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New York, NY (December 6, 2018) – MCC Theater (Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, William Cantler, Artistic Directors; Blake West, Executive Director) announced today casting and creative team for the New York premiere of the musical Alice By Heart with book by Steven Sater with Jessie Nelson; music by Duncan Sheik, lyrics by Steven Sater, and directed by Jessie Nelson. Choreography will be by Rick and Jeff Kuperman.

The cast will feature Molly Gordon (Life of the Party, “Animal Kingdom”) as Alice and Colton Ryan (Girl From the North Country, “The Americans”) as Alfred/The White Rabbit, along with Mia DiLena (Disney’s The Music Man), Zachary Downer (Hello, Dolly!CATS), Noah Galvin (Dear Evan Hansen, “The Real O’Neals”), Zachary Infante (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, dir. Julie Taymor), Andrew Kober (School of Rock, Hair), Grace McLean (Great Comet), Nkeiki Obi-Melekwe (“Bull,” “SMILF”), Catherine Ricafort (SpongeBob Squarepants, Honeymoon in Vegas), Heath Saunders (Great Comet, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”), and Wesley Taylor (Spongebob Squarepants, The Addams Family).

The creative team for Alice By Heart includes scenic design by Donyale Werle, costume design by Paloma Young, lighting design by Bradley King, sound design by Dan Moses Schreier, hair, wig and makeup design by J. Jared Janas, orchestrations by Duncan Sheik, additional orchestrations by Simon Hale, music direction and vocal arrangements by Jason Hart, and casting by Telsey + Company/Bernard Telsey, CSA, Rebecca Scholl, CSA. The Production Stage Manager is Davin DeSantis and the Stage Manager is Jason Pacella.

Alice By Heart begins performances on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 as the first show in the Newman Mills Theater at The Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space (511 West 52nd Street), with an official opening night set for Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

When the madness of the world is too much to bear, we take refuge in the stories we love. Tony® and Grammy® award-winning creators of Spring Awakening, Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, reunite for their new musical Alice By Heart, inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and directed and co-written by Jessie Nelson (Waitress). In the rubble of the London Blitz of World War II, Alice Spencer’s budding teen life is turned upside down, and she and her dear friend Alfred are forced to take shelter in an underground tube station. When the ailing Alfred is quarantined, Alice encourages him to escape with her into their cherished book and journey down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. As they travel through the tale, Alice By Heart explores the poignancy of first love, coming to terms with loss, and finding the courage to move forward. This world premiere musical encourages us all to celebrate the transformational power of the imagination, even in the harshest of times.

Tickets are on sale now at mcctheater.org. For all tickets purchased via the MCC website today, Thursday December 6th, MCC Theater will waive any extra fee/service charge.

A workshop production of Alice by Heart was presented by New York Stage and Film & Vassar at the Powerhouse Theater, Summer 2018.

Developed at Theatre Aspen’s New Work Development Program.


Steven Sater: Musicals include: Spring Awakening (Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Grammy Awards); The Nightingale (La Jolla Playhouse, NY Stage and Film); Alice by Heart (National Theatre of London: Connections); Prometheus Bound (music by Serj Tankian, A.R.T.); Some Lovers (music by Burt Bacharach, The Old Globe, The Other Palace, Upcoming, Adirondack Theatre Festival); Nero (Magic Theatre, NY Stage and Film). Plays: Carbondale Dreams; Perfect for You, Doll (Rosenthal Prize); Arms on Fire (Steppenwolf New Play Prize, Chester Theatre, NY Stage and Film), A Footnote to the Iliad (NY Stage and Film); Shakespeare’s Tempest (London’s Lyric Hammersmith); No One’s Sonata (Eugene O’Neill Theatre); New York Animals (Bedlam Theatre Co.).

Duncan Sheik: Performer/Composer. Theatre credits include: Spring Awakening (2006) Tony Awards for “Best Original Score” and “Best Orchestrations,” 2008 Grammy Award for “Best Musical Show Album”, Because of Winn-Dixie (Alabama Shakespeare Festival 2017, Delaware Theatre Company 2015), Whisper House (London 2017, Old Globe Theater 2011), American Psycho (2016), The Secret Life of Bees (upcoming 2019), Nero (Another Golden Rome) (currently in development), The Nightingale (currently in development) Noir (currently in development). Recordings include: American Psycho (Original London Cast Recording 2016), Legerdemain (2015) Covers 80s (Sneaky Records 2011), Whisper House (Sony 2009), Spring Awakening (Original Broadway Cast Recording 2006), White Limousine (Rounder 2006), Daylight (Atlantic Records 2002), Phantom Moon (Nonesuch 2001), Humming (Atlantic Records 1998), Duncan Sheik (Grammy Nomination “Best Male Vocal”, RIAA Certified Gold) (Atlantic Records 1996).

