I've always been fascinated by communication... how people communicate (or don't). And in a world where it's never been so easy to communicate--whether through texts, emails, phone, video, letters, etc--no one seems to be talking. In February of 2017, I assembled three other writers--Matt Clemons, Keith Manning and Suzanne Cerreta--to explore this issue and to collaborate on a theatrical piece. Four writers, four vignettes--linked together by a common theme-- and culminating in a final scene with all the plot lines converging. And thus, the "blackout play" was born. Set in a small town in the Midwest during a blackout, it was an absolute labor of love to develop our story. There were stops and starts along the way, but through the process, we all grew as individuals and as a group. Two and a half plus years later, I am so proud of the very first reading of our play. Look out for "That One Night In Riverside". It's DEFINITELY coming your way!
Best motley crew ever! So grateful to my fellow writers and these wonderful actors for lending their talents to our piece. Special thanks to our fearless leader in the gold jacket, Ms. Tessa Faye!
Me and the actors (Sam Strasfeld, Ricky DeRosa and Elya Yerulshamy) who brought my story to life!
Me and my writing partners-in-crime! (From left to right, Matt Clemons, Suzanne Cerreta, me, Keith Manning)
My awesome coach, Tessa Faye, with my cast!
I am excited to be headed to Washington D.C. to reprise my roles (Marmee/Aunt March/Abigail Alcott) in "meg, jo, amy, beth & louisa", as part of the Capital Fringe Festival. I am equally excited to be doing some singing and dancing in the show. (I am a "sometimes" singer, after all!) The play runs July 16th-24th at the Honey Venue - Christ United Methodist Church and tickets can be purchased here.
What do you do when you get a bunch of Italians together? No, the answer isn't to cook pasta. (Truth be told, we did eat pizza and pasta salad during our lunch break, however.) When you're an actor, you record a radio play about an Italian mobster! Matthew Falber created a wonderful story about the notorious mobster Joseph Gallo, who was murdered at Umberto's Clam House on his birthday no less... talk about the worst birthday ever! I play Joseph's sister, Carmella, who is devastated when her "Joey" gets shot. Check out "The Death of Joe Gallo" on YouTube on the City Boy Channel.
Technology can be your best friend... or your worst enemy. Welcome to "Steve's Laptop," where it is clearly a case of the latter. When an acting student borrows a laptop from his classmate to use in a scene, chaos soon ensues. I play the teacher who instead of trying to control the situation, tells my student to go even further. As John Patrick Shanley once said, "Theatre is the safe place to do the unsafe things that need to be done." Oh, that poor laptop!
I am proud to announce I am part of an incredibly inventive and original new play, "meg jo beth amy and louisa". Recognize those names? You should. They are the names of the sisters and author of "Little Women". But don't expect an ordinary adaptation. Nothing about this show is going to be ordinary! And I get to play three roles... one of my favorite things to do! The show runs April 24th - May 4th. Stay tuned for more photos and news. Get your tickets here: https://www.centeratwestpark.org/events/meg-jo-beth-amy-louisa
Artwork by Margaret Gorrell
"The Van" is on the road again and you'll have to tune in yourself to see where we all end up. It was so fun to resume the villainous role of "Nova Scotia". Wanna know WHY she's a villain? Check out the show and find out! Listen to all the current episodes on the Whalebus Podcast Channel.
Me and our van leader, Emma Mantoani!
Out of the "van", we are one big happy family!
What if your parents couldn't accept you for who you are or who you love? It was a wonderful acting challenge to play a mother who couldn't accept her own daughter... even in death. I am truly grateful to Andrea Nappi for creating this very moving story and allowing me to bring the character of Laura to life.
Happy Thanksgiving, all! Nothing helps me overcome a turkey coma better than a good recording session! It was so fun to reunite with the cast of "The Van", and continue the storylines we began over the summer. More episodes are to come! Check out "The Van" on the Whalebus podcast channel! Ummmm, and how AMAZING are the renderings below? In a podcast, you truly CAN be anything... and that includes being a tall-skinny-sexy-cigarette-toting mama. Thank you to Hannah Smart for her brilliant artwork!
Love my podcast family!
