This Bitter Earth – Virtual Program

Harrison David Rivers (Playwright) is a St. Paul based playwright. His plays include THE BANDAGED PLACE (Relentless Award), WHEN LAST WE FLEW (GLAAD Award), SWEET (AUDELCO nom), WHERE STORMS ARE BORN (Berkshire Theatre Award nom), THIS BITTER EARTH (Jeff nom, MN Theatre Award) and the musicals FIVE POINTS with Douglas Lyons and Ethan Pakchar (MN Theatre Award) and BROADBEND, ARKANSAS with Ellen Fitzhugh and Ted Shen (Antonyo and AUDELO noms). Harrison was named a Runner-up for the 2018 Artist of the Year by the Star Tribune and a 2017 Artist of the Year by City Pages. He is the recipient of McKnight, Jerome and Van Lier Fellowships, and residencies with the Bogliasco Foundation, Siena Art Institute, the Hermitage, Duke University, NYTW, New York Stage & Film and the Williamstown Theater Festival. Harrison is a member of the Board of Directors of the Playwright Center and The Movement Theatre Company.

Gregg T. Daniel (Director) recently, August Wilson’s, “Gem of the Ocean” A Noise Within (2020 Ovation Nominee-Best Production of a Play), Lanie Robertson’s, “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill” & Katori Hall’s, “The Mountaintop” Garry Marshall Theatre. West Coast premieres of Mfoniso Udofia’s, “Her Portmanteau” Boston Court Theatre & Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s,”Br’er Cotton” Lower Depth Theatre. With Rogue Machine, Lorraine Hansberry’s,”Les Blancs” (Ovation-nominated, Best Director), the L.A. premiere of Greg Kalleres’, “Honky” (nominated Best Director, Comedy),  Lorraine Hansberry’s, ”A Raisin in the Sun” at A Noise Within (Ovation nominated, Best Director) & a revival of Alice Childress’, “Wedding Band: A Love/Hate Story in Black and White” Antaeus Company (Winner Stage Raw Award–Best Revival, Best Ensemble). Regional work includes, Samm-Art Williams’, ”Home”  International City Theatre (ICT) & the New Jersey  premiere of Katori’s Hall’s, “The Mountain Top” & Matthew Lopez’s, “The Whipping Man” at Cape May Stage. He is a recipient of the NAACP Best Director award for the International City Theatre’s production of August Wilson’s, “Fences” (nominated L.A. Drama Critics Circle, Ovation, and StageScene LA awards). Gregg is a proud member of SDC and a Founding Member/Artistic Director of Lower Depth Theatre Ensemble ( He is married to actress, Veralyn Jones.

Chase Cargill (Neil) was born and raised in Houston, Texas and received a BFA of Theatre Performance at Chapman University. He was previously seen at The Road in Jason Karasev’s Death House. Other theatre credits include: Macbeth by 5 at The Odyssey Theatre, Son of Semele Ensemble’s If You Can Get to Buffalo, If All the Sky Were Paper at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and Defiance Theatre Company’s Dysfunctional Family Christmas. You can see him as a lead in the upcoming feature film Echoes of Violence, premiering at the 2021 Cinequest Film Festival. He would like to dedicate his performance to his little brother, Connor Cargill. Your courage and resilience to be who you are inspires me every day!

Matthew Hancock (Jesse)
is grateful. Favorite theatre credits include: the LA premiere of the The Brothers Size (Oshoosi), Between Riverside and Crazy (Junior), Hit The Wall (Carson), Hype Man: A Break Beat Play (VERB), I and You (Anthony), TransScripts (Zakia), and The View Up Stairs (Wes). He is a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle and Stage Raw award winner as well as an NAACP Theatre Award and Ovation Nominee. Matthew holds a BFA from Adelphi University (cum laude). To his incredibly supportive Family, Thank you. Follow Matthew on instagram: @imatthewhancock.

