September 9, 2022 - October 16, 2022

The Cast


Megan Mateosky VANESSA / NINA; Lesly Gabriela Ramirez CARLA; 
Nicholas Jaochico GRAFFITI PETE; Sheila Viramontes ABUELA CLAUDIA;
Staci Arriaga CAMILA / DANIELA; Billy Raphael PIRAGUERO


Cast Bios

CARLOS DIEGO MENDOZA* (Usnavi De La Vega) is a Bay Area native who began his acting career on the stage, and after a three-year hiatus is humbled and thrilled to be back. With the love and support from his family, Carlos graduated from San Francisco State University with a Bachelor's degree in Theater Arts in 2014. He is an actor, rapper, director, and theater educator. Carlos has been blessed in collaborating with theater companies all throughout California, and is now living in Los Angeles working in television & film. "I stand on the shoulders of my ancestors and family. The miracles in my life are because of you." You can support and follow Carlos at .

CRISTINA HERNANDEZ (Nina Rosario) will be performing for the second time with Berkeley Playhouse. Cristina received her BA in Theatre Arts at San Jose State University. She has trained vocally with Jennifer Schapiro. Cristina has been seen in City Light’s production of In the Heights, as Nina, in Berkeley Playhouse’s production of West Side Story as Rosalita and Maria, and Opera San Jose’s production of West Side Story as Francisca. She is grateful to her friends and family for their love and support as well as those who keep encouraging her in her career.

ERICK CASANOVA (Kevin Rosario) (he/him) is thrilled to make his Berkeley Playhouse debut with this amazing cast and in this wonderful show about the Latinx experience. He was recently seen at Altarena Playhouse in La Cage Aux Folles (Georges) and at Douglas Morrisson Theatre in Hello, Dolly! (Cornelius Hackl). Other credits include classics like The Fantasticks; new works like Candace Forest’s Viva Concha!; workshops/demo recordings like Mary Feinsinger’s El Ratón Perez; and a variety of self-produced cabaret shows at the historic Duplex Cabaret Theatre in New York City’s West Village. He wants to thank his husband for the inexhaustible love, patience, and endless encouragement.

SHEILA VIRAMONTES (Camila Rosario) is thrilled to be joining Berkeley Playhouse for the first time! Loving her Latin roots, she’s played Lucia in Town Hall Theater’s Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown earning her second Shellie Award, Camilla in Tri Valley Repertory’s In the Heights, Diana Morales in A Chorus Line, and Anita in West Side Story, both for Contra Costa Musical Theater. One of her favorite roles is the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz performed with Tri-Valley Repertory—yes, she can fly! Having started out playing Maria in West Side Story at Diablo Valley College, Sheila is now a real life Abuelita! This show is dedicated to Jessica and James, who are her daily inspiration, and who made her so proud when they performed in their own production of In the Heights. Love you!

JORDAN COVINGTON (Benny) has been enthralled by the magic of theater at an early age, and he has no intention of breaking from its grasp. He will be rejoining Berkeley Playhouse after performing with them prior in their productions of West Side Story and Pippin. Other performances he is noted for are Richie in A Chorus Line and Seaweed in Hairspray. Jordan has won audiences with honest passion and deep respect for the craft of acting. He brought his talents to plays including: Mama At Twilight (Kristopher), Spell #7 (Ross), and Perfect (Chase). After developing a solid foundation in the Bay Area, Jordan is now tackling the film industry in LA in hopes to further his acting career. Follow him on Instagram @jawdincov to follow his journey.

MELISSA RIVERA (Vanessa) is FINALLY making her Berkeley Playhouse debut! She has performed with opera, musical theater, and concert companies throughout the country, but is glad to be back in the Bay! Previous Bay Area theaters include: 42nd Street Moon, Mountain Play, and Boxcar Theater. Favorite roles include: Mimi (Rent), Belinda (Dido & Aeneas), Wendla (Spring Awakening), and Hermia (A Midsummer Night’s Dream.) She participated in the LAByrinth Theater Company’s intensive ensemble in New York where she studied with Philip Seymor Hoffman, among others, and holds an MM in Opera and Music Theater Performance from Southern Illinois University. To my boys, Rich & N.I.N.; you have my heart, los adoro. Mami, Amber, Maya, & Willey family; you were with me from the beginning. Thank you! This is for you! Paciencia y fe. .

