Nick is proud to call himself an Astorian Artist, though he hails from the great mitten state of Michigan. He is a founding member of ASTORIOOOUS as well as SATURDAY MORNING CARTOONS: Live (www.smclive.org). He has performed all over the world in many mediums, and is also a teacher and ambassador for ASTEP: Artists Striving To End Poverty (www.asteponline.org), for whom he has created workshops and taught for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festivals, a school for social change in India called SHANTI BHAVAN, the New York Public School, and the International Refugee Committee. He is a proud member of AEA/AFTRA/SAG and graduate of Western Michigan University.
Neighborhood: Roosevelt Island/Long Island City Website: http://www.jennypaul.info
Jenny is a stage and film actress in NYC. With over 50 stage and dozens of screen credits in the last 5 years, she is proud to call herself a working actress.
In her free time (or lack there-of), Jenny enjoys long walks down the Roosevelt Island boardwalk, her addiction to Facebook, playing volleyball, roller skating, and taking advantage of all that the city has to offer.
Off-Broadway: The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller, Black Angels Over Tuskegee, Come Back to Me (Cherry Lane). FringeNYC: Savage International, Choke City. Other NY credits include Caligula Maximus (La MaMa), Ghosts and Civil Sex (Hudson Guild), A Hatful of Rain (Chuch), Polaroid Stories (Orpheus), Man on the Street and Testiculations (New Media Rep), Antony & Cleopatra (Antony) and Pericles (Antiochus) at Aaron Davis Hall. David is a co-founder of The Seven Collective and member of AEA. He is grateful for those who contribute to the process.
Directing credits: Closer by Patrick Marber (The Seven Collective, Theaterlab), Gluttony by Ed Cardona Jr. (7 Days of Play Theatre Festival), Springtime by Maria Irene Fornes (CG Studio), Thunder in the Index by Phillip Hayes Dean (Staged reading, Theaterlab).
Dina is Founder and Executive Director of Rising City Arts, and Actress and twelve year veteran of New York City Teaching Artististry who specializes in developing innovative theater programming for youth. She holds an MFA in Acting from Harvard’s American Repertory Theater Program for Advanced Theater Training and a BA in Theater from DeSales University in Allentown, PA. Dina has instructed with all ages in all areas from In-School Residencies to After School Classes, One on One Youth Counseling to Professional Development Workshops.
For the past two years, Dina has run operations for Rising City Arts and instructed classes with The Academy of Finance and Enterprise, The Queens Vocational and Technical School and The Queens Library. Previously, Dina spent two years at Dodge High School in the Bronx through the Counseling In Schools National Network (CSNN) where she served as a Youth Counselor, Drama Instructor and Literacy through the Arts In-Class Teaching Artist for the United Way’s AIDP Program. She was also on staff with City Lights Youth Theater for nine years as an Acting Teacher, Director and In-School Collaborating Artist. Once per year, Dina would run the Improvisation and Creative Scenes classes at the Queens Library through Arts to Grow. Past work includes residencies with The Creative Arts Team’s ELTA program (Pre K ~ 1st), Queens Theatre in the Park’s CASA program, Claire’s Creative Adventures on the Upper East Side and Acting Classes with The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She has created and conducted Professional Development Workshops for The Weston Playhouse in Vermont, The American Place Theatre and Counseling In Schools. Dina loved her three years at PS/IS 123 in the Bronx where she was a post September 11th Crisis Counselor for Project Liberty.
As an Actress, Dina has been actively shooting commercials. Her Off-Broadway credits include Clare Boothe Luce in The Rise of Dorothy Hale and Lady Macbeth/Mere Ubu in The Polish Play. Also in New York: Persuasion (The Secret Theatre), Bella and The Pool Boy (NYC Fringe Fest). The Error of Their Ways (HERE), Days of Wine and Roses (Lion Theatre) and Edward Albee’s Everything in the Garden (The John Houseman Theatre), etc… Regional credits include work with The American Repertory Theatre, Summer Theater of New Canaan, Stonington Opera House, PA Shakespeare, Off World Theatre, Mill Mountain Theatre, Baltimore Shakespeare, Boston Center for the Arts and Pirate Playhouse. Film: Flinch, True to the Heart, The Jam. TV: Fringe, Law and Order SVU, School Spirits, Wise Guys.
