Queen E: The Reluctant Royal

Book and lyrics by Leola Floren Gee; Music by Rick Lukianuk

Abetting a beheading and a wedding.

Misogyny, check. Xenophobia, check. Traitorous sycophants, check. King Xerxes of Persia sponsors a beauty pageant in order to replace his stubborn wife with a submissive one. The mysterious Esther wins, becoming an undercover bride whose secret mission is to prevent genocide. In risking her life, she inspires the Jewish festival of Purim. Both comedic and poignant, this royal reality show features soul scorching ballads and farcical takes on the adventures of a biblical icon.

 

Runtime: Approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes including a 10 minute intermission. 

Leola Floren Gee

Leola Floren Gee (Book & Lyrics)

Leola (book & lyrics) is a former journalist and retired teacher whose credits include features on whale watching and sewage treatment protocol. She and her husband live in Michigan and for 38 years have been waiting for the Lions to make the Super Bowl. She wrote her first play at the urging of her friend, Rick, and discovered that theater is way more fun than sewage treatment plants, although she acknowledges society benefits from both.



Rick Lukianuk

Rick Lukianuk (Writer (Book, Music, Lyrics))

Rick (music) taught himself to write music while living in Germany as a high school student without TV, radio, or the internet. At Duke University he wrote and directed several musicals featuring future Broadway star Kevin Gray. He met his wife, Lee Ann, on stage at Duke, and they continued to perform and record his original work as he developed his international law career. He serves as the Headmaster of Heritage Christian Academy in Kansas.



Dan

Dan'yelle Williamson (Esther)

Dan'yelle Williamson, a Broadway veteran with a passion for storytelling, is thrilled to be making her NYMF debut with Queen E! Last seen in the American Premier of Life After at The Old Globe and a Holiday Celebration Concert in Tokyo, Japan. Broadway: Tony Award Winning Memphis, Scandalous and Rocky. Additional credits: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Sister Act, Disgraced, Mamma Mia, National Lion King Tour, and Wicked Chicago. Agent: DGRW INC. IG: @dubbzlove http://www.danyellewilliamson.com

 



Jessica Lynn French

Jessica Lynn French (Director)

Jessica is thrilled to be continuing her involvement with Queen E after directing the 2017 preliminary reading in NYC followed by the first staged concert version in Michigan! After years as an active performer, she became a Teaching Artist for The Metropolitan Opera Guild and Broadway Bound Kids. Jessica currently serves as Artistic Director of Bright Light Productions and Director of the LCA Summer Musical Theatre Intensive. Graduate of Boston Conservatory and Belmont University. www.jessicalynnfrench.net



Warren Curtis

Warren Curtis (Haman)

Broadway National Tour: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Blanco). Off- Broadway: Hazel Flagg (Billings); The Poisons (Mansard). Regional: West Side Story (Bernardo, Opera North); A Chorus Line (Don, Berkshire Theatre Festival); Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Charles, Cape Playhouse); 42nd Street (Oscar, North Shore Music Theatre); The Boyfriend (Marcel, Maltz-Jupiter Theatre); West Side Story (A-Rab, Maine State Music Theatre); Sugar (Dude, Westchester Broadway Theatre). Film: Saving Wolfie, Stumped. Concerts and Industrials for ABC Daytime and Mac. Proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.



Hassan Nazari-Robati

Hassan Nazari-Robati (Hegai)

Hassan is stoked to be a part of Queen E and NYMF! National/International Tour: Beauty and the Beast; New York Theatre: Ms. Estrada (Flea Theater), Suburbia (5th Floor Theatre); Regional: Oklahoma! (TUTS), The Corpse Washer (Actor’s Theatre of Louisville), Hunchback of Notre Dame (Capital City Theatre), Oliver! (Palace Theatre). Many thanks to everyone on the Queen E team and Amy, and love to my family and James!



Charles J. Ouda

Charles J. Ouda (Mordecai)

Charles worked consistently in the entertainment industry around the world for over 16 years. A seasoned actor and singer with numerous television and film credits, Charles was most recently seen as George Schuyler in “Black Conference” (FalconWorks). His other credits include: Ernest Everhard in “The Iron Heel” (Adapted from Jack London’s dystopian novel and directed by Edward Einhorn), “Ready, Set, Go: Race” (Created by Reggie Flowers), “Mad” (Dir. Romeo D’Costa), “Sienna’s Choice” (Dir. Linda Palmer), “Happy Birthday Mr. President” (Dir. Cristina Noya) and “Brooklynification” (Dir. Keith Miller). He wishes to dedicate this performance to Breadcrumbs and to Ari and Ella.



Esteban Suero

Esteban Suero (King Xerxes)

Esteban Suero is a New York City actor, native to Miami, FL. Currently lives in Inwood, Manhattan with his 9-year-old German Shepherd. He is a photographer when he is not performing. Past credits include the Rockin' Road to Dublin National Tour (as Lead Vocalist, directed by Broadway's Jeff Whiting), Will Bloom in BIG FISH, Che in EVITA, and Angel in RENT. Esteban is very excited to be sharing this story alongside an inspiring creative team and a talented cast! Instagram: @estesuero @suerophotography



Jasmine Sigworth

Jasmine Sigworth (Beauty Contestant #1/Esther Understudy)

Jasmine Sigworth, a National Honor Thespian from Houston Texas, is enthusiastic to make her NYMF debut with Queen E! She was in the original world premiere cast of Queen E, as Esther. Jasmine was last seen in shows The Wizard of Oz and A Few Good Men. Some other credits include Les Miserables, Waiting For Godot, Antigone, Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Beauty and The Beast, and Seussical.



