Our Artists

0 965
Kari Bentley-Quinn
Kari Bentley-Quinn

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Kari Bentley-Quinn
Kari Bentley-Quinn

TitleOccupation
Playwright/Founding Member of Mission to (dit)Mars

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I live right on the Astoria/Woodside border. My zip is Woodside but if I walk one block I’m in Astoria. I’ve lived east of Steinway off 30th avenue for almost 9 (!) years now.

How did you get involved in theater?
My first role was a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz when I was in 6th grade. The following year, my class went on a school trip to see Les Mis. Blew my little 12 year old mind! I have been doing theater ever since. I was an actor until I was in my 20′s, and then writing took over.

What do you love most about Queens?
Queens is awesome for so many reasons, but I really think one of its biggest strengths is that the people who live here are laid back and not pretentious. You can throw on a pair of jeans and no makeup and head out to a bar with no worries. It’s affordable, safe, and extremely ethnically diverse. What we lack in brownstones we more than make up for in diversity and character. I love it here. I’ve lived in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and Queens is by far my favorite. It’s my home.

Do you have any “only in Queens” moments you’d like to share?
I was standing in line one day at Gian Piero bakery (30th avenue and 45th street, best Italian bakery in Astoria!) and I heard 5 different languages being spoken at the same time. That’s Queens in a nutshell for you.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Other than Gian Piero (and really any of the bakeries in Astoria, you can’t go wrong) my top picks are:
 
Trattoria L’Incontro (Astoria) – the best Italian restaurant in the city. No question. It’s super highly rated in Zagat and half the price of comparable places in Manhattan. Don’t order off the menu. Get the specials. Trust me.

Sorriso’s Pork Store
 (Astoria) – Wonderful Italian salumeria on 30th avenue. Their soppresata is made in-house, as well as their fresh mozzarella, and the warm friendly staff is more than happy to let you try before you buy.

Off the Vine
 (Astoria) – a wonderful wine store with warm, friendly owners and a selection of smaller producers. They hold wine tastings frequently and they usually have a delicious spread of cheese and nibbles available.
 
Sugarfreak (Astoria) – A little bit of New Orleans in Astoria. I have never had a bad meal there. I’m kind of obsessed.
 
Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria) – Just go. It’s awesome.
Alewife (Long Island City) – Gorgeous space, amazing beers on tap, good food, great staff.
 
Nan Xiang Dumpling House (Flushing) – Soup dumplings. I’m just saying. And Flushing is awesome. It’s like visiting another country. Lots of great Korean/Chinese food
There are many many many more, but those come immediately to mind.

Current/Upcoming projects?
I have a workshop of my play THE UNLIKELY ASCENT OF SYBIL STEVENS opening this weekend at another great Queens institution – The Secret Theatre. It’s directed by Chris Diercksen (a Mission to (dit)Mars artist!) and it runs only three performances…so get tickets now! All the info, including a description of the play, is here. Tickets are only $10. Hope to see everyone there.

0 728
Rachel McPhee
Rachel McPhee

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Rachel McPhee
Rachel McPhee

Title/Occupation
Actor, Executive Director of On the Square Productions

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I have lived in Astoria for almost 5 years. Currently, I live by the Neptune Diner near the Astoria Blvd N/Q stop. I have been there for 2 years, which is dangerous. Because that diner is great. And its open 24 hours…

How did you get involved in theater?
My dad was the Managing Artistic Director at the Racine Theatre Guild in Racine, Wisconsin and my mom was an English teacher who moonlighted in costume design. I remember being at rehearsals with my dad from the time I could toddle around. Call it cheap child care. While Cat Amongst the Pigeons might not be appropriate for a 3 year old, I loved every moment of being there. I literally did not see another option of what to do with my life and was in my first play when I was 5. I’m still hooked!

Tell us a little more about your theater company?
On the Square has been around since 2008. Since then, we have produced 6 mainstage productions in festivals, outdoors and at The Flea and 59e59 as well as countless Write Angle readings and special events. Our mission statement has developed alot over the years. We focus on new plays, emerging writers and doing whatever we can to aid the playwright in their creation process. More can be found at www.onthesquareproductions.com

What do you love most about Queens?
I love the unfancy, unpretentious-ness of it all. I don’t have to dress up or wear a Williamsburg Halloween costume to go to Key Foods.

Do you have any “only in Queens” moments you’d like to share?
I live near the end of the N/Q line, so I typically get a seat on the subway. I see it as a  bad omen or know it will be a “crazy day” if I don’t get a seat in the morning…

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
Bareburger- OtSP sponsors and really one of my fave restaurants of all time
Museum of the Moving Image – an absolute MUST SEE and free on Target Fridays…
Current/Upcoming projects?
OtSP is working on a physical theatre adaptation of The Snow Queen which will be presented in May at University Settlement where we are Artists in Residence. I’ll be playing a multitude of roles in that.  You can always find out what I am up to at www.rachelmcphee.com!

 

View Rachel’s complete bio.

0 902
Scott Casper

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Scott Casper
Scott Casper

Title/Occupation
Artistic Director, taxdeductible theatre; Writer, #hero

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
I’ve lived in Astoria since 2003, it will be ten years come August!  Where does the time go?

How did you get involved in theater?
 When I was a kid, I went to a small Jewish Day School from K-4th grade.  There were only about 60 kids in the whole school.  Every week, they pulled us out of class to have a Friday Shabbat service, and as a part of it, each grade would do a short skit for the teachers and parents, etc.  Each class would do one every 6 weeks or so.  As a kid, I guess I just had a good memory for learning the words, and I ended up getting onstage and being featured a lot.  It just kind of stuck from there.

