An American Hero: A New World War II Musical

Book by Kenneth L. Stilson; Music and Lyrics by Cody Cole

An Irish immigrant who becomes a reluctant American hero.
 
An American Hero tells the story of a romantic and cheerful Irish immigrant, who joins the Army and falls in love and marries an American woman before being sent to fight the Second World War. He suffers terrible losses, while his wife joins the war effort at home. They both endure the war, but their battles take heavy tolls. On his return, he rejects the Medal of Honor for simply surviving the worst day of his life. In the end, he learns the depths of his love of family, the sacrifices of heroes, and the meaning of becoming an American.
 
Running Time: 115 minutes 
 
The Acorn Theatre @ Theatre Row
Kenneth L. Stilson

Kenneth L. Stilson (Book, Music, Lyrics)

Kenneth L. Stilson (Book, General Manager, Producer) Plays/Musicals: Stage Door Johnny (w/Mike Appel), in-progress; Where the Lilies Grow (winner, Critics Award, Edward Albee Theatre Festival); Murfee’s Law (winner, Stage West New Play Festival); The Cow and the Milk. Screenplays: Fire Lily (winner, Best-Feature Film, American Artists Film Festival); Interview a Monster (contributor with Tom Smugala). Books: Acting is Believing, editions 8-12; Ezra Stone: a Biography. As a director, writer, and actor, Kenn has worked in theatres from NYC to LA. Professor of Acting, Directing and Musical Theatre, Kenn is Chair of The Conservatory of Theatre & Dance at Southeast Missouri State University.
 


Cody Cole

Cody Cole (Book, Music, Lyrics)

Cody Cole (Music and Lyrics) First Musical! Cody is a graduate of the Theatre Conservatory of The Holland College at Southeast Missouri State University. Cody began composing at the age of six and with the support of his parents. As an actor, he has been seen in The Addams Family, On the Town, and A Chorus Line.
 


Joe Schimsa

Joe Schimsa (Book, Music, Lyrics)

Joe Schimsa (Anderson/Mr. Park) is thrilled to be included in this amazing production for NYMF. Some of his past Credits include DEATH AND MCCOOTIE (Edgar P. McCootie), SHREK (Big Bad Wolf), and MARY POPPINS (Ensemble). Joe loves to collect “Nightwing” comic books, and enjoys to swim in his free time. He would like to send a big thank you to his family, friends, and teachers for all of their support over the years.


Adam Schween

Adam Schween (Thomas)

Adam Schween (Thomas) is happy to be participating in the NYMF! Adam has been seen before in Mary Poppins, as Tom Sawyer in Big River and Leaf in 25th Annual… Spelling Bee. Adam is an Irene Ryan Kenndey Center for the Arts nominee for his performance in the world-premiere of An American Hero. He would like to thank the cast and crew for their amazing work on this show! Enjoy!
 


Jose Alpizar

Jose Alpizar (Paddy)

Jose Alpizar (Paddy) Thrilled for his NYMF debut! Highlights include Bert in Mary Poppins, Moritz Stiefel in Spring Awakening, Gregory Gardner in A Chorus Line, and Baker in An American Hero at The Gallery Players. Honored to be one of three NYMF cast members that have been with An American Hero since its first reading! Special thanks to his family, Mac McIntosh, Joshua Harvey, and to all those that have served in the Armed Forces. josepalpizar.com
 


Josslyn Shaw

Josslyn Shaw (Mary)

Josslyn Shaw (Mary) is thrilled to be a part of the cast of An American Hero! Her credits include Punk Rock (Cissy), Dracula (Lucy), Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins), The Little Mermaid (Ursula), Into The Woods (The Baker’s Wife), and Thoroughly Modern Millie (Millie Dillmount). Much gratitude to my parents, friends, instructors, and all involved in An American Hero for the overwhelming love and support.
 


Julia Slomski

Julia Slomski (Rosie)

Julia Slomski (Rosie) Julia is happy to continue her journey with An American Hero. She has played such roles as Diana Morales in A Chorus Line, Marcy Park in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Darlene in the Diviners and Wednesday Addams in The Addams Family. She would like to thank her family and the cast and crew, especially Cody Cole, Mac McIntosh, Kenn Stilson and Josh Harvey. www.juliaslomski.com



Ellen Carr

Ellen Carr (Nancy/Dolores)

Ellen Carr (Nancy/Dolores) is excited to be performing at NYMF for the first time. Highlights include Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Barfeé in 25th Annual...Spelling Bee, and Toinette in The Imaginary Invalid. Ellen is proud to have been a part of An American Hero since its inception. Immense love and thanks to her family. Catch Ellen working on her stand-up and scouring the city for gluten-free snacks. www.ellencarr.com
 


Kamron Underwood

Kamron Underwood (Finn/Newman)

Kamron Underwood (Finn/Newman) Notable Roles include Gollum in The Hobbit, Jesus of Jesus Christ Superstar, and Bennett in the SEMO Conservatory of Theatre and Dance's 2018 Production of Punk Rock. Kamron would like to thank Michael McIntosh, Kenneth L. Stilson, Joshua Harvey, Jenna Moore, Michelle Contrino, as well as his friends and family for helping him grow into what he is today.
 


