GREAT DAMES Troupe
our revolving company
of talented, professional NY character actors.
Francesca Rizzo is an award-winning actor, writer and director working in theater, film, television, new and trans-media. A NJSCA Distinguished Artist Fellow, she has acted two solo plays, Dames Like Her and The Cherry Sisters: True Stories From the Kitchen Table and her early NYC theatrical work includes Savage in Limbo, Coitus Hate-us,18K (w/Chris Noth), Steel on Steel (w/John Turturro) and White Gloves (w/Allison Janney). She enjoyed a long voice-over & on-camera commercial career and has had guest roles on TV’s Law & Order, Law & Order:SVU, FEDS, Tribeca Stories and starred in Nick At Nite ‘s award-winning satire, How to Be Donna Reed. Her performance in her indie film, Sullivan’s Last Call is taught in the Boston College film program.
Maureen Shannon is a lifetime member of New York's prestigious Actors Studio as well as its Playwright/Directors Workshop where she develops some of her pieces. Her most recent play, a magical musical, The Big Not Knowing, was first introduced in the New Works Series at Emerging Artists Theatre (Think ... inside a world, inside a dream, inside a theater.) She first met Francesca Rizzo as a member of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward’s theater company, Red Earth, when the two acted with Allison Janney in a production of White Gloves & Party Manners. Her recent film work includes roles Rose, the maid in Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus with Nicole Kidman, Maeve in Angelica Page’s Lucky Days, and Mrs. Gardner in Soldier’s Heart.
Andrea Weston is a television, film and theatre actress who also hosts her own Sunday afternoon online poetry show, Liquid Libations Radio, celebrating the spoken word, artists, poets and those who love the beauty and power from the four corners of the world. Aside from doing over 20 commercials and voice-overs, her TV series work includes stints on Blue Bloods, The Onion News Network and Canterbury’s Law as well as multiple roles on Law & Order:SVU, All My Children and Flight of the Conchords. In the independent film arena, her recent work includes the comedy, Good Sharma and the romantic drama, Absolute Calm and theatrically, appearing in Hotdogs, part of the Theatre of Dissent at The Midtown International Theatre Festival.
Mary Elaine Monti has built a diverse acting career in film, theatre and television: from Macbeth at Lincoln Center, plays at The Public Theater, The Manhattan Theatre Club and Ensemble Studio Theatre to guest roles on Law & Order, Law & Order:SVU and The Mysteries of Laura. To selling Lysol on TV. Meisner trained, she began her career with the improvisational comedy troupe The Ace Trucking Company appearing on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Her voice has been heard on a host of commercials, audio books (Wolfie The Bunny, her favorite) and animation. Recently she’s appeared in the independent films Aunt Louisa, Wolves of Wall Street and the soon to be released 306 Hollywood.
Deirdre Brennan is an actor, writer and dancer who also teaches Hustle, Latin & Ballroom dancing. NY Theatre includes: Maud in "Not Now Darling"; She in "Weekend With A Killer" (Abingdon) and Queen Margaret in "The Shakespeare Brunch" (ACC Theatre). She's Billy Baldwin's detective partner Kelly Smith in the upcoming film "Blowtorch", Peggy Upton in the PBS drama, "FS Key: After The Song", both releasing this year, and has roles in the award-winning indies Dead Men Working, 23 Blast, Brooklyn Breach, Five Valid Reasons, Forgetting Aphrodite (short), Between Love and Goodbye and A Four Letter Word. A NY Screenplay Contest finalist, her latest work is “33 Minutes”, a play about Kitty Genovese.
Ivy Austin appeared on Broadway in Raggedy Ann and Blame it On the Movies, with New York City Opera in Candide, Sweeney Todd, South Pacific, Naughty Marietta, and The Music Man, and for four years was the featured comedienne and "girl singer” on “A Prairie Home Companion.” For a decade, she wrote for and performed with The Thalia Follies satirical revue, but achieved immortality as the Muppet voices of Cereal Girl, Hammy Swinette, and Sooey, lead singer of the Oinker Sisters, on Sesame Street. Ivy produced over twenty concert series for the World Financial Center, and currently creates Broadway events for Sunnyspot Productions. Tune in to hear Ivy on The Hickory Bench Playhouse podcast, and catch her on-stage in In Your Face New York at Symphony Space this April. For more, visit www.ivyaustin.com
Ardes Quinn is an actor working in New York theater and film with a varied background in modern dance and puppet theater. She has danced with the Erick Hawkins Company and in the Equus Project’s OnSite NYC series and was a member of the Bread and Puppet Theatre performing in both Vermont and Manhattan. Theatrically, she’s played Arkadina in The Seagull at TSI and has worked extensively with 13th St Repertory, 4th Unity Company and The Deena Levi Theatre Studio performing a series of new plays at The Producer’s Club. Media-wise, she’s appeared on the popular web series, The Louisa Log, and had roles in the films Still Alice, Tango Volta, View Over River Avenue and the upcoming mockumentary, Ron and Laura Take Back America.
Click on their images or scroll down to read their bios!
Janis Dardaris is an actor with over 47 years experience on stage, in film and television. She's played everything from Lady Bracknell to Lady in "Orpheus Descending." Most recently she was in a critically acclaimed production of Eugene O'Neill's "Mourning Becomes Electra." Her most recent film and television credits include the first episode of the second season of "Power” and in the as yet unreleased and untitled "Colin Warner Project.” She's done guest roles on Law and Order for several seasons was recently seen in "The Good Wife," and in the short lived "Eyecandy." This fall she will begin rehearsals for the role of Mother Courage for Philadelphia's Quintessence Classical Theatre. It's a pleasure to work with the incomparable Francesca Rizzo again and these wonderful gals.
Denise Du'Maine Actor/Singer/Dancer/Dance Educator. NYC credits includes: Angel Allen in “Blues For An Alabama Sky” at Black Spectrum Theatre (Bette Howard, dir.); The Curse in “Darker Face of The Earth” at Juilliard-NBT (Trazana Beverly, dir.); Grace Stepney in “Edith Wharton's New York” at PULSE (Alexa Kelley, dir.); Yvonne in “Coming Apart Together” at NPT (Reggie Life, dir.); Lena Horne in “Swee' Pea & The Duke” at Frank Silvera's Writers Workshop (Randy Frazier, dir.); Dorothy in “The Wiz” at Lyceum, Arrow Rock, MO (Michael Bollinger, dir.). FILM/TV include: “Law & Order”, “Oz”, “Ugly Betty”, “Poi”, “Feed The Beast” (current). Domestic & Int'l Vocal work; Paul Robi's World Famous PLATTERS, WISDOM (Reggae CD:Word to the Wise), RAPHAEL, Madrid, Spain. Dance & Teaching upon request.