Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Feb. 7-22: Maggie Alexander and Ciarán Sheehan Star in Michael Weller’s Fifty Words at The Gene Frankel Theatre

Maggie Alexander and Ciaran Sheehan star in Michael Weller's Fifty Words at The Gene Frankel Theatre in New York.

Maggie Alexander and Ciarán Sheehan star in Michael Weller’s Fifty Words at The Gene Frankel Theatre in New York.

LungTree Productions presents FIFTY WORDS by Michael Weller starring Maggie Alexander and Ciarán Sheehan, at The Gene Frankel Theatre, 24 Bond St, New York, NY, Friday, February 7, 2014 – Saturday, February 22, 2014. Graf Mouen directs.

While their nine-year-old son is away on his first sleep over, Adam and Jan have their first evening alone together since their son was born.  What follows is a nightlong roller-coaster ride of revelation, rancor, passion, and humor that explores a modern-day marriage on the verge of either a breakup or deepening love and understanding. Tickets are $18, and can be purchased online at

Performance Schedule:
Friday, February 7 @ 8pm
Saturday, February 8 @ 8pm
Sunday, February 9 @ 2pm
Wednesday, February 12 @ 8pm
Thursday, February 13 @ 8pm
Friday, February 14 @ 8pm
Saturday, February 15 @ 8pm
Sunday, February 16 @ 2pm
Wednesday, February 19 @ 8pm
Thursday, February 20 @ 8pm
Friday, February 21 @ 8pm
Saturday, February 22 @ 8pm

For more information, email

Please note: Due to mature themes and strong language, this play is NOT recommended for anyone under the age of 16.

Ciarán Sheehan (Adam) – is a native of Dublin, Ireland. New York – The Phantom of the Opera (The Phantom & Raoul), Les Miserables (Babet, u/s Marius), Grandchild of Kings (Tom, dir. Hal Prince), The Irish…and how they got that way (Ciarán/The Irish Rep), The Hostage (Shaughnessy/The Irish Rep). Broadway Concerts – Finian’s Rainbow (Woody), Brigadoon (Harry Beaton), Camelot (Sir Dinadan opposite Jeremy Irons). Toronto –The Phantom of the Opera (The Phantom). Regional – The Seagull (dir. Bobby Lewis), The Molly Maguires (James McKenna & Creative Producer). Television – “The Irish…and how they got that way,” “From Galway to Broadway,” “Ciarán, an Evening with Friends,” “Late Night,” “Law & Order,” “One Life to Live,” “Another World”. Vocal Performances – Carnegie Hall, Yankee Stadium, Giants Stadium, Continental Arena, IZOD Center, The National Concert Hall, The Cleveland Pops, and other various orchestras in the US, Canada, and Ireland. Various recordings.

Maggie Alexander (Jan) is the founder of LungTree Productions. She is also a current board member/resident actress at New Mercury Theatre. She has her BFA from UC Santa Barbara. Credit highlights include: OFF OFF B’WAY- Rabbit Hole (Izzy), Deuteranomoly (Cassandra) COLORADO- Proof (Katherine), Five Women Wearing the Same Dress (Georgeanne), Big Electric Superhero Hands (Julie), King Lear (Regan) CALIFORNIA- Boys’ Life (Lisa), Independence (Kess), Trooper (Taylor) FILM- Midnight Delight, The Impostor, Buffalo Diamonds, Action Girl TV- “Deadly Sins,” “Evil I”

Graf Mouen (Director) Directed 15 plays and operas in regional and NY theater (Minnesota Opera, American Ibsen Theater, Yale School of Music, Wonderhorse Theater, The New Theater of Brooklyn). He has been Assistant Professor of Theater at Marymount College and at Fordham University, Lincoln Center and has an MFA in Directing from the Yale School of Drama.

Gwen Eagleton (Assistant Director) Gwen is a member of AEA and a graduate of Stanford University. She appeared in the cast of The Phantom of the Opera Third National Tour for 3 and 1/2 years covering and performing the role of Madame Giry. She is honored to be assisting Director Graf Mouen and to be working with fellow alums from the Terry Schreiber Studio where she studied and was AD for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

Michael Weller. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Weller. Photo by Lia Chang

Michael Weller (playwright) studied classical music composition at Brandeis University under Irving Fine, Harold Shapiro and Martin Boykin and earned his living as a jazz pianist before taking his graduate degree in theater at the University of Manchester, England.

His plays have been performed at major theatres in America and around the world. Best known are Moonchildren, Fishing, Loose Ends, Spoils of War, and What the Night is For, (which had a production in the West End starring Gillian Anderson and Roger Allam) His films include Hair and Ragtime (for Milos Forman) and Lost Angels (for Hugh Hudson), and a television film based on his play Spoils of War.

