Sophie Gagnon (Lisa) is thrilled to continue her work with Rising Sun Performance Company. She was last seen in Rising Sun’s workshop of Henry’s Wives (Jane Seymour) as part of Barton Booth’s residency on Governor’s Island in September. She is excited to work on The Glory of Living (Lisa) this season with a great team! Sophie received her B.F.A. in Theatre Arts Performance from Hofstra University. When Sophie isn’t playing with her second family at Rising Sun, she is a Contract Manager for The Booking Group, bringing the best Broadway tours to your hometown! She also enjoys pretending to be an adult - making her home in Norwalk, CT look like something Joanna Gaines would approve of - and pretending to know what a turn-out is at barre class.
Eric Parness (Carl) is happy to perform again with Rising Sun after last year's Helvetica. Eric is an Assistant Professor of Acting and Directing at Westfield State University and the Artistic Director of Resonance Ensemble, where he has directed classics by Sophocles, Gorky, Chekhov, and Ibsen, as well as world premieres by Charles L. Mee, Steven Fechter, Michael Feingold, Christopher Boal, Richard Manley, and Ginger Lazarus. Other directing credits include work with Off the Wall Theatrics, State of Play, Oberon Theatre Ensemble, Jean Cocteau Rep, and Boomerang Theatre Company. New York performance credits include roles in RUR, The Master Builder, Twelfth Night, and new plays 23 Knives and RINO. Eric is a graduate of Brandeis University (BA) and Brooklyn College (MFA), and a member of Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab. Favorite credit is BEP with RER.
William Serri (Steve) is a Brooklynite who mainly acts, but also produces, writes, sings, and plays guitar. His previous theatre credits have been with Blue Glaze production company, the Flea Theatre, and the Planet Connections Theatre Festival. He is grateful to be given the opportunity to do what he loves to do for a meaningful production. He recently started a not-for-profit theatre company called Newbie Theatre Co. which will be producing its first production in August. He is also currently seeking representation. If you like his work, be sure to check his website out for future performances, comedy sketches, and/or projects at www.williamserri.com. Also feel free to follow him.. on twitter and instagram.. not in that strange in-person kind of way.. because.. well you know.. digital following is so much better. His twitter/instagram handles are his name. In all seriousness, he thanks you for coming, and he hopes you enjoy the show.
Elizabeth Burke (Jeanette/Transcriber) is a 2000 graduate of the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, DC and since, has performed in TV, film and theatre in DC and New York City. The classics are a favorite genre of hers, and she has been fortunate to have performed leading roles in Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Electra. Luckily for her, the most interesting powerful female roles are for women over 30. Elizabeth recently won Best Actor, Manhattan Repertory Theater Spring 2011 One-Act Play Competition for her work in “Weekend Method.” She is thrilled to be working once again with The Rising Sun Performance Company after a 3 year hiatus to work on several political campaigns. Elizabeth also writes a monthly column on the national political scene, “Burke’s Law”, at The Clyde Fitch Report. www.clydefitchreport.com. Visit her website at: www.elizabethburke.com
Julia Geromin (Carol) This will be Julia’s first season with Rising Sun and she could not be more thrilled to be part of such an innovative and passionate ensemble! Julia is a recent graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Midtown Manhattan. She originally wanted to study acting when she read a copy of MacBeth at 12 years old and thought “I can do that” (she was a very precocious 12 year old). Since then she has performed at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival and Theater Under the Stars Shakespeare in the Valley. She looks forward to joining The Rising Sun Theater Ensemble in their quest to make this world a little bit brighter. Much thanks to her family who has always believed in her.
John K. Hart (Clint) is originally from Holyoke Massachusetts and is a graduate of the Masters program at the Actor’s Studio Drama school here in New York. He has been acting in numerous off (and off-off) Broadway shows, as well as short films, for the past few years. Most recently he’s been seen in: A State of Inebriation and Making Poor Decisions. He is thrilled to be working with such a talented cast, and would like to thank: His family, Liesje, (and the Beems) for all their help and support. He would especially like to thank Akia, for giving him a chance to work with her and Rising Sun again!
