Griffin Brings in New Ensemble Members and Artistic Associates

Griffin Brings in New Ensemble Members and Artistic Associates

(top, l to r) Isa Arciniegas, Larry Baldacci, Peter Byrne, Jermaine Hill and Nicole Laurenzi, (bottom, l to r) Ryan McBride, Rochelle Therrien, Jason VonRohn and Scott Weinstein.

Griffin Theatre Company Artistic Director William Massolia today announced the addition of nine new ensemble members: Isa Arciniegas, Larry Baldacci, Peter Byrne, Jermaine Hill, Nicole Laurenzi, Ryan McBride, Rochelle Therrien, Jason VonRohn and Scott Weinstein. Additionally, the company has added six new artistic associates: Will Kiley, Dorothy Milne, Mechelle Moe, Alexander Ridgers, Rachel Sypniewski and Brandon Wardell.

“I am thrilled to welcome this next generation of incredibly talented Griffin ensemble members to the company,” said Massolia. “I look forward to working with them to build and create the Griffin’s future.”

Griffin Theatre Company’s full ensemble is now double in size: Isa Arciniegas, Larry Baldacci, Jonathan Berry, Peter Byrne, Joey deBettencourt, Vanessa Greenway, Jermaine Hill, Kevin Kingston, Nicole Laurenzi, Morgan Maher, Ryan McBride, Ellie Reed, Joe Schermoly, Lyndra Shadrake, Rochelle Therrien, Jason VonRohn, Scott Weinstein and Robin Witt.

Provided biographies of the new ensemble members follow.

Isa Arciniegas is an actor and drummer originally from Caracas, Venezuela and is proud to call Chicago her artistic home. Theatre credits include Such Things as Vampires (People’s Light Theatre in Philadelphia, PA), Buried Child (Writers Theatre), The Wolves (Goodman Theatre), Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater), We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theatre Company), good friday (Oracle Productions, Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble), You On The Moors Now and American Idiot (The Hypocrites), Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista), Adventures With Aladdin (Lookingglass Theatre Company with Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Stinky Cheese Man and Letters Home (Griffin Theatre National Tour). She received her BFA in acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and is represented by Gray Talent.

Larry Baldacci has been seen on Griffin Theatre stages four times: in Company, Spring Awakening, Winterset and most recently Ragtime (winner of the non-Equity Jeff for Best Musical and the coveted Best Ensemble award). In his early career, he was a member of the Absolute Theatre Company Ensemble (where he was nominated for a non-Equity Jeff for his performance in The Assignment) and acted with City Lit Theatre, Commons Theatre and The Body Politic. His work in the last several years has been with Steppenwolf for Young Adults (The Crucible); TimeLine Theatre (highlights including the world premiere, non-Equity Jeff Award winning Hannah and Martin and the Equity Jeff nominated Ensemble of The Farnsworth Invention); Remy Bumppo (Both Your Houses); The Artistic Home (The Seagull); Paramount Theatre (in productions of Oklahoma and West Side Story among others); Silk Road Rising (Pangs of the Messiah); Porchlight Music Theatre (A Catered Affair and Merrily We Roll Along), plus work with Drury Lane Oakbrook, Eclipse Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, Lifeline Theatre and Signal Ensemble. He will be seen this fall in Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of Gypsy. Larry is a proud graduate of Knox College with a BA in Theatre.

Peter Byrne was born and raised in Chicago and is a proud graduate of the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He has been seen in the Griffin’s touring productions ofLetters Home, Frindle and its brand new touring production of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation LIVE. He also appeared in the Griffin’s production of In To America.

Jermaine Hill is thrilled to join the Griffin Theatre Company as an ensemble member. A music director, actor, singer, arranger/orchestrator, pianist and vocal coach originally from New York City, he recently worked with the Griffin Theatre Company as co-music director for their Jeff Award winning production of Ragtime. Recent Chicago credits include: Memphis with Porchlight Music Theatre (Jeff Award and Black Ensemble Alliance Award noms for Best Music Direction), Nell Gwynn and Madagascar (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), The Gefilte Fish Chronicles (Chicago Music Theatre Festival), Godspell and Bonnie and Clyde (Actors Training Center), and music arranging for Barney: The Elf (The Other Theatre Company). Upcoming music directing credits include: The Total Bent (Haven Theatre) and The Music Man (Goodman Theatre). Performance highlights include: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall), the Aldeburgh Festival (U.K.), The Lost Colony (Manteo, N.C.), commercials for the Onion Labs/NBC and Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, the role of Sam (Erasing the Distance) and a guest spot on Chicago Med. He is currently an assistant professor of theatre and music director at Columbia College Chicago. He is a graduate of Ithaca College and the New England Conservatory of Music, and is proudly represented by Gray Talent Group.

