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Hannah Elless and More Set for NYMF Readings of New Musical FOR TONIGHT

Hannah Elless and More Set for NYMF Readings of New Musical FOR TONIGHT

For Tonight, a new original musical, by creators Shenelle Williams, Spencer Williams and Whitney Rhodes is headed to New York City to participate in The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) as a developmental reading. For Tonight's story is inspired by the life of the writer's great-great-great-grandfather in the 1830's in Northern Wales/Liverpool. With its indie-rock inspired score and a completely original book, this story focuses on the universal themes of love, family and acceptance. The show will have three performances at The Studio Theatre at Theatre Row in July 2014.

Joe Barros (Artistic Director of New York Theatre Barn) directs a cast of 12 including, Adam Theodore Barry*, Hannah Berggren (PBS' Broadway or Bust), Sean Buhr, Heather Botts*, Colin Critchley* (Bway: Waiting for Godot, Kinky Boots), Patrick Dunn* (NYC: Madison Square Garden - A Christmas Carol), Hannah Elless* (Bway: Godspell and Papermill Playhouse: The Other Josh Cohen), Brandon Kalm (Nat. tour: American Idiot, NY Phil: Sweeney Todd), Kate Moore, Steely Nash (TV: American Idol), CJ Pawlikowski* (NYMF: Bend in the Road), and Krista Pioppi* (Nat. tour: Spring Awakening). *Appearing courtesy of Actors' Equity Association.

Director: Joe Barros; Musical Director: Drew Wutke; Guitarist: Ted Stavrou; Drummer: Kenny Hildebrant; Stage Manager: Mackenzie Meeks; Assistant Stage Manager: Sarah Barrus; Production Assistant: Annie Whitacre; Production Assistant: Talmage Wise, Graphic Designer: Trevor List.

When their parents die of a mysterious illness in their small Welsh village, surviving children Thomas, Haydon, and Nettie are forced to fend for themselves. Inspired by the gypsies who once shared their home, Haydon heads off to Liverpool, guitar in hand, to find what the world has to offer. There he meets Mirela who speaks to his wandering soul. When Haydon learns that his sister is ill, he is forced to choose between family and the life he left behind, or freedom and the love he has now found.

"We are very excited to have this opportunity to produce a reading of For Tonight with The New York Musical Theatre Festival," writer Shenelle Williams said. "We've spent two years working on this piece, and to have its premiere in New York with this phenomenal cast is the perfect stepping stone for this piece.

Show Dates: TODAY, July 9, 2014 at 4pm and 8pm; July 12, 2014 at 4pm. Tickets are available to Platinum or Diamond NYMF Members and Patrons online. Tickets will be released to the general public 48 hours prior to curtain on an as-available basis. For more information, go to


Joe Barros (Director) - Joe Barros is a director, an award-winning choreographer, and the Artistic Director of New York Theatre Barn. NYC Credits: Hard Times (NY IT Award Nominee/Best Choreography), I Married Wyat Earp (59E59 Theatres, Prospect/NYTB), Charlotte's Web (Theatreworks USA),Supersoldier (by HAIR co-creator Jim Rado), The Legend of Julie Taymor (Fringe NYC), McGoldrick's Thread (1st Irish Festival Award/Best Choreography). Regional: The Haunted Hotel and Brother Russia (DC's Signature Theatre). Upcoming: Carrie (MSU), Small Town Story, and The Boy Who Danced on Air.

Shenelle Williams (Book/Music/Lyrics) - Shenelle is a composer/arranger, music director and music educator whose recent work includes music directing the high school premiere of Duncan Sheik's Whisper House at Pinewood School where she teaches musical theatre, music theory and choir. Her compositions and arrangements have been heard on the Moose Math app, Gavin Kaufman's debut album Aura Symphonia, and Missus & Mister EP. Graduate of the University of the Arts, MAT: Music Education. Proud member of NAMT.

Spencer T. Williams (Book/Music/Lyrics) - Spencer Williams is a composer, educator, director, and producer. He currently is the Performing Arts Director at Pinewood School. His most recent work includes directing Les Miserables, producing Duncan Sheik, Live at Pinewood, and the high school premiere of Sheik's new musical, Whisper House. He produced/directed five seasons of the Bay Area High School Musical Theatre Awards. Proud member of NAMT and Mercury Musicals Development. Love to Shenelle and Thomas.

Whitney Rhodes (Book) - Whitney works as a theatre performer, educator and administrator in the Twin Cities area. She has been seen on the stages of Theater Latte Da, Minnetonka Theatre, Children's Theatre Company, Minnesota Fringe Festival and Park Square Theatre. She is the creator and performer of a series of one-woman cabarets including Where's My Parade, The Could Be Project, Let Hope Win, and The Songs in My Head. Proud Drake University alum and homegrown Nebraskan.


Adam Theodore Barry (Male Romani/Ensemble) - Adam is ecstatic to make his NYMF debut and continue work with FOR TONIGHT. Currently performing in Rock of Ages (Mayor/Ja'Keith) and Burn the Floor (vocalist) with Norwegian Cruise Lines. NY Credits: Supersoldier (Orange) with NYTB and Little House on the Ferry (Antonio). Regional: Rent (Angel), Xanadu (Sonny), Cats (Alonzo), The Secret Garden (Fakir), Beauty and the Beast (Gaston).

