A Middle School Play
First Kiss Theatre Presents:
Written & Directed by Alice Nora
NYC based actor, writer & comedic genius. BFA in Theatre performance & creative writing. Alice is a self described nurturer of the creative process & strives to do so with joy, positivity, & possibility. Selected stage credits include Songs for a New World (The Mint Theatre), The Cherry Orchard (Berkshire Theatre), The Who's Tommy (Berkshire Theatre), & Dead Legends Live (SF Entertainment). Currently, Alice is a part of Fresh Ground Pepper's Accountability Lab (PALs Program). She is also an Artist in Residence with First Kiss Theatre Company where she is developing new plays, sketches & digital shorts. Check her out on instagram @alice.nora or her website. www.alicenora.com
Nina Celedonio is thrilled to be a part of this reading. She attended AMDA in New York and upon graduating she has worked in various stage shows, short films, and showcases. After months of not working due to Covid, she’s excited to be performing once again. She’s thankful for the opportunity to work with this cast and bring a new original piece to life.
Announcer 1/Pirate Captain/Frog/DJ
Gaspare Grippi lives in Queens with his little cat, Azuki Hime (Princess Beans). He first appeared on stage as a founding member of Off Pitt Street Theatre company as Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. He is best known for playing Kia in The Polar Express and his performance in his first film role in Here Not Here. Gaspare also enjoys weight training and running. Gaspare would like to thank his mom, dad, brother Vito, and his sister Maria for their love and support. Gaspare dedicates his performances this season to the memory of his late grandfather, Gaspare Triolo, the most hardworking and exemplary role model as a loving family member and friend alike.
Maggie Marie Rodgers
Maggie Marie Rodgers is an NYC-based actor and songwriter. Earning a BFA in theater and a minor in arts management from George Mason University, Maggie discovered a passion for new works while studying at the O’Neill Theater Center. Selected on-stage performance credits include Noises Off! (U/S, Walnut St. Theatre), The Club (Berkshire Theatre Group), and Small Town Icons (PEA Fest at The Tank). Additionally, she has been in many commercials and short films. Currently, Maggie is a part of Fresh Ground Pepper 's Accountability Lab, where she is focused on finalizing the music for “this old haunt” a new musical developed by SMJ, Rebecca Wahls, Annabelle Lee Revak, and herself. The musical will first be workshopped at Fort Salem Theatre and then will have its academic premiere at Carnegie Mellon University this fall. For more info, visit www.maggiemarierodgers.com
Emmy Kuperschmid is an NYC-based actor and writer on a mission to make people feel less alone. Selected stage credits include Dave Malloy's Beardo (Pipeline Theatre Company–Drama Desk Nomination), How To Make A Woman’s Advocate (YPF @ the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center), The Polar Express (Warner Bros), As You Like It (Rogue Players), and Kerrigan & Lowdermilk's Mad Ones Lab. As a writer, Emmy is currently an Artist in Residence with First Kiss Theater, part of Skeleton Rep's Craft Development Program, and has previously developed work with Fresh Ground Pepper. Next up: acting in the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's YPF in May; developing plays about magical girls, romanticized fantasies, trauma, and puppets; and a TOP SECRET PROJECT TBA. You can find her on Instagram @emmykupe or on her website, EmmyKuperschmid.com.
Jacqueline Keeley is a New York based actress from Los Angeles. After finishing her BA in Theater from Occidental College, she spent 2 years earning an AA in ASL Interpreting at College of the Canyons. She enjoys performing both in film and on stage, and as the pandemic subsides she is looking forward to getting back to work in the films, concerts, and shows that were put on hold! Awards include Best Actress at the Sparrow Film Project, and favorite roles include Gloria in Boeing Boeing, Grace in Annie, and Diana in I Love You Because.
