God's Country

Book & Lyrics by Erik Johnke, Music by Elaine Chelton


at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre

  • Thursday, July 18, 2013 at 9:00 pm
  • Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 1:00 pm
  • Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm
  • Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 9:00 pm
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Shattered by his mother's death and the revelation that he is adopted and Irish, wealthy Englishman James Watson travels to America in 1871 to find his birth mother. God’s Country follows one man’s epic journey to learn his true identity, with sweeping melodies and plenty of Irish spirit.

Running Time: 2 hour 15 minutes with intermission.

Erik Johnke

Erik Johnke (Book / Lyrics)

Erik Johnke is a playwright, lyricist, and poet.  His plays have been seen at manhattantheatresource and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City, The Strollers Theater in Maplewood, NJ, The Heartland Theatre Company in Illinois, the Fulton Theater in Lancaster, PA, the New Hope Performing Arts Festival, and the Rockland Center for the Arts. His play Partition was a semifinalist for the Princess Grace Award for New Plays. His short play, Reboot, was a finalist for the National Ten Minute Play Contest sponsored by the Actors Theatre of Louisville. The children's musical Cat: Adventures of a Caterpillar (music by David Wolfson) was a finalist in the National Children's Theater Festival. His plays and poems have appeared in American Writing, The Pitkin Review, and Quay: A Journal of the Arts. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, is a member of the Librettists' Workshop at BMI, and is a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Elaine Chelton

Elaine Chelton (Music)

Elaine Chelton is a versatile pianist and composer. She has worked with some of today's leading choreographers such as Susan Stroman, Lynne Taylor–Corbett, Alexi Ratmansky & Christopher Wheeldon.  As a solo pianist for New York City Ballet she has performed the company's leading repertoire at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Russia, Japan, Hong Kong & Europe.  Theatre credits include a national tour of Evita and productions of 42nd Street and Merrily We Roll Along. As a member of the esteemed BMI advanced musical theatre workshop she developed the musical Voice of the City with lyricist/librettist Kenneth Jones. It had a reading at the York Theatre and a two week workshop at the Human Race Theatre in Dayton, Ohio. Directed by Karen Azenberg, it made the top ten list for best theatre in 2006 (www.voiceofthecity.com). She also composed the music and lyrics to two different cabaret revues. Stages was directed by Jim Coleman and A New Voice was performed at Don't Tell Mama with direction by Donald Birely. She also penned the music for Oscar's Foibles: a musical review about the life of Oscar Levant with book & lyrics by Lila Levant. She was the pianist for the choreography of 7 Deadly Sins starring Patti LuPone with music direction by Paul Gemignani and her songs have been heard at the Oak Room, Don't Tell Mama's, Judy's and The Comic Strip. In addition, she has recorded two CDs of ballet music with Sandra Balestracci for Roper Records. She serves on the arts advisory board for the Kupferberg Center for the Arts and is a member of BMI and the Dramatists Guild. Visit www.elainechelton.com.

Chuck Bradley

Chuck Bradley (Tom Killian)

Chuck Bradley was last seen as Peter in 360 Entertainment production of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.  NY Stage Credits include: The Henrietta at Metropolitan Theatre Co., Night of the Hunter at the Vineyard, Humpty Dumpty, Billy Bubblehead, and Broken Hands.  LA Stage: Larry in Burn This, All My Son's and Baby John in West Side Story.  Film credits include A True Story (based on things that never actually happened) and Wirey Spindell.  Graduate of The Boston Conservatory.

Nick Cartell

Nick Cartell (James Watson)

Nick Cartell is excited to be performing in NYMF again.  Broadway: Jesus Christ Superstar (2012 Tony-Nominated Revival) in which he went on as both Jesus and Judas; Scandalous (OBC Recording).  Off Broadway: Frankenstein the Musical (OC Recording).  NYMF 2010: Angel in Tess: A New Rock Opera.  Regional: My Fair Lady (Freddy), Light in the Piazza (Fabrizio, AriZoni Award), Les Miserables (Marius), to name a few.  Congrats to the entire team, cast & crew. For Christie! www.nickcartell.com Twitter: @nickcartell

