MultiStages 2017 New Works Contest Winner

World Premiere Production October 19, 2019 – November 3, 2019
a co-presentation with the Theater at the 14th Street Y
344 East 14th Street, NYC

“Ominous Men” is an award-winning gothic horror tale about race, poverty, drugs, misogyny AND violence in America. It was the wrong night and the wrong place for these OMINOUS MEN to be playing “Bones” when the 1977 NYC Blackout hits the Bronx! Three men are confronted by their ferocious pasts in the derelict Bronx Concourse Plaza Hotel basement on July 13, 1977: Butch, the Nuyorican caretaker who’s been digging a pit looking for buried treasure, his nervous cousin Goyo, and Butch’s drug sponsor and ex-Black Panther Yancy. This night of drinking, camaraderie and dominoes turns violent when the Blackout hits, a stranger climbs out of the pit, and the ghost of a Holocaust survivor and murdered woman appear.


Written by Desi Moreno-Penson
Directed by Lorca Peress, MultiStages Artistic Director

Russell Jordan*  Gabrielle Lee*  Howard Pinhasik*  Renoly Santiago*  Johnny Rivera* Gus Scharr*
Fernando Betancourt, Understudy
Jessica V. Urtecho, AEA Production Stage Manager


Kia Rogers, Lighting Design; Lisa Renee Jordan, Costume Design; Jennifer Varbalow, Scenic Design; Jan Hartley, Projection Design; Sun Hee Kil, Sound Design; Jennifer Chin, Choreographer; Carlotta Summers, Fight Director; Antonio Minino, Assistant Director

Press Representative: Dan DeMello / DDPR
Marketing Producer Assistant: Katharine Nedder

“Ominous Men” is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by LMCC.

This production is the recipient of an Indie Theater Fund Artist Grant, an N.W. Dible Foundation grant for literary arts, and qualifies as a Parity Production. Special thank you to LMCC’s Materials for the Arts for donations toward our design, and MultiStages corporate and private supporters. 

2017 | TEMPLE OF THE SOULS – NYMF 2017 Next Link Project

NYMF 2017 Nominated for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role

July 19-23, 2017
a featured Next Link Project in the 2017 New York Musical Theatre Festival
The Acorn Theatre at Theatre Row
410 W. 42nd Street, NYC
Off Broadway Production



In today’s complicated and racially divisive social climate, where xenophobia, nationalism, and religious intolerance are rampant, we bring you a love story that will fill your heart. 

TEMPLE OF THE SOULS is an award-winning contemporary pop musical of secrets, lies, and forbidden love of what might have happened in 16th century Puerto-Rico when cultures clash over two young lovers in a “Romeo and Juliet” style tragedy. It all happens in a time when Spaniards enslaved thousands of indigenous Taínos, stole their women, their land, and their lives. Two worlds collide in this mythical tale when Amada, the beautiful daughter of a Spanish Conquistador, and Guario, a young Taíno, meet in the magical rainforest of Puerto Rico. The young lovers escape to seal their forbidden love in the high cliffs of the Temple of the Souls, the sacred lands where the Taínos once jumped to their death to escape the persecution of the Spaniards. This is the temple where the lovers pledge to make their dreams come true and prove for all eternity that love is stronger than death.

BOOK Anita Velez-Mitchell, Lorca Peress, Anika Paris; MUSIC Dean Landon, Anika Paris; ORCHESTRATION Dean Landon; LYRICS Anita Velez-Mitchell, Anika Paris; ADDITIONAL LYRICS Dean Landon; STORY Anita Velez-Mitchell; CHOREOGRAPHY Enrique Brown; MUSIC DIRECTOR Bruce Baumer; SCENIC DESIGN Jennifer Varbalow; COSTUME DESIGN Lisa Renee Jordan; LIGHTING DESIGN Jason Fok; VISUAL DESIGN Jan Hartley; MASK DESIGN Marla Speer; SOUND DESIGN Kenneth Goodwin; STAGE MANAGER C. Renee Alexander; ASM Andrea Berkey; DRAMATURG Mark Eugene Garcia; POSTER ART Emeli Vando; PRESS/Social Media Kampfire PR;
Dailey-Monda General Managers; EXECUTIVE PRODUCER Dr. Judy Kuriansky; ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Jane Velez-Mitchell; Developed and Directed by Lorca Peress*

