Ensemble Studio Theatre Announces Casting For Spring Show, LAS BORINQUEÑAS

Performances run April 3 to April 28 at EST’s long time home on West 52nd Street.

By: Jan. 25, 2024
Ensemble Studio Theatre Announces Casting For Spring Show, LAS BORINQUEÑAS
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Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST), The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Latinx Playwrights Circle, and Boundless Theatre Company have announced casting and creative team for the world premiere of LAS BORINQUEÑAS by Nelson Diaz-Marcano and directed by Rebecca Aparicio, running April 3 to April 28 at EST’s long time home on West 52nd Street, with a press opening on April 11. 

Tickets for LAS BORINQUEÑAS are $30 for general admission, $40 for reserved seating, and $25 for students/seniors. $20 early bird pricing is available through April 2. Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) is located at 545 West 52nd Street. For more information, visit www.estnyc.org.

The cast features Nicole Betancourt, Hanna Cheek, Helen Coxe, Guadalís Del Carmen, Maricelis Galanes, Maribel Martinez, Paul Niebanck, Ashley Marie Ortiz, and Mike Smith Rivera.

It’s the 1950's in Puerto Rico and María, Fernanda, Yolanda, Rosa, and Chavela are fighting to live full lives in a changing country with crushing societal rules for women. In the United States, Dr. Gregory Pincus is on the verge of perfecting a miracle that could give them freedom - if only he could find test subjects to participate in preliminary trials. This is the story of the birth control pill and the women who risked everything for the chance to live free.

The production features scenic design by Gerardo Díaz Sánchez; costume design by Tina McCartney; lighting design María Cristina Fusté; projections design by Milton M. Cordero; sound design by Daniela Hart, Bailey Trierweiler, Noel Nichols, and Uptown Works; and props design by Caitlyn Murphy. Alejandra Maldonaldo Morales is the production stage manager.

"We're delighted to partner with EST on the premiere of Las Borinqueñas, originally commissioned through the EST/Sloan Project to support outstanding playwrights who incorporate science and technology themes." said Doron Weber, Vice President and Program Director at the Sloan Foundation.  "Diaz-Marcano’s play dramatizes the human story behind the extraordinary development of the birth control pill, one of science’s great achievements in the 20th century. While highlighting the benefits of scientific research that led to the pill, including the freedom it has granted to women around the world, the play also examines the personal sacrifices and cultural pressures behind clinical trials that precede such breakthroughs."


Nelson Diaz-Marcano (Playwright) is a Puerto Rican NYC-based theater maker, advocate, and community leader whose mission is to create work that challenges and builds community. He currently serves as the Literary Director for the Latinx Playwright Circle where he has helped develop over 100 plays in the past three years. His plays have been developed by the Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Road Theatre Company, Pipeline Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, The Lark, Vision Latino Theater Company, The Orchard Project, The William Inge Theatre Festival, Classical Theatre of Harlem, and The Parsnip Ship among others. Recent credits include: World Classic(Bishop Theatre Arts Center), Y Tu Abuela, Where is She? Part 1 (CLATA), When the Earth Moves, We Dance (Clubbed Thumb, Teatro Vivo), The Diplomats (Random Acts Chicago), Paper Towels (INTAR), Misfit, America(Hunter Theatre Company), I Saw Jesus in Toa Baja (Conch Shell Productions), and Revolt! (Vision Latino Theatre Company).

Rebecca Aparicio (Director) is a Cuban American, New York-based, bilingual director and writer. Recent directing: Jardin Salvaje by Karen Zacarias (GALA Hispanic Theatre, Helen Hayes recommended), Beastgirl, based on the chapbook by Elizabeth Acevedo, book by C. Quintana and music by Janelle Lawrence (Kennedy Center, Helen Hayes nominated); The House on the Lagoon by Caridad Svich (Gala Hispanic Theatre, Winner Best Direction Broadway World-DC), Sarita by Maria Irene Fornes (Roundabout Theatre Refocus Series), and Siluetas, book by Erlina Ortiz and music by Robi Hager (Powerstreet Theatre Company). As a director, she’s developed new work with American Repertory Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, McCarter Theatre, O'Neill Theatre Center, Playwrights Center, Powerstreet Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Musical Theatre Factory, The Flea Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, National Black Theatre, and more. Past Fellowships include: Roundabout Theatre’s Inaugural Directing Group, MTC Jonathan Alper Directing Fellow, The COOP’s Clusterf**k Writing Cohort, and a two-time SDCF Observership Award recipient. As a writer, her work includes the award-winning musical Pedro Pan (New York Musical Festival, Musical Theatre Factory, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat, FringeNYC), Tree Tales (Prospect Theatre), Hindsight 2020 (Live & In Color, Legacy (Prospect Theatre), and The Garcia Sisters (Red Mountain Theatre. Rebecca is a CRNY artist-in-residence with the Latinx Playwrights Circle, a steering committee member of the Latinx Theatre Commons, and is a founding member of Magic Forest Theatre (dedicated to creating new musicals for young audiences). She also serves as a board member at The Flea and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. 