Ries Lundstrom

Ries Lundstrom (McGarity)

Ries Lundstrom (McGarity) NYC debut! Previous credits include: An American Hero (McGarity) in and Little Shop of Horrors. Watching An American Hero grow has been a wonderful experience. Special thanks to my parents and the cast and crew.
 


Rowan Van Horn

Rowan Van Horn (Baker)

Rowan Van Horn (Baker) Regional: DRACULA (Jonathan Harker), PUNK ROCK (William), HAMLET (Claudius), YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU (Kolenkhov). Rowan is incredibly excited to be bringing this production to the NYMF! A big thank you to the entire AN AMERICAN HERO team for making this the ride of a lifetime, to my ever-loving family, and to the SEMO Conservatory of Theatre and Dance.
 


Andrew Freeland

Andrew Freeland (Basilone)

Andrew Freeland (Basilone) is very excited to be making his NYMF debut! Favorite past roles include Edmund Pevensie in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe; The Young Fool in Big River; and previous versions of An American Hero. Special thanks to his parents, cast, and best friend Connor for constant support.



Mason Ramsey

Mason Ramsey (Jacob/Knappenberger)

Mason Ramsey (Jacob/Knappenberger) Super excited to perform at the New York Musical Festival! Credits include: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Seymour) , BIG RIVER (Young Fool) and MARY POPPINS. Huge thank you to both of my parents, the rest of my family, Donnie and Leigh, Sydney, and the faculty staff at SEMO. I could not be where I am today without you guys!
 


Nicholas Kuchem

Nicholas Kuchem (Peters)

Nicholas Kuchem (Peters) Nick is a junior at The Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast Missouri State University. While there he has played characters such as Huck in BIG RIVER, and Audrey II, in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS. Other productions include ALL SHOOK UP (Denis), MARY POPPINS (Constable), and SPAMALOT (Patsy).
 


Philip Meinecke

Philip Meinecke (Kraus)

Philip Meinecke (Kraus) TROUBLE IN UNION STATION!, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN as Don Lockwood, PIPPIN, and OUR TOWN. Theatre Conservatory at SEMO: Involved with AN AMERICAN HERO and BE MORE CHILL. Philip is an avid reader of fantasy and adventure novels and his spare time and expresses gratitude to the cast and crew.
 


April Bassett

April Bassett (Betty)

April Bassett (Betty) NYC debut! She has previously appeared in the following productions at SEMO’s Theatre Conservatory, Mary Poppins, Big River as Mary Jane Wilkes, and in a previous staging of An American Hero, as Peggy. April dabbles in theatre technology and she enjoys collecting cat paintings. She would like to give special thanks to her parents for always supporting her, and telling her to shoot for the stars!
 


Abigail Becker

Abigail Becker (Peggy)

Abigail Becker (Peggy) NYMF Debut. This is Abigail’s third time in the cast of An American Hero. Favorite past roles include Audrey (Little Shop of Horrors), Sarah Brown (Guys and Dolls) and Debbie Fox (Back to the '80s). Abigail has performed at Musical Theatre Heritage, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Faust Theatre, Theatre in the Park and River Campus Summer Arts Festival. She is a candidate for a BFA in musical theatre at Southeast Missouri State University.



Hollynn St. Clair

Hollynn St. Clair (Phyllis)

Hollynn St. Clair (Phyllis) is ecstatic to be a member of the company of AN AMERICAN HERO. Credits include MARY POPPINS, LITTLE WOMEN: THE MUSICAL, ANYTHING GOES, and MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS. Special thanks and much love to her family, close friends, and the cast and crew.
 


Madison Jackson

Madison Jackson (Charlie)

Madison Jackson (Charlie) is excited to be making her NYMF debut with An American Hero. She was previously involved in The Little Mermaid (Ursula), Pippin (Katherine), Godspell (“O Bless the Lord”), Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Story: The Musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Seussical, and The Music Man. She was part of the workshop productions of An American Hero.
 


MacKenzie Hamilton

MacKenzie Hamilton (Ensemble)

MacKenzie Hamilton (Ensemble) has appeared in River Campus Festival’s THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Logainne “Schwarzy”), Stage Three Theatre’s COWGIRLS (Mickey), Linden Theatre’s FOOTLOOSE (Ariel Moore), and THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (Colombia). Other productions include MONTY PYTHON’S SPAMALOT, GYPSY, and SEMO's productions of MARY POPPINS and BIG RIVER. Special thanks to her family, friends and SEMO faculty for supporting her acting career.
 


Andrew Feigenbaum

Andrew Feigenbaum (Ensemble)

Andrew Feigenbaum (Ensemble) Andrew feels blessed to be performing at the New York Musical Festival. Previous roles include George Banks in Mary Poppins (SEMO), Norbert Briggs in Dracula (SEMO), He wants to thank his family, friends, and others who have supported him!
 


