a solo theatre artist. After seeing his 2013 one-person performance of Mike Daisey’s The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs at the Woodlawn Theatre, Deborah Martin of the San Antonio Express-News wrote: “Jade Esteban Estrada knows how to draw an audience in and hold them in the palm of his hand.”
Shortly thereafter, he shifted his attention to the stand-up comedy stage.
USA Today’s 10Best.com raved, “Laugh Out Loud Comedy Club should be on the top of your bucket list, especially when headlined by Jade Esteban Estrada from Bravo TV and Comedy Central. Find out when this fabulous comedian is performing in a city near you.”
From 2015-2016, Estrada was the artistic director of Terrible Infants Theatre Company at Prohibition Supperclub in Houston. It was there he launched his self-penned burlesque adaptations such as Masque of the Red Death, Eat Me, a burlesque reboot of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Tales of a Hard Nut, a burlesque version of The Nutcracker.
From 2017-2019, Aria Creative brought Estrada’s burlesque plays to the Overtime’s mainstage. Sinderella and the Glass Zipper, How Burlesque Saved Christmas, and Madame X: A Burlesque Fantasy were all well-received.
Also in 2019, Estrada directed Curanderas and Chocolate: Cuentos of a Latina Life, a solo show written and performed by Patricia Zamora, at the Guadalupe Theatre.
Estrada received an Alamo Theatre Arts Council (ATAC) Award for his 2019 production of A Sign from the Taco Gods, which he premiered at the Overtime Theater.
His latest directorial work will be on display in The Back-Porch Gang, a new play by Ben Scranton, which will run May 6-21, 2022 at the Overtime Theater.
“When I received the offer to work with Nicole again, seizing the moment felt like the right thing to do,” Estrada said. “We have a great working relationship. We finish each other’s sentences. When you find that with someone, you want to work with them again and again.”
To request an interview with Mr. Estrada or to request a high-resolution photo, please contact Executive Director Nicole Erwin, Aria Creative Productions at firstname.lastname@example.org.