The CHESS Project
Lauren Gismondi is a native NYer and a maven to the digital ways of making art. She is a founding member of Divas On Tap NYC, a band that consists of her roommates. Favorite productions: The Sound of Music, Grease, Assassins, The Ballad of Baby Doe. She has co-starred in several new productions and workshops of new musicals in the last two years. She has been performing and teaching from home for last year, making the best of the new given circumstances. Thanks to Jay for including her in this project! BFA SUNY Fredonia. Much love and mad respect for her team: Beth, Ben, and Mimi.
Jay Lucas Chacon
Described as “clownish perfection” (Jonathan Warman, DramaqueenNYC) and “highly entertaining throughout” (Logan Martell, Operawire) for his creation of Sandrino in the uncovered Salieri opera La Cifra with dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, Jay Lucas Chacon has become an active and noticeable artist in NYC.
Jay founded ViOp Productions as a virtual opera production company set up to employ artists to create and continue working through virtual medium creating opera and concerts on film. He produced and performed with tenor John Riesen in a duet recital Crossing Paths as well as Rodolfo in production on a film version of La bohème Act 3 by Leoncavallo, and The Spirit of Christmas; a holiday special. Jay also conceived and produced An American's Journey; a monodrama of Aaron Copland’ Old American Songs, Mascagni's Zanetto for their first full-length opera, and Musical Monuments, a recital of African American music for Black History Month.
In his desire to champion new music, Jay joined New Camerata Opera’ branch of opera-on-film, CamerataWorks, for their commission of Whitney George’ opera Julie in the role of Duc de Durfort which premiered in June 2020. Jay has also
performed the role of Brently in Michael Valenti' Story of an Hour with Gramercy Opera and created the role of Richard in the premiere of David Chesky's opera La Farranucci with Operavocateur Productions. In 2018, Jay was seen with Center for Contemporary Opera in their Developmental Series as the Soldier in Scott Wheeler' The Sorrows of Frederick.
Jay’s career as a performer has showcased a wide array of roles throughout NYC, regionally, and internationally. In the summer of 2019, Jay made his international debut in Montréal as a guest artist with L'Institut Canadien d'Art Vocal performing the role of Rodolfo in the Leoncavallo La bohème. This was followed by his main stage debut with New Camerata Opera in NYC for their production of the zarzuela El Barbero de Sevilla in the role of Benito. Earlier in the year, Jay returned to Brooklyn Philharmonia Chorus for the role of Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana where he had previously performed the Brahms’ Ein Deutsches Requiem and as Melchior in Amahl and the Night Visitors. During the summer of 2017, Jay returned to
Apotheosis Opera, performing the role of The Count in Capriccio where he debuted as Handsome in La Fanciulla del West the previous year. Jay has twice interpreted the role of Schaunard in La bohème with Long Island Opera Company and Saint Petersburg Opera Company. Jay has also had performances with Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre as Innkeeper/Governor in Man of La Mancha, Bronx Opera as George Page in Sir John in Love, and Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro with Manhattan Opera Studio as well the Paisiello Il Barbiere di Siviglia with dell'Arte Opera Ensemble.
Jay has been a member of the Austin Opera chorus and sang with Union Avenue Opera and Winter Opera Saint Louis. While in Austin, Jay was a member of Cindy Sadler's training program Spotlight on Opera where he sang the title role in Gianni Schicchi, Alfio in Cavalleria Rusticana, and Sam in Trouble in Tahiti. Jay also spent 3 summers with the Austrian American Mozart Academy in Salzburg, Austria where he sang Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro and Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus.
Emily Royer is an NYC based actor & singer. She was born in Davis, CA, but grew up in Boston, Massachusetts where she first fell in love with performing. Emily graduated, Cum Laude, from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) with a BFA in musical theatre. In NYC, Emily has been a soloist at The Town Hall and 54 Below, and has also performed at both of these venues with the Broadway by the Year Chorus. She has performed all over the country, and has even sung overseas in Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. Emily is so grateful to be a part of ViOp Productions The CHESS Project, to get to sing this incredible music, and continue to make music & art during this time.
Ryan is a rock and country singer, having spent ten years performing around NYC in such venues as Arlene’s Grocery, Rockwood Music Hall, Shrine, Bowery Electric, and The Bitter End.
Favorite New York theater credits include: Levi in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat off-Broadway at The Player’s Theater and Sebastian in Twelfth Night and Launce in Two Gents with Barefoot Shakespeare.
Shoshana is an NYC-based music director, accompanist, composer, and vocal coach. Recent music direction credits include Mamma Mia!, Ghost, and The Rocky Horror Show (Winnipesaukee Playhouse); Mamma Mia! (yes, again) and Saturday Night Fever (Cortland Repertory Theatre); the Holland America Line production shows; and Mary Poppins, 9 to 5, Shrek, and Little Shop of Horrors (Jenny Wiley Theatre). She is currently writing and orchestrating the music for Hooligans and Convicts, a new play by Carolyn Kirsch debuting this summer at the Winnipesaukee Playhouse. Shoshana is a graduate of UC Irvine.