Michael Pichardo (Hugh/ Policeman 2/ Guard) A Lower East Side native, Michael Pichardo graduated from Queensborough Community College with an Associate's Degree in Performing Arts. Regional Theatre credits: The Favor (Chicago Fringe). Off-Broadway Credits: Othello (American Theatre of Actors) and The Last Hour (Royal Family). New York Theatre credits: Child's Play (Rising Sun/Kraine), Punk Grandpa (Frigid New York), The Skin of Our Teeth (Articulate Theatre), Allie's Appendix (PCTF/The Paradise Factory), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Original Binding Productions), and Spoon River Anthology (Roy Arias Theater). Film credits: Judgment. He is a member of Rising Sun Performance Company. Check out his hip hop content on his "Mike Checker" YouTube Channel!
Michael Pierce (Burrows/Jim/Policeman 1) is originally from Los Angeles, California and studied acting at Playhouse West Conservatory in North Hollywood where he was involved in numerous plays as well as improv shows. He has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from San Diego State University and is also an avid screenwriter. You can soon see him in My Radical Valentine which is currently making it’s way through the short film festival circuit. Despite being new to the New York theatre scene he is excited to get his feet wet with Rising Sun and the wonderful cast and crew behind The Glory of Living.
Desiree Pinol (Angie) is very excited to be a new ensemble member of Rising Sun! Desiree was born in Orlando, Florida but grew up in Garner, North Carolina. She recently graduated with a BFA in Acting from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She’s been living in New York City for a little over a year and is loving the adventure of exploring this big, beautiful concrete jungle. Favorite roles include Katie in Bachelorette, Kit/Shona in Top Girls, and Roberta in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea. Endless love and thanks to her incredibly supportive family, friends, and loving partner Jackson.
Nora Kaye (Carol) is very excited for her first season with RSP. Nora is a Brooklyn-based actor/writer/director. She attended Vassar College where she studied Neuroscience and Drama and was part of Woodshed Theater Ensemble and No Offense Sketch comedy troupe. Nora recently played Estelle in 'No Exit' and acted in Pedro Reyes' DOOMOCRACY. She is also currently working on a webseries with her friend/co-creator Vixy Youngblood. Hooray! Norakaye.com
Katie Lynn Esswein (Girl) attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received a BFA in Acting. She recently performed various roles in The Young Playwright’s Festival at City Theatre in Pittsburgh. Favorite credits include reasons to be pretty (Steph), Pericles (Marina), If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (Mouse) and One Flea Spare (Morse). She recently made her RSP debut in their mainstage production of “Child’s Play” at the Kraine theatre this past April.
Hayden Field (Girl) is an actress and feature journalist originally from Atlanta. In New York, she's previously performed with Broadway Artists Connection and The Cranky Cabaret, and she’s absolutely thrilled to be a part of Rising Sun Performance Company. Her favorite past roles include Betsy/Lindsay in Clybourne Park in The University of Georgia's official season, Grumio and Vincentio in a Cortona, Italy production of The Taming of the Shrew and Eugenia in the original cast of Kill Me Now in Athens, Georgia. Her other interests include the three H’s: high-fives, Hamilton and Harry Potter.