Jessie Nelson began her career with Mabou Mines at the Public Theater.  An unexpected left turn led her to film where she wrote, directed, and produced Corrina Corrina, I Am Sam and To The Moon Alice. She directed Love The Coopers and “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. Her writing credits include Stepmom and The Story of Us. She produced Fred Claus and Danny Collins.  Brought back to her first love, theater, Jessie wrote the Broadway musical Waitress with music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles. She directed the workshop of Alice By Heart at the National Theater’s Connections Program. She has been the Artistic Director of the Sundance Writers Lab. She wrote the children’s book Labracadabra.

Rick and Jeff Kuperman. Recent choreography highlights include Cyrano (Goodspeed, starring Peter Dinklage and Haley Bennett), a NYE performance for Phish (Madison Square Garden), The Count of Monte Cristo (Saint Petersburg, Russia), Broadway Asia’s immersive Peter Pan (Beijing, China), Orpheus in the Berkshires (Williamstown Theater Festival), and The Light Princess (A.R.T./New Victory, NY Times Critics’ Pick). As directors: SMILE (FringeNYC), Roll! (Ars Nova), The 39 Steps (PST), and Dispossessed (HERE). Their film work has screened at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, HollyShorts, and online on Entertainment Weekly, NPR, and The Huffington Post. The brothers are third degree black belts in Kenpo Karate, experienced fight directors, and grads of Harvard and Princeton. kupermanbrothers.com

Mia DiLena is originally from Toronto, graduated from The Ailey School in 2009. Following that, she attended Springboard Danse Montréal for three seasons. Mia performed with Travis Wall’s company, Shaping Sound, on the tours of After the Curtain and Dance Reimagined, and most recently performed Travis’ choreography at the American Music Awards for Jennifer Lopez. Earlier in 2016, Mia worked with Stacey Tookey on the original creation of a Canadian musical entitled DANCER!: A Musical in Ten Furlongs. Some of her film and television credits include Disney’s The Music Man, From Time to Time (Bravo), and several music videos. Mia has danced in a number of Toronto-based companies including Helix Dance Project, Bridge To Artists, Conteur Dance Company, and TOES FOR DANCE. Mia was thrilled to be a part of the creation process of Alice By Heart, and is elated to be joining the cast here and now.

Zachary Downer. Broadway: Hello, Dolly!, CATS (Mr. Mistoffolees). Television: “So You Think You Can Dance” S14, “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” YoungArts Alumni ‘15. World Ballet Competition – Bronze Medalist ‘14. Thanks to God, my incredible family, mentors, & Lakey Wolff & Co.! Psalm 16:6

Noah Galvin made his B’way debut as the titular character in Dear Evan Hansen. Upcoming Film: Booksmart (dir: Olivia WIlde), Film: Assassination Nation (dir. Sam Levinson). Television: “The Real O’Neals” (ABC). Off-Broadway: What I Did Last Summer (Signature Theater), Love and Information (New York Theater Workshop), The Golden Dragon (The Play Company), Yosemite (Rattlestick Theater), King Lear (Exit, Pursued by Bear), Treasure Island (Irondale Theater), Our Town (Barrow Street Theater), The Burnt Part Boys (Vineyard, Playwrights Horizons, New York Stage and Film- Lortel Nomination), Esther Demsack (Public Theater). Regional: The Power of Duff (Huntington Theatre Company), Filming O’Keeffe (Adirondack Theatre Festival), The Great American Mousical (dir. Julie Andrews -Goodspeed), Tommy (Bay Street Theatre), Wintuk (Cirque du Soleil), Ace: The Musical (St. Louis Rep, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Old Globe-Kevin Kline Award). Audiofile Magazine’s Earphones Award winner (2014) for his narration of “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Somebody Up There Hates You,” and “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.”

Molly Gordon co-starred alongside Melissa McCarthy in the Warner Bros/New Line comedy feature film Life of the Party and just completed production on Olivia Wilde’s directorial debut film, Booksmart and the Universal Pictures comedy Good Boys directed by Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky for Seth Rogen’s Point Grey Pictures. Additionally, Gordon starred as Nicky in the TNT drama “Animal Kingdom,” based on the 2010 Australian film of the same name. Other TV credits include “Ramy” on Hulu (upcoming), “Orange is the New Black,” “Sin City Saints” and the voice of Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Stephen Colbert’s “Our Cartoon President.”  Her other credits include Sweeney Todd (Lincoln Center, Great Performances) and Love the Coopers. Gordon resides in New York and Los Angeles.

