New York | 1h 20m | Already closed

De Novo

From 9 critic and 30 member reviews
Members say: Thought-provoking, Relevant, Absorbing, Intelligent, Great acting

About the show

Houses on the Moon's drama tells the true story of a teenaged boy from Guatemala who faced deportation after fleeing to the U.S. to escape gang life. Part of New York Theatre Workshop's 'Next Door at NYTW' series. More…

At fourteen, Edgar Chocoy fled Guatemala City and traveled over 3,000 miles in search of his mother, who left him when he was a baby to find work in the United States. Detained by the Department of Homeland Security, he pleaded with a Colorado judge not to deport him to Guatemala, where the gang he left had sentenced him to death. 'De Novo' provides a rare glimpse into the life of an 'unaccompanied alien minor' with a documentary play crafted entirely from immigration court transcripts, letters, and extensive interviews.

Stage Buddy

"A Magnificently talented group of actors...With the use of screens and projections, Jeffrey Solomon’s direction is savvy and compassionate...Houses on the Moon Theater Company and its members have raised their voices in dissent. They have resisted tyranny and bureaucracy and you can too by bearing witness to this devastating and miraculous play." Full Review

Times Square Chronicles

“’De Novo’ seeks to shed light on the 1.1 million undocumented minors in this country, by using this story to add heart...The cast is excellent, the play well directed and superbly done. Ureña as Edgar makes us feel for him...The rest of the cast play multiple roles and are adept at creating realistic characters, thanks to playwright and director Solomon." Full Review

Theatre is Easy

“Heart-wrenching and important...I cannot begin to say how thoroughly good the ensemble is...They are what makes this show so powerful and enjoyable...If there is any critique to level at ‘De Novo,’ it is that this is not a story that is particularly unpredictable...That takes away from the ability to feel true shock. But this predictability only adds to the beautiful difficulty of watching this true story unfold...It successfully humanizes a very big problem...It inspires.” Full Review


"Compassionately delivered by a nimble ensemble...Houses on the Moon bravely chooses a case guaranteed to evoke ambivalence...Solomon stages Edgar's complex story with efficient theatricality...One need not embellish to convey just how heartbreaking these cases are, and Houses on the Moon never does. By delivering a clear-eyed yet still deeply moving presentation of just one, the company proves that it takes a certain amount of willful ignorance to see these kids as just statistics." Full Review

The New York Times

“A powerful piece of political theater...Deftly directed by Solomon...Those documents make compelling dialogue, rendered tenderly human...The play re-argues Edgar’s deportation case, and in its tragedy demands that we consider who’s allowed to make a home in this country free of intimidation, and who we as a society are willing to fight for rather than against.” Full Review


"It’s certain to raise the emotional temperature of any viewer, regardless of their political orientation or current stance on immigration...In keeping with the tone of the presentation, the acting is understated. Nobody overplays their hand or hogs the spotlight here...Directed by Solomon, it’s not light entertainment, an escape from reality, and offers no quick-fix to the immigration problem. Still, it does resonate with what we see and hear in the media everyday." Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“Under Solomon's direction, this true tale of our times is given an unsensational presentation that, at first, seems a little dry but gradually gains force as Edgar progresses through the stages of his personal hell. The four-person cast underplays skillfully, aware that the facts of the story provide all the drama that is needed...Watching ‘De Novo’ is a very sad experience; be prepared for it to haunt you for days after you've seen it.” Full Review

Village Voice

“A documentary play...There are moments in De Novo where Solomon’s drawing on primary source text proves dramatically potent...Though 'De Novo' is undoubtedly moving, I wonder how the play might have changed if Solomon had been willing to take more creative risks...It held me in its grip, but didn’t make the leap of forcing me to question either my assumptions about what I know or how I experience the world.” Full Review

Off Off Online

“Whether the potential for highs and lows are neutered intentionally because the production is based on dry documentary evidence is uncertain, but the drama is delivered and received with limited emotional range. The slideshow of actual footage throughout the production is powerful punctuation...It can feel like an imposition of political persuasion, and might not be for everyone...'De Novo' would benefit from a wider reach and, perhaps, some agitation." Full Review

Important docudrama expertly and movingly rendered

See it if you are at all concerned about what values the USA represents in the 21st century of today and understand that we are facing a reckoning ...

Don't see it if you don't like political theater, and amazingly and surprisingly political theater that will move you to tears

Absorbing, Relevant, Must see, Great staging

See it if you want a front-row seat into the deportation process. It's a heart-breaking story told in a unique way.

Don't see it if you're not open to changing your mind on aggressive deportation policies.

Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Great writing

See it if you see the value in seeing today's real-world stories through the lens of art. De Novo is a phenomenal docu-theatre experience.

Don't see it if you are only going to the theater looking for an escape from the news of the real world, but this play does offer an opportunity to process.

Also A beautiful piece of art. I highly recommend it.