Akia (Director) is an active member of the flourishing Off-Off/Indie & Off Broadway theatre communities having produced, directed, and performed with numerous NYC companies for over 18 years. She is the Company Manager for the international sensation, Blue Man Group at the Astor Place Theater. She has received critical praise for her direction of RSP long running hits such as “Hellcab”, “Goodnight Lovin’ Trail”, “The Last Supper”, "Crapshoot", "Bug" & “Sprucehaven B”. She served as an advisory Board Member for The Paul Butterfield Fund & Society, and is Company Manager for The New York Innovative Theatre Awards & Foundation, where she serves on their honorary awards committee as Sub-Committee Chairman and as an At-Large Judge. Past notable credits include working on staff at Horse Trade Theatre Group, serving as General Manager for FRIGID New York’s inaugural year, and returning in various capacities every year since; she also served as Production Coordinator for nationally acclaimed Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre, overseeing the playwrights unit and INSIGHT 13 production series. She is a recipient of the New York Innovative Theatre Awards “Founders Award” for her contributions to the organization and Off Off Broadway Community and Two Time "Congeniality" Award Winner from the Planet Connections Theatre Festival for her community involvement. When not absorbed in theatre, she is an avid traveler and scuba diver.
Allison Crutchfield (Costume Design) is an artist, teacher, and costume designer living in New York City. She has a Masters in Fine Arts (Costume Design) from the University of California: San Diego, and Bachelors in Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut. She has worked with several New York and Regional Theater companies including the New School for Drama, Fault Line Theater, Northern Stage, the New London Barn Playhouse, Trinity/ Brown Consortium, and Connecticut Repertory Theater. Allison is currently an Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Queensborough Community College in Bayside, NY. www.allisoncrutchfield.com
Ian Wehrle (Sound Design) is a composer and collaborator for various music direction and sound design for theater. Recent credits include: Monica Piper's "Not That Jewish" (New World Stages); "A Room Of My Own" and "Hellman V. McCarthy" (Abingdon Theatre Co.); "A Dream of Red Pavilions", "Sayonara" and "No No Boy" (Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Co.); "Gilgamesh - A Musical Epic" (Columbia Stages); "Carousel", "Cabaret" and "Chess" (New York Film Academy); Blogologues: The Internet Performed; Sarah Lawrence College; Mill Mountain Theatre; and is a CUNY professor of sound design. He is credited at the Food Network, MTV, and PBS. For more information please see: www.soundaffectsdesign.com.
Miranda Cuellar (Stage Management Intern & Assistant Stage Manager) is a Dancer and current sophomore at Purchase college where she majors in stage management. She has professionally trained in dancing since the age of 5 and today is a dance instructor for children and young teens. Her most recent credits include Purchase Repertory Theatre: “The Winter’s Tale”, “Seven Guitars”, “The Good Soul of Szechuan” & “Middletown”. She would like to thank Rising Sun’s director Akia for giving her this opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people and a special thank you to God and her parents for their endless guidance, love & support.
Ciela Castro (Costume Intern) is a native New Yorker and an aspiring costume designer and writer. She is recent graduate of Hunter College with a BA in theatre. Her favorite project so far has been the Hunter College production of Blood Wedding. She is very excited to be part of the Rising Sun Performance Company.
Ronald Truman Kitts (Assistant Producer) is an Actor, Dancer, Choreographer, Set Designer and now Producer. He specializes in physical theatre and performance with training in clowning, Commedia, multiple forms of dance, viewpoints, and improvisation. He has a passion for new play development with most of his work focused around young playwrights. As a recent Graduate of Drew University, he was involved in over twenty productions in multiple capacities including originating the role of Jake in New World Disorder by award-winning playwright Chisa Hutchinson.
Anna M Hogan (Assistant Director) New York based director in theatre and film. The multimedia reading Hold My Spot (Director) and the full production of The Glory of Living (Assistant Director) can both be seen at this year's Planet Connections Theatre Festivity. Recent New York Dir/AD credits: Child's Play (Rising Sun) and Helvetica (Planet Connections/Rising Sun), W(restling) (Step 1 Theatre Project/24 hour Pride Fest), The Things that Don't Translate (The Freeks), Blinking in Treetops (Lady Plays, podcast). Film credits: Yellow Fever (Wham Bam Productions), Prayer Never Fails (Sweet Unknown Studios), Crossing the Line (Tascosa Films). Anna can next been seen assistant directing Baby Monitor by David Stallings with Playwrights for a Cause. annamaureenhogan.com
Emily Hart (Production Stage Manager) is happy to be working with Rising Sun and very happy to be working at the Planet Connections Festivity. She is originally from Boston, and is still unpacking boxes in her first NY apartment. She stage-managed New York Deaf Theatre's production of TITUS in 2016. She has also worked with several Boston-area theatres including Merely Players, Wheelock Family Theatre, Company One and OperaHub.
