Leah Hocking, Alma Ceuervo, Jim Stanek Lead Cast for New York Premiere of "An Enchanted April: A Musical" at Theatre Row November 1-16, 2019
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 11:40 am EDT 10/11/19







Utah Lyric Opera, in association with Thunder Media Group, will present the New York Premiere of An Enchanted April, a new musical based on the novel The Enchanted April, by Elizabeth von Arnim, with book and lyrics by Elizabeth Hansen, music & lyrics by C. Michael Perry and directed by Alice Jankell in a limited engagement (November 1-16) at Theatre Two at Theatre Row (410 West 42nd Street).

An Enchanted April begins in London...during a particularly dreary February in 1922. Four world-weary women, desperate to escape their memories of WWI and the repression of London, dare to rent a villa in Italy for a month. Miraculously, in just one short Enchanted April, the lives and hearts of these women are transformed by wisteria, sunshine, a small medieval castle...and each other.

“Very, very rarely, a piece comes along that lets you live in the light while exploring the shadows,” explains director Alice Jankell. “This show is lovely and joyful, yet honest and fearless enough to dive deep into the human heart. I am excited by that contrast.”

The cast features Broadway’s Leah Hocking (Broadway: Billy Elliot, Mamma Mia, Hairspray, The Wild Party, Jekyll and Hyde, Grease, Guys & Dolls), Alma Cuervo (Broadway: On Your Feet, Beauty and the Beast; Cabaret; Titanic; The Heidi Chronicles; Ghetto; Quilters) and Jim Stanek (Broadway: Fun Home, Lestat, Little Women, The Rivals), with Christiana Cole (Off Broadway: Fun Home, The Brady Bunch), Aaron Phillips (Off Broadway: American Morning; Film: Delivery Man, Visiting Hours) and newcomers Gena Sims, Peter Reid Lambert and Melody Meeks Putnam.

The creative team includes Andrew Joy (Executive Producer), Richard Danley (Music Director), Ronnie Bishop (Assistant Music Director), Matthew Solomon (Costume Design), William Armstrong (Scenic & Lighting Design), Erin Dinnell Bjorn (Projections Design) and Liz Burdick (Prop Mistress). Cheyney Coles is Stage Manager.

An Enchanted April will play the following performance schedule: Wednesday–Saturday at 8:00pm, with matinees on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 2:00pm. Tickets, priced at $65, can be purchased by visiting www.telecharge.com or by calling 212-239-6200.


Elizabeth Hansen (Book & Lyrics) has had a varied writing, directing, and acting career, that has taken her from Broadway, to the newsrooms of the LA Times where she had her own By-Line, to the classrooms of Brigham Young University where she taught screenwriting from 1994-2000. A native of Utah, Ms. Hansen holds an MFA in screenwriting from AFI, has won the prestigious Writers Guild of America Award, an EMMY nomination, and was a finalist for the Humanitas Prize for excellence in children’s television programing. In addition, she has a Telly award and two Crystal Awards, and has won multiple screenwriting competitions. She started her career as an actress and has been seen on Broadway in: A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine - Directed by Tommy Tune and  Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up. National Tours include:  Hello, Dolly! - 20th Anniversary Tour with Carol Channing The King & I with Rudolf Nureyev;  Evita  directed by Harold Prince; and A Partridge in a Pear Tree  with James Mason. Regional Theatre credits include:  Guys & Dolls  with Milton Berle;  Oliver!  directed by Tony and Oscar winner, Onna White, and many others. Regionally, she has been seen as: “Marge” in  The Bridges of Madison County  (Eccles Regent Street Theatre); “Mother Superior” in  Sister Act, and “Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn” in  The Music Man  (Sundance Summer Theatre).  Her directing credits include:  Carmen Pine Mountain Music Festival;  Rigoletto, Madama Butterfly, La Traviata, La Boheme, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Singing the Stories of Christmas, and Singing the Stories of America - Utah Lyric Opera;  Big River - Sundance Summer Theatre,  Enchanted April: a musical-Covey Center for the Arts. www.elizabethhansen.us.

