Staff & Resident Artist Bios


Read more about the folks who keep GCR running in the bios below.

Lindsay Michele Krumbein (Executive Artistic Director) is a director and producer, a costume, set and sound designer, and a scenic painter and builder. Passionate about mentoring and training young people through dynamic, cutting edge theatre, and committed to increasing the number of actors of color on stage, she founded Gritty City Rep in January of 2012. Krumbein taught theatre and English at Bay Area high schools for a decade, and has produced and directed 24 shows with talented youth performers since 2002. GCR theatrical credits include original pieces Black Salt and Caught Up, both co-written with Robert Paige, and Playfight, Krumbein’s first original solo play, New Word Disorder by Chisa Hutchinson, ReEntry by KJ Sanchez and Emily Ackerman, Fugee by Abi Morgan, After Juliet by Sharman Macdonald, Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka, and Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Tempest. Krumbein served as Education Director for SF Playhouse from 2009-2014, and coaches beginning teachers throughout the East Bay. In 2016, she helped to produce Gritty City, a Marc-Éddy Loriston film documenting the company’s origins and trajectory, which premiered in September 2017. She has costume designed for BACCE and Those Women Productions, and currently builds educational curriculum for New Conservatory Theatre Center, as well as teaching theatre part-time to high school juniors and seniors at City Arts and Tech in San Francisco. Krumbein is thrilled to have recently launched Gritty City Studios in the Flax Building in downtown Oakland, and hopes to use this new space to make an even more powerful contribution to the rich Oakland arts community for many years to come.

Alex Trono (Assistant Artistic Director) is a San Francisco native turned Oakland local, as well as a former performer with Krumbein at Mission High School many years ago. Alex assistant directed GCR shows Fugee, PlayfightMacbeth, New World Disorder, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Caught UpThe Taming of the Shrew, and Black Salt. Alex also serves as a teaching artist for both New Conservatory Theatre Company and Red Ladder Theatre Company. 


Robert Paige (Assistant Director and Resident Playwright)  is a 26-year-old Oakland native. He first performed with GCR in the original version of Caught Up in 2014. Paige also performed in GCRep shows Macbeth, New World Disorder, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Caught Up, and The Taming of the Shrew. He co-wrote the 2018 version of Caught Up, as well as the 2020 production of Black Salt. In addition to his work in the arts, Paige supports the community as a full-time organizer at Urban Peace Movement.


Casey Fern (Technical Director)  is a teacher, builder, designer, and stage manager. He currently teaches beginning drama and stagecraft at Oakland Technical High School, where he also leads the Tech Techies after school program. Casey has been the Technical Director for Gritty City Repertory Youth Theatre since it's beginnings in 2012. Casey has stage managed professionally with New Conservatory Theatre Center in addition to performing with NCTC's YouthAware program. Originally from Hawaii, Casey now lives in Alameda with his lovely wife Colleen Egan and their son Owen. He holds a B.A. in Theatre from Seattle University.

Ely Sonny Orquiza (Director of New Works) is a Queer Filipino multidisciplinary Actor, Director and Teaching Artist based in San Francisco, Bay Area. Through theater and the performing arts, Orquiza explores the role of the Asian diaspora, Asian American experience, ancestral ghosts, and the politics of Queer/ness for the American stage. He champions new works by Artists of Color, examines previously untold folklores, and advocates for undiscovered works highlighting multiethnic narratives. He believes in the remarkable power of diversity and representation in storytelling to bridge the divide and differences amongst us.


Marc-Éddy Loriston (Videographer) was born in Port-au- Prince, and has been developing his artistic talent since he first built toys from found materials in nature at the age of 4 in rural Haiti. He studied painting and film at Cal Arts, obtained a BFA in Cinema Arts from SFSU, and earned his MFA in Film Production from NYU. He worked with GCR on The Comedy of Errors, Playfight, and New World Disorder in a projection and visual arts capacity, and served as dramaturg and mask maker for our Haitian Macbeth. He developed and led new advanced summer camp programming, Acting for the Camera, and directed and produced Gritty City, the first film documenting GCR, which premiered in September 2017. Loriston continues to serve as GCRep's videographer while working FT in the IT department of SmithGroup, an architecture firm in San Francisco.

Brittany Mellerson (Lighting Designer)  is an East coast native and a graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory Program, with a BFA in Theatrical Lighting & Sound design. Brittany is the resident lighting designer for Lamplighters Music Theatre. Recent credits include lighting design for the revival of Roger Grunwald’s The Obligation, the 2018 PlayGround Festival of New Works (Best of PlayGround 22, Bright Shining SeaScapegoat), The Gondoliers and Pirates of Penzance with Lamplighters, Graveyard Shift with SF Playhouse’s Sandbox Series, the 45th Annual Telluride Film Festival and Seen/By Everyone with Theatre of Yugen. 

Mahnaz Salvador (Vocal Coach) is an actor, dancer, and vocalist of multi-cultural descent, including African-American, Native-American, Irish, German, Spanish, and Persian. Born in Phoenix, Arizona, she grew up in North Oakland and graduated from Oakland Technical High School. Her artistic career started at the age of 4 when her great grandmother bought her a grand piano. As a youth, she also trained in ballet, jazz, tap, and gymnastics, and early on realized her passions lay in singing and dance. At the age of 12, she sang and danced with In Living Color, then went on to dance in music videos and write songs for local artists. She started recording music at the age of 16, and played an extra in the movie Made in America. Since then, Mahnaz has continued both performing and teaching in the areas of dance, vocals, and gymnastics. You can find Mahnaz’s vocal work on Sound Cloud at Persiaentertainment, Mahnaz Salvador. Want to save your voice?  Here's a link to Mahnaz's favorite vocal remedy - Singer's Tea!

The Flax Building    

1501 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way

Oakland, CA 94612