Christian is thrilled to take a trip back to middle school to be a part of this incredibly fun show! Previous stage credits: Little Shop of Horrors (Seymour), Into the Woods (Jack), The Producers (Carmen Ghia), Hello, Dolly! (Barnaby Tucker), and Polar Express (Know-it-All). He thanks his parents, Annie, Ryan, and Coco for their love and continued support. Website: www.christiancieri.com Instagram: @ccieri46
Ms. Wilson/Taylor/Officer 1/Alex
Courtney Mentzel is an actor, puppeteer, producer, and avid collaborator currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Some of her recent projects include the short film, Call Me Grizby, the podcast, Stella Maris, An Entertainment, and Warners Brother's production of The Polar Express in Whippany, NJ. She earned her M.F.A. in Acting from Brooklyn College and her B.F.A. in Acting/Psychology from Hardin-Simmons University. www.courtneymentzel.com
Catherine Addison is a NYC based Actor and Singer. She is a 2018 graduate of Samford University, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre. Upon graduation, Catherine participated in the Disney College Program where she was a Character Performer. Since then she has performed across the country touring a Theatre for Young Audiences show and performing in a regional contract in Chelan, Washington. Catherine moved to New York City in September of 2019 and since then has been involved in productions such as Peter and the Starcatcher and The Polar Express. Catherine is thrilled to participate in Middle School Play with all of her besties. catherineaddison.com Insta: @yagurlca
Sam Laraia is excited to be a part of A Middle School Play. He has appeared in productions in college, such as Beauty and the Beast (Beast), Legally Blonde(Lowell/Dewey), Company (Larry), Avenue Q (Brian) and A Little Night Music (Carl-Magnus). He also has appeared in regional productions of The Polar Express and Zusman. He would like to thank his fellow cast members and especially Alice and Emmy for making the show a pleasure to be a part of. He would also like to thank Jordan for supporting him throughout the rehearsal process. https://www.samlaraia.com/
Abraham Lincoln/Officer 2/Custodian Phillips
Max Berry is a playwright and screenwriter based in New York City. His plays have been featured in multiple theaters around the city including the Hudson Guild Theatre, the Players Theater, and the Manhattan Repertory Theater. Max is a proud resident artist with First Kiss Theatre Company for which he produced his interactive Zoom play “Same Time Next Year.” He also serves on the First Kiss admin team as the Director of Development and Creative Producer. Max is the creator and co-writer of the comedy webseries, “Hey, Professor!” that premiered on YouTube in the summer of 2021 and was an official selection for NYCWebfest 2021. Other pursuits include his work as a contributing writer of Encore Monthly Theatre Magazine, pole dancing, and teaching chess to 3-8 year olds. For more information go to maxberryplaywright.com
Orlando Davis recently returned to the East Coast from LA. There, he was AD for a graduate production of USC's The Brothers Size and is excited to be returning himself to the stage! He and his two pandemic cats hope you enjoy this return to the golden middle school days! He received his Acting BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2018. Follow on social media and come say hey so he can follow back! IG: sea_orlanddoe
Caitlin Rae Diekhoff
Caitlin Rae Diekhoff is a NYC based actor. Favorite credits include Little Women (BCT), The Polar Express (Warner Bros), and Beauty and the Beast (BCT). She has been fortunate to have worked on numerous workshops and readings of new works, and she is thrilled to be a part of this one! In addition to acting, she is also a singer/songwriter- check out her Soundcloud for her latest releases! www.caitlinraediekhoff.com
Bus Driver/Mr. Peters/Mr. Inkleman/Avis/Dad/Mr. Grabowski
Dustin Pazar is thrilled to finally be able to help get Middle School Play on stage! He was most recently seen playing Rosencrantz in Hamlet, First Son in Computer Time, Adolph in Creditors, all at the American Theater of Actors, and Orlando in The Rogue Players’ production of As You Like It. Favorite past roles include Henry IV (Henry IV Part One), Caliban (The Tempest), Simon Stride/Spider (Jekyll and Hyde), Tommy Albright (Brigadoon), and John Merrick (The Elephant Man). Alumnus of Boston College (Theatre BA). Thanks to his family, friends, and beautiful fiancée.
Paul Byron Jackson
Paul is very excited to be a part of A Middle School Play by Alice Nora. You can currently see him as “The Mad Hatter” In The Alice Cocktail Experience in NYC. Paul studied Theatre Performance at William Esper Studio, where he graduated from the full time program. For fun, Paul loves to stream on Twitch and bridge the gap between technology, social media, and story-telling. You can find him on all social media @PaulBJackson. He would like to thank Alice and Emmy, for the wonderful opportunity to play the absolute character that is “Officer Friendly'', as well as his friends and family for all the love and support. He hopes you enjoy the show!
Marth Brown is excited to be back in New York City working on theater after a couple months creating content through photography in Boston. She strives to live a creative life while inspiring others through the arts and would like to thank everyone for the support and love. Some of her recent credits include Little House on the Prairie as Laura (ArtsPower On Demand) and Blood on My Mothers Apron as Polly Dyer (Theater Row).