Ray Paolantonio (Producer) most recently produced the Ovation-nominated Nowhere on the Border at The Road. Previous Road credits include producing and performing in the L.A. premiere of Michael Perlman’s At The Table (Stage Raw nomination). Member of The Road since 2017 (The Lyons – Curtis u/s) and now serves on the Artistic Board. A native New Yorker, Ray graduated with Honors in Drama from Hofstra. For nearly a decade, he performed with Son of Semele Ensemble in such notable productions as Animal Farm, The American Plan. Additional L.A. Theatre: The Normal Heart (The Fountain), The Maiden’s Prayer (Atwater Village Theatre). Thanks to Kendall, Mom, Dad and Anita.

Judith Moreland’s (Producer) film and television credits as an actor include Aftermath, Dark Skies, Eagle Eye, Upload, Blackish, How to Get Away with Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, SWAT, NCIS, Parks and Recreation, and recurring roles on Bosch and Animal Kingdom. She has performed on and Off-Broadway and has worked with many theater companies including the New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons (NY), American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco) Meadow Brook Theatre (Detroit), Ensemble Studio Theater/Los Angeles and the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. Her directing credits include Capital Stage Company in Sacramento, The Road Theatre in North Hollywood, The Blank Theatre in Hollywood and the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television where she currently teaches acting. This is her first foray into producing.

Brian Graves (Set Designer) has been a member of The Road Theatre Company for the past several years. He previously designed the set for At The Table and appeared in the world premiere of Friends With Guns. For more information, including future projects and appearances, please visit

Derrick McDaniel (Lighting Designer) has been working in the live theater arena for over 20 years, both in Los Angeles and New York. From Romeo and Juliet to Guys and Dolls, Derrick has designed lighting for many plays, musicals and events.  A few of his lighting credits include “Mercy Seat” (2012 LA Weekly Awards Winner) at the Inside the Ford Theater, “Spring Awakening” at the Malibu Playhouse, “The Addams Family” at the Madrid Theater; and “A Streetcar Named Desire” at the Odyssey Theater – and many others.  Derrick is currently nominated for a 2020 Ovation Theater Award for Lighting Design for “Nowhere On The Border” at the Road Theater on Magnolia.    He would like to thank the staff and officers of the Road Theater for providing the opportunity to create.  Luckily, the theater spirits have allowed us to create live streaming theater. Derrick would also like to express his hope that everyone is staying safe in our troubling times!

Nicholas Santiago (Projection Designer) has worked for numerous universities and theatre companies around Los Angeles including the Pasadena Playhouse (Ham), Skylight Theatre (Forever House, Church & State, Obama Ology), Rogue Machine (A Permanent Image, Oppenheimer, Honky), USC (Trojan Women, On the Town), Theatre Planners (PEMDAS, The Red Dress L.O.V.E.R.), the Chance Theatre (Tribes, Middletown, Big Fish), The Road Theatre (Nowhere on the Border, A Delicate Ship), LA LGBT Center (The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life Revisited), and the Fountain Theatre (Arrival & Departure, The Cost of Living). He recently designed Cesar Millan’s new one man show Unleashed that opened at the David Copperfield Theatre at the MGM in Las Vegas. He has received numerous award nominations including an Ovation nomination and a LA Drama Critic’s Circle award for his work on Rogue Machine’s A Permanent image and an ovation win for his work on The Fountain Theatre’s production of The Cost of Living.

Yasmine El-Tayeb (Sound Designer)
is an LA-based sound designer and stage manager. This is her first production with The Road Theatre Company and she is very excited to be working on this show! Yasmine has worked in film, theater, and immersive storytelling, both in sound and management, and holds a BFA in Theater from UCLA. She is always looking for opportunities to collaborate and explore new and creative forms of storytelling. To view her work, you can visit her website at

Mary Jane Miller (Costume Designer) is excited to have had the opportunity to design This Bitter Earth her 31st Road Theatre Company show. Past favorites include; her Ovation nominated Home Fires, the company’s inaugural production of Balm In Gilead, The Woman in Black, White As O, Hitlers Head, The Chisolm Trail Went Through Here, White People (2000), That Good Night, Lady, Melissa Artic, The Lyons, Through the Eye of a Needle, Red Speedo, The Rescued, Death House, At The Table, and most recently the Ovation nominated Nowhere on the Border.

