Celebrating 20 Years

UNIVERSES is a national Ensemble Theater Company, of multi-disciplined writers and performers of color, who fuse theater, poetry, dance, jazz, hip hop, politics, down home blues and Spanish boleros to create moving, challenging and entertaining works for the stage. The group breaks the traditional theatrical bounds to create its own brand of theater. Founded in The Bronx, New York in 1995, the members of UNIVERSES came together in the urban poetry and music scene of the late 1990s; quickly moving through the “down town” performance scene to built a home for themselves in American Theatre. In their 20+ years, they have taken their original pieces around the world, electrifying crowds and sparking conversation about just what it means to be an American citizen: right here and right now. The group breaks the bounds of traditional theater to create their own brand, inviting old and new generations of theater crafters as well as theater goers and new comers to Revolutionize American Theater.
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In The Works - NEWS:



PARTY PEOPLEwill open November (2016) AT THE PUBLIC THEATER.

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UNIVERSES, the award-winning ensemble known for their fusion of theater, poetry, jazz, hip-hop, politics, down home blues and Spanish boleros, makes their Public Theater premiere with an explosive new work about the complicated legacies of the Black Panther Party and the Young Lords Org/Party. Directed and Developed by Liesl Tommy (Eclipsed, The Urban Retreat).

UNIVERSES created PARTY PEOPLE based on dozens of interviews with members of these ground-breaking, society-changing groups. PARTY PEOPLE imagines a present-day reunion at an art opening curated by two young counter culturalists; but the curators themselves have complex relationships with the Party members, who fought injustice and provided free food and medical care for their communities—often at the expense of the people who loved them most. Old wounds and generational divides collide in this astonishing, multi-media theatrical event about the price of being a revolutionary, and what it means for those who come after.

Breaking the bounds of the expected, the members of UNIVERSES (Steven Sapp, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and William Ruiz aka Ninja) and Liesl Tommy —invite audiences of every age, color and creed to join them as they continue to revolutionize American theater and explore the fight to bring power to the people, and the people to power.

*UNIVERSES' Party People (Revisited) - Rave Reviews at Berkeley Repertory Theatre - 2014. ... More Info.

PARTY PEOPLE - Winner of 4 TBA Awards

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* UNIVERSES Party People (at Berkeley Repertory Theatre) winner of (4) four TBA Awards including: Outstanding Production of a Musical; Outstanding Director of a Musical; Outstanding Choreography; Outstanding Video Design.

11 Nominations received for the TBA (Theatre Bay Area) 2015 Awards. We are so proud of our Amazing colleagues; and a huge congratulations to all the incredible companies, productions and theatre makers on this list... Respect. ... More info11 Nominations received for the TBA (Theatre Bay Area) 2015 Awards. We are so proud of our Amazing colleagues; and a huge congratulations to all the incredible companies, productions and theatre makers on this list... Respect. ... More info*UNIVERSES' Party People (Revisited) - Rave Reviews at Berkeley Repertory Theatre - 2014. ... More Info.

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UNISON will open APRIL (2017) AT THE Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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The Oregon Shakespeare Festival Announces UNISON as party of it’s 2017 Season.“

Opening in April is the world premiere of UniSon by UNIVERSES, with the poetry of August Wilson, directed by Robert O'Hara (The Wiz). OSF's resident ensemble UNIVERSES (Party People, Ameriville) sought out and were granted access to August Wilson's poetry catalogue in association with his widow Constanza Romero and his estate. The result is a high-energy, music-filled exploration of the passing on of legacy and the reconstruction of collective memory, inspired by the poetry of one of our most revered playwrights. Fusing poetry, theatre, movement and original music, UniSon gives OSF audiences the opportunity to see one of America's leading ensembles of color bring an American master to life through their signature theatrical aesthetic-for a new generation, in a new century, a new millennium.” - OSF

Starting with their Residency at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, UNIVERSES began "Universeizing" selections of Wilson's Poetry to present at The Poetry Foundation (Chicago) as part of The Goodman Theatre's August Wilson Celebration (March 2015). ... more info.

Berkeley Rep 2016 Ground Floor Summer Residency Lab. UNIVERSES invited to develop UNISON.

The Ground Floor celebrates its fifth season with an impressive list of artists for the Summer Residency Lab, including UNIVERSES.
#UnisonOSF #universesunison

More info here…

The Goodman Theatre hosts a UNIVERSES Lab(March 2016).

  • 1st Half: In the lab with Robert O'Hara & Joan Herrington working on #universesunison
  • Then, we shift for the remainder of our time there to work on UNIVERSES' new commission with The Goodman Theatre.

‪#‎UniSonOSF‬ #universesunison #UniversesChosenFew

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* As UNIVERSES continues to expand, in celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we welcome Asia Mark and Chris Mansa to our Family. We have many Stories to tell on this amazing journey. ... More Info


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* UNIVERSES @ The National Black Theater Festival 2015. ... More Info


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*UNIVERSES - Named 1st ever Resident Ensemble at The Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2013/2014 Season. Most Recently, with the generous support of The Ford Foundation, the honor is extended thru to 2017. ... More info


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*UNIVERSES - Commissioned for a New Work by The Goodman Theater, Chicago. ... More Info


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* UNIVERSES AMERIVILLE @ The University Theater (Western Michigan University) - Directed by Steven Sapp & William "Ninja" Ruiz with 10 Umich student actors, student production team, student designers and faculty. ... More Info


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* UNIVERSES' own Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and Steven Sapp receive Doris Duke Foundation's 2015 Performing Artist Awards.

... More Info


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* UNIVERSES' Anthology "The Revolution will be LIVE!" (TCG Books) 2016. ... More Info


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