C. Michael Perry (Music & Lyrics) has had a diverse career.  Born in Colorado and raised in Chicago, he found the theatre at age 14 and has made all or part of his living in theatre, film and television ever since. He has worked in both network and public television, national and regional commercials, creating shows for PBS, where he won an Emmy Award for his PBS children's program, Cinderabbit, which also won him a "Best of The West" Public Television award.  While at PBS he worked with James Coco, Rene Auberjonois, Peter Coyote, Barnard Hughes, Mildred Natwick, and was also able to be a dialogue coach for Dame Judith Anderson in the PBS series Showcase.  On the Donny and Marie Show  and  The Osmond Family Hour at ABC, he worked with such stars as Buddy Hackett, Andy Griffith, Bob Hope, Paul Lynde, Robert Conrad, Harvey Korman, LeVar Burton, Ann-Margret, Betty White, and Ruth Buzzi. He also choreographed a number for Dick Van Dyke for an ABC-TV Special. As an Actor/Performer he has played in front of live audiences across the US and Europe in numerous plays and musicals. He has directed over 60 shows on the professional, regional, community and education level, including: Amahl and the Night Visitors, Hansel and Gretel -Utah Lyric Opera;  Oliver, The King and I-Alhambra Playhouse;  Big River  (Choreographer/Music Director) -Sundance Summer Theatre;  The Honorable Urashima Taro-BYU, to name just a few. After his professional life, Mr. Perry turned to teaching, where he inspired high school students in public schools for 14 years. He is an award-winning Composer-Lyricist and Playwright of over fifty plays and musicals, most of which have been produced nationally, internationally and published. He is a member of  The New England Theatre Conference, Maine Arts Commission, The New England Foundation for the Arts, and ASCAP, and is a graduate of Brigham Young University with a BA in Theatre.

Alice Jankell (Director) for Disney, Alice helped to create and develop new Broadway musicals.  As Associate Artistic Director of The Williamstown Theatre Festival, her directing work included As You Like It,  Dinah Was, and Enough Rope, the special event on Dorothy Parker starring Elaine Stritch.  Alice has worked and learned in venues as varied as the Mark Taper, the L.A. Opera, The Public, New York Theatre Workshop, La Mama, and City Theater, among many others, as well as in film and TV.  Her own scripts have been developed across the country.   Her favorite acting roles include a solo performance, backed by the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and she has taught acting at Carnegie Mellon.  Alice was Creative Director of F.A.B. Women (For, About, and By Women) under The Barrow Group's Off-Broadway umbrella, helping to generate and produce 48 new plays.   Alice is a founding member of Core Artists Ensemble, and a New York Theatre Workshop Usual Suspect. Education: Wesleyan, Masters at NYU. www.alicejankell.com.

Elizabeth von Arnim (Author) born  Mary Annette Beauchamp, was an Australian-born British novelist. By marriage she became  Countess von Arnim-Schlagenthin. Arnim would later refer to her domineering first husband by the Biblical title the "Man of Wrath" and writing became her refuge from what turned out to be an incompatible marriage. Arnim's husband had increasing debts and was eventually sent to prison for fraud. This was when she created her pen name "Elizabeth" and launched her career as a writer by publishing her semi-autobiographical, brooding, yet satirical  Elizabeth and Her German Garden (1898). Detailing her struggles both to create a garden on the estate and her attempts to integrate into German, high-class, Junker society. It was such a success that it was reprinted twenty times in its first year.

