TONY AWARD WINNER, (Broadway's Dream Girls)- Ben Harney is known nationally for his work as a producer, director, teacher and performer. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he made his television debut at age seven (An Evening With Belafonte) and Broadway debut at 18 (Purlie). Since then he has garnered a long list of credits as lead actor including: The Wiz, Treemonisha, Pippin, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Pajama Game (1974 revival), Dreamgirls, Tap Dance Kid, Brownstone, Purlie, Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope, Williams and Walker and on television as District Attorney Peter Ramsey on ABC’s All My Children. Notable films are: Bad Decisions, Son of Sam, Son of Hope, Heart of Stone and his children’s video series, Ben & Eddie. Mr. Harney attended Laguardia High School of Music and Art and The Juilliard School. He has directed and taught at: Fordham University Lincoln Center, NYC (Artist-in-Residence), Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY (Visiting-Assistant Professor), Harvest School of Performing Arts, Los Angeles, CA, Department of Education for NYC public schools (Program Developer and instructor) 1998 to present, program and stage director for Great Day Chorale 1978-2009, Director of the Adult Drama Dept., youth and adult musical theatre productions for Christian Cultural Center, Brooklyn, NY 1999 to present. He is Founder, Director of By All Means Save Some (BAMSS) Theatre Works – a community based, notfor-profit theatre company in Brooklyn, NY. Awards Include: Tony Award - Best Actor in a Musical, Dreamgirls 1982 Drama Desk Award nomination - Best Actor, Dreamgirls 1982 AUDELCO Award nomination - Best Actor, Williams and Walker 1986 NAACP Image Award nomination – Best Supporting Actor, Tap Dance Kid 1985 Bay Circle Critics Award - Best Supporting Actor, Tap Dance Kid 1985 MITF Award nomination – Best Musical, Children of God 2012 AUDELCO Award nomination - Best Director of a Musical, Pearl 2013
NEA winning writer, Mehr Mansuri has co-composed, written and directed over 15 musicals for CTC, including Henry Box Brown, Kunka Bunka, Wayward Knight, Providence and more. In 1989 Mehr formed the Children’s Theatre Company- an ethical musical theater program in Los Angeles and later in 1999 in New York City. The CTC Off-Broadway / New York Ensemble - was born out of the highly successful Children's Theater Company, allowing CTC's professional artists to take their original shows on the road, to Universities, schools, civic clubs, the United Nation and most coming soon to the EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL, where HENRY BOX BROWN will make its international debut! Born in Iran and raised in Worcester, England, Mehr Mansuri began her career as a classically trained actress performing in over 40 productions including for the Park City Utah & Vail Colorado Shakespeare Festivals. She won critical acclaim for her performances in Off-Bway & British hits: Red Devils and Road for which she garnered the Back-stage/Drama logue Acting Awards and Critics Choice Awards. Her audio-books have earned her critical acclaim including the most recent release of Saffron Kitchen for Penguin Audio-books. TV appearance include as series regular on CBS long running soap series, the Bold & the Beautiful, NBC's The Rescue of Lauren and Chicago Hope. Ms. Mansuri’s producing credits include for the Tony winning NYC Theatre group, The New Group (with Scott Elliot). Ms. Mansuri studied with Jerzey Growtowski and Dr. Robert Cohen at the University of California, Irvine- where she earned her degree in Acting and received her first professional union job at Medieval Festival directed by world reknowned author / director, Robert Cohen. Mehr is a proud mother of 5 year old SORAYA GHAVIDEL, who, along with her husband, Maziar, delights and inspires her soul every day. Mehr has served on the jury for the National Endowment for the Arts in Theater / Musical Theater.
Najee Brown -
NAJEE (Narrator) can be described as nothing else than a young entrepreneur. After starting his media company, Mindlezz Thoughtz, in 2011 they have helped provide numerous of the proper resources to aspiring artists. In addition to running his own media and arts company, Najee Brown also produces his own music, he wrote his own play The Bus Stop, directs and has danced on every stage from the Apollo to Carnegie Hall. With Mindlezz Thoughtz, he plans to create not only one of the largest media and arts companies known internationally but a company that also focuses on inspiring and uplifting young people worldwide.
