Drew Weinstein for #RoccoChelseaAdriana

Drew is a New York based multi-disciplinary theatre and sound artist. He creates original works which have been presented at venues including HERE Arts Center, JACK, the Brick, the Hive, the Jersey City Theatre Center, and LEIMAY’s SOAK. As a composer and designer, Drew’s work has been heard at the Public Theatre’s Under the Radar Festival, Abrons Arts Center, the Performing Garage, Anacostia Arts Center (Washington DC), the Producers Club, HERE Arts Center, Triskelion Arts, and Cider Mill Playhouse, among others.

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Emily Jackson for #roccochelseaadriana

Emily Jackson Graduated with a BFA in Acting from CalArts.  Credits include DOWN CLEGHORN (Ensemble Studio Theater), GRUESOME PLAYGROUND INJURIES (Arc Stages) MEDEA (Royce Hall / UCLA Live), WAITING FOR LEFTY (Harold Clurman Laboratory Theater), HEDDA GABLER (Source Material) TV: Fringe, Shades of Blue, I House of Cards, God Friended ME, FILM: Incarnate (Universal), The award winning indie LIVING WITH THE DEAD, among others.  This one's for Dad.

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Chuk Obasi for #roccochelseaadriana

Chuk Obasi currently serves as a Managing Member of The Private Theatre.  He is also a Movement Teacher at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting and Adjunct Professor of Musical Theatre at Drew University.  Recent works: The Neighbors at the Italian Theatre Festival (Director); One-man play The Actual Dance at the United Solo Festival (performer); Music concert A Drink with Death (Lyricist) at Feinstein’s/54 Below;  Critically acclaimed play Uniform Justice (Playwright/ Director) at the NY International Fringe Festival; Award-winning Feature films “The Depths” and “79 Parts” (Actor).  Music from his new opera in development, Moonshine in B Minor (co-librettist) will be featured in performance at The Public Theatre in February 2019.

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When you think of yourself, what nationality do you most identify with and why is that?

I'm American.  I was born here, spent my entire life here thus far, have been shaped here, and ultimately embrace this country in the complexity of all its deep flaws and great triumphs.  At the same time I feel very connected to my Nigerian ethnicity as the son of two Nigerian immigrants. So I just as strongly identify with the term Nigerian American. You will find me using either identifier interchangeably, often pertaining to the context.


How is that identity affirmed or challenged by living in America today?

It is affirmed simply in that it is fact.  And Truth.

What is your hoped-for future for America? (or, What is your American Dream?)

I hope for a culture shift that truly encompasses love.  Like, in our actions and intentions. Love, as I see it, creates hopeful possibilities within messy piles.   So yes, it can still be messy, but if possibility over positions were the norm, just imagine how different this country would be.

What is a challenge you are currently facing (in terms of being an American, or within the context of your American identity)?

It is a challenge to live in a country that's so immersed in racism that it is just normal, if not hard to notice by many Americans.  It is also a challenge to exist here knowing that this country's history of oppression of its original inhabitants - Native Americans - has not been rectified.  I believe all Americans are complicit in that injustice, and I would like to be part of an America that figures out (or at least tries to figure out) what reconciliation, equity, and again, love, looks like.

How do you want to see yourself?

I want to see myself as someone who can find the good in anyone.  Someone who clearly has purpose here. Someone who can create art that is of value.  Someone my sons are immensely proud of at the end of the day.


Chuck Montgomery for #Roccochelseaadriana

Chuck Montgomery-Last worked with John Gould Rubin in a production of “ Mother Courage And Her Children” at the Harold Clurman Theater at The Stella Adler Studios. He has been a fixture in Downtown Theater since the 90’s appearing with Target Margin Theater, The Arden Party and as a member of the legendary Cucaracha Theater. He can be seen in the films Stepmom and Mona Lisa Smile and has worked extensively with filmmaker Hal Hartley appearing in his films Amateur, Henry Fool, and Fay Grim. TV credits-“High Maintenance”, “Orange is The New Black”, “Alpha House” as well as all the “Law & Order”s. Many VOs-commercials, narrations, audio books.

