Craig Smith (Ivan Ilyich) was an ensemble member of New York’s prestigious Jean Cocteau Repertory where he made his artistic home for more than 3 decades appearing in over 200 productions from Stoppard to Shakespeare and Sophocles to Williams. In 2004 Craig and 4 colleagues founded Phoenix Theatre Ensemble, an award-winning Off-Broadway artist-directed ensemble. Mr. Smith has been called “One of New York's most consistently fine actors" by The New York Times, "Undoubtedly one of the best comic actors in New York" by Time Out, and “A downtown theatre legend" by Playgoer.com. Mr. Smith is the recipient of the President of the Borough of Manhattan’s Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Arts and Community Service. Mr. Smith and his family have recently relocated to Nyack.
Stephen Sharkey (Playwright/Adapter) Stephen Sharkey is a playwright who grew up in Liverpool and then studied classics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. Throughout his career Stephen has translated and adapted a wide variety of classic and classical stories for the stage, including works by Euripides, Aristophanes, Wilde, Defoe, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dostoevsky, Dickens and Goncharov. His most recent production was a version of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, commissioned by Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. While his plays are large-scale works, Stephen is a champion of the short play and is a founder and curator of The Miniaturists. He lives in London with his wife Rebecca and their two sons.
Leo Lion (Director) Mr. Lion is the Founder and Artistic Director of the New York based award-winning Firebird Project, a young person theatre company for teenagers and adults. He directed eight Off-Off-Broadway productions with youth and mixed-age ensembles (adults and teens). Four productions received numerous National Youth Arts awards and nominations, including awards for Direction and Ensemble. Mr. Lion has adapted two classic books for the stage (Treasure Island, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) and co-adapted Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet for a present-day mixed-age production. He was the assistant director for Phoenix Theatre Ensemble’s 2018 production of Robert Patrick’s JUDAS.. He was recently names Associate Artistic Director at Phoenix Theatre Ensemble. Mr. Lion is a freshman at Fordham University at the Lincoln Center campus.
Leo Tolstoy (Author) full given name is Lev Nikolayevich, Graf (count) Tolstoy, (1828-1910), was a Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world’s greatest novelists. Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace (1865–69) and Anna Karenina (1875–77), which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. Among Tolstoy’s shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886) is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Tolstoy has been called not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life’s meaning.