A Crisis Called New York

The rent? Astronomical. The apartments? Miniscule. The commute? Don't even get me started. You're in New York. Concrete jungle where dreams are made of. But, damn, what is it about this city that makes you want to scream, or drink, or run, or make questionable sexual choices? In this city, why are you always on the verge of a crisis? Presented by Step1 Theatre Project from New York, NY Written by Alisha Espinosa

Alisha Espinosa (Playwright) is an actor and writer based in NYC. She completed her MFA in Acting at UMKC. Recently, her play Dal Segno had a workshop reading with Between Us Productions. She was last seen acting with Step1 Theatre Project in Who Am I at Planet Connections. Next up, she's collaborating on a new web series called F#%kboyz: The End, and performing with Kentucky Shakespeare Festival.

Benjamin Abraham (Director) is a director based in New York City and is so stoked to be working with Step1 again. Recent directing credits include: Becky’s Christmas Wish/Black Lipstick (Step1 Theatre Project), Ant (Manhattan Repertory Theater), Waiting for Moondog (ESPA Detention Series), Old School (Step1 Theatre Project), Cursed (ESPA Detention Series), Crave (Loyola University Maryland). Upcoming: Ben will be directing a reading of Void by Katelynn Kenney and is also currently directing a music video for DotCarl. Ben would like to specially thank Celine Rosenthal and Kellie Mecleary for their kind words and encouragement.


Amanda Brennan (Costume Designer) has costume designed for several years now and has had the pleasure of working on projects for Labyrinth Dance Company at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. She has also been working with this amazing Step1 Theatre Project on this and their last project and is so thankful to Jazmyn and Janelle for all their support in pursuing her dreams. She would also like to thank Ben for being fantastic to work with. She can’t wait for what the future holds.




Anthony Tornambene (Lighting Designer) is a New York City based lighting designer for live performance. Select credits includes work with Afterwork Theater, Bare Opera, Listening Raven Productions, Hudson Shakespeare Company, Manhattan Ballet School, Sister Sylvester, M-34, New Age Film Festival, and the University at Buffalo. He is very excited for this opportunity to work with Step1 Theatre Project to bring A Crisis Called New York to life.




Gabe Valle (Composer): Hailing from New York, pianist/violinist and composer Gabe Valle developed his violin skills at William Paterson University, where, while pursuing an undergraduate degree in jazz and classical violin, he immersed himself in the local music scene, playing everything from jazz, pop, and folk to indie rock and funk. His composition and recording work have led him to play with artists such as Jermaine Paul, The Beach Boys, Pete Seeger, The Jonas Brothers, and more. Gabe continues to compose and perform around NYC.



Janelle Zapata (Co-Producer/Co-Founder & Artistic Director of Step1 Theatre Project) is an actress, producer and director from New Jersey. She studied theatre at Rutgers University in Newark where she met her artistic soul mate, Jazmyn. Her passion lies in all aspects of theatre, and its creation. She fundamentally disagrees with the school of thought that art is selfish, or that it is only accessible to a few, and has worked to fight this. She is thankful for the opportunity to work towards the goal of fostering a community of artists where the objective is to grow together. Making these lofty ideals into pragmatic actions is the point of this project, and she is ready for the challenge.


Jazmyn Arroyo (Co-Producer/Co-Founder & Artistic Director of Step1 Theatre Project) has been part of the NYC indie theatre scene for 7 years. Most of that time was spent performing in various independent productions and working on staff with the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity, where she has participated as an artist, intern, Assistant Director of Special Events, Assistant Managing Director, and most recently Assistant Artistic Director. She founded Step1 Theatre Project with her friend/soulmate Janelle last year, and produced the award-winning production of Who Am I by Rodney Reyes part of the Planet Connections Theatre Festivity (winner of Outstanding Production of a Revival), and Falsehoods, Fallacies, and Fairytales (How we’ll convince you these plays are about Christmas!) by Ashley Rogers at The Producers Club, 3 of 4 performances of which were sold out. She is so proud of S1TP’s first season and thrilled to have collaborated with many amazing artists along the way. Her long-term goals include continuing to produce compelling and exciting work while contributing to the success of other independent theatre artists of NYC.


Olivia Rubano (Choreographer) has been involved with the NYC non-profit performing arts community for 8 years. A native of Ohio, she received her BA degree in Dance Performance from the University of Akron I Akron, OH and came to NYC in 2007  to pursue a career in the performing arts. In college, she had the exciting opportunity to participate and perform in numerous dance workshops, showcase, and summer programs such as The Boston Conservatory. There, she had the amazing opportunity to study choreography with Karla Wolfgangle of Paul Taylor Dance Company, ballet with Luis Fuentes of the Joffrey Ballet, and modern with Jennifer Scanlon of Jose Limon Dance Company, among others.