Jody Cook

Jody Cook (Solomon McCreedy/Ensemble)

Jody Cook has performed as a cabaret artist at Don't Tell Mama, HA!, The Duplex, and the Algonquin Room, recently debuting his newest one man show 37 Stories In Which I Come Off Badly.  Other NY productions include revivals of Silk Stockings, Irene, Ernest In Love, and Three Wishes For Jamie.  Recent productions include Curtains (Belling) and Honk (Turkey/Bullfrog) both at Music Theatre of Wichita, A Tuna Christmas at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Mr. President! at Playwright's Horizon, Boss in the Satin Kimono at NYFringe Fest, and as 'Dr. Zizmor' in workshops of the new musical The Wasp Woman. Regional credits include Greater Tuna, Smoke on the Mountain, H2$, Damn Yankees, All in the Timing, Dirty Blonde, Charley's Aunt, and his solo show Husky Jeans at the J.C.Penney.

Victoria Huston-Elem

Victoria Huston-Elem (Marion/Ensemble)

Victoria Huston-Elem was most recently seen as "Whore 1" in Riverside's Les Miserables, a role conquered by all the broadway greats - including Angela Lansbury.  Other credits include The Addams Family (1st national tour), Little Women (Village), and Golden Boy Of The Blue Ridge (cast album on iTunes).  A graduate of Syracuse University and proud member of Actors Equity, Victoria is fueled by watermelon and summer-ripe cherries.  Much love to all the Huston-Elems, especially new baby Jack!

Megan Kane

Megan Kane (Sarah/Ensemble)

Megan Kane is thrilled to be apart of God's Country!  She was last seen as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray at The Arvada Center.  She also starred in the recent productions and NYC workshop of Gay Bride of Frankenstein.  Other credits include: Junie B. in the national tour of Junie B. Jones, A Little Night Music at the Houston Grand Opera, A Christmas Carol at The Alley Theatre, Kiss Me Kate at St. Louis Repertory Theatre.  Megan trained at Webster Conservatory.

Charlie Levy

Charlie Levy (Foreman/Ensemble)

Theatre: Ragtime (Younger Brother),Call Me Madam (Kenneth) Sweeney Todd (Tobias), The Fantasticks (Matt), My Fair Lady (Freddy). Currently expanding at Jen Waldman Studio and a graduate of AMDA, Charlie is often singing new works for up and coming composers.  He is the arranger and creator of several cabarets.  A member of a popular New York improv troupe.  A grateful AEA member.  Enormous love and thanks go to Mom, Dad, JP and Jen. www.charlie-levy.com

Lulu Lloyd

Lulu Lloyd (Kathleen Cahill)

Delighted to make her NYMF debut! Past credits include: Pure Country at Playwrights Horizons, Judy in 9 to 5, Missy in The Marvelous Wonderettes, Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde (Ovation Nom-Best Leading Actress), The Narrator in Joseph...Dreamcoat, Georgie in The Full Monty, Lizzy in Baby and more. She can be seen on the Discovery Channel this fall in The Bad Old Days. Lulu is married to the wonderful, Jon Reinhold. Much love to her Dad(a Friendly Son of St Patrick!), Mom(a harp player!), Brother(lived in Cork!) and newly extended family, The Reinholds. Erin Go Bragh! www.lululloyd.com

Rob Lorey

Rob Lorey (Joe Cahill/Mr. Watson/Ensemble)

Rob Lorey is delighted to continue his collaboration with God's Country- and the creative team.  He recently appeared as guest vocal soloist in New York City Ballet's West Side Story Suite, and is a recurring guest artist with Musicals Tonight.  Broadway/National Tour credits include Beauty and the Beast, Showboat, King and I, Chess, Aspects of Love, Phantom of the Opera.  He has performed regionally from coast to coast, sings with symphony and pop orchestras around the globe, and can be heard on several Disney soundtracks.  Rob holds an MSW from Hunter College School of Social Work.