Noellia Hernandez and Andres Quintero as Amada and Guario; Danny Bolero (Broadway In The Heights) as Conquistador Don Severo; Lorraine Velez (Broadway Rent, Dream Girls, Fameas the Taino Nana; Jacob Gutierrez (Light in the Piazza, Aladdin) as Nemesio; Ensemble: Ari Aron, Jorge Enrique Barranco, Theresa Burns, Catalina Gaglioti, Erin Kei, Val Nuccio, Isabel Plana, Miguel A. Sierra, Robert Zelaya

CONDUCTOR Katya Stanislavskaya; MUSICIANS Joe Fee, Kelsey Sheldon, Katya Stanislavskaya, Andrew Whitbeck

In development since 2010, MultiStages produced earlier versions of the musical in two AEA showcase productions.
Awards:  4 HOLA Awards (including Gilberto Zaldivar Award for outstanding production), 6 NY Innovative Theatre Nominations (including outstanding production, music, and script), 2 Areyto Drama Awards from the Taíno community; two Manhattan Community Arts Fund Awards from LMCC/DCA.

Temple of the Souls Website: Show Website

Link to Past Productions: Past Productions of Temple of the Souls

Supported by:
NYMF 2017 Next Link Project production grant, Don Q Rums, LMCC’s Materials for the Arts, private foundation grants, and tax-deductible donations. 

2015 | COMIDA DE PUTA (F%&king Lousy Food) 2013 New Works Winner (produced in 2015)

In Spring of 2015, MultiStages produced “COMIDA DE PUTA (F%&king Lousy Food)” by Desi Moreno-Penson. Sex, magic, and spoken-word poetry illuminate this dark erotic tale of Phaedra on the gritty streets of the Bronx. A bodega owner’s new wife becomes strangely obsessed with her husband’s son, the lunch counter boy. Driven by lust, she invokes the vengeful power of the Santeria Gods who set off a vicious chain of events that no one can stop.

Cast: Roseanne Almanzar*, Darlenis Duran, Alex Hernandez, Gustavo Heredia, Mariana Parma*, Marcos Sotomayor. Appearing on Video: Venuz Delmar, Dennis Gagomiros, Mykal Monroe, Suni Reyes, Anita Velez-Mitchell; and featuring Jane Velez-Mitchell (Emmy award journalist and NY Times bestselling author) as news reporter, Laura Santiago. Artistic Company: Desi Moreno-Penson, Playwright; Jan Hartley, Projection Design; Christopher Marston, Video Design; Alex Moore, Lighting Design; Lisa Renee Jordan, Masks/Costume Design; David Margolin Lawson, Sound Design; Justin and Christopher Swader, Scenic Design; Sunilda Caraballo, Choreographer; Logan McCoy, Fight Choreographer; Dan Teachout, Set Carpentry and Construction; A.J. Muhammad, Dramaturgy; Kimille Howard, Assistant Director; Andrea Wales* AEA Production Stage Manager; Directed by MultiStages Artistic Director Lorca Peress**


* Member of AEA; ** Member of SDC; AEA-approved Showcase

This production of “Comida de Puta (F%&king Lousy Food)” is the recipient of a 2015 HOLA Award (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors) for Lighting Design, an N.W. Dible Foundation grant, and private donations and support. Sets, costumes and props from Materials for the Arts donations. “Comida de Puta (F%&king Lousy Food)” began as a ten-minute play in the 2011 Going To The River Festival (plays by women of color) at NYC’s Ensemble Studio Theatre. Comida de Puta (F%&king Lousy Food) was selected as a finalist for the 2014 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference. 