JACOB HENRIE-NAFFAA (Sonny) is so thrilled to return to Berkeley Playhouse for In the Heights. Jacob is a Bay Area native actor and writer, who now resides in Los Angeles. Jacob began acting at age seven as Michael Darling in Berkeley Playhouse’s first production of Peter Pan, and has been performing around the Bay since. Some most recent credits include Captain Hugh Crummond in the California Premier of Bullshot Crummond: The Evil Eye of Jabar and the Invisible Bride of Death (Plotline Theatre Company), Berkeley Playhouse’s A Christmas Story (Fantasy Villain/Ensemble), Utopia Theatre Project’s Three Sisters (Ferapont), Plotline Theatre Company’s Bullshot Crummond (Bullshot Crummond) and PCRT’s West Side Story (Snowboy/Mouthpiece). When he’s not on stage, Jacob enjoys teaching, working out, screenwriting and going on hikes.

ANITA VIRAMONTES (Abuela Claudia) has performed locally since 1982. Credits include: Shellie award for Onstage Theater’s Angry Housewives; a dream role at age 21 as Eva in Evita for the Tibbits Opera Foundation in Michigan; Abuela Claudia in In the Heights for Tri Valley Rep, Plethos Productions, and Contra Costa Civic Theater, for which she earned a Theater Bay Area nomination. Recent favorites: Joanne in Company for Ghostlight Theater; a concert version of Follies as Stella Deems with 42nd Street Moon; Becoming Eleanor Roosevelt with New Deal Theater Co. and I’m Running For My Life from the periodical The Nineteen, about the 1/6 Capitol riot, produced by Marilyn Langbehn. Anita performs lead vocals for the event band JD and Company, performing at numerous weddings and corporate celebrations—Anita’s range includes country, swing, disco, rock, R&B, blues and standards. From 1997-2003, Anita performed lead vocals in The Great Time Out Band for The Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena and in The Latin Project 2005 with the best Bay Area latin artists of Santana and MALO. Anita is a featured soloist at the final services for Mr. Dean Lesher. Anita thanks her loving husband Orazio for his continued support!

STEPHANIE BAUMANN (Daniela) is excited to make her debut at Berkeley Playhouse! In the Heights has been such a special show to her. She has been a hairstylist for 16 years and owned her business for 8 years. She connects with Daniela very much and is so happy to represent her Latin culture on stage. You may have seen her as Daniela at City Lights Theatre Company in their production of In the Heights in 2018. She thanks her family and friends for all their love and support.

VANESSA DALPIAZ (Carla) (she/her) is an actor, director, and teaching artist. As an East Bay native, she is excited to make her Berkeley Playhouse debut. Vanessa is a recent graduate of the Pomona College Theatre department and studied at the London Dramatic Academy.  Her previous acting credits include: Celia in As You Like It (Masquers Playhouse), Antonio in The Tempest (Vallejo Shakespeare), Morticia in The Addams Family (The Green Room), and Amy in Little Women (Pomona College). As a multi-ethnic Latina, Vanessa is delighted to be a part of bringing this rich and culturally significant show to life.

TONY WOOLDRIDGE (Graffiti Pete) is very excited to be back once again performing at Berkeley Playhouse. Tony was last seen here performing the role of Baby John in West Side Story. He has been dancing for over 20 years and has a genuine love for Hip-Hop. His most recent project was the privilege of choreographing Urinetown at Scotts Valley High School. In the Heights was the first musical Tony was ever introduced to and a part of which holds a special place in his heart. He would like to thank his parents, his sister, and Jennifer Schapiro for supporting his love for performance.

JESSE CORTEZ (Piragüero/Ensemble) (he/him) is honored to be returning to the Berkeley Playhouse stage! Winner of Best Showtunes Cabaret 2013 at Martuni’s and member of the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, his past productions include Sister Act (Berkeley Playhouse) and Billy Elliot (Berkeley Playhouse). Other favorite theater credits include La Cage Aux Folles (Altarena Playhouse), Rock of Ages (Center Repertory Theater), and Sweeney Todd (Hillbarn Theater). He dedicates his performance to his late partner, Thomas White. Descanse en paz. Alabanza. Find out more at

NICHOLAS JAOCHICO (Ensemble) has only just recently made his way onto the Bay Area theater scene and is beyond grateful to be working with this prestigious company! Nico graduated this past 2021 from Cal State East Bay with a BA in Music (Vocal Performance), and was most recently seen as “Mark Cohen” in Landmark Musical Theatre’s production of Rent in San Francisco. Nico would like to dedicate his performance to his miraculous friends and family, and above all his late mother, who have urged him to keep moving forward, for this is only the beginning. Twitch: nicojaochico. YouTube/Instagram/Twitter: neekdadeek

ALEXANDRA ROSEN (Ensemble) is a Latinx artist based in Marin County. Upon graduation from Marin School of the Arts she continued her passion for dance at Goucher College. Choosing to declare an interdisciplinary major with components in Biology, Chemistry and Dance allowed her to explore different interests while continuing to perform and choreograph. Throughout her career Alexandra has performed with the 1021 Hip Hop Team, the Dancers of Color Coalition, Christopher K. Morgan and more. Most recently you may have seen her in Marin Musical Theater Company's production of Rent. When she is not singing, dancing and acting she can be found swimming, biking and running in local triathlon races.