Absorbing, Must see, Relevant

See it if you love a true story that will shatter you. This play is so relevant now. You must see it.

Don't see it if you don't want to learn about immigration issues that plague so many. Get thee to West 4th Street.

Absorbing, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Great acting, Immersive

See it if You appreciate a documentary approach to difficult political situations and have an open mind about immigration and deportation.

Don't see it if You want distance from the performance.

Also Builds tremendous empathy using theatrical devices and great storytell... Read more Read less

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Relevant, Profound, Clever

See it if you want to see a powerful representation of a true childhood deportation story which gives insight to makes you think about the outcome.

Don't see it if you like light stories, you have a hard time with intensity in intimate settings, you do not enjoy stories/scripts taken from reality.

Thought-provoking, Great acting, Absorbing

See it if A timely work considering all the strife created as the courts tear families apart

Don't see it if If you are not interested in learning about families who are migrating

Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Important, Educational

See it if you're interested in a documentary style play which sadly recounts the struggles of a young asylum seeker and a broken immigration system.

Don't see it if you're looking for something fun and frivolous, or don't want to consider important social and political issues in America.

Also The post-show discussion was also worth staying for and added addition... Read more Read less

Profound, Edgy, Ambitious, Relevant, Intense

See it if Interested in topical show about undocumented immigration and the system. Find shoes based upon real events and documents intersections

Don't see it if Want a lighthearted show or musical. Want a full fledged show with elaborate sets and production values. Don’t like shows with political pov

Great acting, Intense, Thought-provoking, Relevant

See it if you like shows that deal with important topics but don't offer any easy solutions

Don't see it if you prefer light fluffy entertainment more than shows that deal with tough issues facing today's world.

Absorbing, Confusing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if You want to see one deportation case of a young immigrant’s experience in our justice system acted out.

Don't see it if You want some mindless entertainment or if you don’t like to mix politics with your entertainment.

Well-intended, Predictable, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you have an interest in immigration and the justice system.

Don't see it if you're looking for an uplifting story.

Intelligent, Cliched, Absorbing, Great acting

See it if You feel strongly about the political isssues regarding undocumented immigrants.

Don't see it if You expect theatre to be more than just “morally good”

Great acting, Thought-provoking, Intelligent, Great writing, Absorbing

See it if You want to learn while you enjoy great acting and story telling

Don't see it if You preffer light plays without deep thinking

Also This play portrais in an honest and neutral way the complexity of immi... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if You are interested in theatre that has a political theme and enjoy a good acting ensemble.

Don't see it if Don't want to be exposed to controversial subject matter in a theatrical setting

During previews
Thought-provoking, Must see, Profound, Intense, Excruciating

See it if You appreciate powerful and painful theatre. If you want to learn about the very real people affected by the USs immigration policy.

Don't see it if You're looking for a light evening of entertainment.

Also De Novo is not an easy piece to watch, but it's tremendously important... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Powerful, Timely, Important

See it if You have any interest in Immigration issues and want to see a docudrama about one young man's life as he tries to seek asylum.

Don't see it if A very important play that leaves you thinking. Not for everyone, as it is not strictly for entertainment. Don't expect a happy ending.

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you like great drama, thought provoking theater. engaging talkbacks. great acting

Don't see it if you're looking for a musical or a fluff night out.

During previews
Must see, Profound, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Resonant

See it if Want to learn about the plight of unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in Central America.

Don't see it if You want to be entertained. This is a powerful and heart rendering story.

During previews
Absorbing, Ambitious, Intelligent, Relevant, Profound

See it if You are concerned with immigration issues and how they impact real humans.

Don't see it if You are a Trump supporter and believe the rhetoric of the far right that immigrants are, by definition, bad people.

Also This was a thoughtful look at the plight of immigrants and those seeki... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Intense, Profound, Thought-provoking

See it if look at US justice system- reading of documents of case of 1 undocumented Guatemalan gang member seeking asylum-serious & interestesting

Don't see it if You want light fluffy entertainment--It's a meaty well told look at relevant issues requiring attention and thought...

Also See it.Stay for talk back-participate or just listen. Think about the ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Great acting, Clever, Entertaining, Intelligent

See it if You like intelligent theater with an absorbing story line. Very thought provoking.

Don't see it if Don't like to think.

Also This play should be seen by everyone, we need to know what really happ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you like plays based on real life

Don't see it if you're looking for a comedy

During previews
Absorbing, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Original

See it if You care about deported children, you're open to a Spanish/English production that works well, you like a format like The Laramie Project.

Don't see it if You expect elaborate costumes or production numbers.

Also Even if you're on overload with all the awfulness going on right now, ... Read more Read less

During previews
Absorbing, Intelligent, Relevant, Thought-provoking, Intense

See it if you would like a one hour play based upon a true story, that focuses on how the legal system treats a young, undocumented immigrant.

Don't see it if you want light subject matter, elaborate staging/costumes, or a traditional theater setting.

Cast & Creatives (13)