2014 | TEMPLE OF THE SOULS (2014 Script Development Production)

MultiStages presented its second developmental production of “Temple of the Souls,” an award-winning new musical at Theater for the New City. Story by Anita Velez-Mitchell; Music composed by Dean Landon and Anika Paris; Book by Anita Velez-Mitchell, Lorca Peress, Anika Paris, Developed and Directed by Lorca Peress

A tale of secrets, lies and forbidden love … set deep in the magical rain forest of Puerto Rico. Two worlds collide when Amada, the beautiful daughter of a Conquistador, and Guario, a young Taíno, run away to the mountain top to escape the intolerant world below. In this mythical romance, our young lovers find themselves at the Temple of the Souls where nightmares and dreams come true. To hear Music and More,

Cast:  Theresa Burns, Debra Cardona* Jessica Crilley, Alex Gilbert, Noellia Hernandez* Albert Insinnia* Andres Quintero* Kris Roberts, Jorge Rosa, Miguel A. Sierra* Seph Stanek* Alexis Sweeney, Doug Thoene, Amalia Tollas, Patrick Michael Valley. Orchestra: Evan Closser, Joe Fee, Sam Chernoff. Artistic Company: Music Director Bruce Baumer, Lighting Design Alex Moore, Scenic Design Lorca Peress, Costume and Mask Design Marla Speer, Choreographer Jennifer Chin, Sound Design Alex Santullo, Fight Choreographer Logan McCoy, Assistant Fight Choreographer Carlotta Summers, Directed by Lorca Peress** Company: PSM Jessica V. Urtecho*; Rehearsal SM Sean McCain*; Elizabeth Sophia Strauss, Jennie Mayfield, Valorie Niccore, Gena Bardwell, Michael Cassara, CSA and Kate Lumpkin of Michael Cassara Casting, Kampfire PR

* Member of AEA; ** Member of SDC; AEA-approved Showcase

image001TEMPLE OF THE SOULS is the recipient of six 2015 Innovative Theatre Nominations, four 2012 awards from HOLA (Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors), two Taíno Areito Awards, and is made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Materials for the Arts, N.W. Dible Foundation, and private donations and support.




2012 | THE ISLAND OF NO TOMORROWS (2011 New Works Contest Winner)

In Fall of 2012, MultiStages produced “The Island of No Tomorrows” by Fengar Gael, with Original Music arranged and recorded by Anika Paris, Songs composed by N.B. Reade, Lyrics by Fengar Gael. Co-Production with Interart Development Series. This new work is not your traditional musical. The infant Esperanza’s mother dies in

childbirth, and Esperanza is given an artificial heart but not expected to live. Her father, Don Hilardo, sequesters Esperanza at Villa Leche, his ideal of heaven on earth, filled with a bevy of voluptuous nursing mothers to care for her until the dreaded day arrives. But Esperanza defies the odds in this madcap exploration of sexual subjugation, political oppression, and the challenges of parenting in the electronic age.

Cast: Richarda Abrams, Jen Anaya, Debra Cardona, Pedro Carmo (Broadway’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s), Veronica Cruz, Alexis Lauren Kinney, Lina Sarrello, Alexis Sweeney. Artistic Company:, Bruce Baumer Music Director, Theresa Burns Choreographer, OBIE Winning Projection Designer Jan Hartley, Costumes by Mark Richard Caswell

and Jessa-Raye Court. Lighting Design by Joyce Liao, AEA Production Stage Manager Jessica V. Urtecho, Directed by Lorca Peress. 

