A New Mythical Musical by Deborah Henson-Conant

The Golden Cage

In her TEDx talk …

… “How to Get Out of your Inner Cage,” Deborah Henson-Conant tells the story of her struggle to complete “The Golden Cage,” only to discover that she was trapped in her own inner cage.

Through the process of completing and filming the musical, she made a profound discovery about how we turn our own minds into a prison – and how true freedom comes from admitting we’re trapped, courageously sharing our stories, and reaching out for human connection.



“Deborah Henson-Conant’s genius is on full display in her stunning musical THE GOLDEN CAGE. A musical and lyrical masterpiece, the score is deeply satisfying in its harmonic inventions that will remind you of both Sondheim and Guettel – but is truly the composer’s own unique voice. The lyrics and the dialogue are expertly woven into this two-person musical that will delight sophisticated audiences”.

Tony-Award Nominee, Paul Gordon (composer/writer of Broadway’s “Jane Eyre” and “Daddy Long Legs” and creator of the new “Streaming Musicals” Platform)

‘The Golden Cage’ is an inspirational musical-comedy fantasy for those of us who sometimes feel trapped in our own minds.”  Joan Davidson

“It’s not a coincidence that this show is emerging now because it is about the inner evolution that each of us is experiencing coming out of the last two years.” Simonne Willems

“… a magical trip through an original and modern fairytale that simultaneously feels familiar and new. A blend of The Wizard of Oz-style escapism and Waiting for Godot-like philosophic layers, The Golden Cage has the ability to both inspire and entertain across generations.” Trent Sellars (TheatreHaus Review).

With just two characters and a score described as Guettel-and-Sondheim-esque, The Golden Cage is a whimsical, sophisticated story for multi-generational audiences about our self-imposed cages of isolation and illusion, and the human connection that sets us free.  Broadway World

Photos from the 2022 Workshop Production in NYC – Click Photos to see Full-Size

Photos by Rachel Monteleone and Emily Hewitt
From the 2022 “CreateTheater Festival” production in NYC  with Chris Isolano: Boris and Maddie Allen: Alphea

The Golden Cage is an award-winning musical about a glorious, mythical cage that’s irresistible from the outside, and inescapable from the inside, This 2-character musical play tells the story of two creatures who meet on either side of its bars. Boris, half-man and half-bird, is stranded on the outside after a lifetime searching for the cage. Alphea, trapped on the inside, is a melodramatic diva, who longs for freedom, yet fears the outside and can’t remember how she got trapped inside. Lyrical musical theater meets operetta meets song-cycle, this poignant new musical comedy reflects the cages in which we trap ourselves and the only way we can emerge: through connection to each other.

Its universal subject matter, sophisticated music and whimsical characters make The Golden Cage a show for multi-generational audiences to see together. It offers a common language to talk about the trap of isolation, the polarized reality of being an ‘insider’ or an ‘outsider’ — and the discovery that it’s only through human connection that we can break through to our common humanity and the glorious truth of who we most deeply are.

“Imagine chasing a dream your whole life only to find out it’s someone else’s hell,” said playwright and composer Deborah Henson-Conant. “The Golden Cage is about self-created traps of isolation and blind achievement, and the power of human connection to set us free.”

Available to be licensed for live performances, The Golden Cage is what’s often called a “producer’s dream,” with its small orchestra, single set, small orchestra, a two-person cast that’s open to any gender, age, race or body type and its universal message that appeals to multi-generational audiences. 

BORIS – Christopher Isolano (he/him) is a multifaceted performer, musician, and theater manager in NYC. He made his off-Broadway debut at Theatre Row as Boris in The Golden Cage. He recently gained notice in The NY Times for originating the “Anxiety Monster” in the new children’s musical, Petunia’s Big Day! – which streamed from the New Ohio Theatre on Eventive! Originally from Long Island, and a Pace University Musical Theater program graduate, Chris has performed regionally with Theatre Aspen, The Hangar, The Gateway, and in NYC with Barrington Stage Co., IRT Theater, and at Lincoln Center. Most recent credits: Fancy Nancy (AMT Theater), Hooked (Theatre Row) & Fowl Play (Playbill Pride Mainstage). Chris can also be found producing new works and managing the newly opened off-Broadway venue, Theater 555 on 42nd St. @Chris-Isolano

