The Hatpin

9/15/2008 - 9/24/2008

The Hatpin is the true story of a single mother, Amber Murray, who advertised her baby in a newspaper trading column in the hope of saving his life...and ended up embroiled in one of the most captivating, moving and exciting criminal trials in Australian history.

This gripping musical drama by young Australian writers James Millar and Peter Rutherford comes to NYMF following an acclaimed run in Sydney.


Caroline O'Connor (Harriet Piper)

Caroline O' Connor's career has encompassed all areas of the entertainment industry. After playing the role of Velma Kelly in the Australian production, Caroline then made her Broadway debut in the musical Chicago, and was invited back to New York in 2006 and London in 2007 to take part in their star-studded tenth year Gala performances. Caroline has achieved tremendous success in Sydney and Melbourne portraying Judy Garland in the world premiere of End Of The Rainbow, directed by Wayne Harrison. She received Best Actress at The Sydney Theatre Critics Awards, The Helpmann Awards, and when the show was produced at the Assembly Hall at the Edinburgh Festival, she also received The London Stage Best Actress Award for the same role. Bombshells, a one-woman play, was commissioned by the MTC, directed by Simon Phillips and written for Caroline by Joanna Murray-Smith. It has played to packed houses in Sydney, Melbourne, (Green Room Award) and Adelaide. Then on to the Toronto Harbourfront Festival, the Edinburgh Festival (Fringe First) and The Arts Theatre in London's West End, for which she was nominated Best Actress in a Play at the prestigious Laurence Olivier Awards and won Best Solo performance at the London Theatregoers Choice Awards. West End productions include Mabel Normand in Jerry Herman's Mack and Mabel (Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Musical), Romance, Romance, Street Scene (ENO), Hot Stuff, Matador, Budgie, The Rink, Cabaret, Me and My Girl, Showboat (RSC), Damn Yankees, Baby, Into the Woods and A Chorus Line. Other Australian productions include West Side Story, (Green Room and MO Award) Piaf, (Green Room, Helpmann and MO Award), Man of La Mancha, Funny Girl and Mack and Mabel. She most recently starred in Scarlett O' Hara at the Crimson Parrot for the Melbourne Theatre Company, a play written for her by renowned Australian playwright, David Williamson.

Paul Kandel (Charles Makin)

Most recently Off-Broadway: Shockheaded Peter. Broadway: Jesus Christ Superstar (King Herod), The Who's Tommy (Uncle Ernie, Tony Nomination), Titanic (Ishmay), A Christmas Carol (Jacob Marley), The Visit. Other Off-Broadway: One Flea Spare (NYSF/Obie/Best Play), Earth and Sky, Twenty Fingers, Twenty Toes, Lucky Stiff, Taming of the Shrew, Scrambled Feet, Nightclub Cantana, Two Grown Men. TV: Sally Hemmings, The Client, Fool's Fire, Law & Order. Film: Clopin in Disney's Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Cyrilla Baer (Agatha Makin)

Cyrilla Baer recently relocated from Chicago to NYC to play Mrs. Zero in the Off Broadway production of ADD1NG MACH1NE, A MUSICAL. She has been a featured performer with The Atlanta Symphony and The Florida Philharmonic orchestras. Regional credits include Dr. Charlotte in FALSETTOS; Miss Thorn, Miss Block and Lita Encore in RUTHLESS (all in the same performance, directed by the authors); Sr. Amnesia in NUNSENSE, NUNSENSE 2 and NUNSENSE JAMBOREE (the last directed by the author), Myrtle in MORNING'S AT SEVEN, and Cleo in THE MOST HAPPY FELLA. She co-starred in the NY Independent Film Festival winner RAGING HORMONES, hosted a radio show on WTMI Classical FM, and has voiced hundreds of commercials and industrials. When she's offstage, she trains and wrangles animals for film and photo shoots, and is a certified hypnotist.

Casey Erin Clark (Marianne Rigby)

Casey Erin Clark is thrilled to participate in this international collaboration . . . and her first NYMF show! Off-Broadway: Frankenstein (Agatha, u/s Elizabeth, original cast album), Shout! the mod musical (Red Girl). Other New York credits: Her Song (Casey), Friends Like These (Dana), Big Tent (choir), and the "Broadway Loves the 80's" concerts (Volumes 1, 3, and 4). Some favorite regional shows: Spitfire Grill (Percy), Into the Woods (Cinderella), Joseph...Dreamcoat (Narrator), As You Like It (Rosalind), and the Lost Colony (Eleanor Dare, w/ director Terrence Mann). Much love and thanks to family, friends, and her husband Chris.