2011 |TEMPLE OF THE SOULS (2011 Script Development Production)

In Winter 2011, MultiStages produced “Temple of the Souls,” a Musical Drama by Anita Velez-Mitchell, Music by Dean Landon and Anika Paris, Choreography by Milteri Tucker, Directed and Developed by Artistic Director Lorca Peress at The West End Theatre. This multilingual musical drama tells the story of Amada and Guario, two young lovers in a forbidden union during the cultural wars between the Spaniards and the nearly extinct Tainos of Puerto Rico. Composers Landon and Paris are Platinum Award-winning songwriters; Anita Velez-Mitchell is a multi-award winning Puerto Rican poet and author. The multicultural Cast and Artistic Company hail from South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, and the US. Visit the website for more information and updates on future productions:


CAST: Jen Anaya* Kenneth Kyle Martinez, Robmariel Olea, Ricardo Puente* Joshua Torrez* with Theresa Burns, Victor Cervantes, Raquel Faria, Bradley D. Gale* Giselle Gastell, Randall Marquez, Laura Riveros, Laura Lebron-Rojas, Alexis Sweeney, Patrick Valley. COMPANY: Book and Libretto by Anita Velez-Mitchell, Music Composed by Dean Landon and Anika Paris, Orchestrations and Arrangements by Dean Landon. Additional Lyrics by Anika Paris, Music Director Bruce Baumer, Choreographer Milteri Tucker, Costume Design Mark Richard Caswell, Mask/Puppetry Design by Kyla McHale, Scenic Design Lorca Peress, Lighting Design Alex Moore, Production Stage Manager Jessica V. Urtecho* Postcard Artwork by Puerto Rican Artist Emilí Vando, Press Rep, Maya PR, Directed and Developed by Lorca Peress. 

2010 |HELL AND HIGH WATER, or Lessons for When the Sky Falls (2009 New Works Contest Winner)

In Spring 2010, MultiStages produced “Hell and High Water…” by Jamuna Yvette Sirker, Projection Design by Jan Hartley, Choreography by Jennifer Chin, Directed by Artistic Director Lorca Peress at Hudson Guild Theatre. MultiStages was invited to present the play in the Theatre for the New City’s Lower Eastside Festival. How do we choose life in the face of unspeakable horror and neglect? Sirker, a KATRINA survivor, shares her story of how to survive apocalyptic times in America in a poetic, funny, and surreal Fantasia you won’t find on CNN!

CAST: Richarda Abrams, Frances Chewning, Ross DeGraw, Joyce Griffen, Cary Hite, Russell Jordan, Anna Lamadrid, Frederick Mayer, Paul Christian Mischeshin. ARTISTIC COMPANY: Jan Hartley, Projection Design; Alex Moore, Lighting Design; Eleanor D’Eustachio, Costume Design; Lorca Peress, Set Design; Lisa Tygier Diamond, Postcard Art; and Josh Allen, Sound Design. PRODUCTION COMPANY: Denise R. Zeiler AEA Production Stage Manager, Geoffrey Nixon Stage Manager; Jaki Silver Associate Producer.


2008 |THE JUDAS TREE (2007 New Works Contest Winner)

In Spring 2008, MultiStages produced The Judas Tree by Mary Fengar Gail, Music by Anika Paris, Lyrics by James Schevill, Choreography by Jennifer Chin, Directed by Artistic Director Lorca Peress at Teatro La Tea.  MultiStages was invited to present the play in the Theatre for the New City’s Lower Eastside Festival. Dark secrets are unearthed in this tale of murder, magic, and seduction, based loosely on the crimes of serial killer Dorothea Puente. The Judas Tree is a mythical play of operatic proportion with poetic songs, a turbulent garden of dancing corpses, and the 1958 murder trial of Elena Fiero.

CAST: featuring Roseanne Medina, John Haggerty, Colleen Cosgrove, José Febus, Daniel H. Hicks, Lily Mercer, Tanya Perez, with Grace Bernicker, Michael Martin-Badier, Andrea Pizza, Lisa Walker, Patricio Witis. ARTISTIC and PRODUCTION COMPANY: Choreography Jennifer Chin, Music Director Bruce Baumer, Lighting Design Alex Moore, Costume Design Peter Janis, Scenic Design Lorca Peress, Costume Design Assistant, Christopher McCardell, AEA Production Stage Manager Jessica V. Urtecho, Assistant To The Producer Melissa Kraus, Press Representative, Scotti Rhodes Publicity, Directed By Lorca Peress. 