Ava Eisenson is a NYC-based actor. Some favorite recent credits include: Jeff Stark’s The Dreary Coast and At the Finish by Nick Gandiello. She is a founding member of SPACE on Ryder Farm, a guest artist with Superhero Clubhouse and Wide Eyed Productions, and a usual suspect with Woodshed Collective and Sightline Theatre. She’s currently working with her Dad on his show about his life as a magician. Ava holds her BFA from Boston University. She LOVES Astoria. More info: www.avaeisenson.com
Hyphenated Artist/Jill of all Trades
Golden Phoenix Productions, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) organization
Jade has dedicated four decades of service to the pursuit of social and human justice through the arts. She has worked on Presidential political campaigns and was a Mayoral appointee as Artistic Producer of a 1400-seat vintage RKO theater where she booked talents such as Chris Rock, George Carlin, Four Tops, Faith Hill, and Martina McBride.
Jade is a screenwriter/executive producer and has worked for ABC Daytime Drama Series “General Hospital” and “One Life to Live” as well as scripted/directed documentary films which have screened at the IFP Market, Asian American Int’l Film Festival, Sundance Producers’ Conference, and the Anthology Film Archives in New York City. She was a Disney/ABC Writing Fellow, Jerome Foundation Fellow, Film/Video Arts Fellow, BlueCat Screenplay Semi-finalist, and a PEN USA Rosenthal Emerging Voices Writing Fellowship Semi-finalist. Jade’s stage plays have had public readings at the Nuyorican Poets Café, Urban Stages, Santa Clara Experimental Theatre Festival and La Jolla Studio Stage.
She served as a New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artist Grant Panelist for three years and as an International Emmy Awards Juror in Drama Series and Documentaries for five years.
Prior to the film industry, Jade was Principal, Creative Director and Head Copywriter of her own 22-person advertising firm whose clientele included HBO Global, ARTNews, Ford Foundation, Chase Manhattan Bank, Bank of America, Security Pacific, and Merck Pharmaceuticals.
In the corporate arena, while as Vice President of Marketing and Communications, she was responsible for creating an in-house agency umbrella-ing Waverly, Inc.’s four domestic and international advertising and marketing divisions into what is now known as Lippincott/Waverly, a global leader in medical publishing.
In the acting arena, Jade has had recurring roles in television on NBC’s “Homicide: Life on the Streets,” Warner Bros. TV’s “The Adversaries,” and ABC’s “One Life to Live.” On stage, she has worked directly along side Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in New York’s Central Park production of “Mother Courage and Her Children” written by Oscar and Tony Awardee Tony Kushner and directed by Tony award-winner George C. Wolfe. Her stage credits include working with other iconic directors: Alan Schneider, Blanka Zizka, Liv Ciulei, JoAnne Akalaitis, Gerald Gutierrez, Wendy Goldberg, Dan Wackerman, and Frances Hill, as well as award-winning writers Lucy Thurber, Chung-mi Kim, Rehana Mirza, Ruth Wolff and Lanford Wilson. She has performed roles at the Shakespeare Theatre, The Public Theatre, New York Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage, The Wilma Theater, Minetta Lane Theatre, Urban Stages and toured at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland and Adelaide Festival in Australia. In film, she is most noted for her lead role in Michael Kang’s Sundance pedigree film, “The Motel,” along with roles in numerous major studio films directed by Tony Scott, Browen Hughes, Andrew Fleming and Spike Lee.
As an educator, Jade’s teaching background includes the Fashion Institute of Technology, University of California/San Diego, New York Film Academy, Raul Julia Institute for the Performing Arts, and private coaching. She has been a return Lecturer at Bard College on Drama in Social and Human Justice and the philosophies of Michel Foucault’s Fearless Speech in relation to dramatic text and dialogue.
She holds a BA in Drama and Literature, BS in Biochemistry and matriculated in the MFA Theatre Program at the University of California, San Diego.
Melissa Hammans is a NYC based actor/singer originally from the hoosier state. she began her career early portraying one of the andrews sisters. thanks, mama, for sewing my costume.
She went on to hot roll her hair, don silver sequin shoes, and perfect her jazz hand in show choir. her tour-de-force performances in such high school productions as “godspell” and ” the crucible” sparked her love of the stage, despite the snub from the academy…
She has since been an ex-girlfriend, a nun, a rockstar, a claus, a diva, a queen, a snowball, and an all around good time gal.
Meredith Packer is a New England transplant who graduated with a BA in Theater from Wagner College in 2005. In 2006, she co-founded Amsterdam Artists, LTD with whom she helped produce & direct two successful productions before parting ways in 2008. She has also produced and directed with the Effable Arts, LTD. She has had brief stints with NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice and with the technical team at New World Stages and AML entertainment. While an artistic nomad, she has made a home in Astoria for the last 5 years.
Laura Pestronk is an actor and director born and raised in New York City. She has lived all over Manhattan and grew up on the Upper East Side. She has since enjoyed living in both Astoria and Long Island City, and now happily resides in beautiful Sunnyside, Queens.