What if we lived in a world where machines made all our decisions for us? Welcome to "Eve", a story set in a world where a machine spits out statistics to help guide you in your decision making. I play a mother who is desperately trying to save her daughter, Eve, from being reprogrammed by this all knowing machine. It was super fun to be a part of this very inventive radio play and thank you to Danielle Fuller for allowing me to be a part of it!
What if you only had two hours to make a movie? Well I can tell you... you come ready for action. "Deadline", a new film by Sophie Worscheh, is a poignant story which follows a brother and sister coping with the death of their father and the deadline that stands between them. It was a gift to work on such a beautiful script and bring these characters to life. Thank you to Kyle Minshew for being a great "brother" and Sophie Worscheh for her insights as a director.
Kyle Minshew and our director, Sophie Worscheh
After all the doctor visits I've had over the years, it was great to finally put that experience to work in this commercial. I loved playing a heart patient. For what medication, I cannot say, but it was a great shoot and everyone involved was wonderful. I'm looking forward to seeing the finished product!
Our fearless leader aka the director.
I'm clearly in "hurry up and wait" mode.
We have the perfect doctor-patient
September may make some of us think of back to school sales, but for me, it means VACATION time. And what better time than a vacation to self-produce your own travel show, with your very own mother as your costar? It was a blast making "The Jewoppy and the Jew", a 16 episode compilation of a Jewish mother and her Jewish-Italian daughter cruising through the Mediterranean. There are videos from all of our destinations as well as photo highlights and of course, bloopers. Check out the video here:
When filming a commercial, being in a beautiful setting is the icing on the cake. It was fun to be back in my old stomping grounds and see how much the financial district has changed. I can't say who the commercial is for, but stay tuned for more updates as to when and where you can check it out!
It's hard to believe there was a time when people gathered around the radio to listen to shows like the "Lone Ranger" or the "Green Lantern". These days we're all busy streaming Netflix or Hulu on our flat screen t.v.'s. But for those of us that want to return to the days of yesteryear, we need only click on the Whale Bus podcast channel to experience good storytelling (with our ears only). And I LOVE it! So imagine my excitement at being offered the opportunity to originate a role in the upcoming new radio drama, "The Van", created by Emma Mantoani. The plot is top secret, but I guess I can tell you it involves a van. I had a blast recording the first four episodes with some super talented actors. Look out for it this fall!
My dad's first language was Italian. So when the chance came to play the matriarch of a big Italian family in a film produced by a female-led team, I lept at the opportunity! In "Naan Conforming", when my daughter tells me she wants to bring her girlfriend home to meet me, I do what any good Italian mama would do... I invite the whole family over for some delicious lasagna! (And much hilarity ensues.) I loved working with such a fabulous ensemble of actors, who had a great time creating a genuine family dinner and after dinner fight. And having my beloved shih tzu Boogie make a cameo in the film was just the icing on the cake. Thank you to writer/director Meredith Yannuzzi, whose generosity allowed the cast the freedom to play and explore their characters. Thank you also to the entire crew for their hard work, talent and infinite patience! And yes, we ate the lasagna and it truly was delish!
Our fearless leader (and my fictional daughter)!
Boogie got his shot in one take. What a natural!
Something tells me my daughter's girlfriend doesn't like meat.
The cast and crew, who quickly became a family.
Me and my brother Giorgio are proud of our family's secret recipe for lasagna.
There's something about the clapperboard that makes me happy!
From Italian matriarch to Jewish mother in a matter of days... literally. Lucky for me, my Italian father came with a Jewish mother. And I know from experience that every once in a while, a Jewish mother needs to kick some butt when it comes to her kid, especially when that kid doesn't want to get a job! And hence begins the journey of "East Hills", a summer camp where said Jewish mother has decided her son should work. I had so much fun playing a loving yet sassy Jewish mother who just wants her teenager to do something productive with his summer! Thank you to writer Dustin Nadel for creating such a great role (and being a mensch of a Jewish son) and co-directors Scott Mulligan and Peter Morgan for their creative vision. Oh, and it was super awesome to be a stunt driver who gets to put the pedal to the metal and peel out of the parking lot in my character's SUV!
My Jewish son... at least on film!
Movie magic is real, especially when it entails aging 15 years in a matter of minutes! Working on the feature film "Stronger Than Pretty" meant such a great deal to me, as an actress and a person. A story that speaks out against domestic violence is an incredibly moving thing to be a part of. Meeting some of the real people behind this wonderful film was the icing on the cake to a "magical" day. (And playing a sassy waitress wasn't bad either... kind of like real life!)