2006 | KNOWING BLISS (2005 New Works Contest Winner)

In Spring 2006, MultiStages produced Knowing Bliss by Arden Kass, Directed by Artistic Director Lorca Peress at Teatro La Tea.  MultiStages was invited to perform the play in the Theatre for the New City’s Lower Eastside Festival. This complex piece takes us on an emotional journey between an estranged African-American Anthropologist and her Caucasian actress mother as they visit the Anasazi Cliff dwellings. MultiStages brought in dancers to create the landscape, a shape-shifting Coyote, and memories of the Anasazi people, as well as Music, Video and Mask Design.

The cast featured an international company:  Emmy Winner Blanche Baker, Carlos Fittante, Candice Waugh Myers, Natasa Babic, James Birch, Belén Cascón Rojo, Gonçalo Faria, Yuki Kawahisa, Nadia Rahman, Saskia Seligman.  Multidisciplinary elements included Music By David Amram (innovative blending of classical music and diverse Native American compositions); traditional Native American songs; Video Design by Austrian visual artist and Fulbright Scholar Elisabeth Fraller; Choreography by Carlos Fittante of the Balam Dance Theatre; and Mask Design By Lorca Peress. Sets/Costumes by Peter Janis; Associate Producer, René Keller. 

2004 | DAY OF RECKONING (2003 New Works Contest Winner)

In Spring 2004, MultiStages produced Day of Reckoning by Melody Cooper, Directed by MultiStages Artistic Director, Lorca Peress at The Kraine Theater.  This explosive world premiere explores politics, civil rights, worker’s rights, and the passionate interracial marriage of Lucy and Albert Parsons (a Haymarket Martyr) during Reconstruction and the Chicago Labor Movement.  Interviews and theatrical segments presented on WBAI’s Building Bridges, Our Community and Labor Report.  MultiStages was invited to perform the play in the Theatre for the New City’s Lower Eastside Festival.

Cast featured:  Freedome Bradley, Parris Nicole Cisco (The Lion King), Melody Cooper (AUDELCO Award Nominee), Michael Kennealy, and Alima Lindsey (OBIE Award).  Artistic Team:  Puppetry Design by Lorca Peress; Film and Video Design by Adam Larsen; Lighting Design by D.A. Strawder; Set and Costume Design by Peter Janis; Production Stage Manager, Jaki Silver; and Stage Manager, Kim Goei Okon; Matthew Fletcher, Production Assistant; Anne Coburne, Director’s Assistant.  Supported in part by the N.W. Dible Foundation.

Listen: The director of Day of Reckoning, Lorca Peress, along with Melody Cooper, actress and award winning playwright of the play, Freedome Bradley, and Michael Kennealy discuss their production for MultiStages.
From: Talking History. The Radio Archive
Part 1 – Real Media –>
Part 2 – Real Media–>


2002 | THE PALACE OF LONELINESS (2001 New Works Contest Winner)

In Spring 2002, MultiStages produced The Palace of Loneliness by Dorothy Tan, Directed by Elowyn Castle at HERE. This superbly written play combines two interwoven, but separate stories about love, passion, family and death. The contemporary story is of a young Chinese-American woman who walks into a sanitarium and confesses to a murder that no one can substantiate; and the other is a Chinese Operatic Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) legend of Emperor Xuanzong and his beloved concubine. The plays moves rapidly across time. Unique elements in this production included non-gender specific cross-casting and broad use of multidisciplinary elements: Chinese opera instrumentation, verse, dance, and choreographed movement.