ALPHEA – Maddie Allen (she/her) is grateful to have made her Off-Broadway Debut as Alphea in “The Golden Cage” at the 2022 CreateTheater New Works Festival. Originally from Fresno, California, Maddie’s past credits include Footloose (Great Plains Theater), A Grand Night for Singing (Syracuse), Rent (Interlochen Arts), and Broadway Holiday (The Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice). Maddie is a proud alumni of Interlochen Arts Academy where she returned this past summer to assist Director/Choreographer Rick Faugno. This spring, Maddie will be joining AIDA Cruiselines as a lead vocalist on the AIDAperla! She is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Musical Theatre program. MaddieAllen.com / @maddsallen 

SWING (UNDERSTUDY)  – Katie Horner  (she/her) is an NYC-based actor, singer, instrumentalist, and composer who understudied BOTH parts, of Alphea & Boris.  Katie’s regional credits include Buddy- The Buddy Holly Story (National Tour and Florida Studio Theatre); Million Dollar Quartet (Mill Mountain Theatre); Lend Me a Tenor (Resident Theatre Company); Once (Arden Theatre Company). In summer 2022, she joined the Zachary Scott Theatre for an actor-musician production of The Sound of Music. Check out her single Bright & Breezy by Kay Rose on all streaming services. BLM. https://www.intersectionalenvironmentalist.com/take-the-pledge and learn more about Katie and her creative projects at Katie-Horner.com 

PLAYWRIGHT/COMPOSER –  Deborah Henson-Conant is a Grammy-Nominated composer & performer who combines stories and music in multiple genres from narrated concerts to song cycles, one-person musicals, operetta and musical.

Her full-length music special “Invention & Alchemy” in collaboration with the Grand Rapids Symphony, appeared on PBS stations throughout the U.S. and received a Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Crossover album. She’s performed and premiered her works internationally with orchestras and venues including Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony, Tacoma Symphony and Buffalo Philharmonic, Chicago Humanities Festival, Kennedy Center, Boston’s Lyric Stage and Central Square Theater.

Her TEDx talk chronicles the development of the harp that’s named after her,  the “DHC” body-harp – an instrument that enables one to become a single performing unit with an electric harp. Link to Deborah’s Website. Link to “The Golden Cage” web page.

DIRECTOR – R. Lee Kratzer (she/her) is a New York–based director who makes deeply considered, urgent work that sits at the intersection of opera, music, dance, and theater. She has directed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Theatre Row, Opera Saratoga, Opera del West, Guild Hall of LI, NEMPAC Opera Project (former artistic director), The Tank, Longy School of Music, Rutgers University, Montclair State, Emerson Stage, Fordham University, the Footlight Club, and Columbia University. Kratzer has also worked with Katie Mitchell, Dave Malloy, Isaac Oliver, Whitney White, Annie-B Parson, Hermès, The New York Times, Big Dance Theater, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and the Bushwick Starr. Next up: La Traviata with City Lyric Opera. SDC Associate Member; MFA: Columbia.  Link to RebeccaMillerKratzer.com 

MUSIC DIRECTOR – Nevada Lozano  Nevada Lozano is a musical theater composer, lyricist, music director, and pianist. He has served as music assistant on several Broadway productions, including: Oklahoma! (2019 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical), The Sound Inside (directed by David Cromer, starring Mary-Louise Parker), and Sea Wall/A Life (starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge). He is currently serving as associate sound effects designer on Suffs (written by Shaina Taub, directed by Leigh Silverman) at the Public Theater.

Nevada is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop (Advanced) and received the organization’s Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in 2018. He has participated in residencies at Yaddo, the Johnny Mercer Writers Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, KHN Center for the Arts and Brush Creek Foundation. He studied composition and piano at the Eastman School of Music and Rice University.  Link to Nevada’s website.

ORCHESTRATOR, CREATIVE FACILITATOR & ADR ENGINEER – Tim Maurice is a composer/pianist, orchestrator and film composer who has produced music for independent film & media projects and feature length documentaries, including “Searchdog” (an award winning film featured on the NBC Today Show), and “Sunken Steamboats of Moosehead Lake” and has orchestrated for the Grammy award winning jazz pianist Taylor Eigsti.

He also served as music director, arranger, and pianist for the cabaret show “Never Far From Home” at Central Square Theater, which earned critical acclaim from The Boston Globe.  Tim has been a primary creative facilitator for “The Golden Cage” since 2013 as music director, tech advisor and film composer, expanding the solo piano orchestration of the stage show into a cinematic sound.  Link to Tim’s website.

COMPANY MANAGER / GENERAL MANAGER – Scott DelaCruz is the Executive Producer of All The Way Around productions ( https://www.atwaproductions.com/ ). Scott has worked in the media and entertainment industry for over 20 years. His projects have ranged from award winning commercial content to global theatrical tours and films. He is based in New York City.  https://www.atwaproductions.com/

STAGE MANAGER – Tala Munsterman (They/Them) is a freelance stage manager currently based in NYC with 10+ years of experience from coast to coast. Their main goal with every production is to ensure a safe, respectful, and fun environment to work in!