Tell us a little more about your theater company?
We are dedicated to developing the uniquely theatrical voice of our community of collaborative artists. We celebrate the theatrical event of sharing a physical space with the audience, and we honor their impact as soon as they enter our lobby until after the show and the last drink is served.

 We share new voices. We create memorable experiences. We challenge ourselves and our community to follow one basic rule: demandbold theatre.

What do you love most about Queens?
I love that the neighborhood can still feel like a neighborhood, even with the amount of people and the diversity of the cultures all around us.  Every time I walk past my barber’s window, or my dry cleaner’s, or pass the cashier at my local wine shop in the street, and I can share a friendly smile and nod in recognition, I think to myself, “I really do love living in Queens.”

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
I’m a big fan of the Gantry Park in LIC and the neighboring bars and restaurants in that growing community. I love going out to Break on weekends for a couple of hours of pool and some beers.Of course, the Bohemian Beer Garden.  I am eager for spring to come so I can head back out to their picnic tables over too many pitchers.  Likewise, Studio Square.  Also, I’m quite fond of the new place on Broadway, the Strand.Finally, I think it’s important to know that The Chain Theatre has just opened in Long Island City, and that the venue promises to bring another home for Off-Off Broadway plays right in our backyard.  I’m very excited about the possibilities that having the space will afford to the variety of theater artists and companies who are based out of Queens. 

Current/Upcoming projects?

hero-taxdeduct#hero opened Feb 22 and runs until March 9

Wed-Saturdays at 8PM

Sundays at 2PM

at the Chain Theater

21-28 45th Road, LIC

#hero follows NYPD Officer Norman Burrows and his wife Grace. After Norman saves a woman who falls on the subway tracks, he becomes a social media sensation. As his public profile grows, their private life unravels, until the hero must expose his own myth.

Have we lost touch with ourselves in a hyper-connected world? Do our public acts define our private lives? It’s easy to connect with everyone; but is it worth it to connect with anyone?

For tickets and more info: www.taxdeductibletheatre.org

View Ava’s complete bio.

0 862
Dev Bondarin

This is a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Dev Bondarin
Dev Bondarin

 

Website:  www.devbondarin.net

Title/Occupation
Freeelance Director and Associate Artistic Director of Prospect Theater Company

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
 Astoria since October 2008

How did you get involved in theater?
I got involved in theater in high school–I acted and helped build the sets. I had a drama teacher who was amazing. She was my first director and I remember when I was going to college I said I wanted to major in “being her”. That was probably the first time I articulated that I wanted to be a director!

What do you love most about Queens?
The feel of being in the city but everything feeling a little more laid back. Being able to easily walk from different areas of Astoria.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
I love dessert so Artopolis and Martha’s Country Bakery are on the top of the list. I love the views of the water in Astoria Park, and also the theater that I am able to check out in Queens!


Current/Upcoming projects?
I just directed and produced Prospect Theater Company’s annual musical theater lab: PORTRAITS.

We have 3 more performances –  Monday 2/25 @ 7:30, Thursday 2/28 @ 7:30, and Friday 3/1 @ 8pm.

More info is here: http://www.prospecttheater.org/2013/01/22/up-next-portraits-music-theater-lab-performances-feb-22-mar-1

0 1026
Rachel McPhee
Rachel McPhee

Neighborhood: Astoria
Website: http://www.rachelmcphee.com

Rachel McPhee is an actor and Executive Director and co-founder of On the Square Productions. She is a regular sketch performer with popular YouTube Channel Barely Political/The Key of Awesome. Favorite NY Credits include: Sleep No More (Special Events Supporting Cast), Vieux Carre ( The Pearl, dir. Austin Pendleton), The Footage ( The Flea), A Midsummer Night’s Dream ( OtSP) and most recently The Minervae in Athens Square Park with OtSP. Rachel received her BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a postgraduate degree in Professional Acting from the Drama Studio London (UK).  She lives in Astoria with her husband, actor/playwright Rob Benson and their tuxedo cat, Romeo.

1 1081
Ava Eisenson
Ava Eisenson

The first in a series of posts featuring our artists who are making things happen in and around our great borough of Queens.  Please check back weekly for new posts.

Ava Eisenson
Ava Eisenson

View Ava’s complete bio.

TitleOccupation
Actor

Which Queens neighborhood do you live in and for how long?
 Astoria–5 years

How did you get involved in theater?
 As a kid I was just sort of drawn to it.  I was a chicken in some community theatre show, and something about it just stuck.

What do you love most about Queens?
I can’t really speak about Queens as a whole, as I’ve only lived in Astoria.  But what I love around here is that I truly feel a part of a thoughtful, vibrant, and growing community.  I also like (that to many) the greatness of Astoria is a secret.  I understand that it can seem like there isn’t a lot going on, but once you live here…you begin to learn all the spots, and how good it feels to walk down these streets.  It’s so close to the city, and yet it has it’s own charm and ‘a place to get away’ feel to it without having to prove these qualities.

Your top Queens picks (food, entertainment, sights, etc)?
 My most favorite spot in Queens is Sweet Afton.  I am totally biased because I’ve worked there on and off since it opened.  But, I hope that this speaks highly of the people that own the bar and work at it, that after spending so many working hours there…it’s still the first place I recommend.  I appreciate their low-key style, while maintaining attention to every detail of the experience you’ll have when you are there.

And they have live music now on Monday nights which is always so much fun!

Current/Upcoming projects?
I am currently in ‘The Mnemonist of Duchess County’ playing at Theatre Row until March 2nd.  A new play by Josh Koenigsberg and directed by Laura Savia.

Please come and check it out! For discounted tickets: TRATIC15 at broadwayoffers.com

View Ava’s complete bio.

0 860

NickDaltons-featured

Neighborhood: Astoria
Website: http://www.nickdalton.org

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.

1 950


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.

Please see website for printable resume.