Alexis Fishman (Amber Murray)

Hailing from Sydney, Alexis arrived in the US four months ago and is thrilled to be making her New York stage debut with The Hatpin. Aussie credits include Dusty (Helpmann award nomination, Adelaide Theatre Guide Nomination) Shout!, Troupers (Sydney Theatre Company) Closer, Urinetown, The Beauty Spot, Milli Jack and the Dancing Cat, Merrily We Roll Along, Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris and The Witches of Eastwick. Film credits include Shout!. A graduate of the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA), Alexis has performed in front of thousands at the football, presented at the Australian Dance Awards and performed on numerous occasions at the Sydney Opera House. In October 2007, Alexis was invited to spend two weeks in Iraq and Afghanistan entertaining Australian and US troops as part of Tour De Force with the Australian Defense Force, citing the trip as one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences of her life.

Sharone Halevy (Rebecca Rigby)

Sharone Halevy is so thrilled to be part of The Hatpin, and her first nymf experience! Past experience's include Bridget in Lift: The Musical (the York Theater), Fabian in Twelfth Night (The Hudson Shakespeare Company), The Mouse in If You Give A Mouse A Cookie (The Manattan Childrens Theater), Little Girl in 7 Stories High (NYC Fringe Festival) As well as Fanny Brice (Funny Girl), Lili (Carnival), Edwin Drood (The Mystery Of Edwin Drood). She graduated from the Professional Performing Arts School and will continue her studies at the NY Conservatory for Dramatic Arts (SFT). She would like to thank her dear friends and family for all their support and love.

Gemma-Ashley Kaplan (Clara Makin)

South African born Gemma-Ashley Kaplan immigrated to Melbourne in 1996. Having just graduated from W.A.A.P.A some of her most memorable roles at the academy include Maria in West Side Story, Young Jane in Jane Eyre, Emma Goldman in Assassins, Sarah Darcy in The Good Fight, which premiered at the New York Music Theatre Festival in September 2007, as well as performing and being the assistant choreographer for Once on this Island directed by Jason Langley. Prior to W.A.A.P.A, she played the role of Eponine in Les Miserable, Kim Macafee in Bye Bye Birdie, toured Victoria as Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, hosted The Dorothy the Dinosaur Show and performed at the opening of the Taj Connemara in Madras, India. Gemma made her professional Music Theatre debut in The Hatpin, and has since appeared in Follies and Damn Yankees for The Production Company.

Matt Leisy (Edward Cleary)

Matt Leisy recently returned from playing Mordred in Camelot at Pennsylvania Centre Stage. Other credits include Scripps in the regional premiere of The History Boys (Repertory Theatre of St. Louis), Great Expectations (Mill Mountain Theatre), Oliver (Westchester Broadway Theatre), Tin Pan Alley (Stage One), The Sound of Music (Broadway Asia), Beau Jest, The Importance of Being Earnest, Charlie Brown, Big River (Charleston Stage), In Your Dreams (Ars Nova), Monday Nights, New Voices, and Bruce Coughlin and Michael Korie's new musical Silas. Matt is a graduate of Northwestern University and a proud member of Actors' Equity.

Mary Catherine McDonald (Minnie Davis)

Mary Catherine McDonald is thrilled to be back at NYMF and to be a part of such an exciting show! Last year she played Ariella in Unlocked which won the Verizon Best In Fest award. Favorite regional credits include Philia in A Funny Thing Happened (FIPAP), Emma in Jekyll & Hyde as well as 8 lovely seasons at the St. Louis MUNY. Much love to all of my friends and family especially my biggest supporters, Mom and Dad! I love DB! Proud member of Actor's Equity.

Michael A. Pizzi (Justice Stephens/James Hanoney)

Michael A. Pizzi recently completed a run of Peter Pan as the oldest ensemble guy ever in that show (Salty/u/s Smee) at North Carolina Theatre and last fall was in the still talked about production of 1776 at Goodspeed. NYC and regional roles have included diverse roles of Judge Turpin (Sweeney Todd), Baker (Into the Woods), Peter (u/s Judas) (Jesus Christ Superstar), Eli Whitney (Anything Goes), Sancho (Man of la Mancha), Mr. MacAfee (Bye Bye Birdie), Brian (The Shadow Box), Marley (A Christmas Carol), Frankie Cavalier (Pageant) - with the creative team of Joal Paley and Marvin Laird), 2 other 1776's (including at the DAR in Washington DC with members of Congress) and 3 Fiddlers (making him an honorary Jew, say his friends). View his website at for other dramatic and opera credits. Michael also has a PhD in wellness and community health and is the founder and Artistic Director of Touching Humanity, Inc., a non-profit theatre/educational organization committed to primarily using the arts as a charitable means to empower and create services and opportunities for children and adults with various disabilities. For more information, or to contribute your time or efforts, please contact him at As always, for KLB!

