Press Release: The Immigrant






Written by Mark Harelik
Lyrics by Sarah Knapp
Music by Steven M. Alper
Musical Direction by Dean Mora
Directed by Hope Alexander

Limited Engagement opens Saturday, April 5 at The Colony Theatre in Burbank!


March 4, 2008...Burbank...The Colony Theatre Company presents the fifth production of its 2007 - 2008 season, the West Coast Premiere of a new American musical, THE IMMIGRANT, written by Mark Harelik, with lyrics by Sarah Knapp, music by Steven M. Alper, musical direction by Dean Mora, and direction by Hope Alexander. THE IMMIGRANT will preview on Wednesday, April 2; Thursday, April 3 and Friday, April 4 at 8:00pm and will open on Saturday, April 5 at 8:00pm and continue through Sunday, May 4 at The Colony Theatre, 555 North Third Street (at Cypress) adjacent to the Burbank Town Center.

A Young European Jew, fleeing the pogroms of Czarist Russia in 1909, gets off the boat at Galveston and pushes his banana cart into the tiny Baptist town of Hamilton, Texas. He is the author's grandfather, and what follows is his story, a uniquely American saga of struggle, faith, hope, and ultimate triumph over adversity. Immensely popular as a straight play in the 1980s, this brand new musical version features a breathtaking score of uncommon power and beauty.


MARK HARELIK (Playwright) is a writer and actor, a native Texan who grew up in the only Jewish family in the small town of Hamilton in central Texas, where his two biographical plays The Immigrant and The Legacy take place. In 1991, The Immigrant, a telling of his Jewish grandparent's immigration to rural Texas and their first 30 years of life there, was the most widely produced play in the country. In the immediately preceding and following years, it was among the most widely produced. It has been seen at nearly every major theater in the country, among them: The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, The Westwood Playhouse in Los Angeles, Theater Forty in Los Angeles, A.C.T. in San Francisco, The Denver Center Theater Co., The Alley Theater in Houston, and well over a hundred more theaters in cities and towns large and small. The Legacy, an autobiographical sequel to The Immigrant, has been produced in Seattle and San Diego and most recently by the Old Globe Theater in San Diego. Lost Highway, a biographical musical about the life of the country singer Hank Williams has been produced by the Mark Taper Forum, The Old Globe Theater, The Denver Center Theater Co., and the Grand 'Ole Opry in Nashville. Mr. Harelik's producing partners have been The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, Gordon Davidson, Artistic Director; The Old Globe Theater in San Diego, Jack O'Brien, Artistic Director; and The Denver Center Theater Company, Donovan Marley, Artistic Director.

SARAH KNAPP (Lyrics) and STEVEN M. ALPER (Music) wrote the score for The Immigrant, which began as a workshop production in New York at CAP21 and opened off-Broadway at Dodger Stages in 2004. It received two Drama Desk nominations and was recorded on Ghostlight Records. Sarah and Steven received a commission from Maine State Music Theater and the National Alliance of Musical Theatre Producers to write the Civil War musical, Chamberlain (aka Men and Angels), which premiered at Maine State. Their musical, The Library, was awarded an NEA production grant and premiered at NYU-Tisch School of the Arts and Stamford Theatre Works. They are currently at work on a gothic music theatre piece based on Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story, Rappaccini's Daughter. Men and Angels, The Library, and Rappaccini's Daughter were selected for development at The New Harmony Project, the prestigious writers' workshop in Indiana. They contributed to the Drama Desk nominated musical, The Audience, and provided the songs for the Golden Books Read-In. As an actor, Sarah has performed on and off-Broadway, in Europe, and across the country in regional theatre and she has served on the selection panel for the NEA. Steven has composed many incidental scores for theatre including Phoenix Theatre's Crucifer of Blood and Karen DeMauro's Faces of God, and for several films, including James Manos' The Wake-Up Call. With Karen DeMauro he has written numerous award-winning educational musicals. He is the author of Next! Auditioning for the Musical Theatre (Heinemann Books), has worked as conductor, musical director, vocal arranger and orchestrator, and wrote the tutorial examples and Visual Index for MakeMusic!'s Finale software. They are both members of the Dramatists Guild.
HOPE ALEXANDER (Director) is thrilled to make her Colony debut with this wonderful play. She started her career at San Francisco Actor's Workshop as the youngest apprentice in that company's history and has worked in theatre for over forty years. Directing work has taken her from Costa Mesa (South Coast Repertory: True West, Play Strindberg) to Paris, France (Le Petit Herbertot Theatre: Tennessee Williams's The Two Character Play). A multiple Drama-Logue Award and Critics Circle Award winner, other directing favorites include: Park Your Car in Harvard Yard and Fighting over Beverly (Fountain Theatre), Last List of My Mad Mother (Hudson Theatre), The Art of Dining (Marin Theatre Company), The Glencarin Cycle (a series of Eugene O'Neill's sea plays performed on-board a 19th-century schooner in San Francisco), and Snow White (written by her son Thorin Alexander, produced by The Falcon Theatre). For her own company, The Company Rep, Hope directed Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Criminal Minds, Camino Real, The Comedy of Errors, The Fantasticks, A Christmas Carol (also written by Thorin Alexander), Play Strindberg, The Nina Variations and the World Premiere Musical Rosenstrasse. Acting credits include an American tour of Shakespeare's People opposite Sir Michael Redgrave as well as performing in theatres across the country. On TV, she starred on The New W.K.R.P in Cincinnati and The Mystery of Black Rose Castle and can be seen in many late night films.