Laura’s directing credits include Feedback by Jane Miller (Squeaky Bicycle Productions), Booze In the Boroughsby Penny Jackson (FACT), 200 Mystical Fictions by Debra Siegel (NY Fringe), Opening Night by Zach Rothman-Hicks (Where Eagles Dare), Jump! by Josh Sohn (Strawberry Festival- Best Play), Unblessed by Kari Bentley Quinn (Packawallop). Assistant directing credits include Marea(Packawallop- dir. Scott Ebersold) and Cardboard Box (Looking Glass- dir. Toby Bercovici).
Acting credits include The Tupperware Convention by Anna Governali , The Women’s Project by Mariana Newhard, Retrospective by Chris Van Strander, Notes BetweenUs by Samantha Lee Manas, Kicked by Eljon Wardally. Laura’s one woman show, Interesting Topics In Significant Similitude Starring Cindy Cinnamon performed at Downtown Art and NYU.
For the past 3 years, Laura has directed Broadway charity concerts raising money for the Humane Society and the Canned Food Drive. Both the annual Broadway Meows and Broadway Can concerts are written and composed by Seth Bisen-Hersh and perform at Don’t Tell Mama.
Laura received her BFA in Drama and Psychology from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. She studied at Playwrights Horizons Theater School, concentrating in directing and acting. Laura is coordinator and member of the Pack- a collaborative group of writers, directors and actors. She is a founding member of Mission to ditMARS, a theater and arts collective based in Queens.
Don Nguyen was born in Saigon, Vietnam, grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and currently resides in Astoria, Queens. Don studied theatre at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and he served as the Artistic Director of the Shelterbelt Theatre in Omaha from 1999-2003.
Full length plays include: RED FLAMBOYANT (World Premiere – Firebone Theatre Company 2015, 2015 GAP Prize Winner, Ojai Playwrights Conference, finalist – O’Neill NPC), SOUND (Azeotrope/ACT, BAPF, Playwrights Realm Fellowship, finalist – Princess Grace Award), THE COMMENCEMENT OF WILLIAM TAN (Yale Cabaret, NYSAF), THE MAN FROM SAIGON (NYSAF, Naked Angels), THE SUPREME LEADER and HELLO, FROM THE CHILDREN OF PLANET EARTH. Don’s work has been developed or produced at The Public Theater, The Flea, Ojai Playwrights Conference, New York Stage & Film, Naked Angels, Naked Radio, The Civilians, Ma-Yi Theatre, The Playwrights Realm, The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Joe’s Pub, The 52nd Street Project, SPACE on Ryder Farm, and Tofte Lake. Don is the recipient of the 2015 GAP Prize from the Aurora Theatre and New York Stage & Film Founder’s award and has been a finalist for The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Princess Grace Award, Woodward International Playwriting Prize, and New Dramatists. Nominations include: the Laurents/Hatcher award and the L. Arnold Weissberger Award. Don is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the Public Theater’s inaugural Emerging Writers Group, The Civilians inaugural R&D Group, the 52nd Street Project, and a co-founder of Mission to (dit)Mars, a Queens based theatre arts collective. For more information, please visit: thenuge.com
His one-act play The Harlequin Maneuvre was a finalist in the Riant Theatre’s Strawberry One-Act Festival (2004) and was published in The Best of The Strawberry One-Act Festival, Volume 1. It has subsequently been produced in New York, Nebraska, and Canada.
Other one act plays include Fat Ugly Vampire (Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NY), The Imaginary Association of Flight Attendants (Nuyorican Poets Cafe, NY),Love 160 (The Pack Lounge Series 3, Robert Moss Theater, NY),The Dragon Lord and the Fairy Queen (commissioned by The Lincoln Community Playhouse), A Decision of Extraordinary Magnitude, and a collection of eight Halloween plays: Bloodsucker, The Woman in the Blue Dress, Iron Chef: Battle of the Global Cuisine, Cooking with Julia, Soulmates, Torture, Survivor Down Under, and The Deadly Seduction, which were all produced by The Shelterbelt Theatre.
Other short plays and monologues include The Rocket Boys (52nd Street Project), Sexual Chocolate (The Secret Theatre, Long Island City), Girl Reflected and Look, A Lion (Emerging Writers Retreat, Public Theater).
Other writing credits include The Living Newspaper Workshop where he wrote several one acts and a webisode. In July 2011, The Living Newspaper was invited by Liz Engelman and the Jerome Foundation to spend a weeklong residency at Tofte Lake Center in Minnesota to develop a play about overpopulation.