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About Us

About Us

Dedicated to the promotion of the Arts, Merciful Delusions Productions was happy to be producing Arts & Eats, a Variety Show, a celebration of the return of arts, food, and culture to NYC. In addition, MDP has produced 'Defeat the Street' a Variety Show in aid of the homeless, a few short films and a series of Tennessee Williams One-Act plays.

Defeat The Street

June 10th and 11th, 2022

at Symphony Space

The Venue

Producer's Note

In Memoriam

This year, my dear friend, Sarah Myers passed. She was only 43 years old.
I will always remember her as a fun-loving vibrant person. Sarah had discovered Playwrighting several years ago and a new talent was born. Her pen has been stilled way too early. In her memory, Merciful Delusions Productions is proud to include her play, "Desirée and Her Desires," in our Defeat the Street fundraiser.

Nicole M. Gut

About The Venue


Peter Norton Symphony Space

Symphony Space was founded in the belief that the arts bring people together, transcend barriers, and celebrate both our similarities and differences.

Through adventurous and impactful programming, commissions, and conversations, Symphony Space continues to invigorate these guiding principles, creating magical moments that harness the power of the arts to engage and inspire.

The Acts

Emceed by 
Stefan Diethelm



2. WHEN YOU GOT IT FLAUNT IT - Elena Clark, John Bowen (Song)

3. NEW YORK STATE OF MIND - Sandi V. Weldon, John Bowen (Song)

4. NEW YORK POETRY - Carla Cherry (Poetry)

5. WHERE IS THE LIFE THAT LATE I’VE LED? - Gavin McDonough, John Bowen (Song)

6. SAME - Logann Grace (Play) Featuring: Craig Winberry, Richard Sexton, Kristin Quinn, Justine S. Harrison | Directed by Chelsey Smith.

7. DESIRÉE & HER DESIRES - Sarah Myers (Play) Featuring: Nicole Marie, Veronica Farias, Glenn Ghiradi | Directed by Kae Fujisawa




8. LESS THAN - Anita Havel (Play) Featuring Leya Topodas, Anita Havel | Directed by Lex Laas.

9. MELODIE DE L'UCRAINE - Nicole Fedorov (Dance)

10. CASCADE - Michael Buoni (Choreographer) featuring Mari T (Dance)

11. LOVE IN THE TIME OF COVID - Elias Re, Aneriz Re (Dance)

12. VIENNA - Stefan Diethelm, John Bowen (Song)

13. THE WIZARD & I - Michelle Oppedisano, John Bowen (Song)


Meet The Artists

John Bowen: (Musical Director/Keyboard Player nationally and in the NYC area.) Productions include: CURTAINS, FOSSE, THE SOUND OF MUSIC, CURTAINS, HAIRSPRAY, PETER PAN, ON THE TOWN, 1776, OKLAHOMA, FUNNY GIRL and SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE. National/tours: ANNIE, CAROUSEL, CHICAGO, THE WHO’S TOMMY, and GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES.


Michael Buoni: (Choreographer/City Dance NY) trained at The Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet and Brandywine Ballet and danced with Ohio Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theater, Dayton Ballet, Michael Mao Dance, Ann Vachon’s Dance Conduit and as a guest with Maryland Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Eglevsky Ballet, Erie Ballet and Great Lakes Festival Ballet.   He appeared in classical ballets and works by Salvatore Aiello, George Balanchine, Heinz Poll, Laura Dean, Lucinda Childs, Agnes DeMille, Alvin Ailey, José Limon.  Retiring as a dancer, Michael moved to NYC to train with the William Esper Studio, NJ Shakespeare Festival and Suzanne Shepherd.  Appearing in many off-off Broadway productions, he works as a TV actor in commercials, print and episodics.  He will appear as Henry in the upcoming indy movie Kristel.


Carla M. Cherry is a high school English teacher. She earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the City College of New York in Spring 2022. Her poetry has appeared in Random Sample Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, 433, Raising Mothers and has been nominated for Best of the Net. Her five books of poetry are available via iiPublishing. 


