Charissa Bertels (Concept & Actress)
Charissa is a Broadway actress and champion of new musicals. She recently starred in the world premiere of My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend at Merrimack Repertory Theatre to rave reviews. Previously, she toured the country in the first national tour of If/Then, starring Idina Menzel. She made her Broadway debut in the original Broadway cast of Pasek & Paul's Tony-nominated musical, A Christmas Story, and later reprised her role at Madison Square Garden. As part of the singing ensemble for New York City Center Encores' productions of Lady Be Good and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, her work can be heard on the subsequent cast recordings, featuring Megan Hilty and the legendary Tommy Tune. Charissa produced the award-winning new musical, Academia Nuts, at NYMF, garnering awards for Best New Musical, Best Director and two Best Actors. In addition, she has produced three concerts of new works with participants of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop at The Duplex: “Musical Speed Dating”, “Contemporary Christmas”, and "X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Holiday Spectacular". Her work in film includes two original movie musicals, Gingerbread House (co-producer) and It Is What It Is, created as part of the musical theatre curriculum at New York Film Academy, where she is currently a professor. She is proud to be an artistic Patriot at MRT. www.charissa.nyc
Christian Duhamel (Book & Lyrics)
Christian Duhamel is the recipient of the 2018 Kleban Award for most promising musical theater librettist. In 2017, he was selected for the honor of serving as a Songwriting Artist in Residence with Oriental DreamWorks. His other works include The Girl Who Turned Into a Feather (Something Marvelous Festival); Miss Mayor (Puzzle Theatre Festival; B-Side Productions’ New American Musical Award finalist); Reinventing Romance (Kennedy Center ACTF awards for music, lyrics, playwriting and direction; David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award finalist); Worlds Apart (Music Theatre Ventures’ Young Creators Award); X-Mas: A Merry Mutant Holiday Spectacular; Reeling; and Mary Walker Wears What She Wants. He has presented concert works at The Duplex, 54 Below, The Neon, Martin's Off Madison, New Voices, and The Battersea Barge, and has received commissions from theaters across the country, such as Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Company/Wooden-O, and The Human Race Theatre Company. He currently resides in New York City where he is an active member of the Dramatists Guild of America, the Off-Broadway Alliance, Actors’ Equity Association, and the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. www.christianduhamel.org
Ed Bell (Music & Lyrics)
Ed Bell is a writer, musician and educator. With Christian Duhamel he wrote My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, a one-woman musical for actress Charissa Bertels that premiered at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Massachusetts in April 2017. He has music directed projects in London, New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles and was an Artist-in-Residence at Oriental DreamWorks in Shanghai. He created The Song Foundry, an online project in songwriting education, in 2014 and his first book, The Art of Songwriting, was published in July 2017. Ed is a graduate of Cambridge University and The Royal College of Music, an alumnus of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a proud member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild of America. www.edward-bell.co.uk
Milton (Muse & Amusor)
Milton is an octogenarian with a love of all things Boswell & Johnson. He enjoys poetry, Jeopardy, creating amateur knockoffs of famous paintings and beating Charissa at pool. He believes all life is chance and that we should “take the cash and let the credit go”.
Sean Daniels (Director)
Sean has directed at Manhattan Theatre Club (The Lion, Drama Desk Award & Theatre World Award, nominated for Lucille Lortel and Outer Critics Circle), 59e59 (NYC), Lynn Redgrave (NYC) The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), St. James (West End, London - The Lion, winner of Best New Musical), Arena Stage, A.C.T. (San Francisco), Milwaukee Rep, Geffen (L.A.) Actors Theatre of Louisville, Portland Center Stage, Geva Theatre, Playmakers Rep, Cleveland Play House, Alliance Theatre, California Shakespeare, Dad’s Garage Theatre Company, City Theatre, Swine Palace, Neo-Futurists, Aurora Theatre, Crowded Fire and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. He is the Artistic Director of Merrimack Repertory Theatre. He's previously served as the Artist-At-Large for Geva Theatre Center and spent four years at the Tony Award-winning Actors Theatre of Louisville as the theatre’s Associate Artistic Director (where he directed 17 productions including five Humana Festivals). He has developed new work with the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Ars Nova, PlayPenn, Lark, PlayLabs, New York Stage and Film, Asolo Rep, Goodspeed Opera, Weston Playhouse, Bay Area Playwrights, Magic Theatre and was the first American director asked to attend the Baltic American Playwrights Conference in Hiiumaa, Estonia.
He'd love to hear from you. @seandaniels
Peilin Chou (Producer)
In addition to her passion for 80 year old boyfriends, Peilin is also the Head of Creative, Feature Animation at Oriental DreamWorks in Shanghai. Her theatrical experience includes serving as the Artistic Associate & Company Manager of the Roundabout Theatre, overseeing dozens of different productions, workshops and readings, including the Tony Award-winning Cabaret and Sideman. Peilin was also the Director of Development at Livent, Inc. where she helped to launch the Tony Award-winning musical Fosse and participated in the development of Seussical and Sweet Smell of Success. Peilin started her career at the Walt Disney Studios where she was a Creative Executive at Touchstone Pictures and Walt Disney Feature Animation. There she was responsible for overseeing the Disney/ASCAP Musical Theater Workshop and the Disney Songwriter Development Program, in addition to developing dozens of screenplays, and overseeing the production of numerous feature films including: Mulan, Toy Story 2, Phenomenon, and Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion. Peilin earned her BA in Communication Studies from UCLA.
Kevin David Thomas (Music Director)
Broadway: A Tale of Two Cities (Music Assistant + Keyboard), Les Miserables (Actor), A Little Night Music (Cast Recording). Off-Broadway: Pamela's First Musical (Town Hall), Little House on the Prairie starring Melissa Gillbert (Papermill and National Tour; Asst. Music Supervisor) Regional: Marvelous Wonderettes: Dream On (World Premiere; Cast Recording; Music Supervisor), A Little Night Music (Palm Beach Drama Works; Music Director) Television: Becoming Us (ABC Family) International: Once On This Island (GITIS; Moscow, Russia) Other: Music Director and Teacher at New York Film Academy's Musical Theater Program.