The Creative Team

The creative team of a musical has to have a lot of working parts. There isn’t just the vision of one fiery, stubborn, auteur, like we think of in movies. The choreographer, the book writer, the songwriters, the director: all have to work with a common purpose and toward a common goal. First Wives Club The Musical is no different. Talented and creative people go together to help turn a beloved book and movie into a musical. Here’s the team behind the words, songs, and dances that make up our show.

SIMON PHILLIPS(Director). An award-winning theater director, Simon Phillips is no stranger to adapting beloved movies to the stage. He is best known for adapting the global success, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, to the Broadway stage, and has a long list of musical and operas to his name, including Love Never Dies, The Twenty-Fifth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Urinetown the Musical, Company, The Threepenny Opera, Cabaret, and High Society. His Italian production of The Turk netted him Helpmann Award nomination for Best Direction of an Opera, and he is now adapting First Wives Club for the musical stage. Read more about Simon’s vision for the show here.

LINDA BLOODWORTH THOMASON(Writer). Linda Bloodworth Thomason is the Emmy and Golden Globe nominated pioneering creator of some of the most beloved and groundbreaking television shows in the history of the medium, including Designing Women and Evening Shade. In addition to her TV work, Linda is a talented and prolific documentarian, creating, among many others, The Man From Hope and the marriage equality documentary Bridegroom, which earned her the GLAD Award for Best Documentary Film. She is also the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Freedom of Speech award and the Silver Satellite, the highest honor bestowed by Women in Radio and Television. Linda is thrilled to be working along side Simon Phillips to craft, shape and adapt The First Wives Club to the musical stage.

HOLLAND-DOZIER-HOLLAND(Sound). Not everyone gets inducted into the Songwriters and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, but Holland-Dozier-Holland have been. And no wonder. When you hear Martha and the Vandellas belting out “Heat Wave”, the perfect encapsulation of thrilling summer love, they’re singing HDH. The Four Tops owe such iconic hits like “I Can’t Help Myself”, “Standing in the Shadows of Love”, “Reach Out I’ll Be There” and “Bernadette” to the creative genius of Holland-Dozier-Holland. – See more at: The Men That Made the Motown Sound.

BRIAN HOLLAND/EDDIE HOLLAND (Music & Lyrics). Brian and Eddie Holland have both been inducted in the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame, received The National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award and its coveted “Johnny Mercer “Award, The Grammy’s Trustee Award, The BMI Icon Award, and the International Ivor Novello Award. They’ve written well over 152 pop hits and were part of the creation of the famous Motown Sound that became the Songbook of America. BMI has reported that the collective airplay of Holland Dozier Holland’s hits are greater than that of Elvis, The Rolling Stones, and Beatles combined. Songs like “Baby Love,” “Reach Out I’ll Be There,” “Mr. Postman,” “Stop in the Name Of Love,” ”Baby I Need Your Loving,” “(Love is Like A) Heatwave,” “Reflections,” “You keep Me Hangin’ On,” and “You Can’t Hurry Love,” have been favorites of audiences worldwide. The Hollands are proud to have worked on their first Musical with the enthusiastic help and contributions of Shirley Washington, Executive Vice President of Holland Brothers Entertainment.

LAMONT DOZIER (Music & Lyrics) writes music & lyrics and has written and produced over fifty number one records. As a solo artist he earned platinum albums. He’s also written for Alison Moyet, Simply Red, Boy George, Eric Clapton and Phil Collins earning a Grammy Award, Brit Award, Ivor Novello Award, Golden Globe and Oscar nomination for “Two Hearts”. Last year Dozier received rave reviews for his score for the Chicago Children’s Theatre production of Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money.

LINDA BLOODWORTH THOMASON (Book), creator of the highly lauded series Designing Women, is among the most prolific writers in American television. The multiple Emmy nominee has penned over three-hundred-and-fifty scripts. Her first script (for “MASH”) was nominated for an Emmy. Her first political film became the iconic Man from Hope. Her first novel, Liberating Paris, became a New York Times Bestseller. And in 2013, her first feature length documentary, Bridegroom, won the Tribeca Film Festival. Among her many honors, are the Lucy Award for Women in Film and the Eleanor Roosevelt Freedom of Speech Award.

SIMON PHILLIPS (Director/Additional Material). Simon was Artistic Director of the State Theatre Company of South Australia from 1990-93 and Artistic Director of the Melbourne Theatre Company from 2000-11. His directing credits range from premieres of new works to contemporary and Shakespearean classics to musicals to opera. His production of Priscilla, Queen of the Dessert played Broadway and toured internationally and his production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies was recently released on DVD.

