| Clea Straus Rivera


Clea Straus Rivera is a professional actress and playwright, based in New York City.  She was born in New Jersey into a family of artists. Her father and brother are both painters, and her mother is a writer and musician.

As a young child she lived in France. Some of her earliest memories are of Paris and a little village in Provence which planted the seeds for the solo show she would later write, Food Of Life. After returning to the States, she grew up in NewYork City and New Jersey, received her high school diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, and graduated with a BFA in Acting from SUNY Purchase.

Clea has an extensive theatre background, having performed in productions in New York City and regionally around the country. She has also appeared in several independent films.

Clea had the honor of being directed by Maria Irene Fornes in the off-Broadway Womenʼs Project world premiere of Ms. Fornesʼ Summer In Gossensass.  Other New York City credits include Kabuki play, The Love Suicides at Amijima (La MaMa, ETC), A Wrinkle In Time ( Lincoln Center Institute) Jigsaw ( 78th Street Theatre Lab), and The Rivals ( Abingdon Theatre).

Clea has played Juliet in Shakespeareʼs classic a total of three times, including in a production at the Denver Center Theatre, directed by Israel Hicks. She also performed in Shakespeare and Companyʼs unique collaboration with the BuffaloPhilharmonic and Virginia Symphony Orchestras.

Other regional theatre roles have included the title role in Marisol (Denver Center Theatre), the Bride in Blood Wedding (Missouri Rep), Celestina in Cloud Tectonics (Merrimack Rep), and Conchita in Anna In The Tropics (Capital Rep), to name a few.

Clea wrote, produced and performed in her own solo show, Food Of Life, about an eccentric, passionate French chef named Michelle Cassis. Food of Life had its premiere at La MaMa, ETC in New York City, in 2007.

She has worked with Ralph Leeʼs Mettawee River Theatre Company for several seasons, and is also a member of the Touchstone Theatre Ensemble.

Screen credits include roles in independent films Lush Life, Intrusion, Big Merc, and Lee.

Clea recently finished shooting the independent film, Charlie, which has been selected by the 23rd Annual New Orleans Film Festival for a screening in October 2012.


| Updates and Press


From March 1, 2018 – March 18, 2018, Clea will be performing in Extreme Whether at La MaMa, in NYC

 The Downstairs | 66 E 4th Street

Thursday to Saturday at 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm

$25 Adult Tickets; $20 Students/Seniors (plus $1 Facility Fee)

 By Theatre Three Collaborative

Written and directed by Karen Malpede

Heralded as “brilliant” and “important” in performances in French and English in Paris during COP21. Extreme Whether, in the new genre of cli-fi (climate fiction), is a fierce exposé of politically motivated censorship and a family divided by money, power and science. It is, equally, a love story: of people for nature, a girl for a deformed frog, two embattled climate scientists for truth and one another, and an old man, Uncle, for the land in his care. Inspired by crusading climate scientist, James Hansen, and arctic ice scientist Jennifer Francis, and praised by both.
Poster by Luba Lukova

Rocco Sisto, Clea Straus Rivera, Khris Lewin, Dee Pelletier,
Emma Rose Kraus and George Bartenieff


NEWS IN 2015

Clea’s Solo Show, NO VACANCY, will be presented by the United Solo Theatre Festival:


Written and Performed by Clea Straus Rivera

Directed by Sara Berg

 October 31st, 2015


Theatre Row

410 West 42nd Street, NYC

Tickets: (212) 239-6200 /

Ticket price is $19.95, including a $1.25 Theatre Restoration Charge


Dixon Place Presents:


Written and Performed By

 Clea Straus Rivera

Directed by Sara Berg

Saturday, June 6, 2015


The Lounge at Dixon Place

161A Chrystie Street, NYC



NEWS IN 2014: 

Clea co-produced and starred in Jaded Eyes Arts Collective’s production of three-person psychological drama,  THE FOX, by Allan Miller at the Gene Frankel Theatre, in July 2014.  In its first NYC revival since 1982, the play is adapted from the D.H. Lawrence novella.  Set in 1918 rural England, it explores issues of male/ female power dynamics,  feminism, isolation, sensuality, the natural world, and conflicts between physical, mental, and emotional desires.  It co-starred Jaded Eyes Arts Collective’s founder, Matt Savins, and Elizabeth Elkins, and was directed by Jordan Dann.  

