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Co-Directors Jacob G. Padrón and Pedro Bermúdez Create Immersive Environment for Powerful New Play Centered on Two Undocumented Teens

TheaterWorks Hartford, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero and Managing Director Jeff Griffin, continues its 2023–2024 season with Sanctuary City by Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok. Co-Directed by theatermaker Jacob G. Padrón and filmmaker Pedro Bermúdez, this Obie Award-winning play, running March 28–April 25, 2024, asks audiences to consider what we’re willing to risk for those we love. Sanctuary City is presented in partnership with Long Wharf Theatre. Tickets are now on sale at

In Sanctuary City, Majok brings audiences an unforgettable story of two teenagers, young DREAMers, who are fighting to establish a place for themselves in America, the only country they know as home. Compelling and timely, Sanctuary Cityilluminates the triumphs and challenges these lifelong friends  face, and how much they are willing to risk for each other when they have everything to lose.

This hypnotic and heartbreaking new play was declared a Critic’s Pick by The New York Times who wrote, “rarely have I seen a play that so effectively embodies the way external forces distort the inner lives of actual humans.”

In their first collaboration, co-directors Padrón and Bermúdez create an immersive environment that elevates the cinematic language found in the play. The collaborators commented, “In our production, audiences will be transported the minute they enter the theater. They’ll discover a level of propulsion, precision, and urgency that is shared with the actors.”

Artistic Director Rob Ruggiero commented, “I’m thrilled that filmmaker Pedro Bermúdez is returning to direct on our stage and honored that theatermaker Jacob G. Padrón, who is leading a powerful transformation at Long Wharf Theater, is making his Connecticut directing debut with this important and powerful play. I can’t wait to see how the timely questions that Pulitzer Prize-winner Martyna Majok poses in her breathtaking play resonates with audiences.”

The cast for Sanctuary City features Sara Gutierrez as G, Edward Montoya as B, and Mishka Yarovoy as Henry. The creative team for Sanctuary City includes Emmie Finkel (set design), Sarita Fellows (costume design), Paul Whitaker (lighting design), Fabian Obispo (sound design), Stephanie Yankwitt/ TBD Casting (casting director), Rob Ruggiero (producing artistic director), Mike Lenaghan (director of production), and Tom Kosis (production stage manager).

Performances of Sanctuary City will take place March 28–April 25, 2024 at TheaterWorks Hartford’s historic home, located at 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT. Critics are welcome starting Thursday, April 4, for an opening on Friday April 5.

The performance schedule is Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30pm, Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2:30pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2:30pm. The running time is 100 minutes with no intermission. Tickets are priced at $25–$70. All tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 860.527.7838.

Please visit for more information.

About the Artists
Martyna Majok (playwright) was born in Bytom, Poland and raised in Jersey and Chicago. She was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play, Cost of Living. Other plays include Sanctuary City, Queens, and Ironbound, which have been produced across American and international stages. Awards include The Academy of Arts and Letters’ Benjamin Hadley Danks Award for Exceptional Playwriting, The Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding New Play, The Greenfield Prize, as the first female recipient in drama, The Champions of Change Award from the NYC Mayor’s Office, The Francesca Primus Prize, two Jane Chambers Playwriting Awards, The Lanford Wilson Prize, The Lilly Award’s Stacey Mindich Prize, Helen Merrill Emerging Playwright Award, Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Original New Play from The Helen Hayes Awards, Jean Kennedy Smith Playwriting Award, ANPF Women’s Invitational Prize, David Calicchio Prize, Global Age Project Prize, NYTW 2050 Fellowship, NNPN Smith Prize for Political Playwriting, and Merage Foundation Fellowship for The American Dream. Martyna studied at Yale School of Drama, Juilliard, University of Chicago, and Jersey public schools. She was a 2012-2013 NNPN playwright-in-residence, the 2015-2016 PoNY Fellow at the Lark Play Development Center, and a 2018-2019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University. Martyna is currently writing a musical adaptation of The Great Gatsby, with music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett, and developing TV and film for HBO, Plan B, and Pastel.

Jacob G. Padrón (Director | (he/him/his) is the Artistic Director of the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven where he has commissioned, developed, and championed dozens of artists in the creation of new work, including world premieres by Ricardo Perez Gonzalez (On the Grounds of Belonging) and Eliana Pipes (Dream Hou$e). He is also the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of The Sol Project, an Obie Award-winning theatre initiative that works in partnership with leading theaters to  amplify the voices of Latiné playwrights in New York City and beyond. Jacob has held senior-level  artistic positions at theatre companies across the country. He was the Senior Line Producer at New York’s Public Theater where he worked on new plays, new musicals, and Shakespeare in the Park at the  historic Delacorte Theater. During his tenure at The Public he supported new work by Tarell Alvin  McCraney (Head of Passes), Scott Z. Burns (The Library), A. Zell Williams (The Urban Retreat), Mary  Kathryn Nagle (Manahatta), Universes (Party People), Stew & Heidi Rodewald (The Total Bent), Tracey  Scott Wilson (Buzzer), Lemon Andersen (Toast), Richard Nelson (The Gabriels), Suzan-Lori Parks (Father Comes Home from the Wars, Parts 1, 2 and 3), Kwame Kwei-Armah and Shaina Taub (Twelfth  Night), among others. He was formerly on the artistic staff at Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago  where he oversaw the artistic programming in the Garage – Steppenwolf’s dedicated space for new work,  new artists, and new audiences. From 2008 to 2011, he was an Associate Producer at the Oregon  Shakespeare Festival where he was instrumental in producing all shows in the 11-play repertory. Under the leadership of his late mentor, Diane Rodriguez, Jacob was the producer of Suzan-Lori Parks’ 365 Days/365 Plays for Center Theatre Group, a collaboration that included hundreds of artists across Los Angeles. Originally from Gilroy, California, Jacob holds a BA from Loyola Marymount University and an MFA from Yale School of Drama. In 2023 he was named Person of the Year by the National Theatre Conference in New York City. His first artistic home, where he first performed as a young artist, was Luis Valdez’s El Teatro Campesino.