RUPERT HOLMES (Original Book) has won Tony® awards as a playwright, lyricist and composer. Broadway includes: The Mystery of Edwin Drood (Tony® awards Best Musical, Book, Score; identical Drama Desk Awards plus Best Orchestration to Holmes; 2013 Best Musical Revival, Tony® nom.); Curtains with Kander & Ebb (Drama Desk Best Book; Tony® nom. Book, Add’l Lyrics, Musical); Say Goodnight, Gracie (Best Play, Tony®nom.); Accomplice (Edgar Award, Best Play); John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Coming: Nutty Professor (with Marvin Hamlisch), Secondhand Lions.

DAVID CONNOLLY (Choreographer) made his Broadway performance début at age 19 then went on to choreograph for stage, screen and artists including Sarah Brightman, Katy Perry, k.d. lang, and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber.  He’s a recipient of The Canada Council of Regents’ Award of Excellence and proud member of The Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. www.DavidWConnolly.com

DIANE LOUIE (Music Supervisor) is a composer and conductor with roots in every corner of the musical globe—from R&B to opera, from classical to country.

KENNY SEYMOUR (Music Director). Broadway/Off-Broadway: Tony Award-Winning Best Musical Memphis (Music Director), Amazing Grace (Orchestrator), Marley: A World Premier Musical (Music Supervisor/Orchestrator), The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Co-Composer/Orchestrator). Film/TV: Talking with the Taxman About Poetry (2013 Global Music Award for Best Original Score). Music Arranger/Orchestrator for shows on Fox, BET, NBC. Education: LaGuardia High School, Manhattan School of Music, Berklee College of Music. www.kennyseymour.com

H.B. BARNUM (Music Arranger). Conductor-Producer-Arranger-Composer, to artists from Aretha to Sinatra.  Worked with the HDH team during the Motown era.  Hundreds of recordings, Films, TV, and Award winning commercials. Broadway credits include Tony winning Your Arms Too Short to Box with God.  Founder of LIFE Choir, H.B. Barnum Celebrity Golf Tournament.

GABRIELA TYLESOVA (Scenic & Costume Designer). Sydney Theatre Company: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Winner: 2014 Helpmann Award, APDG Award, 2013 Sydney Theatre Award). Opera Australia: Il Turco in Italia (Nomination: 2014 Helpmann Award; 2 x 2014 APDG Awards). The Really Useful Company Asia Pacific/UK: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Love Never Dies (Winner: 2011 Helpmann Award, 2011 Green Room Award).

NICK SCHLIEPER (Lighting Designer). Credits: The Royal Shakespeare Company, State Theatres of Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, Hamburg State Opera, The National Theatre of Norway, New York, Washington and London’s West End. He has lit countless productions for all the major Australian companies and is that country’s most highly awarded lighting designer.

JOHN SHIVERS/DAVID PATRIDGE (Co-Sound Designers). Award winning sound designers John & David have collaborated for more than a decade on Broadway, internationally, and on tour. Shows include: Kinky Boots (2013 Tony for best sound), Tarzan, Sister Act, Hugh Jackman: Back On Broadway, The Little Mermaid, 9 to 5, Das Wunder Von Bern, and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

CAMPBELL YOUNG ASSOCIATES (Hair & Makeup Designer). Broadway: A Delicate BalanceThe Last ShipIt’s Only A PlayCripple of Inishmann, Les Misérables, Spider-Man. Broadway/West End: Matilda,Private Lives, Ghost, La Bête, Billy Elliot.  West End: Made In DagenhamCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryThe Bodyguard. Opera: Anna Nicole (BAM). TV: “The Americans,” “House of Cards,” “Smash.”

TELSEY + COMPANY (Casting). Broadway/Tours: Something Rotten!, An American in Paris, Finding Neverland, The King and I, Hand to God, Honeymoon in Vegas, If/Then, Kinky Boots, Wicked, Newsies, Pippin, Motown. Film: Focus, The Last Five Years, A Most Violent Year, Into the Woods. TV: “Flesh and Bone,” “Peter Pan Live!,” “Masters of Sex,” commercials. www.telseyandco.com

MICHAEL BARAKIVA (Associate Director) is a director and writer based in New York City.  Directing credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Syracuse Stage, and Shakespeare Santa Cruz.  His first novel, One Man Guy, was released by Macmillan (FSG) last spring.  www.michaelbarakiva.com

PRODUCTION TEAM:

IRA MONT (Production Stage Manager). 16 Broadway shows including R+H’s CinderellaGhost the Musical, La BêteA Little Night MusicThe Norman Conquests, Young Frankenstein, The Producers (Chicago and entire run), The Sound of Music (also Australia), Love! Valour! Compassion!. Tours: Catskills on Broadway, M. Butterfly, Fame the Musical. A VP of AEA and BC/EFA. For J, E & H.

ZAC CHANDLER (Stage Manager). Broadway: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Mystery of Edwin DroodThe Addams Family, West Side Story. Industrials/Live Events: New York Auto Show, GQ Magazine, State Farm Insurance, Readers Digest, GLAAD.

JENNIFER ROGERS (Assistant Stage Manager). Broadway: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, The Lion King, The Addams Family, Hairspray, The Invention Of Love. Off-Broadway: Little Miss Sunshine, Madagascar,When Pigs Fly, A Movie Star Has to Star in B&W, Talking Pictures.

EDWARD PIERCE (Scenic Design Supervisor). Recent Broadway-in-Chicago’s presentation of Amazing Grace. Broadway: Holler If Ya Hear Me, The Other Place, A Streetcar Named Desire, Wicked (all worldwide adaptations), Billy ElliotPippin9 to 5The Pirate QueenShatner’s World: We Just Live In ItChaplin, AidaRagtimeCabaretNoise / Funk.  www.edwardpierce.com

DAVID BENKEN/ROSE PALOMBO (Production Management)Celebrating 20 years on Broadway and 50 U.S, international, and touring productions. Credits:  AladdinThe Lion King, MotownEl Rey Leon (Madrid),AnnieMary PoppinsPeter and the StarcatcherOne Man Two GuvnorsPriscilla…The Boy from OzChitty Chitty Bang Bang, Come Fly AwayThe History BoysJumpersThe Little MermaidThe Seafarer, Phantom(Vegas).

BESPOKE THEATRICALS (General Managers). Partners Amy Jacobs, Devin Keudell & Maggie Brohn manage Broadway musicals, plays & tours.  Current/recent productions include: Mamma Mia!Motown: The MusicalThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe RiverTwelfth Night/Richard IIIBilly Elliot. Upcoming: The Heidi ChroniclesThe Audience, and Something Rotten!.

PRODUCERS:

PAUL LAMBERT and JONAS NEILSON (Producers) are the originating producers of the First Wives Club Musical. Mr. Neilson’s experience stems from the motion picture and television industry, and more recently social media and digital marketing, and Mr. Lambert’s stems from the marketing and advertising industry. Their passion for theater, entertainment, brand development, and contemporary marketing create a unique blend of talents, which they apply to each project they develop. With First Wives, they’ve created www.firstwivesworld.com as a marketing extension of the Musical – the modern, digital incarnation of the support “Club” the “wives” create. Neilson and Lambert have also partnered with Daniel Choueka to form “Reach Out Entertainment,” a live entertainment enterprise with a focus on musical theater development and resident and national tours of pop artists for the Las Vegas market & beyond – including “Human Nature the Motown Show” presented by Smokey Robinson at the Venetian Hotel Sands Showroom.

ELIZABETH WILLIAMS (Executive Producer) is a multi-Tony and Olivier Award winning producer who has produced or co-produced more than 80 productions on Broadway, in London’s West End, and on tour in the US, the UK and Australia.

JEANNIE ARNOLD (Producer) has a love of humanity, a passion for the arts and been involved in a wide variety of significant philanthropic ventures. Jeanne is a Board Member of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council, received both Penn State’s Distinguished Alumni Award and Outstanding Philanthropist Award, and is the founder of Penn State’s Children’s Hospital’s Hummingbird Program.

RONNIE LUBNER (Producer) is the Life Chairman of the World’s leading Vehicle Glass Repair and Replacement Company, Belron International Ltd. Mr Lubner has a board position and major interest in VNG, Inc., a company building the US national infrastructure to fuel America’s natural gas vehicles, is participating in developing diamonds grown in controlled laboratories and wholeheartedly participates in several meaningful philanthropic activities.

DANIEL CHOUEKA (Producer) is the CEO and co-founder of Reach Out Entertainment, a live entertainment enterprise with a focus on musical theater development, and resident and national tours of pop artists for the Las Vegas market & beyond – including “Human Nature the Motown Show” presented by Smokey Robinson at the Venetian Hotel Sands Showroom.

KEN DENISON (Producer). Broadway: Lion King (worldwide), Bombay Dreams, The Elephant Man.  Ken (Aruba Productions, senior staff Brian Letchworth, Amy Polan-Clarke) is the EP and GM for C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape LettersThe Great Divorce. Projects: Almost HeavenMozart: The Rock OperaDoctor Zhivago worldwide, Human Nature: The Motown Show, A Moment in Time, An Officer and a Gentleman, Stormy Weather.

FIRST WIVES WORLD ENTERPRISES, LLC. (Producer). www.firstwivesworld.com is the modern, digital incarnation of the support club the three wives create at the end of the story of First Wives Club. First Wives World is dedicated to supporting women through the numerous challenges of divorce, as well as providing educated ways to set up a new life-plan moving forward.