He was a writer/producer on the acclaimed television series “Once and Again,” and is now developing a series for Showtime based on his trilogy of two-character plays Loving, Longing, Leaving.

Based on private mentoring over his career, he designed and developed the acclaimed Mentor Project for of the Cherry Lane Theatre, and served for it’s first ten years ten years as it’s Supervising Mentor.

His play Beast was developed with the New York Stage and Film reading series in July 2008, and opened at the New York Theatre Workshop in September ’08, directed by Jo Bonney. A second new play of his, 50 Words opened ten days later at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, starring Elizabeth Marvel and Norbert Leo Butz, directed by Austin Pendleton. His most recent play, Side Effects, will premier at the Lucille Lortel in May, 2011, under the direction of playwright-director David Auburn. A musical based on the Boris Pasternak novel Dr Zhivago, for which he wrote the book (Des McAnuff to direct, Lucy Simon music, Amy Powers and Michael Korie lyrics), opened in Sydney Australia in February, 2011. He is currently completing (with Taylor Hackford) a musical (Rumors) centered around the making of Fleetwood Mac’s two legendary breakthrough albums.

His work has won an Academy Award nomination, an N.A.A.C.P. Outstanding Contribution Award, Critics Outer Circle Award, a Rockefeller Foundation Grant and a Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays Award, and he has been honored by The Broken Watch Theatre Company, which names their playhouse in his honor. He is President of the Foundation of Writer’s Guild of America, east, and serves on the counsel of the Dramatists Guild of America.

He has taught playwriting at the Toynbee School and Goldsmiths Teacher Training College in London, and at New York University, the Bay Area Playwright’s Festival, the Kennedy Center Summer Playwriting Intensive and has also taught screenwriting at N.Y.U.

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang. Photo by Charles Richard Barboza

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. She recently appeared in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival opposite Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, Lorey Hayes, Marcus Naylor and Phynjuar.

Other Articles by Lia Chang:
Celebrating the Year of the Horse with David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu at Signature Theatre; Previews begin February 4, 2014
March 21 – May 4: Arena Stage Presents World Premiere of Lawrence Wright’s Camp David Starring Tony Award winner Ron Rifkin and Emmy Award winner Richard Thomas
Jan. 9 – Feb. 9: Jarlath Conroy, Rebecca Brooksher, Eric Martin Brown, Ryan Garbayo, Rocco Sisto, Nick Westrate Set for Red Bull’s Off-Broadway Revival of Loot
Jan. 22-31: Photos: Tracey Conyer Lee, Lelund Durond Thompson, Matthew Murumba, and Carmen LoBue set for Camile Darby’s Lords Resistance Featured in The Fire This Time Festival at The Kraine Theater
Jan. 9 – Feb. 9: Thom Sesma and Michele Ragusa to Star in Greg Edwards and CRAVING FOR TRAVEL at Peter J. Sharp Theater
Feb. 4 – Mar. 16: Cole Horibe, Francis Jue, Peter Kim and More Set for Signature’s World Premiere of David Henry Hwang’s Kung Fu
Dec. 16: Award Winning Playwrights Rajiv Joseph and Tarell Alvin McCraney, the focus of PBS Film, Playwright: From Page to Stage
Photos: David Henry Hwang, Annie Baker and Rajiv Joseph honored at Sixth Annual Steinberg Playwright “Mimi” Awards
Signature’s Revival of The Piano Lesson Sweeps AUDELCO’s with 8 Wins including Best Revival, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Roslyn Ruff, Chuck Cooper and Brandon J. Dirden; Also Among 2013 “VIV” Winners – Wild with Happy’s Coleman Domingo and Sharon Washington; and Storyville’s Mercedes Ellington
Photos: LAByrinth’s Opening Night of Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby with John Earl Jelks, DeWanda Wise, Harvey Gardner Moore, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tracie Thoms, Alano Miller and More
Photos: André De Shields, Michael Shannon, Rajiv Joseph, Christine Sherrill, Doug Peck, Alexis J. Rogers, Karen Ziemba and More Celebrate 2013 Jeff Equity Awards
Photos: Cheryl Lynn Bruce, André De Shields, Sandra Marquez, Dennis Zacek and More Celebrate Opening Night of Appropriate by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins at Victory Gardens
Photos: André De Shields, Mary Zimmerman, Akash Chopra, Richard M. Sherman, Kevin Carolan, Larry Yando, Nehal Joshi and More Celebrate The Jungle Book Opening Night at Huntington Theatre in Boston
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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