Shirley temples anyone?
Truly blessed to have worked with this man - the very talented Jaret Martino.
I'm thrilled to announce I've been cast in the feature film, "Stronger Than Pretty." The film made the rounds as a short in last year's festival circuit and was a standout in the Indie Lounge at Sundance. Thanks to all the buzz, the film is being made into a feature and I'm honored to be a part of it! The film speaks out against domestic violence and is partnered with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Speaking of which, fundraising is underway and you can make your tax deductible donation by clicking here
Ever play dead? I did, in the film aptly titled "How To Bring Your Mother Back From The Dead". It was literally a how-to instruction guide to bringing your mother back to life. It's the closest I've gotten to being a zombie and I had loads of fun! Thank you to Emma Mantoani for giving me the chance to be ghoulish.
No mother ever wants to be a receiver of care from their own child. But that's exactly what happens in the film, "Opia", where I play a character so devastated by loss that she needs her daughter's emotional support to keep going. I am grateful to Giulia Aguiar for allowing me to portray this role in a very poignant film.
Are you a "midnight toker"? Neither am I, but I kinda played one in a marketing video for a medical cannabis vaporizer. It's a super cool device that enables patients suffering from cancer and other illnesses to control their dosage with the help of an app on their smartphone. I was super proud to be part of something that will bring comfort to people in need. Thank you to Chipotle Films for making me a part of this important project.
Isn't there an expression about going south for the winter? Well I did. I escaped the brutal cold of NYC to work with the wonderful City Theatre of Miami. They produce short plays and have done so for over 20 years. What would've happened if the Wicked Witch of the East didn't die when the house fell on her in the "Wizard of Oz"? What if the Virgin Mary had an overprotective Jewish mother who made a kickass brisket? These are just a couple of the fun storylines the cast got to bring to life (I played the Wicked Witch and the overprotective Jewish mother in case you were wondering.) I was privileged to work with such amazingly talented actors and directors. We became a family, and I will always treasure the time we spent together.
Art has a way of connecting people who on the surface don't have anything in common. Enter the film "Tableaux", whose story unfolds through a series of vignettes surrounding one painting in an art museum and how it effects the people looking at it. I play Maria, a woman who is more interested in the painting than the man she came to see it with! Thanks to Wyatt D'Emilia and the whole cast and crew for a really amazing experience. I particularly loved being on set when the director called, "It's a wrap!"
Social media is a blessing and a curse, and should certainly never be used to write your school papers! Thanks to Max Novick for letting me do the voiceover for his spec commercial for Pro Publica, where honesty is always the best policy.
In my movie, I'd be a badass mom who comes to save her daughter from would-be bank robbers. In the film the "Score", however, I played an everyday mom who just wants to borrow some milk from her neighbors (aka the would-be bank robbers). Acting is full of never-did-that-in-real-life moments, and lucky for me, a door opening to a gun pointed in my face is one of those moments. Let's keep that experience to the movies! Thanks to director Andrew Grell and the entire cast and crew for allowing me to be part of this darkly funny heist!
Dreaming of being a badass mom. Sigh.
"That's not a hamster in your soup. It's a guinea pig," said no one. EVER. Until now. Art imitated life with my role as a server in the film "Guinea Pig". It was awesome playing a jaded waiter who is just hoping to get through her shift with as few problems as possible. Too bad a potentially poisoned guinea pig in her customer's soup is ruining things for her!
It was a true joy working with director/writer Tim Mojica on his film, "The Egg", where a man is caught between death... and whatever comes next. I played the wife, who got to spend a wonderful day in the park with my children before telling them what happened to their dad. Gulp. Thank you to the cast and crew for a great day!
I love supporting fellow writers... especially when the writer is also my friend. It filled me with great pride to be part of the reading of Roschaad Milner's first play, "On The Ropes", about an ex-boxer and all the skeletons coming out of his closet upon the release of his son from jail. I played the wife, and it's an amazing role, full of heart and passion. I can't wait to see where this play goes next, and hope I can continue to be a part of it!