The Cast featured Stephanie Wang, Lorca Peress, Valorie Niccore, Daniel H. Hicks, Adriene Thorne, and Aditi T. Dhruv. Multidisciplinary elements included Choreographer Jennifer Chin; Mask Designer Lorca Peress; Music Composer Hsin Jung Tsai; and Sets/Costume Designer Peter Janis; Gena Bardwell, Associate Producer. 

2001 | NOVEL (Script Development Series)

In Winter 2001, MultiStages produced Novel by Nick Bellitto at HERE. Novel was developed by MultiStages in its Script Development Series between 2000 and 2001, and received several MultiStages staged readings at the Lark Studio Theatre. This poetic play is portrait of a struggling artist who is forced to face his creative demons and the guilt over the death of his son as he creates his novel. This surreal memory piece incorporated stylistic movement and poetry. Novel was developed and directed by Lorca Peress.

The Cast featured: Peter Reznikoff, Gena Bardwell and Michael, Citriniti; Sets/Costumes, Mark Borders. Multidisciplinary collaborating artists were composers Anika Paris and Dean Landon. Partial funding for the Script Devlopment Series was received

from the N.W. Dible Foundation 

1999 | VARIATIONS ON CHRISTOPHER STREET: Four Short Works for Five Tall Women

In Spring 1999, MultiStages produced a quartet of dance/theatre pieces in collaboration with choreographer Joan Murray at the Lark Studio Theatre. Three of the pieces were original performance pieces written by Lorca Peress, and the fourth was a dance/drama reinterpretation of a short Eugene O’Neill play, Before Breakfast. Peress’ works included: Broadway Bound a poetic look at traveling on the IRT featuring dramatic percussive dance accompaniment and rhythmic verse; Sound Off, a comedic duet for tap dancer and opera singer vying for the stage; and Rock-A-Bye (Winner of the La Mia Ink! One-Page Play Contest), a solo dance piece with song in which a woman struggles with the death of her baby. Variations On Christopher Street was chosen for the Artists Embassy International Festival in San Francisco.

The Company featured actor/dancers Lorca Peress, Zazel O’Garra, Karen Millard, Alison Courtney, and opera singer Becky Holbrook. Joan Muray, Choreography, Amanda Ellis, Assistant Choreographer and Tap Director. 

1998 | Mail

MultiStages was invited to participate in the Sackett Group’s Women’s Work Festival of women directors at the Phil Bosokowski Theatre in Winter 1998. Lorca Peress directed the New York City premiere of Stephen Bartell’s new play, Mail. This psychological drama features three men living in an unnamed jail-like location they cannot leave; their jealousy, loneliness, and obsession eventually leads to murder.

MultiStages focused on the unsettling psychological and abstract qualities of the piece through a complicated sound collage by Carl Heriem that merged George Antheill’s 1920’s classical piano work Ballet Mechanique with human voice, sounds, and music. The Cast featured: Stacie Dotson, Evan Lucaser, William Joseph Brookes. 


MultiStages made its debut in November 1997 with a bang! The same month Unabomber Theodore Kaczynski was arrested, MultiStages produced a workshop production of Montana Dreaming, a politically stirring three-act docudrama by Alex Gross loosely based on the infamous Unabomber. Much attention was given to the play including a National Public Radio interview with Margot Adler and scenes from the show aired on All Things Considered as part of a Unabomber Special. Also, an article in the Sunday London Telegraph, November 9, 1997, by James Langton featured the MultiStages’ production; a television crew taped rehearsals for German television; and on opening night at The John Houseman Theatre, a bomb threat was made – it was only a threat, and the show went on as planned.

The Cast featured Valorie Niccore, Tom Humes, Michael Halata, Jane Lowe, Sarah Young, Tim Burke. 


Lorca Peress MultiStages Artistic Director
[email protected]
[email protected]


Friend us, and see our events posted on Facebook

Web Design by The New York Website Designer


Please Enter Your Email Address: