Gary Stanford Jr. Photography
Melissa Rivera is a California born bilingual Latina performer. Her career has given her the opportunity to travel and perform all over the country and she has even been featured in events in Mexico. Although she is best known for her work in musical theatre, she is also experienced in opera, straight plays, recitals, and concert style shows. Her classical and contemporary training allows her to seamlessly maneuver through an assortment of vocal styles and stage repertoire. She proved her vocal flexibility when she won 1st place in the Mid-Atlantic Region National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Young Artist competition in 2010. Her stylistic breadth includes the roles of Vanessa (In The Heights), Belinda (Dido and Aeneas), and Hope Harcourt (Anything Goes). Her catalog of work also includes radio & TV commercials, marketing prints, and voice overs.
While performing is her original passion, she has found a home as the Producing Director of Education and Mainstage at the Berkeley Playhouse in Berkeley, CA, where she serves as one of the four members of the leadership team.
Education is important to her, therefore she has continued to actively work on her craft. This includes specializing in on-camera audition techniques for live theatre, rock/pop musical theatre audition techniques as pioneered by Sheri Sanders, and regularly attending various EDI workshops as they relate to the theater community. Some of her most valuable trainings inlude; the LAByrinth Theater Company’s intensive ensemble in New York (where she studied with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Stephen Adly Guirgis among others), a two month in-depth teacher training course with the creator of Rock the Audition (Sheri Sanders), and Theater Intimacy Education's Best Practices: Affinity for BIPOC workshop. She holds a Master of Music in Opera & Music Theater Performance from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and a Bachelor of Music in voice and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from San Diego State University.
Her early experience as a theater educator consists of teaching private and group voice lessons, running workshops and masterclasses in audition techniques, theatre fundamentals, and performance coaching.
Her varied background as a performer, educator, and producer gives her a unique well-rounded perspective of of the industry.