JACK LENZ- Orchestrator / Music Director
OSCAR NOMINEE - Passion of Christ (for Best Original Score) Jack Lenz is one of Canada's most prolific composers, musical directors and television producers. Throughout his career he has composed music for motion pictures, television, documentaries, Canadian news and award shows. He has also been the musical director of numerous live to broadcast events, and has directed studio sessions in countries around the world such as Canada, the U.S.A., Great Britain, Russia and Slovakia. Feature Films: Jack's music is featured in Mel Gibson's blockbuster hit, The Passion of the Christ, for which it won an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score. Most recently Jack has completed his role as music director and composer for the feature film, The Lazarus Child, featuring Angela Bassett, Andy Garcia and Francis O'Conner. Other albums include starring Andrea Bocelli. He also wrote the original score and managed the music supervision for Alliance- Atlantis' Canadian box office hit, Men With Brooms, produced by Robert Lantos, starring Paul Gross and Molly Parker. Movies of the Week: Jack's latest work on a MOW includes composing the score for the four-hour CBC miniseries, H2O, starring Paul Gross. He has also composed 13 songs and supervised the music for Angela Bassett's movie, Ruby's Bucket Of Blood, and has written songs for several award winning MOWs for Showtime in the U.S. Jack also wrote and arranged original songs for the CBS MOW Icebound, starring Susan Sarandon. For series television, Jack just completed scoring the fourth season of DOC, starring country singing star, Billy Ray Cyrus, and the second season of Sue Thomas F. B. Eye. He has also completed scoring for dozens of hit television series that air on YTV Canada and Australia Network 10. Children's Television: Jack Lenz is the composer and producer of Canada's second ranking children's television show, Nanalan' and Goosebumps which airs on Cartoon Network in the U.S. and is produced for Scholastic in the U.S. and Canada. As Musical Director: Jack Lenz' numerous live to broadcast events include for the World Culture Open Award Ceremony at the Lincoln Center in New York City; U.N.'s Special Session on Children- featuring Raffi, Billy Gilman and Nelson Mandela. He has also served his favorite charities including: Hospital for Sick Children's Telethon, 7 years of YTV's Youth Achievement Awards and several award shows including the Genies, Geminis and Country Music Awards. His theatrical works include the musical direction of A tribute to renowned author, Mordecai Richler. Jack is also co-writing the musical, Dragonslayer, A Love Story, which has already been showcased in London, England, San Diego and New York City. His theme music is ongoing with Canadian broadcasters such as CBC, CTV, Global, TVO and the Discovery Channel.
Eric Dozier- Composer / Dramaturge
Eric is National Director of Arts and Education for One Human Family Workshops, Inc., which addresses social, religious, racial, gender, and cultural discrimination. He also served as the musical director for the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir and the award winning Children’s Theatre Company of NYC as well as music for various syndicated television series. As a recording artist- Eric has teamed up singer/songwriter and producer JBEckl (Santana, WAR, Ozomatli) with whom he has toured across the US and Canada. Eric has a PHD from Duke University, in African American Music History.
Frank has written over ten musicals for The Children’s Theatre Company and is the composer for the upcoming original musical, If I Give My Heart To You. He is currently Musical Director at Lehman College and has musical directed over 40 musical productions throughout New York and Long Island including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Gilbert & Sullivan Light Opera Com - pany of Long Island; South Pacific, Li’l Abner, Pajama Game, Follies, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys & Dolls, Mel Brooks’ Producers, Grease, Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, and High School Musical. Frank has an BFA in Arts Management from CW Post University on Long Island.
(in alphabetical by first name)
Amara Haaksman (Mrs. Smith) is thrilled to be joining this amazing group of humans to tell this incredible story. New York Theatre: That Lady from Maxim's (Crevette) at the New York Music Theatre Festival (2013 New York Innovative Theatre Award: Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role) and The Runner Stumbles (Sister Rita) at The Robert Moss Theatre. Regional: She Loves Me (Amelia Balash), Anything Goes (Hope Harcourt), Les Miserables (Cosette). Oklahoma City University graduate. A huge thank you to her family and friends for their constant support. www.amarahaaksman.com
Broadway World describes Jahmaul Bakare as "Breathtaking", "Magnificent". The Hollywood Times calls him "Gallant". Stage Scene LA says, "Bakare commands the stage..." Kosta Popovic of the Metropolitan Opera says: "He is first and foremost a consummate performer, with refined knowledge and taste." Jahmaul Bakare was born to Nigerian parents in Chicago, IL where he began acting with Congo Theater Company. Bakare later received his Bachelors of Arts degree from Morehouse College and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. From classical theater to on-screen acting, Bakare moves effortlessly from stage to film.