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Talya Mar for #roccochelseaadriana

Talya Mar grew up bicultural and bilingual in Bloomington, Indiana. She works both on stage and screen, and regularly develops her own work. She previously worked with The Private Theatre on Playing With Fire, and over the past year has been working with TEA Creative on two upcoming projects. // www.talyamar.com

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When you think of yourself, what nationality do you most identify with and why is that?

I am American, but I am a new American. I giggled over my father being a green alien as a kid, and always knew that my mother did not speak her parents’ first language. But all of this is part of being American, my American.

How is that identity affirmed or challenged by living in America today?

With an increasingly nationalistic dialogue, it often feels uncomfortable to claim an American identity. The nationalistic claims to a country that was colonized feels antithetical to the only America that I can embrace.


What is your hoped-for future for America? (or, What is your American Dream?)

The dreams I have feel unrealistic. They are the dreams of a new structure of power. Of a power that listens, a power that moves in response. Of a power that knows it is dependent on our planet. Of a power that does not silence, and does not build upon the back of suffering.


What is the most important thing to you personally about being an American?

I do not place very much importance on being American. I cannot deny it has shaped me, and will continue to shape me. But more so, I have been shaped by always existing between worlds. I want an America that makes room for the in-between places.

What do you struggle with in the context of your American identity?

I struggle with the ideal of “American,” I struggle with the conflicting ideas that I am both not American enough, and yet, have all the privileges of a white American upbringing.

What is a challenge you are currently facing (in terms of being an American, or within the context of your American identity)?

I am feeling challenged by the privilege of my citizenship, while also not holding that citizenry in high regard, because I often feel powerless as a citizen.

How do you want to see yourself?

I want to see myself as empowered, generous, and open. I want to be willing to have my mind changed, and also willing to give myself over to things I believe in. I want to be kind in the struggle, and gentle in my strength.

Melissa Mickens for #roccochelseaadriana

MELISSA MICKENS is a multi-disciplinary artist, producer and teacher based in Harlem. A proud member of ACTOR'S EQUITY, Melissa has appeared in productions at the Brick, JACK Arts, ARS Nova ANT Fest, Downtown Urban Theatre Festival, Fire This Time Festival, Planet Connections Fest, National Black Theatre, The Lark, Williamstown Theatre Festival and the Hangar Theatre. A NYU Tisch graduate, Melissa is a teaching artist with the Stella Adler Youth and Teen Summer Conservatory Programs where she specializes in Shakespeare scene study. Melissa is also the award-winning creator and producer of, SHAMPAGNE, now in its second season. IG: @rocksolidmel

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Kaelyn Ambert-Gonzalez for #roccochelseaadriana

Kaelyn Ambert-Gonzalez is a graduate of the BFA Acting Conservatory at Purchase College. Recent credits include the film Angelfish (Peter Lee) and INTAR’s Unit 52.

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What is the most important thing to you personally about being an American?

From an early age my family constantly reminded me of all of the opportunities we as Americans have that others do not throughout the rest of the world. In the current political and social climate of our country, it’s very easy for me to focus on the negative and forget the freedoms I do have to chase those opportunities, but I must try to remind myself to give thanks for the freedoms I do have.

 What most excites you about America or being an American?

 Opportunity

 What is a challenge you are currently facing (in terms of being an American, or within the context of your American identity)?

I don’t know what box to put myself in so people can understand what I am. I shouldn’t have to.

 How do you want to see yourself?

 As my most honest and present self.

Scott McCord for #roccochelseaadriana

Scott McCord is an award-winning actor, voice actor and musician. Recent theatre credits include: CAPTURE, BOUND ESCAPE (Collective NY), THE HEAD HUNTER (One Shot Deal) for which he won Best Supporting Actor (Planet Connections Festivity 2018), and THE FINAL REEL (Parallel Exit). Selected TV credits include: THE DEUCE, CARTER, LOST GIRL, ROOKIE BLUE, HEMLOCK GROVE and the films SHOOT ‘EM UP and 16 BLOCKS. As Voice Actor: PAW PATROL, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA the Series, TOTAL DRAMA ISLAND, INSPECTOR GADGET, JUSTIN TIME (Canada Screens Award, Best Performance in an Animated Series) and THE NUT JOB. Scott has been a featured animation guest at Armageddon Expo in Australia and New Zealand. He is a lifetime member of The Actors Studio.

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