TAMU-CC Theatre Alumna Ashley Kristeen Vega ’17 Takes NYC by Storm, Creates Indie Media Production Company

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Through the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic, live-performance aficionados have lamented the absence of live entertainment. Most artists, however, are anything but idle during pronounced moments of isolation, especially those looking to launch a new idea into the world.

One such creative who has developed a new business while in quarantine is Ashley Kristeen Vega ’17. A theatrical triple threat, Vega is equally at home writing, directing, and even acting. Not surprisingly, the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi-trained thespian is taking the New York City theatre scene by storm, one production at a time.

During her time at the Island University, Vega participated in countless plays and dance demos. She also acted, sang,  and lent her time as a percussionist in the production of “ARGONAUTIKA,” starred in the Seed Project titled “Smokefall,” and directed multiple on-campus student productions.

“It was during my time at TAMU-CC that I realized I can have a full career in theatre without a specific role,” Vega, who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, said. “I can act, I can direct, I can produce, and I can create theatre in many different capacities.”

Faculty member Alison Frost remembers Vega’s hard work and tenacity.

“My first impression of Ashley was that she was determined to succeed in the profession of theatre from day number one. The great thing about our bachelor’s degree in theatre is that our students receive training and experience in numerous avenues of the collaborative arts, and Ashley took advantage of everything that the School of Arts, Media, and Communication offers: She worked as an actor, she danced, she directed, she was featured in films for the media department, and she sang with the music department in several opera productions,” Frost said. “Her goal was to get to New York City.” 

After graduation, Vega followed her passions to the Big Apple, which she had previously visited during a summer trip with Jilissa Cotten, TAMU-CC Associate Professor and Director of Dance, and Dr. Dan Sipes, TAMU-CC Professor of Music.

Since moving to New York, Vega has worked with fellow Islander alumni to make a name for herself. She played Ramona in the premiere of the 10-minute play “Some Assembly Required” at the New York Theatre Fest, which was written by former Corpus Christi teacher Stephanie Salazar-Amaro and directed by Morgan Urbanovsky ’18. The work eventually evolved into a full one-act play called “Basic Glitch” that featured Vega and Abigail Harris ’18, Cory De Leon ’18,       Thomas Valdez ’17, and Cassi Torres ‘10; the premiere took place at the Broadway Bound Theatre Festival in August 2019.

Taking the Big Apple by storm

During her time at the Island University, Ashley Kristeen Vega ’17 participated in countless plays and dance demos as a Theatre major. Now based in New York City, Vega has co-founded a new independent multi-disciplinary media production company called Party Claw Productions with friend Lara Kay Clark.

 “Having a network of Islanders in NYC has helped me build an artistic home. Not only are these people some of my most trusted collaborators, but they are my best friends,” Vega said. “We have a love of creating work that was fostered at the university and has grown with us in New York.”

Because of the limitations of quarantine in New York City, Vega along with friend Laura Kay Clark, founded a new independent multi-disciplinary media production company called Party Claw Productions

“Along with my producing partner Laura, we have made it our mission to challenge industry standards, break down stigmas, empower marginalized voices, and champion genuine feminist stories,” Vega said. “Producing allows us to choose stories that use our other forms of artistry ‒ be it acting, directing, writing, or filmmaking – to interpret the messaging we want to share.”

Since its inception, Party Claw Productions has produced two short films, two plays, a digital series, along with another short film that’s in pre-production. Most recently, the company collaborated with the New Ohio Theatre to produce the play “Petunia’s Playhouse Live!: Petunia’s Big Day” which is an original family-friendly musical. Because of the most recent Omicron surge in New York City that has shut down many Broadway and indie theatre shows alike, the show has since pivoted to an online streaming version that will be available nationwide in the coming weeks.

Frost says she’s not surprised that Vega is making waves so quickly in the Big Apple’s heralded theatre scene.

“When Ashley moved to New York City, she moved at Mach 5 speed with her hair on fire,” Frost said. “I admire her mission to challenge industry standards and empower marginalized voices with Party Claw Productions and hope to support her with dollars and attendance. I couldn’t be more proud of her work and mission.”

Vega says she’s simply happy to be productive during these uncertain times.

“I am honored to be creating in a time when it would be easier not to,” Vega said. “It's times like these when you realize your duty as an artist, and I am thankful every day to get to live that truth.”

Vega adds that Party Claw plans to move forward on new projects in the coming months, even amid the difficult circumstances created by the Omicron surge.

“The company currently has plans for various theatre productions, including several world premieres, and we are in pre-production for a number of feature films and digital series. Be sure to stay tuned!” Vega said.

Party Claw Productions will be releasing Petunia’s Playhouse Live!: Petunia’s Big Day via an on-demand streaming platform in the coming weeks. The show is presented in partnership with the Theatre for Young Minds initiative at the famed New Ohio Theatre in Greenwich Village.

For more information and tickets, please visit https://www.petuniasplayhouse.net/petunias-playhouse-live