Libby (Rev Mrs Smith) is a singer/actress originally hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area. She graduated with a theater degree from Yale University (2014) and is currently enrolled at the William Esper Studio. Select NYC credits: Scorched: The Musical; The King's Last Stand (Annie Wilkes); Mean: The Musical (Patrice). She is co-creator/producer/performer of the all-women's cabaret, In The Boys' Club. www.marybolt.com
Paul Gee has studied acting and performance under Tony award-winning actor, Ben Harney as well as in school for over a decade, and has had vocal training, under numerous vocal instructors as well as MTI (Music Theater International), He is a versatile and seasoned vocalist who produces and performs his own music as well as writes for other artists. He has performed in multiple screen and theater productions and has performed on platforms like the Lincoln Center, The Apollo, The Barclays Center, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, and more locations around the world. His professional experience ranges from all types of media platforms, which gives him a wide range of experiences and stories to tell through his art. He is excited to return as "Henry" after an award-winning run at the 2018 Fringe Festival.
Sharaé Moultrie is elated to be performing the role of Nancy in Henry Box Brown: A Musical Journey. She was most recently seen as Emmie Thibodeaux in the Astoria Performing Arts Center’s production of Caroline, or Change. Other favorite roles include Aida (Aida), Lady Larken (Once Upon A Mattress), and Lula Buffington (Violet). She’s also performed at renowned NYC venues such as Joe’s Pub at the Public and Feinstein's/54 Below and several music festivals including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. She gives special thanks to her family and friends for their support! Follow her on Instagram: @sharae
Tsebiyah Mishael Derry
Tsebiyah Mishael Derry is an actor, singer and poet native to New York. She made her Broadway debut in the choir of “Rocktopia.” Other favorite roles include Sweet Thing in “Nina Simone: Four Women” at People’s Light; Tybalt/Friar Laurence/Lady Cap in “Romeo & Juliet;” Tamika in the off-broadway “Sistas The Musical;” and the title role in “Aida.” Find Tsebiyah’s debut single, “Regrow” on all music platforms. Follow and find more info at Tsebiyah.com!
Daniel R. Sullivan
Daniel performed as Tommy DeVito in the hit Broadway musical Jersey Boys more than 1000 times all over the world. He also spent last year in the US national tour of Motown the Musical. Daniel is the author of a theatrical memoir, Becoming a Jersey Boy, and an award-winning play, Prospect High: Brooklyn. His new book, coming soon, is Finding Middle Ground: A Liberal’s Journey Through Trump’s America. He’s also authoring a new stage work, CONVICTION: An Irish Pub Song Musical, 1942. Say hello at DanielRobertSullivan@gmail.com.
Jef Canter (Master Leigh) is thrilled to return to Edinburgh with Henry Box Brown. US Tour: Peter Pan: The Show (Smee). Off-Broadway: Stand Tall: A Rock Musical, Regional: Watson (Watson), It’s A Wonderful Life (Clarence), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom), Around the World in 80 Days (21 roles!). Film/TV: BULL, Puppet Seizure, Soon By You. Actor’s Equity-SAG/AFTRA. Love to Lisa, Dad and in memory of my Mom who has permanent front row seats now.www.jefcanter.com
Michael Simon Hall
Michael just completed shooting the lead role in WOMEN, by Anton Sigurdsson. He will be appearing opposite Mark Ruffalo in the upcoming HBO series I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE, and will appear opposite Maggie Gyllenhaal in the final season of THE DEUCE for HBO. His recent stage work includes playing the title role in the 100th ANNIVERSARY OF PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST...by Olivier Award winner Jim Culleton, and creating the lead role in the musical comedy THE IRONWORKERS' HAYRIDE by Pulitzer Award winner Robert Olen Butler. Michael recently appeared at Carnegie Hall and is happy to be reprising his role in HBB at Edinburgh this year.
Savannah Stein Leber
Savannah Stein is thrilled to be re joining the cast of Henry box brown for The fringe festival round two! She accompanied the cast to Edinburgh last summer as the social media coordinator. Upon returning to New York, savannah came on board as the role of mrs. Leigh and performed both in NYC with the show as well as Flint Michigan. Savannah graduated with her BFA in musical theatre from the Boston conservatory in 2015 and has been seen in various shows, commercials, as well as tv and film since. All the love and gratitude to Mehr and the entire cast and crew for making this journey so special and thank you to our audiences for taking the time to come and hear this inspiring and beautiful story.
Tarrence J. Taylor is thrilled to be performing in the production of "Henry Box Brown" again and sharing the stage with such amazing actors. He is a graduate of Morgan State University with his BA in Theatre Arts and from American Musical Theatre Academy(AMTA). Tarrence has been seen in Shades of Truth Theatre's "Black Wall Street" where he played Dick Rowland. Some of his other previous credits include "Whistle in Mississippi: The Lynching of Emmett Till"(Emmett Till), "Into The Woods”(Steward), and the independent film "Night of Something Strange"(Brooklyn). He would like to thank Najee Brown(co-director) and Mehr(writer/producer/co-director) for their awesome vision and open mind and the team that has made Henry Box Brown special. Everyone here has been so incredible. I hope and pray this show is an inspiration to all. God Bless!