Richard Danley (Music Director) a native of Washington D.C., Richard graduated from Lipscomb University in  Nashville TN.  After working at some of the most prestigious hotels in Washington he moved to New York City where he promptly became music director for The Festival of Singing Soap Opera Stars.  With Kim Zimmer of "Guiding Light," he was featured in Broadway and Barbershop in `90 and `91 productions at  Carnegie Hall. In Geneva, Switzerland he was music director for '91 and '95 revues  of The Best of Broadway for the TELCOM convention.  He has appeared on the soap operas "Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns."  And he was the founder and conductor of the WestSide Chorale of NYC. Among the notables he has worked with include: Kitty Carlisle Hart, Pat Boone,  Julie Wilson, Michael Tilson-Thomas,  and Broadway stars Lea Salonga, Brian Stokes Mitchell, and Audra McDonald.  He is a faculty member of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC serving as Director of Accompanists and Musicianship Chairman.  His most recent Off-Broadway show was Spamilton: An American Parody.

Andrew Joy (Executive Producer) is a Broadway associate general manager at Foresight Theatrical. His current productions include Diana: A New Musical, Harry Connick Jr: A Celebration of Cole Porter, Thoughts of a Colored Man,  and the worldwide productions of Kinky Boots. Prior to Foresight, he worked at 101 Productions, where he worked on the Broadway productions of Dear Evan Hansen and Sunday in the Park with George. He earned a BFA from Brigham Young University and an MFA in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University.

Matthew Solomon (Costume Design) is honored to be designing An Enchanted April. Most recently, Solomon was a costumer on the TV show, Pose. Other recent credits also include, Jesus Christ Superstar Live, Live with Kelly and Ryan!, Nancy Kerrigan's Halloween on Ice, the First National Tour of A Bronx Tale The Musical, A Chorus Line International Tour, and A Christmas Story national tour. Some favorite Credits include: A Chorus Line with City Center Encores! and the 50th Anniversary Benefit Concert for Hair. Solomon has also worked at such theaters as the Lincoln Center Theater, Fifth Avenue, North Shore Music Theater, and Cape Playhouse.

Erin Dinnel Bjorn (Projection Design) has an MFA from Brigham Young University in Theatre Production and Design and works professionally in the areas of costume design, costume crafts construction, projection content design, and lighting design. She has worked for the last decade as a projection designer for many of BYU’s Dance Department productions including International Folk-Dance Ensemble, Living Legends, Ballroom Dance Company, Contemporary Dance Theatre and Young Ambassadors. Erin also instructs courses in design at Brigham young University and Utah Valley University. Recent design credits include costume design for Frank Wildhorn’s Wonderland.

Cheyney Coles (Production Stage Manager) Broadway: Sea Wall / A Life. Off Broadway: Sea Wall / A Life, Girl From the North Country (The Public); Encores! High Button Shoes (New York City Center); The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop); Play On! Shakespeare Festival (CSC/OSF). Regional (Selected): HOOD: A Robin Hood Musical Adventure; Constellations; Dreamgirls; Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical; The Rocky Horror Show; Fortress of Solitude (Dallas Theater Center). Love to Soren and Wylie. 

Ronnie Bishop (Assistant Musical Director) Born and raised in New Jersey, Ronnie started taking piano lessons at age four and performing at age five. At sixteen she began studying the organ at Brigham Young University where she earned a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance and pedagogy. After returning to the east coast, Ronnie did research for Sony Classical while also maintaining her performance career by playing at churches in New York City as well as musical directing and providing piano accompaniment for various off-Broadway and regional theater and opera productions. Favorite appearances include playing for previous productions of An Enchanted April: a musical, playing in the on-stage ensemble for a production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, participating in a Salt Lake Tabernacle gala organ concert honoring Salt Lake Tabernacle Organist Frank Asper, and playing the organ at Radio City Music Hall for 80 performances of the Christmas Spectacular, starring the world-famous Rockettes. Ronnie is an Associate of the American Guild of Organists. She also holds an Associate of Arts Degree in accounting and taxation and a Master of Arts degree in criminal justice.

