"Ms. Mortellaro does a terrific job with Marie, portraying her with a kind of rough-hewn grace that requires a tricky balance. Play Marie too tough and she has no chance to open up later on; play her too sympathetic and her early resistance to Lorraine makes no sense. Ms. Mortellaro finds the middle ground between distance and empathy, while nailing the foul-mouthed humor and poetry of Ms. Moss’s script."
"It is a play of difficult emotions, and a fair amount of pain; your wintry Hamptons complacency may be momentarily shaken. The payoff, however — emotional catharsis and powerful performances — will be well worth it."
- THE EAST HAMPTON STAR
"It’s clear from the first seconds of the action that Marie (Ms. Mortellaro) is terrified of everything, even a simple knock on the door. Crouching and hiding in plain sight, her shallow breathing and pained expression more than convey that she feels hopeless and has nothing left in this world to dream for."
- SAG HARBOR EXPRESS
THIS WIDE NIGHT by Chloe Moss
On release from prison, Lorraine heads straight to Marie’s. They used to share everything inside, but find the friendship that once protected them now threatens to smother the fragile freedom they have found.
Jessica co-produced and starred in the two hander, This Wide Night, which ran at Guild Hall in East Hampton from March 17th - 26th, 2016. This production marked the first for Speck of Light Productions - founded by Jessica and her producing partner Chloe Dirksen. The play was performed intimately with the audience sitting on the stage on three sides. The East Hampton Star called it "a 'Tour de Force' for actors.....as good as regional theater acting gets." This Wide Night also gave a special donated performance to the students of Madonna Heights Residential and Day School (part of SCO Family of services which provides support to help young girls heal from trauma).
Visit www.speckoflightproductions.com for more info about the production.
To Kill a Mockingbird
Jessica played Mayella in The Bay Street Theater's production of To Kill a Mockingbird as part of their Literature Live Series. The show, directed by Joeseph Minutillo, ran from November 5-29 in Sag Harbor, NY.
"The most striking and riveting performance, though, is Mortellaro’s as Mayella Ewell. Mortellaro doesn’t have much stage time, but her confrontation with Atticus on the stand at the trial is chilling, sad and raw. Mortellaro presents Mayella as a reactionary, volatile woman who is victimized by all the men around her, be it her abusive father Bob Ewell... or Atticus, who is just trying to acquit Tom. Her animalistic reaction to being caught in lie after lie will give audiences goose bumps."
- DANS PAPERS
"However, it is the stellar performances by Chauncy Thomas as the accused Tom Robinson and Jessica Mortellaro as Mayella Ewell, the accuser, that put this production over the top and into the realm of best performances seen on this stage. With tears streaming down their faces, both of these young actors bring a depth to their characters that has the audience crying along with them."
- THE EAST HAPMPTON STAR
"You will love to hate the Ewells with Pallister and Mortellaro giving fantastically disturbing performances."
-NEW YORK THEATER GUIDE
The Diary Of Anne Frank
Jessica played Anne Frank at The Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY in November 2013.
The Diary of Anne Frank, written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, was presented as part of Bay Street Theatre’s Literature Live! educational program, which presents a piece of literature selected from the core curriculum and brings it to life on stage for the general public as well as for schools across Long Island.
"To the millennial generation, the Holocaust is ancient history. But to the young woman playing the title role in “The Diary of Anne Frank” at Bay Street, it’s family history. Jessica Mortellaro dedicates her performance to her Austrian-born grandmother and Polish-born grandfather who fled the Nazis... Mortellaro’s bursting-out-of-her-skin impatience with living in circumstances where her only privacy is on the pages of her diary convinces us"
"The Bay Street Cast is an excellent one....starting with Jessica Mortellaro as Anne. She captures the intelligence as well as the explosive procosity of the character."
-THE EAST HAMPTON STAR