Rafael Ascencio

President

Rafael Ascencio is the proud husband of Upstart Creatures founder, Michael Barakiva, and  the chair of the Upstarts Food Committee. He is President of Intermarket Sourcing, an international business consulting firm based in New York City, specializing in strategic market consulting for food and other products and services mostly from Mexico, his country of origin. Former Deputy Trade Commissioner for the Foreign Trade Bank of Mexico in New York, he studied International Relations at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and Princeton University, where he was a Fulbright scholar. 

Deborah Constantine

Julieta Dominguez

Julieta has been the Head of Administration of the Consulate General of Mexico in New York for the past eight years. Before the Consulate, she was Senior Director of Galeria Ramis Barquet, a Latin American art gallery based in New York City and Monterrey, Mexico.  She met Michael through his husband Rafael who has been her friend since she moved to New York. Julieta is married to pianist Roberto Hidalgo, and they have two daughters, Luisa and Ines, both aspiring profesional musicians. She is delighted to be part of the board of this amazing company and is happy to share her time and skills with the Upstarts.

Robert Dreyfuss

Bob Dreyfuss is an independent, investigative journalist based in New York City and Cape May, New Jersey, specializing in politics and national security. He is a contributing editor at The Nation, and he has written extensively for Rolling Stone, Mother Jones, The American Prospect, The New Republic, and many other magazines. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including the PBS Newshour, Fox News, Democracy Now!, and MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Bob has traveled widely and reported from Iran, Vietnam, China, and Tanzania, and he is the author of Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. He is a graduate of Columbia University.

Brendan Ryan

Secretary

Brendan is a licensed CPA in the state of New York, who recently moved to the city in August of 2015 from South Carolina. He is a tax consultant for the financial services industry, who enjoys spending his time mentoring others, teaching seminars related to his industry, and providing pro-bono work to various start-up companies. Brendan is passionate about health, fitness and travelling the globe. As a member of the board, Brendan is most looking forward to furthering the Upstart Creatures mission of spreading interest and fascination with theater and the arts.

Lily Traub

Treasurer

Lily's day job is focused on technology and corporate America, but her real passion is for the non-profit arts sector. She has a BA from Wesleyan University where she worked in the campus box office, and she is a native Brooklynite, so being taken to the theatre and museums as a kid helped her to develop the habit early and she always has multiple theatre subscriptions at any given time. She is also an avid crossfitter and is an amateur mixologist, and although she's not much of a cook she does love baking desserts. She's thrilled to support this wonderful group through her time, expertise, and perhaps some cookies.

Angela Trento

Andrea Winter

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Company Board Members

Paul Bernardo

Food Committee Chair

Paul Joseph Bernardo is one of the founding Creatures who has worked extensively in regional theater where favorite roles include: Iago in Othello, Brutus in Julius Caesar, Charles in Blithe Spirit, Marc in Art, Matt in Talley's Folly, and Valentin in Kiss of the Spiderwoman. He has appeared in numerous industrials and commercials as well as independent and feature films including Brian de Palma's Snake Eyes.  Paul is a proud graduate of the Shakespeare Theater’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University where he had the good fortune to first meet and work with Michael Barakiva.

Carla Briscoe

Carla Briscoe graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, where she trained with the Atlantic Theater Company. Recent credits include Jarry Inside Out in Washington D.C., the NY production of David Adam Gill's Providence, and Helen Pafumi's Abominable, directed by Kirsten Kelly. She has worked with and at the Upright Citizens Brigade, NY International Fringe Festival, New Dramatists, HB Playwrights, IRT, Ars Nova, Theater J, New Georges, The Kennedy Center, LAByrinth Theater Company, the People's Improv Theater, and The Sundance Institute, among others. Film & TV credits: Blue Caprice, A Little Help, and Breaking the News.  Her play, The Lie Down, was a semi-finalist for the Princess Grace Award in Playwriting, and she can be seen performing stand-up at Carolines on Broadway, the Broadway Comedy Club, and other local venues.  She is currently producing and directing the episodic docuseries, Released: Life After Prison.

Linda Larson

Broadway: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (understudied and performed);Jackie: An American Life; Deuce (understudiedandperformed). Off-Broadway: Anon (Atlantic Theater Co.); Bright Ideas (MCC); Five Women Wearing the Same Dress(MCC);Machinal (The Public/Naked Angels). Other NYC: IWill Look Forward to This Later (The Assembly); Motel Cherry (Clubbed Thumb/New Georges); Nightlands(New Georges); Karla(by Steve Earle, Culture Project); Little Eyolf (Century Center) Regional:A Doll’s House, Part 2(Hangar Theatre, Dir. Michael Barakiva); A Funny Thing Happened… (Hangar Theatre, Dir.: M. Barakiva); The Clean House (Syracuse Stage, Dir.: M. Barakiva), House Arrest (Mark Taper), The Smell of the Kill (Cleveland Playhouse); The Servant of Two Masters (Hartford Stage, Dir. Bartlett Sher), Three Tall Women (Pittsburgh Public). Film: The Kitchen(w/ Melissa McCarthy); The Greatest Showman; A Most Violent Year; Labor Day. Television: House of Cards, Blue Bloods,Law & Order: SVU, Masters of Sex (pilot).

Abby Royle

Abby Royle has performed in dozens of Off- and Off-Off Broadway productions, in regional theatre, and in staged readings and workshops. TV roles include Law & Order: SVU and Law & Order: Criminal Intent, and she’s appeared in feature films, including The Book of Life and No Such Thing. She has trained with renowned acting teach Tony Greco and the Upright Citizens Brigade. With Upstart Creatures: Lucia, Mad Forest; Paulinka, A Bright Room Called Day; Kirsten Noland, Turning Texas Blue; Ibrahim/Basma, Rituals of Signs and Transformations; Amalia Berg, The Magic Fire; and various characters in Uncommon Excerpts & Others. Abby is delighted to be an Artistic Associate of the Upstart Creatures and is a proud member of AEA and SAG-AFTRA. www.abbyroyle.com

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The Upstart Creatures are: Suzanne Agins & Michael Barakiva (Artistic Directors), Stephen Bel Davies, Paul Bernardo, Ariel Neema Blake, Carla Briscoe, Aren Carpenter, Suzanne Chesney, Gisela Chípe, Curzon Dobell, Autumn Dornfeld, Emilee Dupré, Hillel Friedman (Company Manager), Callan Gies, Erick Gonzalez, Adam Grosswirth (Managing Director), Carol Halstead, Brough Hansen, Patrick Harnett-Marshall, Jon Kovach, David Larsen, Linda Larson, Celina Polanco, Abby Royle, Roya Shanks, Eugenio Vargas, Alison Walls, Jay Yriberry, Gabra Zackman (Community Engagement Director).

PO Box 631

Midtown Station

New York, NY 10018