I had the unique and unusual opportunity to play a Christian mom who is devastated upon discovering her daughter makes porn movies and her son "watches" them. You know, just your average American family! Tears were shed, but they were all for the love of the art. Thanks to Director/Writer Luis Hernandez as well as the cast and crew for being so awesome and fun to work with!
I feel grateful to have been part of a very special short film, "Trichotillomania", written and directed by NYU student Maeve Peebles. And I was happy to discover my surrogate child for the day, Siena Corrigan, hails from Bergen County, NJ... just like me!
I had the honor of playing the role of Judith in "Jamaica, or The Bastards of Montego Bay" by Jeffrey James Keyes as part of The Playwriting Collective's Reading series. Once again, I played a Midwestern woman, and it was truly moving to be involved with such a thought provoking piece.
I was fortunate to be part of an exciting new pilot about the Biotech industry, written and directed by Misha Calvert. That's me playing Gloria, the COO of the company! And there I am again, in a candid with the lovely Misha. It was a great day full of great people. Thank goodness the AC worked because it was a scorcher outside!
I just completed an incredible On-Camera Intensive taught by the brilliantly talented Amy Gossels of Amy Gossels Casting.
Here I am with my classmates. It was truly a supportive and encouraging environment, where everyone grew with each and every class. I gained invaluable knowledge about the industry as well as enlightening insights to enhance my on-camera presence. As you can see, we became one big happy family! Heartfelt thanks to Amy for her sharp eye and kind heart!
I had a blast playing a sassy Soccer mom named Charla in Matt Clemons' "Farce This!", made up of two one acts, "I Heart Soccer Moms" and "I Hate You People" at the Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. The entire cast had a ball with the audience and one another. Here are some fun shots of all of us!
I am excited to be part of the very talented Matt Clemons' one-act, I Soccer Moms, part of Farce This! (Yes, I am playing a Soccer mom.) Come on down and have a fun evening of risqué entertainment. Tickets can be found here:
I am thrilled to be participating in Line Break #7 on Saturday, May 6th, where I will be reading from my blog the Jewoppy! Line Break is the eclectic monthly live literary magazine where poetry meets prose, fact meets fiction, and high-brow meets low-brow, at fabulous Q.E.D. in Astoria, Queens! Come on down and listen, laugh and have a drink. Check me out here: http://www.linebreakseries.com/2017/05/meet-our-readers-dina-laura.html
On April 30th, I hosted a night of original monologues at the Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre as part of the MCS Writers Collective. The theme of the monologues was nightmares and the line, "What a wicked place to find myself" had to be incorporated into each piece. 16 writers and 16 actors participated and the diversity of the monologues made for a very entertaining evening. My monologue was about a kleptomaniac who wound up in Room 140 aka Macy's Jail (yes it's a real thing)!
Lindsay Nolin, performing my monologue, "All I Want For Christmas".
The whole crew from monologue night, after the show. We had so much fun and I'm grateful to be associated with so many wonderful artists, who are creating original work!
After making some revisions to my play, "Elephants & Other Worldly Dilemmas", I held an invited reading at my acting studio, Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. It was amazing seeing my play come to life with new actors including Ted Wold, Elya Yerushalmy as Martha, Costa Nicholas as Seth, Rico Rosetti as Fred, Joe Thanner as Sal and yours truly as Crystal. It was an incredible day. A trailer for the show is coming soon!
Pictured here: Elya Yerushalmy as Martha, Costa Nicholas as Seth & Rico Rosetti as Fred.
I'm proud to be a part of a new play, "From Silence", by Anne Marilyn Lucas, directed by Peter Zachari and starring Karen Lynn Gorney (yes that's the star of "Saturday Night Fever"!), which will be premiering at Theater for the New City on November 4th. I'll be playing two roles, and one of them has a German accent so get ready folks!! More information can be found here: http://theaterforthenewcity.net/fromsilence.html
I'm honored to run the MCS Writers Collective at the Matthew Corozine Studio Theatre. Our mission is to foster a group of emerging writers who are committed to creating and developing original works geared toward live performance. On October 30th, I hosted a 24 hour play marathon for 10 writers and 20 actors in which 10 original scenes were written, rehearsed and performed in a span of 24 hours. Participants had to use a blonde wig and the line "She is such a nasty woman" in their scenes. It was a blast and a good time was had by all!