Happy Birthday to RG Staffers
Feel free to sing
when you see them.
I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! I had a great prom and a very emotional graduation. Off to Hofstra University in the fall.
I just came back from vacation in Europe with my parents and with my friend, Valentina, from Italy. It was a trip to celebrate my graduation from High School.
We started off in Germany, then went to Austria, Ireland and ended the trip in England. It was my first time in Germany, Austria and Ireland and my first trip to England since I was 7.
We took a lot of off/on bus trips and a 4 day tour of Southwest Ireland. We traveled by bus, train, and underground in all countries.
Glad to be home and back to work at Ripley-Grier Studios.
See you there!! Jeannie
Jeannie Ripley-Grier is the 17 year old daughter of RG owners Butch Grier & Patricia Ripley
HOT TOWN, SUMMER IN THE CITY!
And here we are, right in the middle of it.
It's been a busy July here at RG. We're hard at work renovating and redesigning our location at 305 West 38th Street. It's a big job, but once it's done we'll have
24 new studios and a couple "Black-box" Theatres.
That's 24,000 square feet of Creative Space!!!!
Here's a sneak preview of our progress:
Can't wait to see you all there!
Relax. Explore. Create.
- Marketing Manager
In this month's client spotlight, I'm proud to introduce you to DeMone Seraphin. His path has led him to take on many roles: actor, artistic director, teacher and even minister. He's also one of the friendliest guys I've ever met. DeMone first heard the call to adventure as an energetic, rambunctious 9-year-old in Chicago, when he wandered into a youth theatre program at the Better Boys Foundation. He saw kids playing games, making faces and acting crazy - all things he would usually get in trouble for! Not only were they allowed to act this way, they were being encouraged to take it even further by their acting teacher, Little Jackson. He liked it, and he liked Little Jackson, too! He quickly became his "father figure" and mentor. "We adopted each other!" recalls, DeMone. "My dad passed away when I was very young, so he's the only dad I've ever known." His passion for giving back and choosing people to "pour in to" comes from that relationship, and continues to inspire him as an actor, teacher and director. In fact, he's based his whole career on that idea: Being chosen!
Even as a kid, the idea of being "chosen" wasn't that unfamiliar. After all, he grew up in a family full of preachers and theologians. He first learned to perform by mimicking his Grandfather's sermons, and eventually, he felt called to go into Ministry himself. And DeMone was chosen for other things as well. He attended High School at Chicago Academy for the Arts, where he had lots of opportunity to perform and ended up landing jobs on the TV shows California Dreams and The Women of Brewster Place with none other than Oprah Winfrey. On set, Oprah would sit down with DeMone and ask him about school and other things happening in his life. "She really showed an interest in me, and when my Mom couldn't afford to pay for my tuition, Oprah found out and covered the whole thing." And so, DeMone Seraphin became the first recipient of the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship. He went on to receive a BFA from CCM and performed in many shows with Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, and The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. He also found time to graduate from The University of Chicago as a Doctor of Ministry, fulfilling yet another dream.
But it was in New York that DeMone really started to take off. Soon after moving to the city, he was chosen to take over the role of Collins in the Broadway cast of RENT. This led to other roles in Miss Saigon, Jesus Christ Superstar and Ragtime, to name a few. In addition to working consistently as an actor, DeMone has also served as Artistic Director for many theatre companies, starting with The LaMont Zeno Theatre in Chicago, which he took over from his father, Little Jackson, when he left to pursue his own Ministry for the Deaf. He also served as Artistic Director at The Urban Theatre of Chicago(co-artistic director), The All-Star Project Youth Theatre in Chicago, The American Theatre of Harlem and currently The New American Theatre Company in Brooklyn.
