laCriatura theater


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Karina Casiano
Performer, Director, Playwright, Producer 

Born in Puerto Rico, Casiano holds a BA in Drama from the University of Puerto Rico.  Casiano has written seven plays with music since she began self-producing in 1999. That year, she premiered her first one-woman show, "¿Qué me trajiste?: Cabaret Boricua," about the political relationship between United States and Puerto Rico. The show traveled to Puerto Rico, Cuba, Ecuador, Perú, Chile, Argentina and New York. 

In 2000, she created her second solo show, "Colonia 2007 o el cabaret de los días terribles," a futuristic play with music and video set in Puerto Rico, also seen in Ecuador and New York.

In 2005 she co-founded La Criatura Theater alongside actors Miguel Belmonte and Jorge Dieppa. The following year, they premiered the company's first full-cast, site-specific play, entitled "Silence Is Health / Silencio es Salud," about the issue of public indifference towards the issue of torture.

In 2008, Casiano produced her third solo work, the theatrical concert about migration, "Rootless: La No-Nostalgia," seen at Chashama on 42nd Street, CUNY John Jay College and, in August 2009, at NYU's 10mo Encuentro de Performance y Política in Bogotá, Colombia.

In 2010, "Rootless" played at P.S.122 in New York City as part of the 7th Annual soloNOVA Arts Festival (nominated for an NYIT Award for Outstanding Musical) and in Mexico City as part of the VIII Festival Internacional de Cabaret at the renowned Teatro Bar El Vicio.

That year, Casiano wrote her fifth play, "The Orphans," which premiered at La MaMa E.T.C., participated in the 5th Teatro StageFest, and traveled to São Paulo, Brazil, a co-production of SESC and Teatro Stage Fest sponsored by the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation. The play received a NYIT Awards nomination for Outstanding Choreography in 2011.

Casiano's fourth solo show, "Womankind," premiered at La MaMa E.T.C. in New York City in February 2014. She and La Criatura co-founder Miguel Belmonte created "Vertigo," a one-act play for intimate spaces, which opened at a private event in DUMBO, Brooklyn, in January 2014.

In New York, she has collaborated with The Flying Machine, International WOW, Spanish Repertory Theater and the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, among other New York companies.

In film, Casiano appeared on "Gun Hill Road" (Sundance 2011 and theaters nationwide,) with Esai Morales and Judy Reyes, and in multiple independent short and full-length films. On TV, she has appeared in the TV series "House of Cards," "Law and Order" and "Blue Bloods," and, in Ecuador, in "Pasado y confeso."

More information, videos and photos at and

Photo by Flor Blake.

Antígona González
Director's Assistant / Stage Manager

Studied Theater and Contemporary Dance, and Journalism at UANL, Mexico. She has extensive experience in working with physical theater, dance,  film production, and Memory and Oral History.

As an actress and creator, she has worked with Teatro Línea de Sombra in Mexico since 2007 , including their latest play "Baños Roma" (2013.) Their play "Amarillo" has been performed at festivals around the world in the United States, France, Spain, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Venezuela, among others.

Since 2009, González collaborates in the TRANSVERSALES International Encounter of Contemporary Theater in Mexico as a Production and Technical Assistant and workshops coordinator.  

She has also performed dance-movement research alongside dancer Zuadd Atala. In 2011, she was a resident artist with Compagnie Carabosse in Niort, France.

González also co-founded of Colectivo A Contrapelo in 2012. In collaboration with Memoria Migrante, they created "La multitud del ala contra el viento," an exhibit/installation  based on Oral History and Memory workshops made with Central and South American migrant women. The participants  became actresses in a version of the play. The installation will be presented by the Universidad Nacional in Córdoba, Argentina in May of 2014.

González recently moved to New York City, where she continue her movement and theater research, continues to develop projects with Línea de Sombra.

Miguel Ángel Valderrama

Lighting and Technical Director for "The Orphans"

Originally from Bogotá, Colombia. He has designed lights and performed as technical director for several theater companies and festivals in New York City, including Teatro StageFest 2009 to 2012, and plays such as "Fishing for Alaska," "Light of Night," "They Call Me La Lupe," "Looking Glass Rewondered," "Cuban Operator, Please…", "Hunting the Reinosos," "Oh! Yantai," "I Want You by My Side," "The Foolish Disciple," "Lemay," “Tell Them Not to Kill Me,” "Nesting," "Work in Progress," "Taking a Chance in America, " “Once on This Island,” "Paso del Norte," "Pawn Shop Accordions" and "Ephigenia at Aulis," among others. 

