Celeste Ciulla's Bio

 

Celeste Ciulla is a native New Yorker. When her older brothers started showing great interest in the Hell’s Angels in their Lower East side neighborhood, her parents—who met as students at The American Academy of Dramatic Arts— decided to move them to Englewood, New Jersey.

At Dwight Morrow High School Celeste focused on things she knew she wouldn’t have time for in college. She played the violin in The Bergen County Youth Orchestra, as well as studying privately. She captained her school’s track and cross-country teams. She performed in one play—as Renfield in “Dracula”. As she recalls it, the rest of the girls auditioned for the role of Lucy.

Celeste attended Northwestern University, graduating with a BS in Theatre. She has long since lost the “freshman 35 pounds” she gained there.

She went directly into grad school and graduated in two years from the American Repertory Theatre’s Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University.

Upon graduation from Harvard, Celeste moved back to the Big Apple with her union card in hand and William Morris as her agent — and went immediately to work as a nighttime receptionist for a NYC law firm, where she soon rose to assistant office manager, then office manager, then assistant LAN administrator, then events planner. She also captained the firm’s volleyball team. She has held many other jobs, such as ice-cream truck driver, sales clerk in a children’s hair-salon/toy-store, front desk monitor of the Cardiac Catheterization unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the hospital in which she was born, and cater waiter.

When Celeste became a member of The Pearl Theatre Company—coincidentally located on the same block in the East Village where she was born—it was time to leave the law firm. She remained at the Pearl for four years, and won AEA's 2002 Callaway Award for "Best Performance in Classical Play" for the role of Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer.

During the years of 2006 to 2009 Celeste spent half the year performing in The Summer Shakespeare Repertory Festival at The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego and learning to rock climb. The other half of each year was spent on a variety of projects at a variety of regional theatres, as well as narrating audio books.

2010 reminded Celeste that you never know what’s around each corner! She did not return to the Globe that summer but The Globe asked her to step into the World Premiere of Duncan Sheik’s “Whisper House” and it was an incredible show and a beautiful experience. The Globe then nominated her for the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship, which she attended for eight spectacular days that summer at Ten Chimneys. She went directly from Ten Chimneys, (after a brief visit with friends at Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, MN), to Arrow Rock Missouri where she worked with old friends and new on a lovely production of “The Man Who Came To Dinner.”

In the first quarter of 2011 and the last months of 2010 Celeste was fortunate enough to return to St. Louis Repertory Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park to perform in a co-production of "Over The Tavern" by Tom Dudzick. In Cincinnati the production won the "Acclaim Award" for Outstanding Equity Ensemble!

In fact, Missouri has been very good to Celeste. She performed another show at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre, “Steel Magnolias” and returned yet again to St. Louis in 2014 to perform in “Other Desert Cities”.

Other highlights in the last few years have included “Clybourne Park”, which allowed her to return to The Pioneer Theatre, “Double Indemnity” in Bethesda, MD, the World Premiere of Jeffrey Hatcher’s “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club”, which allowed her to return to Arizona Repertory Theatre and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra, which reunited her with Tony Award Winning Director, Darko Tresnjak.

In 2011 Celeste won and audiophile award for best ensemble cast for the Narration of Nicole Krauss’s book “Great House”. In 2015 she is proud to say that she has recorded over 50 titles for Recorded Books and is currently working on several projects with the Irondale Ensemble Theatre in Brooklyn.