Our mission is to further enrich the already thriving Staten Island arts community through theatrical performance. As a company, we seek to explore the human condition as it is presented in various musicals, established plays, and original works, while not shying away from difficult subject matter, dark comedy, language, or the macabre.
Why Hemlock? Hemlock, or Conium maculatum, is a poisonous plant native to Europe, the Mediterranean, and Africa. Referenced in ancient Greek literature, Socrates, on trial for corrupting the youth and impiety, was sentenced to death by drinking a hemlock based mixture. Theatre gives us an opportunity to pose philosophical questions and explore the human condition through art. Hemlock is a reminder that not all who set out in search for answers were fortunate enough to do so without facing punishment or prosecution.
Jenny Kelly (Creative Director) is a native New Yorker who was born in Staten Island and raised in Rockland County on a strict diet of Nana's meatballs, old Hollywood musicals, and Roman Catholic guilt. Jenny spent every other weekend traveling between her two homes and from the back seat of her father's work van, she and her sister gained a solid education in classic rock and hippy values. After taking nearly 15 years off to tackle life and raise a family, Jenny decided to return to college and to theatre. At thirty-something, she enrolled at Wagner College to pursue a degree in Theatre Performance, graduating with a B.A. in Theatre Performance & Speech, and a minor in Religious Studies. In addition to her love of performance, Jenny enjoys marriage, motherhood, road trips, cooking, spiritual philosophy, 80s music, biking, forest exploration, Anne Rice novels and general mischief making. As the good doctor said, "Don't dream it, be it."
Brendan Stackhouse (Resident Director) has directed and assisted on over 100 productions in the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas.
Most notably, Brendan was the Assistant Choreographer for Fun Home on Broadway, the Associate Director of the Off-Broadway revival of The Marvelous Wonderettes, and the Assistant Director for the Off-Broadway revival of Once Upon a Mattress starring John "Lypsinka" Epperson and Jackie Hoffman. For Hemlock, Brendan has directed our productions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Funny Girl, Big Fish, Assassins, Down in a Hole, Next to Normal, A Grand Night for Singing, Cool Riders, and Into the Woods.
His most recent project, SPARKY: A New Musical about PEANUTS creator Charles M. Schulz, debuted at New York Theatre Festival's 2019 Winterfest.
Lee Tennenbaum was raised on Staten Island and has been involved in local community theatre since she was 9 years old.
Since that time, she has worked with all of the community theatre companies on the Island as well as regional theatres in Buffalo, Boston, and Vermont where she worked as an actress, director, and choreographer. Lee holds a BFA in Musical Theatre (with a minor in Psychology) from Emerson College in Boston and an MSEd from Brooklyn College. When not performing or choreographing, Lee is also an elementary school teacher, a certified Music Together teacher, a wife, and a mom of two beautiful little girls.
Robyn Ruehl-Lippert (Social Media/Graphics/Website) is a native Staten Islander and a proud graduate of Notre Dame Academy and Wagner College's Arts Administration program. She worked on the production side for Walt Disney Theatrical Productions' Beauty and the Beast, King David, The Lion King and Aida on Broadway. Robyn joined TicketsforGroups.com in 2003, managing group sales for all Broadway shows and various exhibitions across the country. In her spare time (ha!), she can be found on local stages either performing or producing. She is a huge stand-up comedy fan, is addicted to iced coffee and loves theatrical prologues. #Ruehlie
Eric Petillo (Dramaturgy & Development of New Works) is a Staten Island based playwright, director, actor and journalist. A graduate from Wagner College's nationally ranked theatre program, Petillo has worked with many local theatre companies, including Sea View Playwright's Theatre, Sundog Theatre, and Staten Island Shakespearean Theatre. He currently works as the Ticketing Services Coordinator for The Historic St. George Theatre and is the Curator of New Works for Sundog Theatre.
Marissa Terzino has been a member of the Staten Island theatre community since age 7. She began with Staten Island Children's Theater where she now is honored to be a teacher for their 5-8 year old program. She has performed with In The Wings, Seaview Playwrights, Staten Island Playwrights Collective and of course, Hemlock.
Marissa began dancing at age 2 and is now choreographing for several theater companies on the Island. She made her directorial debut with Hemlock's acclaimed production of Green Day's AMERICAN IDIOT in November 2018. In 2004, she earned the title of Miss Staten Island, advocating Arts in Education as her platform. She received a Bachelor's degree in Culinary Management from the Art Institute and currently works as a General Manager for Aramark. Her greatest achievement is her 8 year old son Robert who has found his own love of theatre and dance.
Danielle M. Bianco-Bacigalupo is a native of Brooklyn who is proud of her transplantation to Staten Island. Danielle is deeply rooted in the Staten Island community; it became “her place” especially because she got sober here in 2011. Since then, she has been focused on working with and helping others in the community. As a college English professor and PhD candidate, Danielle continues to make ripples in areas of socially-just pedagogy, recovery activism, literacy, and community storytelling projects. In May 2018, Danielle founded “Voices from Rock Bottom”, a bi-weekly, live-stream radio show on alcoholism, addiction, and recovery via Maker Park Radio - NYC, which she continues to host as her way to pay it forward and give space & voice to alcoholics, addicts, and their loved ones. Danielle firmly believes in community projects that “do work” to create change. With Hemlock’s production of American Idiot, Danielle made her way back to the stage, offstage that is, as its stage manager. Danielle has been a theatre lover since age 12, from Broadway to the drama club in her high school. But, becoming a member of #TeamHemlock has given Danielle the opportunity to work on projects that speak the language of the heart and create change through art.