Billy Clark Taylor (Thomas Williamson)

Billy Clark Taylor is excited to return to NYMF as part of this international project. In 2004 he appeared in the NYMF cast of Houdini, directed by Gabriel Barre. Billy has performed with several NYC theatre groups including Musicals Tonight, Inside Broadway and Emerging Artists Theatre. Most recently, Billy appeared as Sam Wainwright in the John W Engeman Theatre's production of A Wonderful Life in which he also understudied and performed the role of George Bailey. Other favorite regional credits include Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden (ACT), Frankie in Forever Plaid (Bristol Riverside), and Charlie Brown in both You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Seaside Music Theatre) and Snoopy!!! (Peanut's 50th Anniversary Tour). Billy is a proud member of Actor's Equity.

Creative Team

Neil Gooding (Producer/Assistant Director)

Neil has been awarded a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Law. Whilst working at Jacobsen Entertainment, Neil was responsible for the financial administration of the Arena Productions of The Man From Snowy River Arena Spectacular, the Long Way To The Top concert series, De La Guarda and Dirty Dancing, as well as being the tour accountant on the road with Ja Rule & Ashanti in 2003. At the start of 2000, Neil established Neil Gooding Productions, and produced and directed Stephen Sondheim's Assassins in June 2000. This company has also produced Long Gone Lonesome Cowgirls and Back To The 80's! (which Neil also Directed). Neil Gooding Productions Pty Ltd has provided consultancy to Jacobsen Entertainment for Dirty Dancing, as well as touring Australia with Delta Goodrem as her Tour Accountant on her Visaualise Tour. In 2004, Neil established Fast & Fresh, the under 18 short play competition which is the offshoot of Short & Sweet. 2007 marked the 3rd successful year of this competition. Neil was the Assistant Director / Ensemble Director to Gale Edwards for the launch concert of Kookaburra Music Theatre Company. He recently directed Keeping Annabelle for Short & Sweet 2007, which was chosen to go into the Gala Final and won several awards. He also directed Building A Wing, a 10 minute musical for Short, Sweet & Song. This piece was selected by the Judges as the Best Musical. Neil recently directed Listen To My Heart at the State Theatre and the staged readings of new Australian musical The Hatpin.

Kim Hardwick (Producer/Director)

After training as a dancer Kim studied acting at the Victorian College of the Arts and directing at The Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts. As a director she has assisted Mary-Anne Gifford and Peter Kingston and co-directed with Nick Enright. She has directed productions ranging from independent (Dinner With Friends for Fishy Productions) to national tours (Andrew Daddo's Sprung! for Monkey Baa Productions) as well as musicals (The Ultra Swing Lounge). As director of Whoosh Productions she has produced and directed productions such as The Memory of Water (which will be touring in late 2007) and Jonathan Gavin's A Moment on the Lips (winner of the Philip Parsons Award). Her last production was the critically acclaimed A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. She is also a tutor at the Actors Centre Australia and The Central Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

Martin Kinnane (Producer / Original Lighting & Vision ...)

Since graduating from NIDA, Martin has designed for theatre and events both nationally and internationally. Amongst many productions, he has lit Six Dance Lessons In Six Weeks, End Of The Rainbow, Sweet Road and Kid's Stuff for the Ensemble Theatre, Embers for HotHouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company, Memory Of Water for Whoosh Productions, Satango for the Griffin, Debbie Does Dallas — The Musical for Three Amigos Productions, Pearlie In The Park, Sprung, Worry Worts and Fairy's Wings for Monkey Baa Productions, My Secret Circus for the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA), Sunset Boulevard for The Production Company, Dinner With Friends for Fishy Productions, Away and Twelfth Night for Railway Street Theatre Company, Alone It Stands and Defending The Caveman for Ross Mollison Productions and Shakespeare's R&J for the Bell Shakespeare Company and Spirit Entertainment. Martin has designed for a wide range of venues nationally, for stages ranging widely in size, age and style. He is as comfortable designing for the Darlinghurst Theatre as for the Sydney Opera House in Sydney, the Victorian Arts Centre or Comedy Theatre in Melbourne and many regional theatre venues in between. 