Excerpt from Review for THE FOX (by Karen Tortora-Lee, The Happiest Medium, July 21,2014) : ” Savins and Rivera masterfully portray these two lovers, drawn together with such combustible force that all rationality and clear-headedness withers in the wake of their ultimately destructive inferno….Elkins, Savins, and Rivera hold the audience so tightly in a game of will, that it is impossible to breathe as you watch the final moments play out.  At times devastating, as well as bold and brave, this production of The Fox builds to a climax that will leave you transfixed.”  

See Full Review:


Clea wrote, produced, and acted in her new one-woman show, NO VACANCY, at La MaMa ETC in NYC in April 2014.  Directed by Sara Berg, the piece unfolds as a series of vignettes in the life of Betty Lou Gerber, a colorful, eccentric woman, running a Bed and Breakfast establishment in a tiny Southern town.  The piece examines both her behavior in reality, and the fantasy life that keeps her going and allows her to cope in a world too confined for her dreams, whose occupants do not understand her.


NEWS IN 2013:

In October 2013, Clea finished shooting independent short film, The Speech,  written and produced by and co-starring Brian Gaskill.  Co-directed by Garrett Robinson.

On June 15th and August 17th, 2013, Clea performed in SPEAK, the Show at Summerstage, in Herbert Von King Park, Brooklyn, and the East River Park, Manhattan.

SPEAK, directed by Sara Berg, features live music by Marla Mase, and Tomas Doncker,  five actresses, and seven dancers.  It combines music, movement and dance choreographed by Adrienne Hurd, video imagery, and spoken word, “to explore the themes of confinement, sexuality, body image, trauma, oppression ( internal/external) and freedom as a means of  celebrating the raw reality of our human condition as expressed through the eyes, bodies, and voices of women.”


CHARLIE, an independent short film, directed by Philippe Thimel, in which Clea plays the title role,  was chosen as an official selection of the 2012 New Orleans Film Festival.  It screened New Orleans in October 2012.

CHARLIE  had its West Coast Coast premiere on December 5th, 2012, at the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival, and has won an Award of Merit in the Best Shorts Competition.

In the film, Clea takes on the challenge of playing a transgender man on the brink of becoming a woman.  The  film explores Charlie’s friendship with her young neighbor, Matthew, and the bond that forms between these two lost souls.


| My Work


Clea Straus Rivera


| TV-Film-Stage



Food of Life

Clips from CHARLIE

Official Selection of the 2012 New Orleans Film Festival


| Headshots and Photos




Production Photos – Film/TV/Theater



| What They're Saying


“Food Of Life is a delicious solo show that takes the audience into the kitchen with a hot and spicy character named Michelle Cassis. The show is conceived, written and performed by the very talented Clea Rivera.”

-From New York Cool review of Food Of Life, Cleaʼs solo show

“Rivera brings real fire to the play.”

-From Times Union review of Anna In The Tropics, Capital Repertory Theatre

“Clea Rivera is sensuous and beguiling as Celestina, and her movements and voice are bewitching and seductive. The performance is seamless and effortless, easily transporting the audience into this ethereal fantasy.”

-From Bolton Common review of Cloud Tectonics, Merrimack Repertory Theatre

“Clea Rivera is as ethereal as her Celestinaʼs symbolic identity requires while staying rooted in the playʼs realistic predicates. She brings a charming and paradoxical innocence to her character”.

-From Boston Phoenix review of Cloud Tectonics, Merrimack Repertory Theatre

“Clea Rivera, a daughter who is just home from finishing school and bursting to use her charms on men, is quite seductive.”

-From Backstage review of Jigsaw, 78th Street Theatre Lab

“Clea Rivera gives a shrewd performance as Lydiaʼs Maid.”

-From American Theatre Web review of The Rivals, Abingdon Theatre

“Anyone who has ever known a moony, romantic, just blossoming teenage girl will fondly recognize Clea Riveraʼs Juliet.”

-From Denver Post review of Romeo and Juliet, Denver Center Theatre

“As Marisol, Clea Riveraʼs warmth and vulnerability involve us in this journey from unquestioning acceptance to increased awareness.”

-From Daily Camera review of Marisol, Denver Center Theatre

“Other performances worth noting include Clea Rivera as the spitfire Serena.”

-Beach Post review of Zorro, Burt Reynolds Theatre


| Let's Connect