Pedro Bermúdez (Director) is a filmmaker working at the intersection of cinema, theater, and immersive media. His documentary and narrative work has explored the dynamics of colonialism and their effects  on culture. Bermúdez has produced Emmy-award winning documentary work for Connecticut Public Television, and received a regional Emmy for his work on Collision Course. He has collaborated closely with arts and cultural institutions in the Hartford region; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art and  The Center for Leadership & Justice among them. His most recent work in theater, a filmed production of The Sound Inside, co-directed with Rob Ruggiero, was featured in The New York Times. He received his MFA in Directing from the American Film Institute where he was the recipient of the Petrie Award for excellence. Bermúdez is the owner of Revisionist, a video production company based in Hartford. Revisionist has worked with a range of commercial clients including Nike, Bank of America and international non-profit BuildOn. Bermúdez teaches courses in video production at Wesleyan University where he also manages the Digital Design Commons.

Rob Ruggiero (Producing Artistic Director) has been part of TheaterWorks Hartford artistic leadership for 29 seasons. He has directed over 65 shows, including TWH productions of The Sound Inside, American Son, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Constellations, Next to Normal, Relativity (with Richard Dreyfuss) and Christmas on the Rocks, which he also conceived. His Broadway credits include Looped (with Valerie Harper in a Tony-nominated performance) and High (with Kathleen Turner) which had its world premiere at TWH. He also conceived and directed the musical revue Make Me a Song: The Music of William Finn which moved off-Broadway and was nominated for Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. Rob conceived and directed Ella, a musical about Ella Fitzgerald, which saw sold-out runs in 24 regional theaters and was produced as a National Tour. His work on plays and musicals has received multiple awards in Connecticut and around the United States. Rob recently directed A Grand Night for Singing at Goodspeed Musicals where over his 14-year relationship he has directed many award-winning musical productions. Internationally he directed Fiddler on the Roof in Athens, Greece.

About the Cast
Sara Gutierrez (G | she/her) is making her TheaterWorks Hartford debut. Sara is from San Antonio, Texas. She received her B.F.A in Acting from Ithaca College in 2019. Past Credits include: Off-Broadway: Quince (The Bushwick Starr). Television: “Law & Order”, “Dexter: New Blood”. Sara is deeply honored to be a part of this important play and would like to thank her loving friends and family, and a special thank you to her partner Miguel and dog Fresa for always being by her side. Edward Montoya (B | he/him) is making his TheaterWorks Hartford debut. Edward is a Colombian-American actor from Brooklyn, New York. Most recently, he played Romeo in Romeo & Juliet at the NOLA Shakespeare Festival. He also played Carlitos in the short film POSER that screened at the Chelsea Film Festival. Edward received his BFA in Acting from SUNY Purchase. Mishka Yarovoy (Henry | he/him) is making his TheaterWorks Hartford debut. Mishka was born in Mexico to a family of Russian musicians. Mishka spent most of his life living between Mexico, Russia, and the United States before settling permanently in the U.S. at the age of 14. A Boston University School of Theatre graduate, his recent credits include: Denver Center for Performing Arts Play Summit; Chicken and Biscuits (Front Porch Arts Collective); Let The Right One In(Actors’ Shakespeare Project); The Inheritance (Speakeasy Stage); As You Like It (Actors’ Shakespeare Project) Romeo and Juliet (Apollinaire Theatre); She Eats Apples (Boston Artists’ Theatre). Film/TV: Little America (Apple TV); Don’t Look Up (Netflix).

About TheaterWorks Hartford
Celebrating its 39th season, TheaterWorks Hartford (TWH) produces high quality, contemporary theater that is relevant to our audiences, engages a diverse community, and provides insight into the human experience. TWH is committed to the power of storytelling in creating community. Founded in 1985,  TWH has produced over 170 plays and presents approximately 225 performances per season. TWH also owns and manages the historic property at 233 Pearl Street, known as City Arts on Pearl. City Arts provides an affordable home and services to a diverse family of non-profit arts organizations. For updates on TheaterWorks Hartford, visit here and follow on Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.