Ominous Men True to its' Title

Brian Hester Reporting

MultiStages, the multicultural, multidisciplinary theatre company under the artistic direction of Lorca Peress held a world premiere of Desi Moreno-Penson’s OMINOUS MEN, a new dark play about race, poverty, drugs, misogyny and violence in America told through a gothic horror and magic realism lens. The production will be directed by Ms. Peress and begins previews on Saturday, October 19th with an official opening on Thursday, October 24th and continues its run through Sunday, November 3rd at The Theater at the 14th Street Y, 344 East 14th Street in Manhattan. https://multistages.org/2019/07/ominous-men/


So that's blurb. Here's the skinny. Amazing! See it before it desappears lie a ghost in the night. So as you know I normally take the photos for my assignments. Brian Behind the Lens, get it? Anyway I got an invite to come and review a new play, Ominous Men, described above. Upon arrival I was informed that I could not take photos, just review. They offered to oet me use their photos and credit their photographer. Don't normally do that. But as I mentioned the play was so incredible I will make an exception. Besides their photog, John Quilty, did a smashing job capturing the feels.



Gus Scharr, Johnny Rivera and Russell Jordan star as three friends playing bones on the night of the infamous 1977 NYC Blackout. Photo by John Quailty

In OMINOUS MEN, three men are confronted by their ferocious pasts in the derelict Bronx Concourse Plaza Hotel basement on July 13, 1977: Butch, the Nuyorican caretaker who's been digging a pit looking for buried treasure, his nervous cousin Goyo, and Butch's drug sponsor and ex-Black Panther Yancy. This night of drinking, camaraderie and bones (dominoes) turns violent when the Blackout hits, a stranger climbs out of the pit, and the ghost of a Holocaust survivor and murdered woman appear.


The set, the basement of a dilapidated and abandon hotel that had once been grand and glamorous. As a former telephone repair man working for theBell System for many years, and thus having to gain access to and work in similar basements, I can tell you between the set and three main characters and their descriptions, they very accurately recreated the not only the place but the time as well, New York City, Summer 1977. Their quirky, keep it real interactions draw the audience in and bring them down the staircase straight into the basement.


Without giving away to much of the plot, the Blackout hits and ghosts appear. Once you have been drawn in to this basement, cavernous, historic, old and spooky, seeing and more importantly believing that their could exist ghost at that location becomes much easier. The ghosts themselves appear and disappear in such incredible fashion.



Howard Pinhasik haunts Gus Scharr in Ominous Men Photo by John Quilty

Gabrielle Lee portrays the ghost haunting Russell Jordan in Ominous Men Photo by John Quailty

Renoly Santiago shines as the first ghost to climb out of the hole in the floor. The actors displays such an amazing range of both emotion and physical motion I almost wondered if this being I was watching could actually be some sort of neither world spirit. This ghost acts as a mentor of sorts to the the three bones playing characters and the other two ghost. Mr. Santiago's performance was simply a wonderful spectacle to behold.

Renoly Santiago in Ominous Men playing now at the 14th Street Y Photo by John Quailty

Although this play takes place in the Summer of 1977 it shows the struggle of heroin and addiction Photo by John Quailty

If you're in the area you must go and see this play in it's limited engagement. If you're not in the area - Go anyway, worth the trip, intimate, deep, thought provoking, and frightening all at the same time. A roller coaster of emotions tied together with a perfectly timed and well told ghost story.



The cast of Desi Moreno-Penson’s OMINOUS MEN take a curtain call. Photo by John Quailty

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