Miguel Ángel has also collaborated with several lighting teams for live music, TV, video, film, fashion, architecture and a wide variety of corporate events.

He teaches Entertainment Technology at his alma mater, CUNY's CITYTECH college.

Photo by Edna Leee Figueroa.


Jorge Dieppa

Co-Founder, Set Designer / Actor

Born in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Dieppa moved to New York City in 2002. A founding member of La Criatura and the Set designer for The Orphans, he holds an MFA in Set Design from Brooklyn College-CUNY (where he is currently Adjunct Professor for the Theater Department) and a degree in Mechanical Engineer from the prestigious Mayagüez college of the University of Puerto Rico. In 1993, Dieppa won the the first prize in the nationwide ImagiNations design competition sponsored by Walt Disney’s Imagineering.

Among his set design credits are: The Taming of the Shrew, Sight Unseen, Urinetown, The CrucibleLa Celestina, Into the Woods, City of Angels, The Snow QueenLysistrata, and the New York premier of Five Kinds of Silence by the playwright Shelagh Stephenson for Boundless Theater Company.

In film, has worked as Art Director for the feature Civil War epic Legged Red Devils and the TV pilot Accidental Heroes, both for C-Squared Productions.

A multifaceted artist, he is also an experienced actor with credits in theater, film, television and radio. His credits include dozens of plays and TV series in Puerto Rico. In 1996, Dieppa won the New Actor of the Year award granted by the Theatre Critics’ Circle of Puerto Rico. As a radio actor, he worked for the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Puerto Rico for several years.

In New York, Dieppa has collaborated as an actor with Karina Casiano in her independent projects ¿Qué me trajiste?: Cabaret Boricua and Colonia 2007 o el cabaret de los días terribles at HERE Arts Center, and has appeared off- Broadway at Repertorio Español in The Dog in the Manger. Along with Casiano, Dieppa originated the germinal idea for The Orphans in 2003. He also starred in the feature film Reasons for Exxxile by Juanma Calderón.

Dieppa is also involved with Spaeth Design, where he collaborates in the design of the world-renowned Holidays windows for Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Sak’s. He is currently Resident Set Designer at the Elisabeth Irwin High School.

Bryan Wade

Composer, Guitarist

Bryan Wade is a guitarist, vocalist, composer and music teacher based in Brooklyn, New York. His work comprises colorful, mysterious and outrageous sound stories born out of Middle-Eastern, Latin, and American folk music, mixed with punk, funk, jazz, and free sound. Wade has scored a number of plays and films.

Wade released the 6-song album "WRONGRWRONGWRONG" on iTunes in 2009.

He is currently writing a book on his Mindful Guitarist Training, a series of awareness techniques based on Buddhist meditation.

Originally from South Carolina, Wade has shared the stage with artists such as Hootie & The Blowfish, The Manic Street Preachers, Danielle Howle, Vic Chestnutt, The Waterboys and Joe Mauricio, and sang for years with Random Folk. Wade is the founder of the eclectic rock group Jebel.

More information at


Miguel Belmonte
Co-Founder / Actor

Born in Spain. Co-founded La Criatura in 2005. He began his theatre education at Institut del Teatre in Barcelona, and later graduated from the Nancy Tuñón Studio with a degree in Drama.

He appeared regularly on Spanish television in the series Secrets de Familia and Laberint D’ombres for TV3 Productions and was chosen to appear in the play OBS by the renowned theatre group La Fura Dels Baus. Upon receiving a scholarship, Belmonte headed to Milan, Italy, where he studied Commedia dell’Arte at the Filodrammatici di Milano. 

Following a brief period in London, England, doing voiceover work, he came to New York and has studied the Meisner Technique with Ted Bardy. Belmonte has appeared in plays such as the OOBR Award-winning production of Tango Masculino, directed by Jeffrey Corrick at the Wings Theatre; The Odd Couple with the Stage East Ensemble; and a staged reading of The Adventures of Don Quixote with The Dramatists’ Guild under the direction of Diógenes Grassal.

He has collaborated with the off-Broadway theatre company Repertorio Español, where he appeared in Federico García Lorca’s Blood Wedding, directed by René Buch.

Belmonte’s film credits include the leading role in The Kiss, directed by Joshua Cody. He has also appeared in Zero Hour by Marcio Venturi, and co-starred in The Love Bite by Macdara Vallely (2004 Best Irish Short at the Galway Film Fleadth in Dublin, Ireland). He was  also seen on film at the Museum of Modern Art’s P.S. 1 in the art exhibit Birds of Paradise, which was chosen to be a part of the ARCO, the International Contemporary Art Fair, in 2004.