Hanna Berggren (Molly) - Hanna is thrilled to make her NYMF debut and continue working on FOR TONIGHT. Hanna is a California Bay Area native currently studying Musical Theatre at Carnegie Mellon University. Recent credits include PBS' Broadway or Bust, featuring Hanna at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, Legally Blonde, and Once Upon a Mattress. Many thanks to Spencer and Shenelle, family, and Jesus. Psalm 28:7

Heather Botts (Mrs. Parry/Ensemble) - Heather is thrilled to be joining For, Tonight at NYMF with this exceptional cast and creative team. Thank you for an amazing experience! Regional: South Pacific (Nellie), Miss Saigon (Ellen), Tarzan (Jane), Rapunzel! Rapunzel! (Lady Zaza), Grease (Sandy), Into the Woods (The Baker's Wife), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Brother Issachar, Butler). She thanks her family and friends for their incredible love and support! Thanks to CGF and her OCU family!

Sean Buhr (Mr. Parry/Ensemble) - Sean Buhr's recent NYC credits: The Wild Party (Burrs); The Most Happy Fella (Tony); Sweeney Todd (Pirelli); Berlin to Broadway; Breakfast Lunch and Dinner. Regional credits: Man of La Mancha (Pedro); The Magic Flute (Tamino); Gianni Schicchi (Rinuccio). Performed concerts at Carnegie Hall, Feinstein's, The Town Hall Theater, Laurie Beechman, and in Shanghai, Montreal, and Los Angeles. NYU Adjunct Faculty. Produced and founded Desiring The Arts Festival. Founded The McSweeny-Buhr Scholarship for the Arts.

Colin Critchley (Young Haydon) - Colin Critchley was most recently seen alongside Sirs Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in Broadway's Waiting for Godot. Other credits include: Kinky Boots (Broadway) and Radio City's Christmas Spectacular. Film: You Must Be Joking. TV: Superwings. Love to Mom, Dad, Coop. Big thanks to my agents Eddie & Natasha at Take 3 Talent.

Patrick Dunn (Winn) - Recently seen in Now and Forever: The Music of ALW as the youngest Phantom in production history. NY Credits include A Christmas Carol (MSG), Goodbye Barcelona (The York Theatre), Parade (Gallery Players), Where the Lillies Bloom (Minetta Lane). Regionally at Goodspeed Opera House, BRT, The Bushnell, Ivoryton Playhouse. Graduate of The Hartt School of Music, with the student loans to prove it. Thanks to Joe, Michael, and wife Emma. Patrick is the recipient of 0 Tonys and 0 Emmys

Hannah Elless (Mirela) - Broadway: Godspell ("Bless the Lord"). National Tours: Mamma Mia! NYC: The Other Josh Cohen (Off-Broadway), Baby Case (NYMF), The Giver (NAMT). TV: GLEE! Film: Before Winter, The Lake Effect. Many readings, workshops, & concerts! Hannah is also an accomplished musician playing several instruments. BFA, Western Michigan University. Twitter: @HannahElless

Brandon Kalm (Haydon) - Brandon is a Dallas, Texas native who just graduated from the Musical Theater program at Pace University in May. His most recent credits include the International/2nd National tour of Green Day's American Idiot, and Sweeney Todd with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. Love to God, family, and his supportive friends.

Kate Moore (Pub Hostess/Ensemble) - Recent credits include: Lyric Theater of Oklahoma: The Rocky Horror Show (Magenta), Big River (Joanna Wilkes), Spring Awakening (Anna); Western Playhouse: Miss Saigon; Ruckus Rockwell Production Company: The Runaway Clone (Jules). Kate is a graduate of Oklahoma City University.

Steely Nash (Female Romani/Ensemble) - Steely Nash is a solo artist, songwriter, and vocal producer based in San Jose, CA. TV: American Idol Season 10: San Francisco/Hollywood/Vegas Episodes, ABC's NIGHTLINE: Pop Star Boot Camp Episode, Winner of Cambio and AT&T's On The Spot, a global online and interactive talent search to form the next Supergroup managed by Johnny Wright. She has recorded and toured with Y6, The Bang: A 60's Girl Group Review, and Steely Nash & The Cuts.

CJ Pawlikowski (Thomas) - This is CJ's second consecutive summer joining NYMF. Last year he was seen as Gilbert Blythe in Bend in the Road. He recently played the title role in Pippin at Phoenix Theater. Other recent credits include Grease (Johnny Casino/Teen Angel) at Gateway Playhouse, and Kerrigan & Lowdermilk's staged-reading of Republic. Favorite roles include Claude in Hair (dir. Patti Wilcox) and Rolf in The Sound of Music. God Bless!

Krista Pioppi (Nettie) - NYMF debut! National Tours: Spring Awakening (1st Nat'l). NYC: A Lasting Impression (NYTW), The Visit (dir. John Doyle). Regional: Disney's High School Musical (Paper Mill Playhouse). V.O: The Wonder Pets (Little Airplane Prod./Nickelodeon). Krista recently graduated from Pace University with a B.F.A in Musical Theater. Love to M, D, & Gbug!

The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) exists to revitalize musical theatre culture by discovering and promoting new musical theatre artists, producers and projects; nurturing a vibrant and innovative artistic community; and connecting one of America's greatest art forms with a diverse, contemporary audience.

Now in its eleventh year, the Festival is the largest musical theatre event in America. The preeminent site for launching new musicals and discovering new talent, the Festival provides an affordable platform for artists to mount professional productions that reach their peers, industry leaders, and musical theatre fans. More than 90 Festival shows have gone on to productions on and Off-Broadway, in regional theaters in 48 states, and in more than 20 countries worldwide. Festival alumni have received a wide array of awards including the Tony Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2013, NYMF received a special Drama Desk Award in recognition of its work "creating and nurturing new musical theatre, ensuring the future of this essential art form." For more information, visit

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