Brent Shultz (GRANT) is a graduate of The New School for Drama's MFA Acting program. Recently, he was seen performing in Lamia at the New York Fringe Festival. Other NY credits include The Fall of the Kings, KristinaThe Death of the Dollar, and Renewal. He received his certification in Rapier and Dagger, as well as Unarmed Combat through the Society of American Fight Directors. Brent was fight choreographer for the production, Trees in Their Youth at the Signature Theater and assisted fight director Tom Schall in Carnegie Hall's production of West Side Story. When he’s not performing, Brent teaches fitness and is an art model for The School of Visual Arts and body paint artist Trina Merry.


Danielle Patlingrao (SARA) is extremely thrilled to be a part of this team! She is originally from Hawaii, and made her way over to New York to pursue her dreams of performing. Danielle has recently graduated from AMDA (American Musical & Dramatic Academy) with theatre credits including Gloria (Kendra) and Confession Sessions (therapist). She wants to thank Step1 Theatre Project for giving her this opportunity to work with such amazing people!


Hannah Karpenko (GOWN, SAM) is thrilled to be making her New York City theatre debut with Step 1 Theatre Project. She is a Rochester, NY native and recent graduate of Nazareth College. Previous credits include Wondrous Strange (40th Humana Festival), Dracula, Lost Weekend (Actors Theatre of Louisville), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Geva Theatre) and Rent (Bristol Valley Theatre).


Jordan Schroeder (GLOVE, VIK) is thrilled to be making his debut with Step1 Theatre Project! Recent fun projects include That Just Happened: A Sketch Show at The Producer's Club, Next Fall (Luke) at Studio Theatre in Long Island, and Heathers: The Musical (Kurt Kelley) at Yale University. He also recently co-starred in a web series called What If I... and will be in another called It's Not You, both created by students at NYU Tisch and both coming out soon! Feel free to check out jordanpschroeder.com for more info. Thanks (as always) go to Mom, Dad, Anna, and all of his wonderful friends and collaborators who inspire him every day.


Kat Moreno (CELIA): Kat Moreno (Celia) is thrilled to be working with Step 1 Theatre Project for the first time. Originally from Orlando, Florida, after receiving her A.A in Musical Theatre from Florida School of the Arts and then her B.F.A in Theatre Performance from Florida International University in Miami, she went on to perform both on stage and in parades at Universal Studios Orlando, as an improv performer at Sea World and actress/dancer and puppeteer at The Nickelodeon Hotel. She went on to perform for Norwegian Cruise Line as an actress/dancer in the Mediterranean before coming back and deciding it was time to try her luck in The Big Apple! She was last seen in C.A.G.E Theatre Company's production of Richard III (Sir Richard Ratcliff/Young Prince Edward) and in The Renaissance Dueling Plays (The Wife) seen at the 2016 Planet Connections Theatre Festival. She would like to thank her parents for always supporting her artistic dream, to her friends who have become her NY family, and to her amazing husband for taking this leap of faith with her: "Adam, you are my heart and soul, and I'm blessed every day to have you by my side! I love you!"


Kristi Stout (NICOLASA) is a recent transplant to New York, originally hailing from North Carolina.  She received her BA in Dramatic Arts from UNC Chapel Hill and has since worked as a performing arts teacher in upstate New York, a translator at a refugee camp in Greece, a waitress at a bad restaurant in New Orleans, and most recently juggling second assistant editing a documentary and teaching ESL to adult immigrants in the Bronx.  She is very thankful to the Frigid Theatre Festival for offering her a chance to return to performing.  



Michael Mena (DAN, WEST) is elated to be making his Step1 debut in A Crisis called New York. Originally from Florida, Michael holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Florida International University in Miami. Previous credits for Michael include: Black Fox/Monroe in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Angelo in The Comedy of Errors, Tom Collins in Rent, and Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night. He is truly appreciative to be having the chance to work with so many new people on this production.  Michael would like to thank God, his family, and friends for their love and support as always no matter what comes in life.



Tony Curtis (JAMES, DAVID) is an actor, comedy writer, and the occasional stage director. After working with Alisha Espinosa on her staged reading of Dal Segno, Tony signed-on to A Crisis Called New York without hesitation.  Recently, he has also directed the extended run of Piggy Nation the Musical! - which played in rep with The Fantasticks; was the 3 year host of Congested Cat’s Indie Works; and has even found his way to do a little stand-up at Gotham Comedy Club. Be on the lookout for Tony to feature as Wonder in the new web series 4 and 20 premiering online this summer 2017. Much love to all my ‘nasty women’ and ‘bad hombres’.


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