His recent film credits include the feature Life Is a Dream (Cannes 2013 premiere) and the upcoming La vida inesperada alongside Javier Cámara, Carmen Ruiz and Raúl Arévalo, directed by award-winning director Jorge Torregreossa and with a screenplay by Elvira Lindo.

 Other films include "The Kiss" by Joshua Cody, "Zero Hour" by Marcio Venturi, "Neptunux Rex" (Best Film, New Hampshire Film Festival) and "Sufrir como dedos que no sangran" by Francisco Lupini, and "The Love Bite" by Macdara Vallely (2004 Best Irish Short, Galway Film Fleadth, Dublin, Ireland.)

More information, videos and photographs at

María Cristina Fusté
Lighting Designer 

Ms. Fusté  has designed numerous shows for off-Broadway, Regional Theatre, Modern Dance and Spanish Theatre.  She toured at more than 100 venues on the east coast, Colorado, Texas, Bolivia, Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic with the Spanish Repertory Theatre. She shares her free-lance work between New York and her native Puerto Rico.

NY credits: “Yo Soy Latina” at Crossroads Theatre directed by Ricardo Khan.  “The feast of the Goat” & “El Quijote” (ACE nomination for best Lighting Design 2007) both directed by Jorge Ali Triana at the Spanish Repertory Theatre. Other credits in NY include “Germans in Paris” directed by José Zayas at 59E59, Vision Festival ’08, ‘09 created by Patricia Parker, and “Clytemnestra’s Tears” at La MAMA, among others.

Ms. Fusté  is the Resident Lighting Designer and Managing Director at Teatro Círculo (NYC and PR).  Her credits include: “El caballero del milagro” (NY and PR), “Lágrimas negras” (NY and PR), “Lorca Federico Lorca” (NY and PR), “Juan Bobo” and “La Celestina” (NY, PR, TX) earning her the ACE award for best lighting design (2008).

She is the artistic director of Boundless Theatre Company. Credits: “Bug” by Tracy Letts, “Boundless Exposed” (NY), “Mujer Invisible” (NY and PR), “Five Kinds of Silence” by Shelagh Stephenson (PR and NY), “Tropical Tree” by Yukio Mishima (PR), “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” by Bernard Shaw (PR), “Madre el Drama Padre” (NY) directed by José Zayas. She holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Puerto Rico and an MFA in Lighting Design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.   

Awymarie Riollano
Costume Designer

An architect, scenic designer and muralist, Riollano was born in Puerto Rico and resides in New York City.  As a graduate from the College of Architecture at Cornell University and with a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Design from New York University, she has spent the past ten years nourishing both art forms by cross-referencing one discipline with the other. Her architecture work has focused mostly around hospitality applications such as theatres, restaurants and casinos. 

In the theatre world, she has worked both as scenic and costume designer on various productions in NYC including “The Dog in the Manger” for Spanish Repertory Theater, “Hanjo” and “Ripples” at HERE Arts Center, “90 Miles of Separation” at The Producer’s Club, “Thyestes” at the Riverside Church Theatre, and various others. In addition, she was co-founder of the group Agora Theatre in Puerto Rico and designer/executive producer of their production “Medea: Amurallada”.

Antón Lago
Special Effects and Prop Designer

With over 30 years of experience as a multidisciplinary visual artist and administrator, his wide range of skills allows him to perform several diverse roles in the Theater, also including Scenic Design.

A native of Galicia, Spain, Lago has collaborated with several independent troupes in Europe and the U.S. This is his second time joining forces with La Criatura Theater.

For the past three years, Lago has been a Set Designer consultant for the New York City Housing Authority’s community programs for teens.

Edna Lee Figueroa 
Stage Manager

An actress and stage manager born in Puerto Rico, Edna Lee moved to New York in 2009. Possesses a BA in Theatre from the University of Puerto Rico and an MA in Arts Administration from Turabo University of Puerto Rico.

Aside from “The Orphans,” Figueroa has been a stage manager for Teatro Círculo (“Sabina y Lucrecia,” "Carmen Loisaida" and "El caballero del milagro," where she was also Assistant to the Director;) La Micro Theater (“Working la Vida,” “Dreaming Red”) and NYU’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute (“Stuck Elevator,” also Production Manager.) She is an Associate Artist for Boundless Theater Company.

