De Novo

PREMIERED 2007

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.

This documentary play, crafted entirely from immigration court transcripts, interviews and letters tells the gripping true story of fourteen year old Edgar Chocoy and his legal struggle to be allowed to stay in the United States.

De Novo provides a rare glimpse into the lives of the many thousands of children who make the harrowing journey across the border and through the U.S. immigration system each year.

“Moving. Dramatically potent. It held me in its grip. Solomon achieves one of the great strengths of documentary theater: its capacity to shake what we know or believe to be true.” – Village Voice
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.

This documentary play, crafted entirely from immigration court transcripts, interviews and letters tells the gripping true story of fourteen year old Edgar Chocoy and his legal struggle to be allowed to stay in the United States.

Contact us to bring De Novo to your community.

Artistic Team

Written/Curated/Directed by Jeffrey Solomon
Tour Directed by – Carlo D’Amore

Design Team

Slides/projections/photography by Donna DeCesare
Set by Lawrence Moten
Sound by Andrew Ingkavet
Lighting by Christina Watanabe
Costumes by Genevieve Beller

Cast

Original Off-Broadway Cast 

Jose Aranda
Carlo D’Amore
Socorro Santiago
Emily Joy Weiner

NY Theater Workshop Cast 

Manny Urena
Zuleyma Guevara
Camilo Almonacid
Emily Joy Weiner

Rotating Touring Cast

Zuleyma Guevara
Manny Urena
Annie Henk
Emily Joy Weiner
Camilo Almonacid
J.J. Perez
Paola Poucel
Jesse Perez
Suzanna Guzman

Get help, Take action

NYC Resources

Central American Legal Assistance – Central American Legal Assistance (CALA) provides free or low-cost legal services to New York’s immigrant community.

The Door – The Door’s mission is to empower young people to reach their potential by providing comprehensive youth development services in a diverse and caring environment.

Lawyers for Children – In addition to free legal and social work services for children in foster care, Lawyers For Children provides targeted public policy and class action advocacy to achieve system-wide changes in the field of child welfare.

Legal Aid Society of Rockland County – Since 1966, Legal Aid Society of Rockland County, Inc. (LASRC) has provided free civil legal services to Rockland County, New York residents who cannot afford private attorneys.

NYSDA Immigrant Defense Project – IDP engages in targeted litigation, primarily before the federal courts, in support of challenges to deportations and other adverse immigration consequences based on criminal convictions and arrests.

Safe Passage Immigration Project – SPIP makes referrals to immigration attorneys in Long Island, NYC, and some upstate counties.

Justice Action Center – JAC is dedicated to fighting for greater justice for immigrant communities by combining litigation and storytelling.

National Organizations that Provide Assistance/Referrals


Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) – pro-bono partnership pairing youth with law firm volunteers.

Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) – pro-bono program only for youth in removal proceedings.