Zachary Infante is passionate about new work and grateful to be making their MCC debut! Theatre: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dir. Julie Taymor, Theatre for a New Audience), Big River (Dir. Lear deBessonet, New York City Center), Fingersmith (Dir. Bill Rauch, American Repertory Theater), Do I Hear A Waltz? (Dir. Evan Cabnet, NYCC), Pericles (Dir. Trevor Nunn, TFANA), Tamburlaine the Great (Dir. Michael Boyd, TFANA), Somewhere (Dir. Giovanna Sardelli, Hartford Stage), Peter Pan (Dir. Mark Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse), In The Heights (Dir. Nick DeGruccio, Orlando Shakes), The Bridge of San Luis Rey (Dir. Ken Rus Schmoll, Two River Theater), Rent (Dir. Nicola Murphy, Cas Di Cultura, Aruba’s National Theater), Petrol Station (Dir. Sulayman al Basam, The Kennedy Center), TV/Film: “Gotham,” “Alpha House,” Carrie Pilby (Dir. Susan Johnson), School of Rock (Dir. Richard Linklater). They’d like to thank their family, friends, and the team at Abrams for continued love and support. This one is for their niece Mia. @zachinfante

Andrew Kober has appeared on Broadway in School of Rock, Sunday in the Park with George, She Loves Me, Les Miserables, and Hair as well as the West End production of Hair. He toured nationally in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and has appeared off-Broadway and regionally with Roundabout Theatre Company, The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, The Old Globe, Yale Rep, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Bucks County Playhouse, The Denver Center Theater, Barrington Stage Company, and four summers at Shakespeare in the Park, most recently playing Malvolio in the 2018 production of Twelfth Night. His television credits include “Ray Donovan,” “House of Cards,” “Boardwalk Empire,” “Blue Bloods,” “Pan Am,” and the upcoming FX miniseries, “Fosse/Verdon.” Twitter: @andrewkober

Grace McLean. MCC debut. Broadway: Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812. Off-Broadway: Natasha, Pierre…, Kazino; Brooklynite, Vineyard; Bedbugs!!!, ArcLight; The World is Round, BAM; Sleep No More, McKittrick; Twelve Ophelias, Woodshed Collective. Regional: Natasha, Pierre…, A.R.T.; Pump Boys and Dinettes, Weston Playhouse; La MaMa Cantata, in Spoleto, Italy; Zagreb, Croatia; Belgrade, Serbia; From The Fire, Edinburgh 2011; MTM Best New Musical; The Last Goodbye, WTF. As a musical ambassador for the US State Department, Grace toured Russia with Migguel Anggelo (2018), and Pakistan with her band (2015). Grace McLean & Them Apples headlined Lincoln Center’s American Songbook in 2015 and 2016. Grace is the recipient of the 2017 Hunt Family Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center and her original musical about the early life of 12th century mystic and polymath Hildegard von Bingen is commissioned by Lincoln Center. Original music on iTunes. www.gracemclean.com @thatgracemclean

Nkeki Obi-Melekwe is overjoyed to be making her NYC debut! She most recently appeared in Half Time (Paper Mill Playhouse). TV: “Bull” (CBS) and “SMILF” (Showtime). Proud University of Michigan graduate, Class of 2018 (Go Blue!). Thank you to Jen, Ben, and Telsey & Co. As always, for Mom and Dad.

Catherine Ricafort was last seen as villainess “Karen The Computer” in SpongeBob Squarepants on Broadway. Catherine also originated the role of “Mahi” in Jason Robert Brown’s Honeymoon in Vegas on Broadway. Other Broadway shows include Mamma Mia! (“Ali”, 10th Anniversary Cast), Cinderella, Allegiance, Disaster!, Holiday Inn, and Miss Saigon (for which she received the Legacy Robe). As a lead vocalist, she has performed on NBC’s “The Sing-Off” as a featured soloist of “The Backbeats,” can be heard on a cappella albums with “The SoCal VoCals,” and has performed for troops across the country with The USO Show Troupe.  As a director and choreographer, her latest project is “Choose,” the debut music video for Queens-based rapper Super Smack. B.S. Industrial & Systems Engineering (Cum Laude), University of Southern California. Love to God, Pa, Ma, Jaydee, Lims, Scott. Thanks to Telsey and the incredible Alice By Heart team for having me! www.catherinericafort.com @cattricafort

Colton Ryan is currently starring in Girl From the North Country at The Public. He recurred on FX’s “The Americans,” and Showtime’s “Homeland.” He will appear in Rhys Ernst’s upcoming feature, Adam, alongside Margaret Qualley and Nicholas Alexander. Colton understudied for Ben Platt in the Tony-Award winning musical Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. He also shot a lead role in the feature film The Social Ones, directed by Laura Kosann.

