Melissa DuPrey is a multidisciplinary artist with roots from Humboldt Park, Chicago. She is also a nationally recognized stand-up comic and critically-acclaimed solo artist with 4 full-length solo shows and 1 full-length play. DuPrey is also a community organizer and spiritualist who also launched The Good Grief Project- an extension of the social justice component from her play GOOD GRIEF where communities of color are connected to local, accessible and multidisciplinary mental and spiritual wellness practitioners of color. She is a featured actor in the Emmy-nominated web-series Brown Girls and has many regional and non regional theater and film credits. TV credits include a recurring appearance on “Empire” (FOX), “The Resident” (FOX), “Chicago PD” (NBC), and “The Chi” (Showtime). As a musician and active member of her community, she is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture by way of the folkloric music, Bomba y Plena, with Africaribe and Las BomPleneras. She is currently an Ensemble Member at UrbanTheater Company and Artistic Associate at Sideshow Theater.
Gina Freed, born on January 22nd, 1944 and Karl Freed, born on September 24th, 1942 met at a mixer at Columbia University in 1960, both as teenagers. Gina has worked as a geriatric nurse for the Visiting Nurses association since 1964. Karl studied chemical engineering and became an accomplished theorist specializing in polymers. During Karl’s NATO fellowship in Manchester, England, Gina and Karl welcomed the first of two daughters, Nicole. A few years later, their second daughter, Michele, completed their family. Karl continued to mentor over 50 PhD students through the Math and Science program at the University of Chicago as a holistic and nurturing professor. Karl has had over 500 articles and books published in the field of chemical engineering. Gina carried a patient load of 40 until her retirement in 2016. Currently, Gina and Karl Freed both reside in Hyde Park as Karl battles Parkinson’s disease with Gina as his full-time caretaker. They have been happily married for over 50 years, and say the key to a successful marriage is respect for one another and support of their individual goals and dreams.