Christina Tang (Light Design) is a freelance lighting and scenic designer based in NYC. Recent credits include DUCKLINGS (JACK), Tinker Toy, Pinker Boy (Vital Joint), What Makes Us Feel Good (The Tank), and Devdas and Chokher Bali (Hypokrit Theatre Company). BA: Columbia University. Christinaftang.com
Jak Prince (Set Design) made his stage debut at age 6 playing the elephant king in the first grade play. Since then he has been involved with theater either as an actor, director, designer and educator. Prior credits include ”Hotel Suite” (Rising Sun Performance Co-Designer and Technical Director) ”Space Captain-Captain of Space” (No Tea Productions-Design Team) “The Kentucky Goblin Siege” (No Tea Productions – scenic design) “The Last Supper” Scenic design- Rising Sun Performance Co,) “Uncle Nicky” (Lighting design – Theatre on Five), Vital Signs 8 (Lighting – Vital Theatre Co.), Animals R’ Us (Lighting design – P.A.C.T.) Richard III (Lighting design – Frog & Peach Theatre Co.), “As You Like It” Much Ado About Nothing” (Scenic & Lighting design, Frog & Peach Theatre Co.), N.Y. Innovative Theatre Awards , (Production Stage Manager) “I Married Wyatt Earp” (Prospect Theatre Co-Technical Director) In addition, he is also a certified teacher of theatre and has served high schools in New Jersey as a director and designer. His students have named him the Who’s Who among America’s Teacher’s three times. His daughter, Danielle, is an animal trainer in Austin, Texas.
Maggie Kissinger (Dramaturg) is thrilled to work on this intense and thought-provoking play. She currently serves as the Literary Manager for Rising Sun Performance Company. She recently served as dramaturg for RSP's critically acclaimed premieres of Child's Play and Sprucehaven B and is currently working on RSP's next project, Henry's Wives. She would like to thank the cast and crew for taking the leap into Gilman's violent world to bring this important story to life! It's an honor to work with you all.
Eliza Wilkins (Admin Intern) is a rising Junior at Wesleyan University, where she studies English and fosters her love for theater. She is especially passionate about the process of workshopping and discussing newly written plays. Her most recent project was the production of a dinner/theater performance surrounding food justice issues. Eliza looks forward to gaining skills in arts administration at RSP so she can continue to use the arts as a medium for discussion about pressing issues.
Ben Lefkowitz (Production Intern) is excited to be a part of the RSPC intern program. He is a theater major at Muhlenberg College and a member of the Muhlenberg Theater Association. His previous theater experience includes You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Our Town, and The Dining Room to name a few. Most recently he directed a short play for the Red Door Play Festival at Muhlenberg. He also has an interest in set design and has helped build sets for several of the College’s Mainstage productions including Pirates of Penzance, Wig Out, and the Cherry Orchard. When not working on theatrical projects Ben enjoys gardening, cooking, and spending time with his family. He has 3 younger siblings and one dog.
Jane Bertelsen (Production/Admin Intern) is a very recent graduate of Muhlenberg College where she majored in Theatre and music, and is so excited for her first adventure in New York City to be with RSP! She has just moved here from her hometown of East Boothbay, Maine. Jane mainly considers herself an actor, her favorite genre's to work with being physical theatre and Shakespeare. A few beloved roles she has played include Athena in Mary Zimmerman's adaptation of The Odyssey, Narraboth in Oscar Wilde's Salome, and Adriana in Comedy of Errors. But she is also a singer with experience as a musical director, and has worked in many behind-the-scenes capacities. To learn more about her check out her website at www.janebertelsen.com.
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