In Puerto Rico, she was a founding member of the theater group Deikelestai, Inc., where she multi-tasked as performer, producer, director’s assistant and props and costume coordinator. 

As an actress, Edna Lee has participated on stage in over 40 plays in Puerto Rico with several companies. She has also appeared in New York on “Love Dot Com” by Dramatic Question Theatre Company at Theatre for the New City; “Oh de Sea!”, by The Internationalists, at LPAC;  and “Seven Days, Seven Plays” for Boundless Theatre Company at Teatro Círculo. In Raleigh, North Carolina, she collaborated with the Burning Coal Theatre Company (“Way to Heaven” and “Inherit the Wind.”) She has also performed in Colombia at Teatro La Candelaria. 

On film, Figueroa had a supporting role in the film “Maldeamores,” produced by Benicio del Toro and directed by Carlitos Ruiz (Tribeca Film Festival 2007 premiere, HBO Latino.) She also had a speaking role in “Main Street” by Horton Foote, directed by John Doyle.  

On television, Figueroa appeared on several sitcoms and commercials in Puerto Rico, and has also lent her voice for several projects, including computer software and the animated TV show “Ven a ver” as the voice of Gaia.

She recently appeared in the play "Out in the Open" at The Barrow Group Theater.

Renzo Ampuero
Performer, "The Orphans" (2011)

Originally from Lima, Perú, he studied Drama and History at Colorado College, and received his MFA in Acting from the ART/MXAT Institute at Harvard University. 

Ampuero collaborated with playwright Ellen McLaughlin to create "Ajax in Iraq," in which he played the role of "Odysseus/Pisoni" at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge.

While training in Moscow, Ampuero played "Cleonte" in "The Discreet Charm of Monsieur Jourdain" on the Moscow Art Theater School stage. In 2006, he played "Dorian Gray" in an original adaptation of Oscal Wilde's novel at The Flea Theater in New York City. 

Ampuero has participated in several short films in New York City.

Ampuero plays "Fausto Aíza" in "The Orphans" since June 2011.

Photo by Marlon

Daniel Irizarry
Performer, Co-Director and Choreographer for "The Orphans" (2010) 

Daniel Irizarry originated the role of "Fausto Aíza" in "The Orphans" during its world premiere at La MaMa in 2010. His work has been praised in the US and internationally, including Russia, China, Japan, Europe, and the Caribbean. He is currently collaborating with renowned director Andrei Serban's "Love's Labour's Lost" on movement and character work as part of a Columbia University Thesis production. Also, he is participating as movement and acting coach for "Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land," directed by Mabou Mines’ Terry O'Reilly for The New School Eugene Lang College.

Irizarry has performed with Kevin Augustine and Lone Wolf Tribe ("Bride," 2009 UNIMA Citation of Excellence;) Eduardo Machado ("Crocodile Eyes;") Terry O’Reilly and Jane Catherine Shaw ("Peter and the Wolf"); Andrei Serban, Niky Wolcz and James Levine ("Benvenuto Cellini," "Faust" for Met Opera;) Rachel Dickstein ("Betrothed," "Septimus and Clarissa," written by Ellen McLaughlin;) undergroundzero festival at PS 122 (performed and directed "The Proposal;")  Rania Ajami ("Asylum Seekers," winner of best alternative Feature; at 2010 Garden State Film Festival.) 

Irizarry holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University (the first Puerto Rican student to be accepted into the program) and a BA from the University of Puerto Rico. In 2000, he received the Best New Actor award by the Theater Critics’ Circle in Puerto Rico. He is part of the MFA Theater faculty at the Columbia University and of the Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts where he teaches Acting, and was a Mabou Mines RAP 2011 Artist in Residency.

Photo by Marius Chira.

Andrés Rotmistrovsky

Music Composer and Arranger

Andres Rotmistrovsky (also known as Andy Rot) is a bassist, producer, composer and arranger. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina where he started his musical career from a very young age upon discovering and completely falling in love with the bass guitar. No one could stop him from practicing; very soon after at the young age of 14 he began his career as a professional musician playing Jazz and Rock in different venues and festivals.  Graduated with honors from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachussetts, in 2007, majoring in Jazz Composition. He was the recepient of several scholarships, including  the International Award 2003, the Charles Mingus Award 2007, and the competitive Outstanding Performer Award 2007. Studied in college with Matt Garrison, Joe Lovano, Terry Lyne Carrington and Oscar Stagnaro, among others.