Elena D Clark is a performer born and raised in Russia and based in New York.   She is thrilled to perform in “Defeat the Street”!  She is a winner “The Best Actor (Female)” award in Manhattan Rep’s Stories Film Festival in October 2021.  Her most recent work includes roles in plays such as "Hello From Bertha" by Tennessee Williams, short films and cabaret performances.


Cenovia Cummins: (Composer) is concertmaster of The New York Pops, Riverside Symphony and the School of American Ballet Orchestra.  She has played for VH1, Saturday Night Live, Good Morning America, the talk shows of Steven Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, David Letterman and Conan O’Brien, appeared with Tony Bennett, Aerosmith, Cheap Trick, Madonna, Sheryl Crow, James Taylor, Britney Spears, Paul McCartney, Diana Krall, P Diddy, Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson, and recorded for the Golf Channel, Boardwalk Empire and CBS Early Show.  Featured violinist in Lovely & Amazing, Julie & Julia, Masterpiece Theater’s Mystery theme, and New York City Ballet’s Red Angels, she plays in many Broadway orchestras.  She released an album of piano compositions Solo Piano and tours the tri-state with her jazz quintet, CC and Friends.


Stefan Diethelm: (emcee) is a Swiss Actor, Performer, and Playwright. Fresh off of opening his first play at the New York Theater Festival, he is thrilled to be working with Merciful Delusions Productions again, and to be performing amongst such wonderful artists.  Previous works include: Carlos (Women on the Verge, St. Gall CH), various classical, showcases and cabarets. 


Veronica Farias: is a bilingual Mexican-American actress. Since graduating from the New School she’s been acting in Film and on Stage performing in both New York and Los Angeles. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the New Short Play Festival and is happy to revive her role as Harmony. 


Nicole Fedorov: (Dancer/City Dance NY) began her ballet training with Brighton Ballet Theater in Brooklyn. She then went on to study at Manhattan Youth Ballet in NYC.  Nicole was invited to train at the Gelsey Kirkland Academy and danced as a member of the studio company for three years. She worked in ballet companies in the United States and abroad including:  Nevada Ballet, Ballet Theater of Sibiu, Connecticut Ballet, Jersey City Ballet, Moscow Classical Ballet, Armenian National Opera and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.


Marissa Frey: (Dancer/City Dance NY) trained at the Greater York Youth Ballet and Pennsylvania Regional Ballet and has a BFA in Dance from SUNY/Purchase.  She danced with Connecticut Theatre Dance Company, Brooklyn Ballet, Neville Dance Theatre, Eglevsky Ballet, DeMa Dance Company, Yesid Lopez Contemporary Dance, and Janusphere Dance Company.  Marissa taught at Callina's School of Dance, Studio E School of Dance, Chrystie Street Ballet Academy, Ballet Academy East, The Ballet Institute of NY and the Conservatory of Music in Paris.  Currently she teaches and choreographs at Long Island City School of Ballet and dances with Ballets with a Twist.


Kae Fujisawa: (director/actor/singer/playwright) Kae joins Defeat the Street from Japan via Zoom. She directed over 20 plays in NYC, including her own Sketches of Happiness. Kae directed the two award-winning short films. Lullaby, which she also co-wrote with Nicole Gut, won Best Short Suspense at the Culver City Film Festival (2019). Manifesto won four awards including Best Director (Zoom-film category) at Manhattan Rep’s Stories Film Festival (2021).

Melanie Futorian: (choreographer) Melanie's choreography has been featured at Battery Dance Festival, Harlem Arts Festival, Next @ Graham and Higher Ground Festival. She was a dancer with New York and Boston companies and has taught for many schools including Ailey Summer Camp and Neighborhood Playhouse. She's delighted to be working with dancers Elias and Aneriz Re for Nicole Gut’s “Defeat the Street!”

Glenn Ghiradi: Bitten by the acting bug at a young age…literally preschool where he played a sheep in the most adorable performance ever, Glenn is always happy and eager to have an opportunity on the stage. He’s excited to be playing Shawn in “Desiree and her Desires.”  Break legs everyone :-) You can see more of Glenn’s work at

Logann Grayce: (They/Them) is Festival Finalist, published playwright and actor, who graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Acting and a minor in dance. Their plays have been featured in several local play festivals as well as in Ohio University’s “The [Trans] Play of Remembrance.” Logann aims to write pieces that represent underrepresented communities, and challenge audiences to step into a world that might be unfamiliar, allowing their minds to be opened. Additionally, they are a dancer, mentor and activist.  Logann was photographed for Peter Bussian’s book, "Trans New York: Photos and Stories of Transgender New Yorkers.” They are featured in an exhibit about the importance of pronouns, at the new Planet Word Museum located in Washington D.C.


