Meet the Cast & Creative Team of Helvetica
Will Coleman (Playwright) is the Artistic Director of The Wheelhouse Theatre in Chicago. His play Helvetica win the 2015 Getchell New Play Award and was selected by Applause for the Best Festival Plays of 2015 Anthology. He has published short plays with YOUTHPlays.
JAK PRINCE (Set Designer) 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. He recently returned to his first love, acting, playing Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Old Library Theatre where he was nominated for a Best Actor in a Supporting Role award. As a director he just finished directing RENT at Garfield High School where he revived the musical theatre program after a 15 year absence. Prior credits include “Donkey” (Rising Sun Performance Co. Award for Outstanding Set Design, Planet Connections Theatre Festivity). “The Firebird” (Rising Sun Performance Co.) “Antigone”(The Wandering Theatre Co.) “The Insanity of Mary Girard” (The Wandering Theatre Co.) ”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) Currently the Technical Director of the Rising Sun Performance Co for whom he designed Sprucehaven B for the 2016 Frigid Festival, he is also a certified teacher of theatre and has worked at high schools in New York and 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 award winning animal trainer in Austin, Texas.
TOM KING (Sound Design) is a young sound designer recently graduated from Ramapo College who is very excited to be working with the Rising Sun Performance company on another production and enjoys creating with them as much as possible. He has been the sound designer for Rising Sun’s most recent production of Sprucehaven B at FRIGID New York, along with several of their theater mashups in the past and has been the sound designer for the Innovative Theater awards for the past two years.
LAURA CLINTON (Stage Manager) This is Laura's first show with Rising Sun Performance Company. Previous SM credits include THE AUTHOR'S VOICE with Marymount Manhattan College's Directing Projects (dir. Bryan Jager) and TALES OF IMAGINARY BIRDS with Columbia University's MFA Playwriting Projects (dir. Alex Viteri). ASM credits include CYRANO DE BERGERAC with Resonance Ensemble Theatre (dir. Gabriel Barre, PSM Paige Carter) and A VIEW FROM THE BRIDGE with Marymount Manhattan College (dir. Antonio Suarez, PSM Julian Olive). Marymount Manhattan College class of 2018. Endless love and thanks to Uncle Boo and Kelly.
JULIA TORRES (Present Helvetica) is excited and grateful to work on her first Rising Sun Performance full length production and first introduction to Planet Connections. She studied at Hunter College: Theatre, Psychology and Sociology. She has done theatre all over the city and has a lot of pride in being alumni of the MCC Youth Theater Co. She made her off Broadway debut with Godlight Theatre Company in their production of Cool Hand Luke.
ELIZABETH PEGG (Past Helvetica) could not be happier to be back with RSP to help tell such a beautiful story. Previous RSP credit include: Dream Exchange, Theatre Mashup: Children are Terrifying/Secrets, and A Very Holiday Under Rehearsed. Some other recent credits include: Hairspray (Penny Pingleton), Graceless (Nancy), and Be Our Guest which she also produced. Elizabeth holds a B.A. in Theatre from Duquesne University. Check her out at: www.lizpegg.com
BETSEY FELDMAN (Future Helvetica) is pleased to be working with Rising Sun. Previous work with Oberon Theatre Ensemble included the world premiere of "Famous for Fifteen Years", and "Courted" with The AlphaNYC Theater Company. Thanks to Akia and the entire Rising Sun Crew for a great experience.
DESTINY SHEGSTAD (Mother/Shelter Worker) received a BA in Theatre and has spent almost 2 decades have her life studying various forms of dance and theatre. Originally hailing from Daytona Beach Florida, she is had a passion for dance, music and acting since she could walk and talk. Since moving to New York she has been involved in a couple of Off-Broadway companies and has appeared in several plays including "Erik" as Madame Giry, "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as Helena, and "Spring's Awakening" as Mrs. Bergmann. She is also working on a TV pilot and several short films. She is so excited to be a part of "Helvetica" and would like to thank her friends, family, and God for all of their support.
ASHLEIGH HERNDON (Illustrator/Patient) is a resident company member with Rising Sun. Originally from Myrtle Beach, SC, Ashleigh holds a degree in musical theatre from Catawba College. Performance credit's include Regional: The Lost Colony, Jesus Christ Superstar, Funny Thing Happened...Forum, Cinderella, Where The Wild Things Are; NYC: Open Rehearsal, Ice Age, NY Jazz Choreography Project. Ashleigh also works as a choreographer with a concentration in historical social dance, credits include: Cyclops (NYMF), Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog (stage premier Las Vegas), Shh...It's a Speakeasy (Rising Sun), A Christmas Carol, and Drood. She is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.
BROCK H. HILL (Director) is a New York based director. He is known for ensemble based, organic work. He is the Producing Artistic Director of the Planet Connections Festivity and Artistic Director of the Altruistic Theatre Company. Selected projects include: Current project - Helvetica (Rising Sun, Planet Connections); Mistakes Madeline Made, Books on Tape, Humans Anonymous (Tongue in Cheek Prod); Civilization! (Planet Connections Festivity); Choose Your Grown Adventure, Wardrobe of the Living Dead (Altruistic Theatre); Invoice (Leela Theatre Festival).
AKIA (Founding Artistic Director/Producer) 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 15 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" and "Bug". She served as an advisory Board Member for The Paul Butterfield Fund & Society, and is the Company Manager for The New York Innovative Theatre Awards & Foundation, where she serves on their honorary awards committee and as an At-Large Judge. 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 recipient of the Congeniality Award from Planet Connections Theatre Festival. She is thrilled to be a Kilroys Nominator for the 2016 List. Most recently she directed the world premiere of “Sprucehaven B” at the FRIGID Festival which received an extended run.