Nicole Betancourt (Chavela/Julia) is a versatile bilingual actress and VO artist who has developed characters for film, theater and web series. NY theatre: Zoetrope (Abrons Arts Center), Witkacy’s Mad Man and the Nun (PREGONES), Storage Locker (IATI), UBU ROI (IRT & INTAR), Red (HERE Arts Center), Waters of Friendship (La Tea), A Taste Of Honey (dir. Susan Batson). Winner of Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role (FuerzaFest). Film/TV: She Said (dir. Maria Schrader), Melty Face on “Orange is the New Black”, Officer Spanos on “StartUp”. Rep: Karen Riposo at KPA Talent. 

Hanna Cheek (Edris Rice-Wray) NYC: GOODBAR (The Public), The Blueprint Specials (USS Intrepid), Widowers’ Houses, Happy Birthday (with TACT at The Beckett), The Persians…a comedy about war (Perry Street), Marco Millions (Theatre Row), The|King|Operetta (Barrow Street), #9 (59E59),  Junta High (PS122), Hostage Song (Kraine), Sovereign (Judson Gym), Universal Robots (Sheen Center). REGIONAL: Other Desert Cities, Proof, Grounded, Heisenberg. FILM/TV: “Gypsy” (Netflix), “Madame Secretary” (CBS), “Ugly Americans” (Comedy Central), The Outside Story, All Roads Lead.

Helen Coxe (Lizzie). She was last seen as Tracy Jones in Tracy Jones by Stephen Kaplan at Arthouse. MFA from A.C.T. Proud member of EST.

Guadalís Del Carmen (Yolanda) is an Ars Nova PlayGroup Alum, a founding member of the Dominican Artist Collective, and a Hermitage Residency Artist. Guadalís received a Steinberg Playwriting Award in 2020, a Helen Merrill Playwriting Award in 2023, and the HOLA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Playwriting in 2023. Her acting credits include La Egoísta (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Mojada: A Medea In Los Angeles (The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Julia de Burgos: Child of Water (UrbanTheatre Company), Antígona (Aguijón Theater).

Maricelis Galanes (Rosa/Peggy Blake) is an actress/singer from Puerto Rico and an MFA graduate from The Actors Studio Drama School. Credits include La Traición en La Amistad (Repertorio Español), The Oxcart (Roundabout Theatre Company, PRTT/Pregones), ¡GÁRGOLA! (MCC Theater). TV/Film: "Miranda's Victim", "Fantasy Island", "The Baker and the Beauty". She is a proud member of AEA. Honored to be a voice for the women of PR in the world premiere of Las Borinqueñas. 

Maribel Martinez (Fernanda) is a multi-hyphenate artist, proudly Black-Latina, with Dominican and Puerto Rican roots.  Theater credits include the recent Off-Broadway premiere of Bees & Honey (MCC Theater - HOLA Awards nomination); Will You Come With Me? (PlayCo); Julius Cesar (New York Shakespeare in the Park); and regionally she has worked at People’s Light, Shakespeare Theatre Company, American Conservatory Theater, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Folger, among others. Film/Television: “Evil” (CBS), “New Amsterdam” (ABC), “The Watcher” (Netflix), “Sacrifice” (BET+), “Dr. Death” (Peacock). 

Paul Niebanck (Gregory Pincus). New York: Richard III (NYSF), Barbecue, Plenty (Public), Blood and Gifts, In the Next Room… (LCT ); A Walk in the Woods, BOY (Keen); The Changeling (Redbull); RX (Primary Stages); American Clock (Signature); A Picture of Autumn (Mint); Much Ado About Nothing (TFANA); The Seagull, (Pearl); Leaving Queens (Women’s  Project); TV/Film: West Side Story, “Manhattan Romance”, “Madam Secretary”, “Good Fight”, “The Blacklist,” “Person of Interest,” “Burn Notice.” 

Ashley Marie Ortiz (Maria). NYC based actor and applied theatre facilitator. Recent credits: the beautiful land i seek (la linda tierra que busco yo) (Faultline Theatre); Prospect Avenue, or The Miseducation of Juni Rodríguez (Ensemble Studio Theatre); Foul Shots (INTAR MICROTEATRO Festival); FUR (Next Door at NYTW); Scissoring (INTAR); Nervous/System (BAM); After (The Public Theatre); The Fire this Time Festival Season 9; Meet me at the Fountain (Lincoln Center Education); Malefactions (Chinatown Soup); Patience, Fortitude, and other Antidepressants (INTAR/LATC). TV: “FBI”; “Law and Order: SVU”. PPE TQM

Mike Smith Rivera (Broadcaster/Pablo) is a Mexican-American actor, comedian, and voice-over artist from Brooklyn. He's a(n EST) member artist, UCB house sketch comedy team actor, and runs Burning Clown Productions, Inc. NY theatre credits: 34th & 35th Marathon, Sh*tloads of Money, Sisters in Blizzard (EST), No Dogs Allowed (Atlantic). TV: "Only Murders in the Building", "Billions", "The Blacklist", "The Green Veil", "Brooklyn Animal Control". VO: Dora the Explorer's Papi (& more) on "¡Dora!", HBO's "Burning Rubber", "Yu-Gi-Oh" (GTA V), Tatiana Maslany's "Power Trip", and "These Were Humans" (Tribeca 2023) 



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