Nora Chau loves a good story. She is a member of the Ma-Yi Writer’s Lab, a former ABC/Disney Grant Recipient for New Talent in Screenwriting, an ABC/Disney Writing Fellowship finalist, and a Women’s Project Lab finalist. Her short plays have been published by Smith & Kraus and you can see her crazy web serial atprettypreciousunicorns.com. She is currently working on her first novel and attempting to write a graphic novel with her artist husband – that is, if he doesn’t kick her off the project.
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.
Jenny is an Astoria-based writer from Troy, Michigan. Her work has been presented at or developed by the terraNOVA Collective, Sightline Theatre Company, Artistic New Directions, IRT, The Bridge Theatre Company, the New Ohio Theatre, 3LD Art & Technology Center, the Gene Frankel Theatre, Theatre 54, Manhattan Shakespeare Theatre, The Washington Rogues, Gorilla Tango Theatre and Columbia Stages.
Her work includes Harlowe (developed under the mentorship of Sarah Ruhl, winner of the Alec Baldwin Fellowship at Singers Forum, and a finalist for the TS Eliot US/UK Exchange); Psychomachia (recipient of the Gatsby Grant); The Seer and the Witch (developed in the Groundbreakers Playwriting Group at terraNOVA); The Would-Be Room (performed in New York City, Chicago and Washington D.C.); Convergence; The Burning Brand; and Does Anyone Know Sarah Paisner? Her ten minute pieces A Fever in the Feast and Uriel’s Garden were both workshopped with Anne Bogart. Fever…, as well as another short play, PIN, was workshopped at Ensemble Studio Theatre in early 2011.
She is a graduate of Columbia University — where she was taught by such remarkable artists as Chuck Mee, Anne Bogart, Lucy Thurber, Sheila Callaghan and Kelly Stuart — and Sarah Lawrence College. Currently, Jenny is the Administrative Director for the League of Professional Theatre Women and the Literary Manager for the Astoria Performing Arts Center.
JORDANA WILLIAMS is a theater director. Her latest project is THE PARTICULARS by Matthew MacKenzie at FringeNYC 2012. She most frequently directs plays by Mac Rogers, including SOVEREIGN, BLAST RADIUS, ADVANCE MAN, VIRAL (FringeNYC 2009 Outstanding Production of a Play, FringeNYC Encore Series, 2010 ITBA Oustanding Off-Off Broadway Show), HAIL SATAN (FringeNYC 2007), and three seaons with Vampire Cowboys’ episodic, genre-bending Saturday Night Saloon. Jordana has directed a number of strange and wonderful projects for such companies as Flux Theatre Ensemble, Boomerang Theatre Company, Piper McKenzie, GroundUP Productions, kef Productions, Impetuous Theater Group, The Brick Theater, The 24-Hour Plays and The One-Minute Play Festival. She is the lyricist of the musicals FLEET WEEK (Outstanding Musical- FringeNYC 2005), AIR GUITAR (FringeNYC 2006) and The First Annual St. Ignatius Chanukah Pageant (which she also directed), and a founding member of Gideon Productions.
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
Kristine M. Reyes is a Filipina American playwright raised and based in New York City. Her newest one-act play, Lola Luning’s First Steps, was commissioned by Women of Color Productions and produced during their Human Rights Theatre Project in June 2012 in New York City. Her previous one-act plays Quarter Century Baby and Something Blue were produced as part of Diverse City Theater Company’s (DCT) Pearl Project: A Filipino-American Theater Festival at Theatre Row in NYC, July 2010. In 2011, her 10-Minute play Ready, Aim…Fire! was first selected and produced by Primary Stages Einhorn School of Performing Arts’ (ESPA) Detention Series, and then again in The Asian American Women Playwrights Short Play Festival, co-presented by Actors’ Equity Association and Leviathan Lab. She is a Playwright Associate at DCT where she was a First Draft Fellow in 2005 for her full-length play Queen for a Day. Kristine is a Co-Director and Founding Member of the Leviathan Lab Asian American Women Writers Workshop, a 2012 Mary Louise Rockwell Scholar at ESPA at Primary Stages and a member of The Dramatists Guild.
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.