The choreographer and legendary founder of the New York City Ballet knew things would be different after he was gone.
Catherine Cantrell is a novelist and graduate of Duke University. Her novel Constance was published in 2002 by Random House. A longtime student of the dance, she is thrilled to be having her first play brought to life by this outstanding cast and crew.
The thinking that set me on this journey, as related by the play’s protagonist, Anna Templeton Montgomery:
“When I was ten, my grandmother took me into the city to see the New York City Ballet. On the program that day was George Balanchine’s poetic retelling of the Russian folktale The Firebird. My grandmother believed that this ballet would be a good introduction for me to the work of a choreographer she adored and hoped I would come to adore, too, and, perhaps, even one day, want to dance for. She knew that Mr. B was the best, as he was, and wanted her granddaughter to shoot for the stars if she was going to shoot at all. The Firebird had natural child appeal: it told a story; it was set in a dark forest; there were monsters, a prince and a magical enchanted creature. The ballet was certain to cast a spell on me, and it did. It drew me in. But it wasn’t this ballet that had the transformative effect my grandmother had longed for. On the program that day was another ballet, George Balanchine’s first masterpiece, Apollo. When I saw Apollo and the three muses at the back of the stage ascending the stairs to Mount Parnassus in the closing tableau, it was very simple—and I evoke the transcendent here because anything less than that would fail to do justice to the experience—I had seen God, and from that day forward, all that mattered to me was finding a way into this world.”
Martin Harvey has been involved in dance and theater since the age of seven. Now in his directorial debut he is excited to stage a world he’s been a part of for so long.
Prior to joining the New York City Ballet, Amanda Hankes began her career as a professional ballet dancer with the Miami City Ballet. During her almost twenty-year tenure with these two Balanchine companies, she performed many principal and soloist roles, as well as leading character roles in Fancy Free, Swan Lake, La Casa de Bernarda Alba and The Nutcracker.
Her film work includes N.Y. Export: Opus Jazz (Jerome Robbins), directed by Henry Joost and Jody Lee Lipes, which won the Audience Award at SXSW. Ms. Hankes is featured in Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros’ video for their song “Man on Fire”, directed by Brady Corbet, and has been featured in music videos directed by Nev Schulman and Kristen Sloan.
Broadway: original cast of Billy Elliot (Older Billy). Off-Broadway: Silence! The Musical (Dream Lecter). National Tour: Come Fly Away (Sid), Phantom Of The Opera 25th Anniversary Tour (Slave Master). Regional: Chicago Lyric Opera Oklahoma! (Dream Curly). Native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he studied under Roberto Munoz, then went on to study at the School of American Ballet (SAB). At SAB Mr. Hanna was awarded the Mae L. Wein Award for outstanding promise. He joined New York City Ballet in 1997. In 2004 he was promoted to soloist and in 2005 was promoted to the rank of principal dancer. He danced Principal roles in ballets by Balanchine, Robbins, Martins, Tanner, and Evans. He has performed around the world with the New York City Ballet, Tom Gold Dance, Alessandra Ferri and international ballet galas. On television he has appeared on All My Children and performed in Live From Lincoln Center and the 2009 Tony Awards. In film he has appeared in Centerstage, Adagio For Olga, and These Showers Can Talk.
Martin Harvey trained in the U.K. at the Royal Ballet School, joining London’s Royal Ballet Company at age 17. He moved up the ranks dancing many principal roles, such as Crown Prince Rudolf in Mayerling, Onegin in Onegin, Colas in La Fille Mal Gardée, Lescaut in Manon and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. Mr. Harvey also portrayed Johnny Castle in the West End production of Dirty Dancing and won the UK Critics’ Circle Spotlight Award. He went on to study acting at the Actor’s Center in London and with Debra Wiley, Sheila Gray and Patricia Fletcher in New York.
Additionally, he appeared as Young Pip opposite Sir Anthony Hopkins and Jean Simmons in Disney’s TV movie Great Expectations, as a principal in Twyla Tharp’s Come Fly Away and as Zach in the recent Paper Mill Playhouse production of A Chorus Line.
Ben Houghton works as a rehearsal pianist for American Ballet Theater. As a class pianist, he has also worked at Steps on Broadway, Ballet Academy East, Ballet Arts and others. He holds a B.M. in Piano from Westminster Choir College, where he studied with Ingrid Clarfield.
FLORENCE PHILLIPS is a professional theatre and television actress (AEA, AFTRA) whose onstage credits include leading roles in theatres in NYC, Boston, Cape Cod, Paris, and she has appeared on TV in The Guiding Light, As the World Turns, Law and Order, and the Public TV Documentary: Amazing Grace: A History of America in Song. She toured a solo show: French Gray by Josef Bush, about Marie-Antoinette’s last hour in prison before her execution.
Florence is a member of The Theatre Artists’ Workshop (Norwalk, CT.) and The Actors’ Ensemble (dedicated to the legacy of Michael Chekhov). Her formative teachers were Morris Carnovsky and Phoebe Brand, but she has also studied with Michael Howard (NYC), Richard Edelman (NYC), and Jacques Lecoq (Paris).
She has a background in music, languages and literature, and has pioneered programs in elementary schools which introduce children to Poetry, Shakespeare and Historical Material by way of oral, theatrical, and participatory approach featuring instant memorization.
Broadway: Passion, Les Miserables Film: Robin hood Men in Tights, Dracula Dead and Loving it, Desperate but not Serious, Table Manners, Jesus Tells a Joke, Kates Addiction, Dream warrior. Television: Blue Bloods, Imagination Movers, Onion TV, CSI New York, Without a Trace, Code name Eternity, New Adventures of Robin Hood, Beverly Hills 90210, Wings, South beach, Class of 96. Matthew is currently the voice of Orbitz travel.