LAUREN FISCHETTI (Associate Producer) is a native New Yorker, actor, and playwright, who has added "producer" to her list of career paths. Lauren recently co-produced the Theater Resources Unlimited 2016 Audition Event, assistant produced Rising Sun Performance Company’s production of Sprucehaven B, and produced Fire On Flaming Roads at the Arthur Seelen Theatre through Untitled Theatre Collective, of which she is a founding member. In addition to Rising Sun, she is currently working with Junkyard Dog Productions as a producing assistant for their upcoming musical COME FROM AWAY. As an actor, Lauren has worked with Ten Thirty One Productions, Between Us Productions, and the New York Film Academy among others. Lauren would like to thank Akia and Brock for the opportunity to work on a fantastic production, her family, her Brendan and her friends for their continued support, and to the cast and crew for all their hard work and dedication! Lauren holds a B.F.A. in Acting and Arts Management from Marymount Manhattan College. www.laurenfischetti.com
EMILY ABMA (Costume Designer) is a recent graduate of St. John's University and is ecstatic to be working once more with Rising Sun Performance Company! Favorite costume credits include Picasso at the Lapin Agile, The Cat in the Hat, Snow White, Sprucehaven B, and Anything Goes. Much love/thanks to SJU CPTG, her family, friends, cats, Akia, & Rising Sun! www.emilyabma.com
SVEN TRYGVE HAABETH began his New York career with King John (Directed by Jerrod Bogard), in 2014. Before being asked back for Henry 4.1 to portray The Douglas last year, in which his performance has been described as “so intense, truly brings the audience to a wonderful sense of the polarized society portrayed here” (Trena Madison) Sven Haabeth; originally from Norway, has starred in various productions there, including the James Bond parody Agent Z-7 and the short film "Hvis Skyld" "Sven Haabeth is a multi talented Norwegian born actor, composer, singer and performer. We are not likely to find an American born performer with Sven's unique combination of abilities and singular characteristics." (John Rainer Long) "His ability to transition between stage, TV, film and concerts show rare and sought after characteristics." (Marina Dojchinov) "Sven, This is fantastic!! You truly are a talent to be recognized!!" (Steve Guttenberg) Big thanks to Kristen Grødem and Jerrod Bogard, Nina, Birgit & Akia.
DAVID BERMAN (Husband): David is an actor and filmmaker. Theatre credits include Proof, The Laramie Project, Julius Caesar, Barefoot in the Park, Deathtrap, Macbeth, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Death of a Salesman. He’s appeared at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, on Saturday Night Live, on All My Children, and in the 2012 Planet Connections festival (Best Actor nom.).
CHRISTOPHER SANCHEZ (Father) is a native New Yorker. Growing up he took to dance and Musicals. He has worked in Europe and Latin America in various performance professions, including radio host, boy band member, a salsa instructor and GIO in Mexico and Guatemala, a freestyle rapper he was a b-boy in Germany and is a certified Zumba Instructor. He has been in various short films, two of which are noteworthy major festival award winners or finalists. He studied Performing Arts at the University of San Francisco, Film and Dance at Huner College, and graduates the 1 yr. Acting program at The New York Film Academy on May 17 th , 2014.
DANTE JAYCE (Doctor) is a New York based actor and Rising Sun Performance Company ensemble member. An award-winning stage and screen veteran, Dante was named one of the brightest talents at the 2012 NY International Fringe Festival, and has starred in a Chock full o’ Nuts statewide advertising campaign. He received the inaugural Dante Negro Memorial Award for his theater contributions at Brooklyn College, from which he has since graduated summa cum laude. Other accolades include the 2009 Charles Jacobs acting scholarship award, the 2012 Friars Foundation Scholarship for the Performing Arts, and having represented Kingsborough at the 2010 KCACTF festival. Favorite past theater credits include Bitches (Dench), Cardenio (Melchiore), Nocturnal (Vangelis), Superhero (Leonard), Twelfth Night (Sir Andrew), Autobahn (Man from All Apologies), The Trickeries of Scapin (Geronte), The Most Perfect Day (Rob), Occupy Earth (Sgt. Sleeve Axelrod), and The 1% (Sheamus McIntyre). Dante can be seen on The Jon Tron Show, and in the independent films We Just Met and How He Came Back Home. He also plays the lead character in the upcoming French film, Tree. He puts great pride into mastering different accents and is adept at physicality, having studied stage combat. Known for having “The Golden Voice,” Dante is a former wrestler who currently works as the color commentator for the Legendary Action Wrestling organization. He thanks everyone for their continued love and support. Dante promises that every time you see him perform, he is going to rock your face! For more info, catch him on YouTube, Twitter, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ERIC PARNESS (Agent) is happy to make his acting debut with Rising Sun after directing several readings and one-acts. Previous acting credits include RINO (Core Creative) 23 Knives (Resonance Ensemble) and Twelfth Night (Oberon Theatre). Eric is the Artistic Director of Resonance Ensemble, where he has directed classics by Sophocles, Gorky, Chekhov, and Ibsen, as well as many world premieres, including new plays by Charles Mee, Michael Feingold, Steven Fechter, and Ginger Lazarus. Also Off-Broadway: Going Once! Laughing Twice!!, Crazy for the Dog, Embraceable Me, and many others. Eric is a graduate of Brandeis University (BA) and Brooklyn College (MFA), an adjunct professor at Marymount Manhattan College, and a member of Lincoln Center Theatre’s Directors Lab.