Nicole M. Gut: (Producer) Dedicated to the promotion of the Arts, Merciful Delusions Productions is happy to be producing Defeat the Street, a Variety Show fundraiser in aid of the homeless. In addition, MDP has produced 'Arts & Eats' a Variety Show in celebration of the arts, culture, and cuisine of NYC, a few short films and a series of Tennessee Williams One-Act plays.

Justine S. Harrison: (Mrs. Walker-SAME) - has performed at La MAMA ETC, NYC Fringe Festival, and currently with the long-running Off-Broadway show Murdered by the Mob. Film/TV wise, Justine’s been seen on projects on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, MTV, TLC, etc. Special thanks to Logann, Akiva, my family, friends and my representatives. Peace and equality for all.


Anita Havel danced and choreographed nationally and internationally.  Her theater credits include Colored Girls Productions, African Repertory Theater, , Boston Fringe Fest and The Theater Offensive at the Boston Center for the Arts.  In South Florida, she directed the Arts Garage opening, performed at the Bienes Center and created an Aerial show for Wick Theater.  She’s grateful for producer Nicole Gut, director Lex Laas and encouraging friends and family.


Lex Laas: (Director) Lex is an NYC based storyteller with a BFA from Sam Houston State University!   He primarily focuses on new works whilst giving classics an updated twist. Grateful to be able to create theatre on a daily basis. For more updates check out or on IG @tyranasauraslex


Gavin McDonough studied acting and voice at HB Studio where he was cast in several directors' workshops. He appeared as Rep. Elijah Cummings in an American Scoreboard reading of congressional transcripts, Preacher in a reading of Regge Allan Bruce’s Storm, Eric in Lorraine Hansberry's Les Blancs, as Melchior in excerpts from Spring Awakening, and as Cash in the short play Twang. Gavin’s first foray into opera performing as Papageno in selected scenes from the Magic Flute. He returned to his love of musicals performing pieces in The Brooklyn Music School's cabaret, in Peter Szep's Home School Musical, and in the 2021 Arts and Eats Cabaret.


Kristin Quinn After a long hiatus since last performing on stage with the New Short Play Festival, Kristin is excited to be a part of Defeat the Street. She is grateful to be working alongside so many talented people and friends involved in this production and for all the support in coming together this weekend for an important cause. SAG/AFTRA


Kevin Rabinovich is an abolitionist stage manager and producer. He has produced over 50 TEDx Talks and is active with the Democratic Socialists of America and the Sunrise Movement (the nation’s largest youth-led climate justice organization). He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Clemson University, which has shamefully refused to divest from fossil fuels.


Michelle Oppedisano is a local singer/actress, whom you can catch several days a week singing at Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway/51st. Favorite stage credits include Little Women (Jo), Four Old Broads (Ruby Sue), Urinetown (Ma Strong), and New York Nights (Jackie - original cast), among many others. Non-stage credits include sketch comedy, Homicide Hunter (ID Network), modeling, independent films and commercials, among others. She is also a yoga instructor in her spare time. IG: michelleoppedisano and @live.well.w.michelle.


Ilise Ratner’s background includes more than 20 years in client service and project management. Her diverse experience gives her unique insight and the demonstrated ability to implement a range of projects. From the demands of managing large scale, multi-layered corporate relocation operations to balancing the personal and professional lives of high-profile clientele Ilise has seen and done it all. What makes Ilise unique is her high-touch, people-focused approach which ensures regardless of scope or subject, her clients’ well-being is paramount.


Aneriz Re studied classical ballet in São Caetano do Sul, a small city in Brazil and performed in many national / international competitions including IBC American International Ballet competition and placing in Miami International Ballet competition.  She danced with the Cisne Negro Dance Company and the Cleveland Ballet and is currently performing with American Repertory Ballet/ PBS since 2020.