MILES MECKLING (Ensemble) (he/him) is excited to return to Berkeley Playhouse for In the Heights.This show has been over two years in the making, so he is excited to finally tell this beautiful story. He is a graduate of Sacramento State with a Bachelors in Theatre. Recent credits include Berkeley Playhouse: Little Shop of Horrors; Woodminster: On Your Feet; Sacramento Theatre Company: Mamma Mia, HMS Pinafore; Classic Theatre: The Gift of Magi; Sacramento State: Sweat, In the Heights; South Bay Musical Theatre: Almost Maine; Woodland Opera House: Sister Act, Newsies; William Jessup: Seven Brides. Lastly, he thanks his family and friends for the love and support. Instagram: @Leroi23

ALYSSA FREDZESS (Ensemble) is thrilled to be making yet another appearance on the Berkeley Playhouse Stage this year. She was previously seen in Berkeley Playhouse’s Little Shop of Horrors, which just recently closed its successful run. She wants to thank everyone who made the revamping of this show possible and is very excited to finally have the chance to tell this important and heart-warming story. As always, she thanks her family and friends for their constant support and hopes everyone enjoys the show!

MALCOLM LEON (Ensemble) (he/him) recently moved to Oakland from Southern California. Before his move, he was the resident choreographer at the California Theatre of San Bernardino. Some Choreographer credits are as follows but not limited to: In the Heights, Newsies, American Idiot, and more. Malcolm was a part of the production In the Heights with Berkeley Playhouse just before the shutdown 2 years ago. He is honored to be back with this incredible cast and on stage to perform in his debut performance with Berkeley Playhouse. He’d like to thank his fiance and loved ones for all of the love and support they’ve shown. IG: @Pirwete_777

MEGAN MCGRATH (Ensemble) has performed on the Julia Morgan stage in Peter PanAnniePippin, and The Wizard of Oz (a production she also choreographed). Her choreography has been seen at multiple theaters around the Bay Area including Berkeley Playhouse’s 2019-2020 season opener, Mamma Mia. Megan is the Youth Productions Manager at Berkeley Playhouse and is currently directing KidStage's Matilda Jr. She is honored to be sharing the stage with such an amazing cast. The pandemic has been so hard on the theater community and Megan thanks you for your support. Lots of love to Billy and Loreigna.

KEVIN GRUWELL (Ensemble/Dance Captain) (he/him) is excited to be returning to Berkeley Playhouse for this production of In the Heights—a bittersweet moment, as he was due to perform in CenterREP’s production before the COVID shutdown. Some favorite performing credits include: West Side Story (Berkeley Playhouse), Mamma Mia! (CenterREP), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Napa Valley Broadway Playhouse), Legally Blonde (Missouri Street Theatre). Kevin also works as a choreographer and instructor around the Bay Area. Follow his work @kevmgru/

ANN WARQUE (Ensemble/Dance Captain) (she/her) is a Filipina-American musical theater artist from the East Bay Area and is thrilled to be making her Berkeley Playhouse debut! She recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and a Minor in Theatre Arts from Loyola Marymount University. Her recent credits include: Follies (SF Playhouse), Baked! The Musical (FaultLine Theater), In the Heights as Vanessa (Loyola Marymount), and West Side Story (One More Productions). Aside from performing, Ann enjoys going to the beach and curating oddly specific Spotify playlists. She would like to thank her family and friends for supporting her dreams, and hopes that you enjoy the show! IG: @blackiris.fp

LESLY GABRIELA RAMIREZ (Ensemble) is beyond grateful to make her Berkeley Playhouse debut in her favorite show! She’s had the wonderful opportunity to be in the world premieres of She Persisted: The Musical as Sonia Sotomayor and El Gato Ensombrerado as Thing 2 with Bay Area Children’s Theatre, as well as [dreamer] Project: An Undocuplay as Kenia, The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Seussical as Ensemble with DVC Drama. She would like to thank God, Blake, Ev, Juni, her CDG family, the Patchin’s and her friends for their faith, love and support. And Abel, we love and miss you, this one’s for you.

MEGAN MATEOSKY (Ensemble) is a trained opera singer from Melbourne, Florida, and is thrilled to be making her Berkeley Playhouse debut! Megan is currently completing her Masters in Vocal Performance at the SF Conservatory of Music, where she has performed as "The Witch” in Hansel and Gretel, “Tolomeo” in Giulio Cesare, and “The Old Woman /Book of Fate” in Enchanted Pig. Most recently, Megan performed as “Nun/Mother Abbess Understudy” in The Sound of Music at Throckmorton Theater in Mill Valley, CA.

*Member of Actor's Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States.