John Pletka

John Pletka (Ensemble)

John Pletka (Ensemble) John is excited for the opportunity to work at NYMF. Some of John's previous credits include: Regional: Maine State Music Theatre: NEWSIES (Romeo), TOMMY (Cousin Kevin), GREASE; Fulton Opera House: GUYS AND DOLLS. Other credits include: Cedar Point’s nightly show LUMINOSITY 2016 (Dancer); AN AMERICAN HERO at The Gallery Players; ON THE TOWN at SEMO Conservatory (Gabey). Special thanks to Michelle Contrino, Judith Farris, and all his family and friends that have guided him through his career so far! JohnWPletka.com



Michael McIntosh (Director)

Michael McIntosh (Director) has directed and acted throughout the world. Michael's work has been seen Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, California, New York, Chicago, Missouri, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Beirut, Lebanon. Equally at home on-camera, Michael has worked on many commercials and industrial films. He is also a jingle singer and animation voice-over artist. He is Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre and Directing at the Conservatory of Theatre at Southeast Missouri State University.
 


Amber Marisa Cook (Scenic Design)

Amber Marissa Cook (Scenic Designer) is a costume and scenic designer, and Assistant Professor of Costume Design for the Conservatory of Theatre and Dance at Southeast MO State University. She has worked at regional and academic theaters across the nation. She is currently finishing work on a book about digital textile design to be published by Focal Press in late 2018. MFA in Production Design from Michigan State University, Member of United Scenic Artists Local 829. www.ambermcookdesign.com
 


James M. Miller (Costume Design)

James M. Miller (Costume Designer) is professor emeritus of the University of Missouri at Columbia. In his 36 year career, he directed/choreographed /designed over 100 productions at M.U. He directed musicals for Tulane Summer Lyric Theatre in New Orleans, the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre and the Stephens College Theatre Conservatory. Since retirement, Miller has designed costumes for 5 productions for the Theatre Department at Southeast Missouri State University including On The Town and Anything Goes.
 


Deana Luetkenhaus (Costume Designer)

Deana Luetkenhaus is one of our Costume Designers American Hero and Costume Shop Supervisor at Southeast. She is a costume designer & technician. She received her BA in Theatre & BA in Sociology from Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina, and her MFA in Costume Design & Technology, secondary in Scenic Design from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. She loved collaborating with James M. Miller and the rest of the cast and crew. Special thanks to her family.



Christopher George Haug (Lighting Designer)

Christopher George Haug (Technical Director/Lighting Designer) will be the Assistant Professor of Lighting Design at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) starting in August 2018. He has been technical director for the Black Hills Playhouse (BHP) from 2014–2017, and production manager from 2016-2017. Lighting Design credits include, Big River (SEMO ’17), Shipwrecked! an Entertainment (BHP ’17) To Kill a Mockingbird (BHP ’15), and Garden of Joy (Wharton Center for the Performing Arts ’13).
 


Philip Nacy (Sound Design)

Philip Nacy (Sound Designer) is an Associate Professor of Theatre and sound designer at Southeast Missouri State University. Recent sound designs include A Raisin in the Sun, Dracula, Big River, Orpheus Descending, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and Brighton Beach Memoirs.



Thomas Gilman (Stage Manager)

Thomas Gilman (Stage Manager) is excited to work at NYMF for the first time. Previous credits include: William McNulty's Dracula, A Raisin in the Sun, A Chorus Line, Stop Kiss and On The Town. Thomas is excited to continue to work on An American Hero for multiple iterations.
 


Jenna Lee Moore (Musical Director)

Jenna Lee Moore (Assistant Musical Director) Assistant Professor of Musical Theatre: Southeast Missouri State University. Favorite music directing/vocal coaching credits: Avenue Q, Spring Awakening, Edges, Little Women, Funny Girl, A Christmas Carol & An American Hero. Recent publication: “The utilization of non-classical approaches to teaching musical theatre repertoire to the undergraduate soprano voice major” Voice and Speech Review. DMA in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance: University of Miami. Special thanks to my cats, Pinkerton and Spencer.
 


Emma Weller-Stilson (Production Assistant)

Emma Weller-Stilson (Production Assistant) Emma is excited to earn her first New York credit with An American Hero. She recently served as the head painter for The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged). Other credits include Dear Edwina Jr., The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Greater Tuna, Is He Dead?, and Godspell. Emma enjoys swimming, golf, and playing the piano. She would like to thank her family and friends for their support
 


The Conservatory of Theatre & Dance (Producer)

The Conservatory of Theatre & Dance at Southeast Missouri State University is located in the Holland College of Visual, Media & Performing Arts where they offer state-of-the-art training and performance facilities at the $75 million River Campus. They offer a professional training program with with the goal to prepare students for an active and successful career through high-level classroom instruction, high-quality productions, masterclasses by professionals in the industry, and summer work with professional companies. Our experienced and highly-trained faculty & staff are dedicated to preparing our students for a life-long career as working professionals in the performing arts.



Southeast Musical ‘American Hero’ Hits Center Stage on Off-Off Broadway

An American Hero at New York Musical Festival

Behind the Scenes of An American Hero