James Edward Lyons has
been active as an author and director in the German theater scene for
the past 25 years. A graduate of Wesleyan University
in Connecticut, Lyons was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to
study directing at the Folkwangschule in Essen, Germany. As an assistant
director at the Duesseldorfer Schauspielhaus he had the opportunity
of working with several reknowned German directors. He collaborated
on the European Premiere of 'Childen of a Lesser God' and opened his
own German directing career in 1982 with the first German production
of Sam Shepard's 'True West'. Directing credits include 'A Streetcar
Named Desire' in his own new German translation, as well the German
Premiere of Terence McNally's 'Master Class' at the Staatstheater Stuttgart.
his 16-year artistic collaboration with singer/comedienne Ortrud Beginnen,
James Edward Lyons co-wrote and staged numerous cabaret musicals and
satirical shows, beginning in 1983 under the artistic director Claus
Peymann at the Schauspielhaus Bochum. During a wave of neonazi violence
in Germany in 1993, Lyons and Beginnen brought their biting musical
satire 'Sing, German Maidens!' ('Wir Maedel singen') to the stage
at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. In a commissioned play
for the prestigious Burgtheater in
Vienna, 'The Crown Jewels', Beginnen portraited a madwoman who reinstates
the Austrian monarchy. Since the death of Ms. Beginnen in 1999, Lyons
has gone on to put together a number of successful musical biographies
The list of his musical biographies includes the 1920's cabaret singer
Claire Waldoff, western legend Calamity Jane, and 60's rock singer
Janis Joplin. For the Rheingau Music
Festival he wrote and staged musical portraits of the composer Ralph
Benatzky ('The White Horse Inn') and operetta legend Fritzi Massary. His
authorized, intimate portrait of the singer-actress Hildegard Knef
'It's Raining Roses' ('Fuer mich soll's
rote Rosen regnen') has been produced at several German theatres since
its premiere in 2002, and played over 200 performances in the original
kick off the World Cup 2006 in Germany Lyons put together an evening
of soccer songs for eleven singer/players titled 'SchussChor'. In
the same year he commerated
the 100th birthday of Ufa-Film composer Michael Jary with'Ever Kissed
in the Dark?', which tells the controversial story of six popular
performers during the Nazi-era.
A modern-day adaptation of the old
German fantasy novel
and silent film 'Alraune'
('Mandrake'), which opened in 2007 phantasizes about the
creation of an artificial woman.
Since 2008 Lyons has begun a collaboration with the English musical
composer Paul Graham Brown. The World Premiere of their Boxing-Musical
'The Fight of the Century' which relives the confrontations between
Max Schmeling and Joe Louis, opened in October 2008 in Berlin. Since
the critically acclaimed World Premiere of 'King Kong' in Berlin,
their moving 3-Person musical adaption of the classic novel has produced
at several German-speaking theaters.
In 2014 Lyons will be directing the World Premiere of Paul Graham
Brown's new musical,'The Great Houdini'.
His haunting Johnny Cash portrait 'The Beast In Me', which premiered
before the Hollywood film in 2004, ran for six years at a Berlin repertory
theater; a successful German touring production opened in September
2008 and ran until 2012.
His 2011 work 'Tingel Tangel Theater'
recalls the legendary composer Frederick Hollaender ('The Blue Angel')
and his 1930's Berlin cabaret, and continues to run at the original
address of Hollaender's cabaret. 'Black Market Berlin', still running
in repertory at Berlin's Kleines Theater,is a revival of the famous
post-war German cabaret revue by composer Günter Neumann.