Play celebrates the magic of the child's mind.

November 27 to December 19, 2021
New Ohio Theatre, 154 Christopher Street
Presented by Nylon Fusion Theatre Company, Ivette Dumeng, Producing Artistic Director
Previews 11/27-28, opens 11/29, runs through December 19 on the following schedule:
Mon, Tue - Sat at 8:00 PM plus matinees Sat and Sun at 2:00 PM (23 performances)
Runs :90
Tickets $45
Box office:, phone (212) 675-6446
Critics are invited on or after November 29 (opening date)

NEW YORK, October 18 -- John Patrick Shanley celebrates the creativity of childhood, the purity of young love, the power of innocence and the strength of the inner child in "Candlelight," a new work of magical realism that he alternately describes as "Peter Pan meets Romeo and Juliet" and "A Nuyorican tragedy dripped in Brooklyn Blood." The play takes place in the mind of a fearless ten year old girl named Esperanza. She falls in love with a boy of the same age named Tito, who worships her. They are surrounded by dangerous and surreal events that make it unlikely that either will ever survive. Three children characters, Esperanza's father, a mirror, a bathrobe and a demon are all played by adults. (More on that later.) Nylon Fusion Theatre Company, which has presented a handful of Shanley's plays to-date, will present the work's world premiere November 27 to December 19 at New Ohio Theater, 154 Christopher Street, directed by Lori Kee.

Esperanza, a prepubescent Nuyorican girl, is grieving for her mother, who has recently died. She holds her mother close through the "magie" (magic) of her own imagination. With it, hope is eternal. So with magie, mother is conjured from her robe, a mirror talks, and a demon is suppressed who rises out of the oatmeal. Esperanza's father, Hector, treats her with selfless love when he is sober and sexual menace when drunk, so a giant squirrel is conjured to protect her. Esperanza's boyfriend, Tito, worships her and prays to her like Our Lady of Guadeloupe. Tito confesses his obsession to an outcast boy, Paulie, then manipulates him and spurns him in what is maybe the biggest tragedy of the play.

The play is a paean to imaginative power. Shanley explains, ten is a fascinating age--it's your last pure moment, when you treasure secret places and you can fall into romantic love that isn't distorted by insane lust. He says, "People remember memories from the toy chest of life that holds their biggest memories. To get adults in touch with the passionate exercise of life is why I want adults to play these roles." Reality doesn't work, he adds, and the kids of this play realize this. They are in charge of their own reality, and if something doesn't work, they can just will it to change, like blowing out a candle. It's like the artist who says, "I am free and powerful and this whole play is in my mind." In that way, it's autobiographical. It celebrates Shanley's experiences growing up and people who touched him, including Nuyorican artists and lay people he has known and worked with. The play's language is chunky, bloody, passionate and joyous. There are reverberations of Peter Pan, Romeo and Juliet, Federico García Lorca and Gabriel García Márquez.

There is plenty of magic and illusion in the production, but according to director Lori Kee, it'll be "analog and old school," not technical, to suggest a child's imagination.

Ivette Dumeng, Artistic Director of Nylon Fusion Theatre Company, plays Esperanza. She is a prolific actor and director who is actually Nuyorican but ironically, has never played a Nuyorican character before. Nylon Fusion has previously presented Shanley's "The Big Funk" and premiered several of his one act plays including "Japanese Porno," "The Dark" and "Tennessee."

The actors are John Burgos, Alfredo Diaz, Ivette Dumeng (as Esperanza), Marc Reign and Darlena Tejeiro. Set design is by Elizabeth Chaney. Costume design is by Janet Mervin. Lighting design is by Wilburn Bonnell. Sound design is by Andy Evan Cohen. Movement is by Tatyana Kot. Stage Manager is Ali Walensky.

John Patrick Shanley is from The Bronx. His plays include "Prodigal Son," "Outside Mullingar" (Tony nomination), "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea," "Savage in Limbo," "Italian-American Reconciliation," "Welcome to the Moon," "Four Dogs and a Bone," "Dirty Story," "Defiance" and "Beggars in the House of Plenty." His theatrical work is performed extensively across the United States and around the world. For his play, "Doubt," he received both the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. He has written ten screenplays, most recently "Wild Mountain Thyme" with Emily Blunt, Jamie Dornan, and Christopher Walken. His film of "Doubt," with Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams, and Viola Davis, which he also directed,  was nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Adapted Screenplay. Other films include "Five Corners" (Special Jury Prize, Barcelona Film Festival), "Alive," "Joe Versus the Volcano" (which he also directed), and "Live From Baghdad" for HBO (Emmy nomination). For his script of "Moonstruck,"  he received both the Writers Guild of America Award and an Academy Award for best original screenplay. In 2009, The Writers Guild of America awarded Mr. Shanley the Lifetime Achievement In Writing.

Lori Kee is an award-winning director and experienced collaborator on new work. She has been a Resident Director/Member of Nylon Fusion for a decade. Projects there include: "The Listening Room" by Michela Jeffrey, "The Chaplin Plays" by Don Nigro, "The Big Funk" by John Patrick Shanley, "Paper Dragon" by Alisha Silver and over 60 shorts including new works by Lyle Kessler, Craig muMs Grant, Kristina Poe, James McLindon and Arlene Hutton. She has also worked with New Perspectives Theatre Co., New Circle Rep and EstroGenius. She is an Associate of SDC, a Director member of Actors Studio Playwright/ Directors Unit and an Associate Professor of Theater at BMCC. (

Nylon Fusion Theatre Company ( is committed to giving voice and perspective to established and emerging artists, favoring plays that explore and advance political, social and cultural awareness. The troupe was named one of "Eight Young and Mighty Theatre Companies in New York City" by Backstage and has received two New York Innovative Theatre Awards and 11 Planet Connections Awards. It has produced 25 full-length plays and 21 one-act festivals, as well as readings and salons.

New Ohio Theatre is a two-time Obie Award-winning theater under the leadership of Robert Lyons, Artistic Director, and Jaclyn Biskup, Creative Producer. New Ohio serves New York’s most adventurous theater audiences by developing and presenting bold work from today’s vast independent theater community, believing that the best of this community--small artist-driven ensembles and daring producing companies who operate without a permanent theatrical home--are actively expanding the boundaries of American theater. Located in the West Village’s historic Archive Building, New Ohio provides a high-profile platform for downtown’s most mature, ridiculous, engaged, irreverent, gut-wrenching, frivolous, sophisticated, foolish and profound theatrical endeavors. (

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You must show proof of vaccination to attend the live performance.
Masks are required at all times for all live audience members.
Performers will not be masked.