Work beyond the theatrical ambit includes lighting design for Helpmann Awards (2006) and East Timor's Independence Day Celebrations for the U.N.. Martin is possibly best known for his lighting design for all of the City of Sydney's New Year's Eve events since 2001. His spectacularly theatrical lighting of the Sydney Harbour Bridge has brought him international renown; he was the keynote speaker in Atlanta, at the Festival of Light Conference in the US (2005).

Josh Lemon (Technical Director)

After completing the Technical Production course at NIDA (The National Institute of Dramatic Art) Josh went onto work in professional theatre starting in Lighting and recently moving into Technical Management. Josh has always taken a big interest in the technical side of theatre working in Rigging, Sound, Automation, Construction and Design. Josh worked as Head of Lighting on shows including The Australian and New Zealand tour of Swan Lake on Ice, And In The End and Vagina Monologues. More recently Josh has pursued his interest in Technical and Operational Management, by working as Director of Citric Entertainment consulting for Theatres and Events in Sydney and currently working as an Operational Facilities Coordinator and IT Project Manager on Sydney's largest event World Youth Day. Josh's other professional work includes working as Technical Director in The Hatpin, Sydney Season, Swing Lighting and Automation in Priscilla the Musical, Teaching Technical Theatre - NIDA Open Program, Lighting Design Associate - Already Elsewhere, Lighting Design Associate - Reserve Back Museum of Money, Lighting Design Associate - Go Pinocchio, Lighting Design Associate - Twelfth Night, Follow Spot Plotter / Caller - Todd McKenney Live, Lighting Designer - Hurlston High Short Plays, Lighting Programmer - Chapter Two.

James Millar (Book & Lyrics)

James graduated from The University of Technology, Sydney, with a degree in Writing in 2000. Following that, James studied musical theatre at WAAPA, graduating in 2003. James's performance credits have included Snugglepot and Cuddlepie for Company B Belvoir, Eureka and Oklahoma for The Production Company, as well as Boyband, Nostradamus and Sondheim's Company at the Theatre Royal. He also regularly sings as a member of a vocal trio Irwin, Millar & Stenlake. In 2006 James won a Green Room Award for Best Supporting Actor in the role of Jud Fry in Oklahoma, for The Production Company. In the same year, he was selected to perform in Cardiff for BBC Radio 2's Voice of Musical Theatre. James' work on television includes A Country Practice, Water Rats, Naked: Coral Island, Home And Away and Police Rescue. He will next be seen as The Shark in Julien Temple's film Eternity Man due for release in 2008. The Hatpin is James' first full-length written work for the stage, and he is very grateful to you for coming.

Peter Rutherford (Composer)

Peter has studied to become a classical singer and composer after completing an Honours degree in music at the University of NSW. Peter has worked as a vocal coach for actors and a freelance arranger/composer, as well as performing on stage. He has made some TV appearances on Mornings with Kerri-Anne with professionals such as: Amanda Muggleton, Dennis Olsen, Michael Cormick and Lucy Durack. Peter has musically directed many cabaret shows most recently doing national tours of Legends, Home Thoughts From Abroad, and Live and Legless with Enda Markey. With Luke Barron, he performed a successful season of their cabaret, Ten Things I Hate About Cabaret by James Millar, at Teatro Vivaldi's in Canberra and the Statement Lounge in Sydney. He also featured in the finals of the 2001 Sydney Cabaret Convention. His biggest triumph to date was writing the music, with book by James Millar, for the successful workshops of a new musical The Hatpin.

Mark Thompson (Original Set Designer)

Mark Thompson has worked as a theatre and corporate/event designer since 1984 as well as a ceramic sculptor with nine solo sculpture exhibitions in Australia. Major event work includes Timor's Day Celebrations for the UN and Three New Eve's Celebrations for the City of Sydney-Harbour Bridge/Fireworks Design , recent projects include The Asian Games in Doha 2006, NYE2006 Event design for the City of Sydney, Recent work includes The Music Of Andrew Lloyd Webber concert for Beijing and Shanghai as well as the theatre production design of Morning Sacrifice, The Way of the World and The Breath of Life for the Sydney Theatre Company and the Orpheus In The Underworld and Lakme for Opera Australia, Midnite , Two Weeks with the Queen and The Snow Queen for Windmill Performing Arts and Uncle Vanya for the State Theatre Company of South Australia.