DEAN MORA (Musical Director) was born and raised in Los Angeles and graduated from CSU Northridge. His musical direction credits include The Dead, The Threepenny Opera, Side By Side By Sondheim, Lady MacBeth Sings The Blues (Ovation Award Winner, Best Musical Direction), Jacques Brel is Alive...", The World Goes 'Round, A Little Night Music, Pump Boys and Dinettes, City of Angels, Two By Two, Baby, Man of La Mancha, Ain't Misbehavin', Forever Plaid, The Sound of Music, Weird Romance, Quilters, The Boyfriend, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, and The Fantasticks. Outside of the theatre world, Dean leads his own big band, specializing in music from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s


JOE J. GARCIA (Milton) is thrilled to be making his debut here at The Colony Theater, and to be working with Hope Alexander again! Originally from Houston, Texas, Joe has worked in television, film and in theaters all across America. He has appeared in productions locally at The Geffen Playhouse, The Company Rep, Boston Court, Actors Alley, The Celebration Theater and Knightsbridge Theater, to name a few. He has received multiple Drama-Logue Awards, a Backstage West Garland Award, Matty Award, and an Ovation Award for his work. Some of his favorite roles include those in these critically acclaimed plays Play Strindberg, The Puppet Master of Lodz, Only the Dead Know Burbank, Someone to Watch Over Me, A Comedy of Errors and The Tempest. Television and film credits include DareDevil, Point of No Return, Dragnet, Malcolm In the Middle, The Practice, Gilmore Girls, and E.R., in addition to many others. Joe is a graduate (1984) of The American Academy of Dramatic Arts where he is currently on the directing staff.

CHRISTOPHER GUILMET (Haskell) is a recent transplant to Los Angeles from New York, where he performed at the Lucille Lortel, New York Musical Theatre Festival, New York Fringe, The 24 Hour Plays, and others. Regionally he has appeared as Arthur in Camelot and Fredrik in A Little Night Music (Stages St. Louis); Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Tench/Wisehammer in Our Country's Good (Cold Comfort Theatre); Rutledge in 1776 (5th Avenue Theatre); Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music and The Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance (Village Theatre); and many others.
MONICA LOUWERENS (Leah) is thrilled to be making her debut at The Colony Theatre. Monica graduated with high honors in theatre from Middleton, CT's Wesleyan University. She recently returned from performing on the national tour of Camelot, starring Michael York. She had has many singing opportunities around the country, including the National Anthem at the commissioning of the USS JOHN C STENNIS. Favorite television roles include: Miss Fairweather on Power Rangers: Lightspeed Rescue (which garnered her a fan base among 5 to 12-year-olds), Passions, Numb3rs, Heroes, and The Closer. She has starred in independent films and regional and local theatre. Favorite theatre roles include: I Never Saw Another Butterfly (Irena Synkova), Chekhov's The Brute (Tamara Popov), My Fair Lady (Eliza Doolittle), and working on Mack and Mabel with Jerry Herman.

CYNTHIA MARTY (Ima) is pleased as punch to be making her Colony Theatre debut. It also marks a happy reunion with director Hope Alexander, after their work together on Rosenstrasse for The Company Rep. Born and raised in the South....of Wisconsin, that is, Cindy has been blessed to work from Seattle to Houston to Ogunquit, Maine. New York: Company (Jenny), The Most Happy Fella (Rosabella), The Music Man (Marian), My Fair Lady (Eliza), Lend Me A Tenor (Maggie) and the World Premiere of Silver Skates opposite Tony winner Shuler Hensley. West Coast: One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest (Ratched) with Ryan Hurst, Hello, Dolly! (Irene Molloy), Secret Garden (Rose) for CLO of South Bay Cities, The Spitfire Grill (Shelby), 1776 (Abigail) for San Diego Starlight, Guys and Dolls with Faith Prince for Seattle Rep, High Button Shoes with Jason Graae for Rubicon, and Creation for the Crystal Cathedral.

THE IMMIGRANT has assembled an award-winning design team. The set design is by John Iacovelli (Camelot, Casablanca). The costume design is by A. Jeffrey Schoenberg (The Ladies of the Camellias, Trying). The lighting design is by Don Guy (Master Harold..., Grand Hotel). The sound design is by Drew Dalzell (Tick, Tick,...Boom; Billy Bishop Goes To War).    
THE IMMIGRANT will open on Saturday, April 5 and perform through Sunday, May 4, 2008. Performances for THE IMMIGRANT are Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 2:00pm and 7:00pm. There will be additional performances on Saturday, April 12 and April 19 at 3pm and Thursday, April 24 and May 1 at 8pm. Ticket prices range from $37.00 - $42.00 (student, senior and group discounts are available). Preview performances are Wednesday, April 2 at 8pm; Thursday, April 3 at 8pm and Friday, April 4 at 8:00pm. Preview Tickets are $20.00 - $25.00. Opening night performance with reception - all tickets $50.00. There are question-and-answer talkbacks after the performances on Friday, April 11, and Thursday, April 24. For tickets, call the Colony Theatre Box Office at 818/558-7000 ext. 15.    

The Colony Theatre Company is a 33-year old organization dedicated to bringing the finest-quality theatrical productions to Los Angeles. The theatre is located at 555 North Third Street, at the corner of Cypress, in the heart of Downtown Burbank. For further information, call (818) 558-7000. Fax: (818) 558-7110. E-mail: Or visit our website at www.colonytheatre.ORG.

For more information, press interviews, photos or for press comps, please contact David Elzer/DEMAND PR at 818/508-1754 or at or visit

The award-winning Colony Theatre Company is Burbank's premiere professional theatre. It was voted "Best Live Theatre in L.A." in The Daily News 2006 Readers' Choice poll, and was named one of "25 Notable U.S. Theatre Companies" by Encyclopedia Britannica's 2006 Almanac.