JP Qualters

JP Qualters (Seamus O'Hanlon/Ensemble)

Just finished a Co- Production with Fords/ Signature Theatre of Hello Dolly! Directed by Eric Schaffer staring Nancy Opel. Some of his regional work includes. NSMT: Annie, Hello Dolly! , My Fair Lady, Westchester Broadway: My Fair Lady, John Drew Theatre: Equus, Hartford Stage: Antony and Cleopatra, Goodspeed: Hello! My Baby, Arrow Rock Lyceum: Hairspray, Annie, Hello Dolly! Reagle Players: Crazy For You, Carousel, Grease Education: BFA, Hartt School. Love to CLA and Family! 

Craig J. George

Craig J. George (Director)

Off-Broadway: Taming of the Shrew (The Duke on 42nd Street).  New York: The Aperture (New York International Fringe Festival), Lighter (New York Musical Theatre Festival), Macbeth (Harold Clurman Theater), Alfred Kinsey: A Love Story (World Premiere, Michael Weller Theater).  Regional: Measure for Measure, Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, The Aperture (Cleveland Public Theatre), Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, Taming of the Shrew (Hamptons Shakespeare Festival), Maybe Baby, It's You (Penguin Repertory), Into The Woods (Weathervane).  Assistant Directing: Tracy Letts' Man From Nebraska (South Coast Repertory, director William Friedkin), The Last Five Years (George Street Playhouse, director David Saint).  Upcoming projects: Staged reading of Déjà Vu starring Robert Cuccioli, Michael Rupert and Lalia Robins, The Calico Buffalo (world premiere musical) and staged reading of the new play Alien Child at The New Group.  MFA from UC Irvine and member of AEA and SDC. craigjgeorge.com

Thomas Sabella-Mills

Thomas Sabella-Mills (Choreographer)

Thomas Sabella-Mills has served as resident director/choreographer for New York's Obie Award winning company, Musicals Tonight! for 15 years.  He has directed over 70 productions for the troupe and received critical acclaim from the New York Times, New York Daily News, Billboard and Backstage Magazines as well as several prestigious online publications.  In addition, he served as Assistant Director and Choreographer for Houston Grand Opera's production of A Little Night Music (on which Stephen Sondheim collaborated) and as Director/Choreographer for the 2002 restaging of the same production for the Cultural Olympiad in Salt Lake City in association with the Olympics.  Regionally, his productions have been featured at Gateway Playhouse, the Helen Hayes Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre and the Hampton Shakespeare Festival.  He served as choreographer for the national tour of In the Mood which has played 47 states and Australia.  Mr. Sabella-Mills has also directed over 75 industrials working with such noted celebrities as Kevin Nealon, Sinbad, Bill Cosby, and Broadway Stars Emily Skinner, Evan Pappas and Aisha DeHaus to name a few.  Mr. Sabella-Mills has served on the faculty of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy for 20 years.  In addition he has guest directed at American University, Houston Performing Arts Center and the Broadway Performing Arts Center in upstate New York.

Bryan L. Wade

Bryan L. Wade (Music Director)

Bryan L. Wade is a musical director, Broadway accompanist and vocal coach. He has musical directed/conducted productions at York Theater, Irish Repertory Theater, New York Musical Theater Festival, Midtown International Theater Festival, Phoenicia International Musical Festival, Spoleto Festival, as well as over twenty productions in regional venues along the East Coast. He earned his Master's Degree in Music from Virginia Commonwealth University and his Ph.D. in Music from Catholic University of America. His students currently perform on Broadway, national tours, regional stages, and production entertainment venues. He also conducts performance master classes throughout the national collegiate circuit. www.drbryanwade.com

Jonathan Collins (Scene Designer)

Jonathan Collins has recently designed Boeing Boeing and Wait Until Dark at the Engeman theater.  Past NYMF shows include Lighter the Musical, directed by Craig George and Greenwood, directed by Paul Stancato.  He also designed the US and Canadian tours of Divorce Party the musical.  Upcoming, 12 Angry Men, directed by Igor Goldin.