Christine Joëlle (Props Master) Other ROAD shows as props master, “Nowhere On The Boarder”, “Death House”, “Through The Eye Of The Needle”, “A Delicate Ship” and “The Lyons”. A veteran of the stage, she’s appeared in numerous productions throughout LA. Acting credits: When she’s not acting or working for the stage, Christine runs her own pet care service called, Movin’ Paws A proud member of the ROAD for 6 years and thrilled to be a part of this beautiful production and its design team!

Christina Carlisi (Assistant to the Director/Choreographer) is thrilled to be working with Gregg T. Daniel on this production of “This Bitter Earth”. Road Directing credits: Turbulence by William Mastrosimone (SPF12), Happenstance by Craig Pospisil (SPF 11) and Common Ground V. As an actress, her favorite role was portraying modern dance icon, Martha Graham in the one woman play, MARTHA, Best Solo Play of 2018. Tina has over 50 film and television credits. She can currently be seen in the critically acclaimed YouTube series,’The Virtual End’, filmed entirely by the actors during this pandemic. Tina’s favorite color is orange.

Maurie Gonzalez (Stage Manager) For the past 13 seasons Maurie has been a proud member of the Road Theatre company as the resident Stage manager, light board, sound and projection computer operator. Starting at the Lankershim Arts center location, moving to our new location at the NoHo Senior Center on Magnolia, she is  an award winning Stage Manager for The Road’s Production of  “The Rescued” from Valley Theatre Awards. The Road is her home away from home. In a way, she was born to be in the theatre in some capacity, her mother was pregnant with Maurie while performing as Laurie in Oklahoma in New York City! Maurie’s children also grew up in theatre…it’s a family affair. She is glad to be part of this group of talented actors, designers, producers and directors.

Ken Merckx (Fight Director) has choreographed fights for film, television, theater and universities all across the country. He has taught stage combat for AMDA (LA), Cal State Fullerton & Long Beach, PCPA, Cal Arts and UC, Santa Barbara. Ken is the resident fight choreographer for the Idaho and Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festivals, A Noise Within (Los Angeles) and Great Lakes Theater (Cleveland). He is proud to have staged violence for the world premieres of Steven Dietz’s Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure (Pasadena Playhouse), Jeffery Hatcher’s Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (San Jose Repertory) and The Suicide Club(Arizona Theatre Company), Octavio Solis’ Cloudlands (South Coast Repertory), Jane Martin’s Somebody/Nobody directed by Jon Jory (Arizona Theatre Company) and the theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (San Jose Repertory). Mr. Merckx received his MFA, in acting, from the University of Illinois and his BA, in theatre studies, from the University of Washington.

Carly D. Weckstein (Intimacy Coordinator) (she/her) is a theatre director, sex educator, intimacy director, and facilitator living in Los Angeles. She creates at the intersections of theatre, community, healing, sexuality, and art as activation. She founded and directs at The Illyrian Players, a feminist ensemble for nurturing theatre artists, and works as an intimacy director for various theatre companies and university theatre programs. Carly believes that in art and theatre we can use both the process and the product to create new paradigms through which both artists and audience can find healing and be activated for change.

Blake Young-Fountain (Associate Producer)
is an Actor and an Associate Producer. He is a member of the Road Theatre Company. THEATRE: “At the Table” (Road Theatre); “Hit the Wall” (LGBT Center); “A Soldier’s Play” (Santa Monica Playhouse). TELEVISION: “Marlon” (NBC); “The Mindy Project” (Hulu); FILM: “Make the Moon”; “The Skinny”; Blake is an alum of New York University Tisch School of the Arts. He is from St. Louis, MO.

Emily Jerez (Production & Marketing Manager) has been a member of the Road Theatre since 2018 and appeared in the alternate cast of Friends with Guns, in Under Construction and as both an actor and playwright for the Summer Playwright’s Festival. Other recent theatre credits include The Mineola Twins (Moxie Theatre) and Showpony (Victory Theatre).  She is thrilled and proud to take on the project and marketing management for the Road’s new and exciting virtual 2021 Season.