Stephan Haci

Stephan Haci (Guard #1/Understudy Xerxes)

Stephan is thrilled to be apart of Queen E: The Reluctant Royal! He'd like to thank his family and friends for helping and encouraging him to pursue theatre. Stephan will be attending AMDA in New York next fall and couldn’t be happier. He is very grateful to be working on this show again and very proud to be performing in New York. He hopes that you learn something new and enjoy the show.



Alexa Lushetsky

Alexa Lushetsky (Beauty Contestant #3/Zeresh Understudy)

Alexa Lushetsky is a rising sophomore, studying theater at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa recently had her VCU mainstage debut in Three Musketeers (Ensemble). Alexa was in the Staged Concert Reading of Queen E in 2017 and is immensely excited to continue to be part of the development of this lovely production.



Carter Chrivia

Carter Chrivia (Teresh)

Carter Chrivia is from the small town of Hale, Michigan. He is thrilled to be reviving the role of Teresh in Queen E since portraying him in the 2017 staged concert version. Some of his favorite roles have included Javert in Les Mis, Conrad Birdie in Bye Bye Birdie. Carter will be attending The American Musical Dramatic Academy (AMDA) starting this October in LA where he will work towards a BFA in Acting as well as a certification for fight choreography.



Caroline Hynes

Caroline Hynes (Hathak)

Caroline is thrilled to return to Queen E after participating in the staged concert version in Michigan in 2017. Caroline studies voice with Jessica Wagner and has studied lever harp for four years. She will attend Minnesota State University Mankato in the fall to study Theatre Arts. She would like to thank her family for their support.



Darius Wright

Darius Wright (Executioner)

Darius is excited to be performing at NYMF! Broadway: PRETTY WOMAN (OBC), A BRONX TALE. Tour: MATILDA. Developmental: PRETTY WOMAN, AIN’T TOO PROUD (Smokey Robinson/Damon Harris). Regional: Goodspeed, Riverside, MTWichita, Lyric OKC. Come see his upcoming solo show “D’s Company” at The Green Room 42 this upcoming October! Tickets on his website: www.DariusWright.com. Follow him on Twitter & Instagram: @DariusAWright



Maggie Morreale

Maggie Morreale (Beauty Contestant #2)

Maggie is thrilled to be traveling from Nashville, Tennessee to make her New York City debut. At 15, Maggie performed in the World Premiere of Queen E: The Reluctant Royal and is excited to share this show with the world. Some of Maggie's favorite roles include Annie in Annie, Charlotte in Cinderella, Nigella in Matilda, Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. and Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. In her free time, Maggie enjoys dancing, songwriting, and fashion. Maggie would like to thank her parents, her director Jessica French, and all of her teachers at Expression City's Performing Arts Academy for helping her achieve her dreams.



Ariana Valdes

Ariana Valdes (Zeresh)

Ariana is elated to return to NYC in Queen E, after completing almost 2 years on the road with the recent North American tour of The Sound of Music! NATIONAL TOURS: The Sound of Music (Sister Berthe, Baroness Elberfeld, U/S Mother Abbess), My Fair Lady (Mrs. Hopkins). REGIONAL: In The Heights (Daniela, Westchester Broadway Theatre, Gallery Players); Sister Act (Sister Mary Patrick, Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, White Plains PAC); Beauty and the Beast (Madame de la Grande Bouche, Palace Theatre); Jerry Springer: The Opera (Baby Jane/Peaches, SpeakEasy Stage Company); James & the Giant Peach (Aunt Sponge, John W. Engeman Theater); Seussical (Sour Kangaroo, Gateway Playhouse). Boston Conservatory alum! This fall, Ariana will make her Off-Broadway debut as Divonne in the NYC premiere of The Green Room! @arianavaldiva // www.ArianaValdes.com



Courtney D. Ellis

Courtney D. Ellis (Beauty Contestant #4)

Courtney received her MFA in Acting from Columbia University and her BA in Theory and Performance from Hampton University. A few of her stage credits include: Sistas: The Musical, James Baldwin's Another Country (Directed by Diane Paulus), Freedom Train(National Tour), Hymn to Life, Map of Lost Things(in the 1st Irish Festival), After Hippolytus and many others. Many thanks to Jessica and the Queen E team!



Ezra Crosby

Ezra Crosby (Bigthana/Guard 2)

Ezra is happy to be returning to the cast of Queen E! He is proudly attending Gordon College for the first time in August. He hails from Philadelphia and has played the roles of Jean Valjean (Les Mis), Lumier (Beauty and the Beast), Prince Topher (Cinderella), and Kevin the Father (In the Heights). He would like to thank Jessica, Mrs. Whitford, Mrs. Clemente, Tom his vocal coach as well as his mother, father, sister, family and friends.