Nicole Laurenzi is originally from the East Coast Nicole and has been performing and teaching in Chicago for the past four years. During that time she has had the pleasure of working with Griffin Theatre (Violet, Jeff nomination, Best Performer in a Leading Role, Musical), Kokandy Productions (Little Fish), Victory Gardens Theatre (Fun Home, u/s), Chicago Children’s Theatre (Epic Tale of Scale, upcoming: Frederick), The Marriott Theatre (Cinderella After the Ball u/s), Goodman Theatre (Another Word for Beauty, workshop) and Cabinet of Curiosity Events (The Death and Life of Billy The Kid, upcoming: Table Top Tragedies). A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, she also authors original devised shows with children for Chicago Children’s Theatre’s Summer Adventure Camps and teaches artistic residencies in various public schools throughout the city.

Ryan McBride is originally from Yardley, Pennsylvania. He holds a BFA in Acting from The Chicago College of Performing Arts. After graduating, Ryan spent several months on the National Tour of Evil Dead: The Musical! At Griffin, he has worked on Letters Home and Ghosts of War. Around Chicago, he has performed with Paramount, Chicago Shakespeare, Goodman and Steep Theatre, to name a few. Regionally, he’s worked at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Bucks Country Playhouse. Television credits include The Chi (Showtime), Chicago Med (NBC) and Chicago Justice (NBC). He is represented by Stewart Talent.

Rochelle Therrien is thrilled to be joining Griffin Theatre Company. Griffin Theatre credits include: London Wall and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other Chicago theatre credits include: Linda (Steep Theatre Company), In The Next Room, or The Vibrator Play and The Last Wife (TimeLine Theatre Company), Ah, Wilderness! (Goodman Theatre), Heathers: The Musical (Kokandy Productions), Aspects of Love (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Jeff Award nomination, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical) and Carrie (Bailiwick Chicago). Television credits include Chicago P.D. (NBC) and The Jamz (Netflix). Rochelle is a graduate of Boston University where she earned her BFA in Acting and received additional training from The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA).

Jason VonRohn is eager to begin another season with The Griffin Theatre Company. His experience with the Griffin began in 2014 with a staged reading of War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells and has since included national tours with Letters Home, a winter tour of The Stinky Cheese Man, the world premiere of In To America, as well as a three day drive through the snow, to deliver the Frindle set from Chicago to Seattle. He doubles as a teaching artist for both Letters Home and Ghosts of War, leading workshops and discussions. He received a BFA in Performance from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Scott Weinstein is thrilled to be a company member with Griffin Theatre where he has directed Ragtime (Jeff Award – Best Director, Production, Ensemble), Violet (Jeff Nom – Best Director), Bat Boy (Jeff Nom – Best Director), Titanic (Jeff Nom – Best Director, Production) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Other favorite credits include Rock of Ages (Drury Lane Theatre); Murder For Two (Marriott Theatre); Rent (Theo Ubique, Jeff Award – Best Director, Best Musical); She Kills Monsters (Steppenwolf Theatre Garage Rep); Seussical (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Million Dollar Quartet (Fingerlakes Music Theatre Festival, Phoenix Theatre); Upright Grand (Citadel Theatre) and the world premieres of Baristas (New York International Fringe Festival) and Knights of The Sales Office (Adirondack Theatre Festival). He is a company member with Redtwist Theatre where he has directed Frost/Nixon, Circle Mirror Transformation and The Drawer Boy, among others. Scott is the recipient of a Berkshire Theatre Festival Directing Fellowship and a Stage Directors and Choreographers Observership. He was the Associate and Resident Director for the Broadway National Tour, Las Vegas and Chicago productions of Million Dollar Quartet. He directs the resident production on Norwegian Cruise Lines as well as regional productions across the country. He has developed new work at Pittsburgh CLO, The American Music Theatre Project, The Marriott Theatre, Route 66 Theatre, Porchlight Theatre and others. Proud graduate of Northwestern University and member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.

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