Madeline Corcoran (Assistant Costume Designer) is originally from Upstate NY and recently graduated from Molloy College/CAP21 with a BFA in Theater Arts. She is ecstatic to be working on her first off -Broadway credit! Other recent NYC costume credits include Broadway: Tina: The Tina Turner Musical and Be More Chill. Regional: Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. Educational: Peter and the Starcatcher, No Body to Murder. Much love to Matthew, friends and family.   

Leah Hocking (Lotty) Broadway: The Last Ship (Jesse), Billy Elliot (Mum), Mamma Mia (Donna Sheridan), Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle), All Shook Up (Miss Sandra), Dance of the Vampires (Magda), The Wild Party (Mae), Jekyll and Hyde (Lucy), Grease (Marty), Guys and Dolls (Sarah Brown). Leah was nominated for a Helen Hayes award for her performance as Mrs. Wilkinson in the national tour of Billy Elliot at The Kennedy Center. She made her New York City Opera debut as Cleo in The Most Happy Fella. Off Broadway: The Mad Ones, The Thing About Men, Forbidden Broadway 10th Anniversary. Regional includes: La Jolla Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, The Ordway, Papermill Playhouse and The MUNY in St Louis where she was nominated for a Kevin Klein Award for her performance as Ado Annie in Oklahoma. Leah has sung with symphonies across the country under the auspices of Broadway Pops International. Film and Television: Law and Order, Whoopi, Across the Universe, The Pilgrim, Safe, Bernard and Huey. Original Cast Albums: The Last Ship, All Shook Up, The Thing About Men, The Wild Party and Jekyll and Hyde. Proudest Accomplishment: Her talented and beautiful daughter Mabel L’Ecuyer.

Alma Cuervo (Mrs. Fisher) most recently appeared in In The Heights (Music Theatre of Wichita), YERMA (Huntington Theatre) and On Your Feet (Broadway and national tour). Other Broadway credits include Beauty and the Beast; Cabaret; Titanic; The Heidi Chronicles; Ghetto; Quilters; Is There Life After High School?; Censored Scenes from King Kong; and Bedroom Farce. She played in the national tours of Wicked; My Fair Lady; Cabaret; M. Butterfly. Her off-Broadway credits include Road Show (Public Theatre); Allegro (Classic Stage Company) and many others. She received an OBIE for her performance in Uncommon Women and Others (also on PBS) and a Barrymore Award for Beauty Queen of Leenane (Philadelphia Theatre Company). Alma has worked extensively in regional theatre and is an award-winning narrator of audiobooks. She was a series regular on Norman Lear’s a.k.a. Pablo and is a graduate of Tulane and Yale Drama School.

Jim Stanek (Mellersh) Broadway: Fun Home, Lestat, Little Women, The Rivals, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Off-Broadway: Goldstein, Desperate Writers, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Freud's Last Session, Jacques Brel Returns, Frankenstein, A New Musical, Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, Slut, Best Foot Forward. Regional: Footloose, Into the Woods, Family Ties, Carnival!, The Threepenny Opera, Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Christiana Cole (Rose) - The NY Times called Christiana Cole “top-notch.” Seen at: Playwrights Horizons, Ars Nova, City Center, 54 Below, Musical Theatre Factory, Queens Theatre, York Theatre, Labyrinth Theatre Company, O’Neill Theatre Center, Transport Group. Fave credit: Big Alison in Fun Home (TheatreSquared). Winner of NPR’s The MOTH Story Slam. Featured vocalist on the soundtrack of the Sundance-selected film The Farewell, starring Awkwafina. Christiana sings backup for Tony-winner Joanna Gleason in her cabaret show “Out of the Eclipse.” Christiana has a degree in opera from the Manhattan School of Music, and has taught voice lessons for over a decade, both privately and at Columbia University, New York Film Academy, and SUNY New Paltz. Christiana’s Christmas album “A Cozy Christmas with Christiana Cole” is available on iTunes, Amazon, and all major streaming platforms. Member: BMI Advanced Songwriting Workshop and Librettists Workshop. Christiana is currently writing book/lyrics/music of a new original musical, Tribe Without a God. 

