James Edward Lyons

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James Edward Lyons has been active as an author and director in the German theater scene for the past 35 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, and collaborated on the European Premiere of 'Childen of a Lesser God'. He had his German directing debut with the first German production of Sam Shepard's 'True West', and his many 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.  

In his 16-year artistic collaboration with singer/comedienne Ortrud Beginnen, James Edward Lyons co-wrote and staged numerous satirical cabaret shows, beginning in 1983 at the Schauspielhaus Bochum, under artistic director Claus Peymann. During a wave of neonazi violence in Germany in 1993, Lyons and Beginnen brought their biting satire 'Wir Maedel singen'('Sing, German Maidens!') to the stage of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. In their commissioned play for the prestigious Burgtheater in Vienna, 'The Crown Jewels', Beginnen portraited a madwoman who reinstates the Austrian monarchy.

Since the death of Ortrud Beginnen in 1999, Lyons has gone on to put together a number of successful musical biographies and revues, including the 1920's German 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 musical portrait of the singer-actress Hildegard Knef, 'Fuer mich soll's rote Rosen regnen' has been produced at several German theatres since its premiere in 2002, and played over 250 performances in the original cast production.

To kick off the World Soccer Cup 2006 in Germany, Lyons put together a revue for eleven singer/players titled 'SchussChor'. In the same year he commemorated the 100th birthday of Ufa-Film composer Michael Jary with 'Ever Kissed in the Dark?', telling the controversial story of six popular performers during the Nazi-era.

His haunting Johnny Cash portrait 'The Beast In Me' ran for six years at a Berlin repertory theater before becoming a successful national German touring production that won the coveted INTHEGA award for best touring theater production in Germany 2010. His 'Tingel Tangel Theater' revue recalls the legendary composer Frederick Hollaender ('The Blue Angel') and was produced at the original address of Hollaender's 1930's Berlin cabaret.

Lyons has collaborated with the English musical composer Paul Graham Brown on several projects, beginning with the historical Box-Musical 'The Fight of the Century'. Their critically acclaimed 3-Person adaptation of the classic 'King Kong' has been produced at over a dozen German-speaking theaters since its original production in 2009.

Currently his Elvis Presley biographical musical 'ELVIS, Comeback' is touring with the Württembergische Landesbühne, and he is enjoying revivals of his Knef show 'Für mich soll's rote Rosen regnen' in Stuttgart, and 'King Kong' in Wiesbaden.

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