John Selya trained at the School of American Ballet where he received the Mae L. Wien award for outstanding promise. Mr. Selya then joined American Ballet Theatre, where he performed and created many works . While at ABT, he also had the opportunity to choreograph three works for the company: Moondance, Disposition and Don’t Panic. He then went on to join Twyla Tharp Dance, where he portrayed Eddie in Tharp’s Tony winning Broadway show, Movin’ Out. His performance earned him a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical, an Astaire award for outstanding dancing on a Broadway stage and a Theater World Award for outstanding Broadway debut. Mr. Selya has also appeared as the Mambo dancer in Damn Yankees, Scranton Slim in Guys and Dolls and Sid in Twyla Tharp’s recent Come Fly Away. John was an “Artist -in- Residence” at New York’s Joyce SoHo, where he created two works: Tweaker and La Voix Humaine. His film work includes Everyone Says I Love You, Across the Universe and Romance and Cigarettes.
Additionally, he is an “Artist in Residence” at Southern Methodist University and teaches, choreographs and coaches the next generation of artists. John recently staged and directed the Royal Danish Ballet’s production of Tharp’s Come Fly Away.
Cassandra Trenary began training at age three at Lawrenceville School of Ballet, later joining the school’s company, Southern Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Phyllis Allen. She received additional training at Southeast Regional Ballet Association conventions and performed in full length ballets and original contemporary works. Ms. Trenary was an American Ballet Theatre National Training Scholar and attended the Summer Intensive in New York City. A recipient of the SERBA Star Student award, she is also a YoungArts Winner and Presidential Scholar in the Arts nominee.
Ms. Trenary studied at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. She then went on to Apprentice with ABTII, performing on their European Tour. Cassandra joined the American Ballet Theatre as a corp de ballet member in October of 2011. Her repertory with the company includes roles such as Columbine and the Chinese Dance in Alexei Ratmansky’s The Nutcracker, a Little Swan in Swan Lake and The Moth in Fredrick Ashton’s The Dream. She has also originated roles in contemporary works – Private Light by Demis Volpi as well as The Final Frame, created by Zhong-Jing Fang. This is her first acting experience, and she is very excited and honored to be a part of this cast!
Joseph L. Dionne is the former CEO and chairman of The McGraw-Hill Companies. He is also the co-founder and former chairman of Private Client Resources, LLC, a wealth management information company located in Wilton, Connecticut. Before entering the business world, he spent nine years in the public school system as a teacher and administrator. He has also served on the boards of numerous philanthropic organizations.
Tom Gold, a soloist with the New York City Ballet for the past 21 years, has performed in leading roles by Balanchine, Robbins, Lynne Taylor Corbett and William Forsythe. He has performed as a guest artist with THARP!, Donald Byrd the Group, the New York City Opera and many other well-recognized companies throughout the U.S. He can be seen in the Warner Brothers film version of The Nutcracker and in an array of Live from Lincoln Center telecasts. His choreographic achievements include works for his own group, as well as new works at the Miller Theater at Columbia University, the Manhattan School of Music, Oregon Ballet theater, New York City Ballet, Orlando Ballet, Vassar College and Ballet School of Stanford.
Although she has graced the stage for numerous performances throughout California, Erica also loves to work behind the scenes. Erica’s Stage Managing/ Prop Designing credits include: Dog Sees God, Heidi Chronicles, Assassins, and Marvin’s Room Nymph Errant (42nd St. Moon), Pal Joey( 42nd St. Moon), Of Thee I Sing (42nd St. Moon), Carmelina (42nd St. Moon) and Shakespeare’s Merchant. Some of Erica’s favorite performance credits are: No No Nannette, Oh Kay, Sugar, The Wiz, Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Grease, Assasins and Urinetown.
Ed Libonati, (General Manager) produced the first public presentations and readings. Ed is also the Executive Director for the Summer Theatre of New Canaan (STONC), CT’s premier professional summer theatre company. Ed has produced 40 musicals, plays and concerts for STONC over the past 10 years. Ed also created and oversaw an International Advertising Agency with offices in NYC, London, Barcelona, Lugano, Milan and Monaco. He is an award winning TV commercial, film, music video and TV show director and has worked with many celebrities and stars. As the on-camera advertising consultant for CNN, Ed commented on advertising trends and campaigns. He has been interviewed on TV & radio talk shows, in numerous trade magazines and featured in USA TODAY. Ed has participated in TV advertising trade panels, hosted award ceremonies, given college, advertising club and community talks. He was also awarded by Ithaca College Communications School their Outstanding Alumnus award.
Liz Sherrier joined the Noulin-Mérat Studio in August 2012 and has since been working on over 40 projects including Boo at the Zoo, Ascarium at NY Aquarium, La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers with Gotham Chamber Opera, BlueBeard’s Castle at Opera Omaha, Goosebump’s 20th Anniversary, Restoration Comedy at the Flea Theater, Drama League, The Man Under at 59E59, The Notebook of Trigorin and The Mnemonist of Dutchess County at the Attic Theater Company, Clemency at Boston Lyric Opera, Candide at Amarillo Opera, South Pacific and Grease at STONC, etc. Previous assistantships include the Bold & Beautiful on CBS, Big Love at Northeastern University. She holds a BS from Northeastern University in architecture.
James C. Weldon is excited to be making his New York City debut with Apres Moi The Play. He is a graduate of University of the Arts in Philadelphia, with a background in photography.
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