Claire Aquila (Costume Designer)

Claire Aquila is a New York based costume designer and technician. Recent work includes the Puccini One Act Operas: Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, at Aspen Music Festival, Restoration by Edward Bond at 2nd Ave Theatre and various styling and costume coordination for NYU's Graduate Drama Freeplay Festival. Her craft and technical work has been seen onstage for various production at the Public Theater, Glimmerglass Festival, and The Juilliard School. Claire has  MFA from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. www.claireaquila.com

Richard Tatum (Lighting Designer)

Lighting designer and production management for several thousand or so corporate, social, charity, and private events throughout New York City and the tri-state area; previously numerous and, since commencing on a career in the special events lighting profession a decade or so ago, now occasional lighting designer for numerous plays, musicals, and modern dance productions; '96 MFA in Design from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts; '86 BA in Drama from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.  Very pleased to join his fellow undergrad alum and God's Country director Craig George in this theatrical venture.

Raynelle Wright (Stage Manager)

Broadway/1st National Tours: The Addams Family, 9 to 5 The Musical, Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, The Miracle Worker, Oleanna, Will Farrell's You're Welcome America...  Off-Broadway/NY: Company with the New York Philharmonic, CSC, The Public Theatre, Paper Mill Playhouse, and MTC.  Proud AEA Member.

Mae Frankeberger (Assistant Stage Manager)

Mae Frankeberger is very excited to be a part of NYMF again. She last worked on Seeing Stars in the 2009 season.  During her hiatus from the festival she was earning her BFA degree at Rutgers University where she recently graduated from this past May.  Notable credits: Homemade (Mark Twain Award), A Nasty Tempered Man, The Last Five Years, and The Being.

Cindi Rush Casting (Casting)

Among her projects have been Urinetown and Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks on Broadway and Rooms: A Rock Romance, The Thing About Men, Showtune, I Sing, and revivals of Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and Say Goodnight, Gracie Off-Broadway.  Regionally, she has cast productions at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.; the Goodman Theatre in Chicago; Cape Cod Theatre Project; and the Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays.  Her film credits include Made for Each Other, Home Movie, and Headspace.  She has served as a consultant for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre (2004–08) and New York University's graduate program in musical theater writing.

Suellen Vance

Suellen Vance (General Manager)

(Moldy Fig Productions, LLC) produced and general managed the multi award winning festival premiere of Central Avenue Breakdown at the 2011 New York Musical Theatre Festival (Excellence in Music, Choreography, Orchestrations, Individual Performance and the prestigious Daegu International Music Festival Award).  Within months of receiving an unprecedented invitation to return as an Encore Presentation to the 2012 NYMF, Ms. Vance co-produced twin festival productions of Central Avenue Breakdown in Daegu, South Korea and New York City.  She is a Stephens College alumna.  Her professional history includes work as a broadcast journalist and in finance.  Ms. Vance currently works as an actress and voice over artist. www.suellenvance.com

Geoffrey Goldberg

Geoffrey Goldberg (Assistant Director)

Geoffrey Goldberg is a Director, Writer, and Performer, having worked Broadway and around the globe.  Credits Include: Mary Poppins on Broadway (Associate Kids Director); Mary Poppins, Mexico City (Asst. Director); The First Gentleman (NYC Workshop, Associate Direector); A Year on the Road (Kennedy Center; Director/Writer); Urinetown (Asst. Director, CAP21).  Performing Credits: Mary Poppins (Broadway & First Nat'l Tour), Chitty...Bang (First Nat'l Tour), 42nd Street (Asian Tour), and more.  BFA from NYU/Tisch.  Recently participated in the 2013 Directors Lab West.  Also runs his own photography business. www.geoffrey-goldberg.com

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"Direction by Craig J. George makes this show ready to move to Broadway..." - T2COnline.com

"Erik Johnke and Elaine Chelton have created one of the most mesmerizing new musicals to be seen this season." - RobertaOnTheArts.com

07/08/2013 - The Producer's Perspective: 5 Shows that Stand Out at the NYMF – 2013

07/17/2013 - Theatre Pizzazz: From the Ground Up: Composer Elaine Chelton & Lyricist/Playwright Erik Johnke Discuss “God’s Country

07/22/2013 - UsherNonsense.com: "God's Country" Review

07/23/2013 - RobertaOnTheArts.com: "God's Country", by Erik Johnke and Elaine Chelton, at New York Musical Theatre Festival

07/25/2013 - T2COnline.com: New York Musical Theatre Festival is a Winner: T2C's Picks of HIt Shows