Heath Saunders spent much of 2018 involved in Jesus Christ Superstar, at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, as Jesus, and also as an apostle in “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert” on NBC. His summer and fall were filled with various workshops, readings, and new works, including being a featured vocalist with Constellation Chor at the New York Philharmonic’s gala welcoming Jaap Von Zweden. He made his Broadway debut in 2016 with the much-acclaimed musical Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, after participating in the show’s American Repertory Theatre production. He has appeared Off-Broadway in Newton’s Cradle (New York Musical Theatre Festival), for which he also wrote the music and lyrics. Other New York appearances include Lennon (Union Square Theatre), I Am Harvey Milk (Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center), and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (New York City Center Encores). Regionally Saunders has been seen in Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C.), Blessing (Yale Repertory Theatre), The 12 (Denver Center), James and the Giant Peach (Seattle Children’s Theatre), and numerous productions at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, including Spamalot, The Pirates of Penzance, Hairspray! In Concert, Rent, and Titanic: In Concert. heathcliffsaunders.com @feeltheheath

Wesley Taylor. Broadway: SpongeBob SquarePants (original cast), The Addams Family (original cast), Rock of Ages (original cast). Theatre World Award Winner and Outer Critics Circle Nominee. Denver Center: An Act of God. Signature Theatre: Cabaret. Second Stage: Little Miss Sunshine. American Conservatory Theater: Tales of the City. TV: “Smash” (26 episodes), “The Good Wife,” “The Tomorrow People,” “One Life to Live,” “Looking,” “I’m Dying Up Here,” “Difficult People.” Taylor is a published playwright, as well as the Co-Creator/Writer/Star of “Indoor Boys,” (HuffPost Queer Voices/Vimeo) “It Could Be Worse,” (Hulu/Pivot Tv/Vimeo), and “Billy Green” (YouTube). BFA: North Carolina School of the Arts.


MCC is one of New York’s leading nonprofit Off-Broadway companies, driven by a mission to provoke conversations that have never happened and otherwise never would. Founded in 1986 as a collective of artists leading peer-based classes to support their own development as actors, writers and directors, the tenets of collaboration, education, and community are at the core of MCC Theater’s programming. One of the only theaters in the country led continuously by its founders, Artistic Directors Robert LuPone, Bernard Telsey, and William Cantler, MCC fulfills its mission through the production of world, American, and New York premiere plays and musicals that challenge artists and audiences to confront contemporary personal and social issues, and robust playwright development and education initiatives that foster the next generation of theater artists and students.

MCC Theater’s celebrated productions include Jocelyn Bioh’s School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play; Penelope Skinner’s The Village Bike; Robert Askins’ Hand to God (Broadway transfer; five 2015 Tony Award® nominations including Best Play); John Pollono’s Small Engine Repair; Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Really Really; Sharr White’s The Other Place (Broadway transfer); Jeff Talbott’s The Submission (Laurents/Hatcher Award); Neil LaBute’s Reasons to Be Happy, reasons to be pretty (Broadway transfer, three 2009 Tony Award® nominations, including Best Play), Some Girl(s)Fat Pig, The Mercy Seat, and All The Ways To Say I Love You; Michael Weller’s Fifty Words; Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride; Bryony Lavery’s Frozen (Broadway transfer; four 2004 Tony Award® nominations including Best Play, Tony Award® for Best Featured Actor); Tim Blake Nelson’s The Grey Zone; Rebecca Gilman’s The Glory of Living (2002 Pulitzer Prize finalist); Margaret Edson’s Wit (1999 Pulitzer Prize); and the musicals Coraline, Carrie, and Ride the Cyclone.  Many plays developed and produced by MCC have gone on to productions throughout the country and around the world.

Blake West joined the company in 2006 as Executive Director. MCC will begin production in January, 2019 in its new home in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, the Robert W. Wilson MCC Theater Space, unifying the company’s activities under one roof for the first time and expanding its producing, artist development, and education programming.


A successful investor from the 1960s through the 1980s, Robert W. Wilson devoted his life to philanthropy after his retirement, focusing on supporting organizations on preservation and conservation initiatives worldwide. An avid New Yorker, Wilson was also deeply engaged with a number of New York’s cultural institutions. He was a major supporter of, and held leadership roles with, the Whitney Museum and the Metropolitan Opera, where he was a board member for many years. In addition, the Trust continues to support the New York Public Library, Central Park Conservancy, BAM, Wildlife Conservation Society, EDF, Nature Conservancy, WMF, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, organizations he championed during his lifetime. He played a leading role in transforming many of these institutions.  The matching gift to MCC was the Trust’s first grant to a theater company. The trust is now managed by three trustees: Richard Schneidman, Robert Feidelson, and Ron Zimmerman.

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