Peter Reid Lambert (Mr. Briggs) grew up in Draper, Utah just around the bend from book and lyric writer, Elizabeth Hansen. He moved to New York last year and could not be more thrilled about the opportunity to work with her in the NYC premiere of An Enchanted April. Since moving he has played Freddie in Hudson Warehouse’s Pride and Prejudice, Ensemble in Seven Angels Theatre’s The Who’s Tommy, and Ernst in Resident Theatre Company’s Cabaret. He also originated the role of Johnny in the new musical Beulah Land by Patrick Nash. Some of his other favorite roles include Davey in Newsies, Henry Carr in Tom Stoppard’s Travesties, Eric Liddell in the American premiere of Chariots of Fire, and Barnaby in Hello, Dolly! www.peterreidlambert.com Instagram: @thepithus

Aaron Phillips (Frederick) is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA. Off-Broadway: American Morning (Sasha/Wilson) NY theatre: Boats and… (The Gus), Lincoln Center: Broadway’s Future Songbook, Sandy & Soil (Sandy), The New Hopeville Comics (Felix), The Bardy Bunch(Chris Partridge). Regional: Jekyll and Hyde (John Utterson), Batboy: The Musical (Batboy), Les Misérables (Foreman/Combeferre), and the international symphony tour Disney In Concert. Voiceover: Subway, USAA, Staples, World of Warcraft, Grand Theft Auto V, Red Dead Redemption 2 and Lord of the Rings: Online. For my parents, my powerhouse spouse and my pup. www.aaronbphillips.com

Melody Meeks Putnam (Francesca has performed with Utah Lyric Opera for four seasons and in community theatre as Eulalie McKecknie Shinn in The Music Man, Aunt Martha in Arsenic and Old Lace,Grandma Tzeitel in _Fiddler on the Roof_as well as several Broadway Revues, just to name a few. Melody, who hasn’t graduated from anything except high school and has no degree in anything, is a native of California currently living in Utah.  This is her first theatrical adventure in New York and she is here having a wonderful time!

Gena Sims (Lady Caroline) is so excited to make her professional NYC debut in An Enchanted April! She received her BFA in Music Theatre from Carnegie Mellon. Gena was fortunate to recently win first prize of $15,000 at the National Society of Arts and Letters Drama Competition! Other awards include being named a 2014 National Young Arts Finalist, and both the John Kennedy Arthur Award and Thomas Auclair Memorial Award at Carnegie Mellon. Favorite credits include new musical workshops for SKiNFoLK and The Perfect Mate at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera; Violet and Floyd Collins with Front Porch Theatricals; and Detroit ‘67(Chelle), Cabaret (Fraulein Schneider), and Medea/Shulie (Medea) at CMU. You can follow her at www.facebook.com/genasings and on Instagram genasims19. Gena is also the proud founder of the Autism Theatre Project. You can find more information about the program here: www.facebook.com/AutismTheatreProject

About Utah Lyric Opera
Utah Lyric Opera is a regional opera and musical theatre production company based in Utah committed to promoting Utah's highest caliber of artists and nurturing the burgeoning talents of Utah's future opera and musical theatre professionals.  ULO produces timeless operas in fresh, innovative and updated stagings, while honoring the traditions that have made opera great. www.utahlyric.org

About Thunder Media Group
Thunder Media Group is an innovative production company that produces dramatic properties including feature films, streaming, television and live theatre. We seek to produce the best in storytelling, regardless of the medium. At Thunder Media Group our mission is to create the best in dramatic properties that resonate with a broad audience; providing our viewers opportunities to experience the range of human emotion, encouraging all to long for, and resolve to, make a better world. www.thundermedia.us

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