De Novo


Good Neighbor Program Directions Accessibility Calendar

Houses on the Moon presents De Novo
Directed by Jeffrey Solomon

December 1, 2017—December 22, 2017

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“A clear-eyed yet still DEEPLY MOVING PRESENTATION! 

COMPASSIONATELY DELIVERED by a nimble ensemble!” – Theatermania




Performed by a MAGNIFICENTLY TALENTED group of actors! 

Jeffrey Solomon’s direction is SAVVY AND COMPASSIONATE!

De Novo had me tearing up!” – Stage Buddy


On the streets of Guatemala City, gang members were Edgar’s only family.

But he dreamed of a different future.

To leave the gang was a death sentence.

Coming to the USA was his last hope. 


Houses on the Moon presents an acclaimed documentary play, De Novo, as a part of the inaugural season of Next Door at New York Theater Workshop.


Crafted entirely from immigration court transcripts, interviews and letters, De Novo tells the true story of Edgar Chocoy, a teenaged boy from Guatemala who faced deportation after fleeing to the U.S. in order to escape the gang MS-13.


Edgar travels over 3,000 miles, across the borders of three countries, in search of his mother and a better life in the United States. Detained by the Department of Homeland Security, he pleads with a Colorado judge to grant him asylum and not deport him back to Guatemala where the gang was awaiting his return. “If I go back, they’ll kill me.”


De Novo stars Camilo Almonacid, Zuleyma Guevara, Manny Ureña, and Emily Joy Weiner.


  • Camilo Almonacid

    Camilo Almonacid (Santiago Sanchez, Byron Vasquez, Scott Johns and Ensemble) is a New York based playwright and actor. Born in Bogota, Colombia he was raised in the U.S. His most recent play, The Assignment, commissioned by Houses on the Moon Theatre Company, was produced Off-Broadway at the A.R.T/New York Theatres in April 2017. His other plays include Wepa! (Fuerza Fest) Westpine Myopes (Rita Goldberg Award), Checkin In (Irv Zarkower Award), For the Flies (HERE Arts), Church Of Why Not (Theatre 167), After the Crowds (Queen’s Museum, NY times Critics Pick) and Shithole (HERE Arts). He continues to work on new projects and collaborations that explore the pluralistic voices of American society. He holds a BFA in Acting from Rutgers University (2008) and an MFA in Playwriting from Hunter College (2014).

  • Emily Joy Weiner

    Emily Joy Weiner is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Houses on the Moon. She most recently co-developed and directed The Assignment at the A.R.T./New York Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre. With Houses on the Moon, she has been creating, developing, producing and directing new works that address the complex and sensitive issues of our time in partnership with community organizations and a talented company of artists. NY theater credits include Othello (West End Theater), Coming Through (American Place Theatre), Tara’s Crossing  (Tenement Theater, the Lucille Lortel), Finding the Words (the Lucille Lortel), Henry V (Bank Street Theater), An Epidog (Mabou Mines), and De Novo (59E59th St.). Regionally she has been seen in The Crucible (Madison Repertory Theatre),Fefu and Her Friends and The Threepenny Opera (Williamstown Theater Festival). As a teaching artist Emily works with teenagers who are currently going through the criminal justice system.

  • Zuleyma Guevara

    Zuleyma Guevara is excited to be working on De Novo again, especially at a time when our country needs to engage in the dialogue inspired by this piece. She recently performed in the world premiere of Uncommon Sense (Tectonic Theatre Project).  Prior to that she performed in the New Jersey premiere of Water by the Spoonful (directed by Kel Haney, Kean University). Previous credits include: La Paloma Prisoner and The Hour of The Star (Columbia Stages). the world premiere of Seven Spots on the Sun (Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park) and La Ruta (Working Theatre).  Other New York stage credits include: Quail (Ohio Theatre for Clubbed Thumb); Animus (Intars New Plays festival at Playwrights Horizon) and Shi*hole (DUTF). Previous film/TV credits include “Sonia’s Choice” for the #imhere campaign, “Rope Art,” “Legend of the 13 Suns” for Kraft as well as “Law and Order.”  She has appeared on the CBS pilot “Limitless” and most recently worked on “Gotham-The Red Queen.”

Jeffrey Solomon / Playwright/Director

is the co-founder of Houses on the Moon Theater Company. His previous works include Tara’s Crossing (world premiere at Tenement Theater, NY), Building Houses on the Moon (Lucille Lortel, NY), MotherSON (HERE Arts Center, Queens Theatre in the Park, Penguin Rep, Theatreworks in Melbourne, Australia and on London’s Off West End at both the New End and Oval House Theatre) and Santa Claus Is Coming Out (Kirk Theatre, NY). De Novo ran at 59E59 Theaters in the Americas Off-Broadway Festival and toured El Salvador in a full Spanish translation. Solomon wrote the teleplay for CityKids (Jim Henson Productions), which received an Emmy nomination for Best Children’s Special and won an Ollie Award for Excellence in Children’s Programming and was the staff writer for the series of the same name.  He was also a writer on “Tribeca” (Fox/Tri-Star), “Davis Rules” (Carsey Werner/ABC) and “Gullah-Gullah Island” (Nickelodeon).

Donna De Cesare / Projected Images

An award-winning photojournalist with extensive experience covering Latin America, De Cesare is widely known for her coverage of the spread of Los Angeles gangs in Central America. She is currently the associate professor of photojournalism at the University of Texas at Austin, a member of the advisory board of the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas and serves on the executive committee of the Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma.  De Cesare was recently awarded journalism’s oldest award, the Maria Moors Cabot Prize. Her newly published book Unsettled/Desasosiego: Children in a World of Gangs is both a memoir and a visual history of her experiences in Central America and Los Angeles.