Through the development and producing of new works, DeMone has established a pretty solid mindset on how he wants to engage the community with his art; his aim with every production is to present theatre as an immersive, social and cultural event! DeMone has made a real effort to do this by involving his audiences in Talk-backs, pre-show cocktail hours, potluck dessert breaks at intermission, and encouraging audience participation via text messages during the show, turning a "night at the theatre" into a interactive social function. "I like bringing people together. Creating a community of people who come for this shared experience, and we all go back out into the world feeling better, challenged or pissed off. But we had this unique experience together. Like a church."
DeMone is passionate about encouraging new actors as well, and wants to give them the same support he saw as a young performer. He offers an affordable training program which include scene study, audition technique and private sessions with top-notch artists. Over the years, he has developed excellent relationships with working casting directors at Telsey Casting, Stephanie Klapper, Stewart Talent and Daniel Hoff Agency, and his 6 week class ends with an audition in front of a casting director and a chance to hear valuable feedback.
DeMone calls his technique "Acting for Life," and has this to say about it:
"If your life is chaotic and a mess, your work will be chaotic and a mess. I can help you find a way to harness it all so it works in your favor. It begins and ends with you. I'm not interested in a simple "cookie cutter" technique. What are the things about you, quirks and all, that you can use to your benefit to meet the demands of any given text? What is going to best show you off in the frame of mind that you're in right now in this space? Then I help you take the journey to get to where you need to be, while not neglecting who you are at the center."
You can catch DeMone's current project, a show called Back O' Town, which runs now through
as part of the Midtown International Theatre Festival. For info about more upcoming projects and classes, visit
, email him at
or you can simply say hello when you see him here in the halls of RG, during one of his many visits.
"Ripley-Grier is the hub! Any and everything is possible at Ripley-Grier. You can go straight from training, to auditioning, to rehearsing your next project all at RG. The next possibility is in the studio right across the hall!"
This means a lot, coming from a guy who has seen so much. We're proud to be in the center of it all. And we're proud of you too, DeMone. Thanks for choosing us.
Greetings! We just returned from a three week vacation to Europe. Butch, me, Jeannie and her friend Valentina traveled around Munich, took a day trip to Innsbruck, Austria, then a train to Salzburg for a couple days (Sound of Music tour and a Mozart concert), took a train to Vienna (Hop on Hop off bus tour), beautiful. Cool weather and good hotels and excellent food (gained 3 lbs). The 2nd week we flew to Ireland for 7 days, two days in Dublin, (Hop on / Hop off bus), took a 4 day bus tour to the Southwest areas (Cork, Kerry, etc..), back to Dublin for two days and finished our trip in London for 4 days. The flights were good, the trains were amazing, great subways and buses. Did not drive once. We did not do any formal working out, but were climbing stairs, carrying luggage and a lot of walking.
Back at work I viewed the progress of the renovation of our new location at 305 West 38th Street. It is progressing well, we had a couple of delays as per usual in construction. The walls are up in the newly created studios and will be painted by next week. The floors will be done. The mirrors, the curtains and blinds will be the last to be installed. We are buying pianos approx one or two a week (we need 24 of them). We hope to open the middle of September, about 7 weeks. Still a lot of work to be done.
The last weekend in June, I had one of my Feng Shui professors who I studied with come with his class to do a Feng Shui consultation on the new space. We spent two hours in the space and I received very important information and suggested "cures" for these new studios. The most important discussion was about "predecessor chi". This is the energy that is left behind by the previous tenant or the past tenants. We needed to clear the space of some of the energy left behind as two previous tenants had failed to make the space successful. We also worked on other factors and left the space feeling well. As we continue the building of this new location, I will be reporting about the various Feng Shui decisions that were made and implemented during their creation.
See you next month! Regards, Patricia
Patricia Ripley is the Founder and CEO of Ripley-Grier Studios and a certified Feng Shui consultant.
SUMMERTIME AND THE
LIVING KEEP MOVING!
Keep up or start your fitness routine with my functional fitness classes. 58 minutes of Cardio, stretching, strength and core-work. I work with mature dancers, actors, and fitness minded adults. Intro class is $10.00 For more information, email
Hope to hear from you!
Patricia Ripley, Ripley-Grier Studios