Elias Re’s formal training included La Scala Ballet Theatre Academy in Milan, Italy. He then graduated from The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School in Florida.

Elias performed with the Civic Ballet of Chicago Training Company, Battery Dance Festival, New Jersey Ballet Company and danced major roles for Cleveland Ballet. He will soon join American Repertory Ballet for their 2022-2023 season.


José Maria Rojas: (Dancer/City Dance NY), from Paraná, Argentina, is a dancer and teacher of traditional Argentine folk dance.  José came to NYC under a full scholarship at the Joffrey Ballet School.  He was invited to perform as a cultural representative in events of the Argentine Consulate by folkloric musician Roberto Carabajal.  José worked with American Swiss Ballet Company, Galletto Dance Company, Arim Dance Company, Bula Dance Company and as a teaching artist for Ballet Hispanico.   He currently dances with Calpulli Mexican Dance, Connecticut Ballet and D’Zul Dance Company.


John Salutz is a New York based Lighting and Sound Designer. His work has been seen and heard in NYC at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Urban Stages, York Theatre Co., Queens Theatre, and the Tank. He was nominated for NY Innovative Theatre Awards for Cabaret at the End of the World as well as the NY Times Critic’s Pick Red Emma and the Mad Monk.


Richard Sexton is enjoying the heck out of his “Third Act” first in the Navy, then as a trial lawyer and now is excited to be performing as Principal Taylor in “Same”.  Past credits include a trial judge in a criminal justice film, and a murder victim’s father in “Masterminds of Murder”.  Thanks to Kathy for her love and support. 


Chelsey Smith: (Director) is a stage director and theater maker. Chelsey directed the original production of Same and is excited to bring it to life again. Her other recent works include: Report back to Space by Judd Silverman, F**k'd Up Fairytales by Michael Hagins, Here and Us by Ian August, 172 Push Ups by Scott Mullen, and Conversion by Erica Magrin.

Mari T is pleased to be dancing with the American Repertory Ballet as a trainee. Besides dancing with City Dance NY, she has participated in various ballet school summer and winter intensive programs. Dancing, Choreography, and organizing performances are her passion. 


Leya Topodas is a Manhattan based actor and voiceover artist who received her BFA in Acting from Brooklyn College. She is grateful to Nicole Gut for the invitation to be a part of the Defeat the Street showcase. Leya recently performed her one woman show “Rounding Third” in several states and will soon bring it to New York! Special thanks to Alex, Harry, & Papa. 

Jack Utrata: (Social Media) is an actor, writer, and filmmaker based in Manhattan. He has worked in TV, Film, and Theater. Most notably, Jack was "Chase" in the the premier national tour of Paw Patrol Live with Nickelodeon. He is currently developing "11 Blocks to Go," a new TV comedy series, with co-writer Ashley Alexander. Jack also runs Utrata by Design Productions which offers video, editing and digital marketing services nationwide. For more things Jack, visit  Graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.


Sandi V. Weldon retired from teaching theatre for 45 years on the West Coast and moved to NYC for a new chapter of life.  Her Netflix series just won an Emmy and she just finished a show at The Producer’s Club on West 44th , started The Actors Reading Group which now has over 200 members and is a voice over artist, singer, dancer, character actress.


Craig Winberry is a NYC based actor/singer/writer.  Currently starring in the North American tour of The Life and Music of George Michael.  Other highlights include Fresh Fruit Festival pick for outstanding monologue from his original cabaret “Executive Order”, as well as debuting his own original holiday show, “Christmas Spirits: Neat Edition” at Feinstein’s/54 Below. Off-Broadway productions of “Global Gay” at the La Mama Experimental Theatre and “Thank You for Being a Friend: The Golden Girls Musical Parody” at the Here Arts Center.

CityDanceNY is a 501(c)(3), fiscally sponsored by The Field. We celebrate the classics of ballet as well as neo classical choreography. We  showcase the greatest dance artists of NYC with story ballets and live music accompaniment.

Food & Drink Menu
Meet The Artists
The Acts

Thank you for supporting the Arts!

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