Tracey Farrar is overjoyed to be performing with such an outstanding cast! Regional Credits: Wig Out! ( Studio Theatre); Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (1st Stage); As You Like It and Marley (Baltimore Center Stage); Red Velvet (Chesapeake Shakespeare Company); Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (Source Theatre Festival). Film Credits: Wits End (currently free on YouTube) and Re-Break. Ms. Farrar holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Morgan State University. Trust in the Lord...He will direct your path! Backstage.com/TraceyFarrar
CORNELIA EDWARDS — Robinette (Henry’s Sister)
I would like to live in a world where inequality is defeated by equality. Where ignorance is overcome by education of life experiences to do what is right. My hobbies are tutoring and teaching younger kids, so that they can grow up and be more advanced than the previous generation. As life goes on, I would like the youth to change the world. I believe the youth have the power to make these changes. The changes based on the social needs of the people. We are all responsible for the social justice of each other.
(Nyleek Moore) Actor from Harlem, New York City. Nyleek Moore's career was launched at the tender age of 6 months when he was accepted into his first modeling agency. For years he graced the pages of kids catalogs as well as packaging ads until he segued into acting. Initially doing background work, Nyleek graduated into starring on commercials, TV shows, PSA's, movies and is emerging into theatrical art. Nyleek loves innovation, traveling, drawing, marital arts and aspires to continue growing his acting career.
When everyone comes together and does one thing it can change everything: one simple act of love can change the world. You can change your actions and bring love to our community. You control your actions. Coming together you can do anything.
I love writing, fairy tales, video games, magic and music. I also play soccer and piano. I skateboard and sometimes I fall but I know my friends and family are cheering for me so I get back up.
Sebastien J. Antoine
It is very important for a community to learn good habits trough practice, because is very hard to break it. For that reason, teach the humanity to promote good habits like peace, exercise mindfulness, and thoughtfully and selflessly help others day by day trough examples.Thanks to CTC I’m able to act, sing, and dance My favorite instrument that I play is the saxophone. My goal is to become a better actor to be part of the series Flash.
Anne Frank in her dreadful world wrote such delicate words: "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” It’s so sad that she died at such a young age because of her religion. I honor Anne Frank for her generosity and open minded quote that made my life better.
I enjoy sports, violin, dancing, sewing, writing and music. I love magic, human rights and sorting out people's problems. I especially love friends and family but my favorite hobby is correcting things: anything I can correct I will!
Creatives, Consultants & Crew
Melina R. Salifoski-
is a Turkish Macedonian Romani American, born and raised in New York City. She just graduated BMCC and is planning on furthering her studies in Educational Theatre. A Romani activist, she hopes to educate the public on who the Roma are and how the one-sided Myths and Stigmas still hurt them around the globe. Melina has worked with and has been a part of The Children’s Theater Company for half of her life. The work that this company does, not only in theater, but the fulfillment of creating change and doing positive work to understand racism and unity. Simple communication and discussion will always facilitate positivity and greater awareness of each other’s point of view.
has been a favorite with theater audiences for some time now having been a member of LAGCC Theatre Ensemble for more than a decade. He was the Assistant Director under the tutelage of Philip L. Lerman for the productions of The Cherry Orchard and Waiting for Godot. Gio has directed The Wiz of Oz and Bring It On The Musical for Manhattan Youth at the Ella Baker School as well as 13 The Musical at the Center School. Recently, he directed and performed in Najee A. Brown's The Bus Stop which premiered in March 2018 to rave reviews.
Dr. Susan Soetaert- Costume Designer
is a tenure professor at Lehman College, Theatre Department where she teaches and directs. She has produced costumes for hundreds of theatri-cal productions around the country and designed the costumes for the Broadway and national tours of The Gathering, starring Hal Linden. For ten years she served as resident designer at the Jean Cocteau Repertory Theatre and has designed for Ringling Brothers Circus, La Gran Scena Opera Co., Little Orchestra Society, Ice Theatre of New York and La Mama. Professor Soetaert has designed costumes for, and consulted on, the construction of 28 theatrical productions.
Adaptation & Book by Mehr Mansuri
Music & Lyrics by Frank Sanchez & Mehr Mansuri
Additional Music & Lyrics by Sam Urdang, Robbie Dillon & Jack Lenz
Arrangement ~ Negro Spirituals by Renee Reid, Bob Francois & Kim Harley
Costume Design by Susan Soetart
Set Design by Donovan Mason