Andrés performs bass guitar almost every night of the week in the New York music scene, displaying versatility in playing virtually all styles of music from traditional and contemporary Jazz to R&B, Gospel, Pop, Rock, Celtic, Afro Beat, Flamenco, and Middle Eastern to Latin folkloric music from Peru, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina. His band, The Andres Rotmistrovsky Trio or Quartet, includes a set of Solo-Bass music (in addition to playing with others).

He has played with such musicians as Paquito D' Rivera, Joan Báez, Leon Gieco, Turkish Pop-Star Sertab Erener, Teresa Parodi, El Bahiano, Piero, Eva Ayllón and Marta Gómez.  He has appeared in a variety of venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Latin Grammys, and Boston Symphony Hall, and has toured the U.S. and the world (e.g., Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia) with various jazz/world and Latin groups.

Andrés has also worked with Leo Blanco, Alex Brown, Terri Lyne Carrington (Herbie Hancock's drummer,) Dontae Winslow, Gabriel Guerrero, Franco Pinna, Juancho Herrera, Fernando Brandao, Thaddeus Hogarth, Jon Hazilla, Oscar Feldman, Antonio Arnedo, Alain Mallet, and with groups such as the Fernando Brandao Quintet, Peru Mestizo, La Timbística and Bernardo Monk Mass Tango. In Argentina, he has played and/or recorded with Leon Gieco, Juan "Pollo" Raffo, Axel, Miguel Cantilo, Victor Heredia, Juan Carlos Baglietto, Roque Narvaja, and Juan Cruz de Urquiza.

Miguel Ángel Reyes Santos
Stage Manager

In 1994, he co-founded Colectivo Diversión theater company. The same year, he started the C.O.R.O.N.A. Project to bring theater education to underserved communities throughout Puerto Rico, which ran for 10 years. Recently, he also offered workshops for youths for the New York City Housing Authority Theater Training Program and for Communities in School (Resident Artist) and Cooperative of After-School Enrichment (CASE) Southwest Schools programs in Houston, Texas. He was Production Manager for NYC’s Dance Makers for their 2010 Gotta Dance show in Manhattan. 

With almost two decades of experience as a stage and production manager, Reyes Santos’ wide-ranging education combines the sciences and the arts. He has studied and trained in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, France, Italy and the United States.  

As a Stage and Production Manager, he has collaborated with groups such as the National Theater Company in Puerto Rico (1993-2005) and La Criatura Theater (2006-2008) and The Blackfriar’s Repertory Theater (2006) in New York. He is Stage Manager and Production Assistant in actress Karina Casiano’s projects. Reyes Santos is a Staff performer for the Metropolitan Opera House, and has appeared in several of their productions since 2007. 

Antonio Pantojas (1948-2017)

A pioneer of transgender solo shows in Puerto Rico, Pantojas had a five-decade career as an actor, dancer, director, producer, writer and teacher.

He had extensive experience as a television actor and hosted his own show for several years on Puerto Rican TV.  

A seasoned night club varieté entertainer, Pantojas made waves beginning in the seventies in the Puerto Rico night club scene with his musical shows full of incendiary political satire and his gender-bending characters.  
A versatile thespian, he played roles as diverse as “Estragon” and “Pozzo” in Waiting for Godot, “Juliet” in El Público (The Audience) by Federico García Lorca (in its world premiere in Puerto Rico in 1978,) and originated the small-time, street-wise narrator in The True Story of Pedro Navaja, based in the Three Penny Opera and one of the longest-running plays in Puerto Rico’s history.

Pantojas produced, directed, taught, written and performed for more than 12 years for the National Theater Production Company in Puerto Rico. With them, he staged plays such as his own version of Alexandre Dumas’ Camille, Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba, Jules Tasca’s An American Comedy, Venezuelan Isaac Chocrón’s The Revolution and Chilean Marco Antonio De la Parra’s The Secret Obscenity of Everyday Life, as well as the theatrical versions of Weekend at Bernie’s and The Full Monty. He has also played “Zaza” and “Albin” in La Cage Aux Folles,  and “Buzz” in Love, Valor and Compassion.  Pantojas gave life to "Padre Amado" in the Spanish version of Silence is Health/Silencio es Salud for La Criatura Theater in 2006. 

As a playwright, he trained in New York and Florence, Italy. He wrote over 20 shows, which he performed in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, the United States, Mexico and Perú.

Pantojas was based in New York, and directed of the New York City Housing Authority Theater Training Program in the Lower East Side for 10 years. He passed away in October 2017.

Other La Criatura Theater collabotarors have included composer/musician José "Chenan" Martínez and actors José Acevedo, Elodián Barbosa and David Storck.

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