Their recent NYC credits include: Aloha Boricua Pregones/PRTT (Off-Broadway), Harlem Hellfighters On A Latin Beat Pregones/PRTT (Off-Broadway), Adventures of Ezra Jack Keats TADA! Youth Theater, Into The Woods New York Film Academy, and A Winter’s Tale New York Shakespeare Exchange.

Regional credits include: Matilda The Musical, Mama Mia, Sweeny Todd, Legally Blonde, Annie, The Little Mermaid, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with The Fort Wayne Civic Theater (Indiana). Company, Ordinary People, and Building On Sand with Good Luck Macbeth Theater (Nevada)

ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER – Emily Burstyn graduated from the City College of New York with a degree in Technical Theater/Theater Design and Technology. She brings her experience as a Stage Manager, a Studio Manager, and a Light Board Operator, with a passion for the technical aspects of theatrical productions.  

SCENIC DESIGN – Tyler R.  Herald  (he/him) is a New York-based scenic designer. He values the importance of new work and different ways of storytelling. He endeavors to create work that supports often unheard/unseen stories and challenges the conversation.

Most recently Tyler has collaborated on projects through Columbia University (Trojan Women, Fairytales and Other Stories That Scare Me,Titus Andronicus, Three Sisters), Maryland Opera Studio (Dialogues of the Carmelites), and the Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute (Eurydice). He has assisted on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Regionally—most notably working alongside David Korins, Adam Koch, Neil Patel, Kevin Depinet, Daniel Conway and Misha Kachman. Immersive Frida Kahlo, Immersive Van Gogh, Beetlejuice, Treasures from Chatsworth, The Great Society, The Hamilton Exhibition, 91st Academy Awards, (David Korins), La Boheme, Sweeney Todd, The Thieving Magpie, The Crucible, Wilde Tales (Glimmerglass Festival). MFA University of Maryland. Local USA 829. www.tylerrheralddesign.com

COSTUME DESIGN – Evan Prizant’s designs for theatre, opera, and dance have been seen on stages across the country, from Cape Cod to Honolulu, including his hometown Louisville, KY, and his current home Brooklyn, NY.  Evan regularly works on Broadway as an Associate Costume Designer, where his credits include Girl from the North Country (currently running), Torch Song and The Rose Tattoo (both Tony nominated for Best Costume Design), Choir Boy, and Sunday in the Park with George starring Jake Gyllenhaal. He assisted legendary costume designer Bob Mackie on The Cher Show, and styled Mike Birbiglia’s one-man show The New One, which transferred to Broadway and is currently available on Netflix. MFA: Boston University, BA: Tulane University. www.EvanPrizant.com 

LIGHTING DESIGN – Michael Cole attended the University of Oklahoma where he received a B.F.A Drama – Lighting Design Emphasis as well as a B.F.A in Musical Theatre Performance. His experience includes lighting design and moving light programming for plays and musicals. https://www.michaelcole.lighting/ 

PROJECTION DESIGN – Peter Leibold & Paul Deziel. 

Peter Leibold is an award winning lighting designer for theatre, dance, opera, music, and anywhere else light can exist. Currently he is based in both NYC and Washington DC. He is also the co-founder of BoldARC Lighting, the inventor of the WebLD control system for virtual performance. https://www.peterleibold.com/

Paul Deziel is a New York & Chicago based projection designer.   He holds a B.A. in Technical Theatre from Columbia College Chicago and an MFA in Projection & Multimedia Design from the University of Maryland.   https://www.pauldeziel.com/

CASTING – CINDI RUSH is the principal at Cindi Rush Casting, Ltd. which is based in New York City. She has cast countless productions including: NY: Winnie the Pooh, Paddington Gets in a Jam, After, Friends, Shame Of Thrones,  Promising, Ruthless, Disenchanted, Drop Dead Perfect, Under My Skin, Silence!, Rooms, Jacques Brel, Urinetown. The Thing About Men, Home Street Home.  Tours including Golden Girls, Paddington Gets in a Jam. Regional Theaters including Triad Stage,  5th Avenue, Hudson Stage, Penguin Rep, Pittsburgh Public, Charleston Stage Co. Virginia Stage Co, Cape Fear Regional Film: A Bread Factory (Independent Spirit), The Grief of Others (SXSW/Cannes), Runoff (L.A Film Fest), Policy of Truth (SOHO Film Fest), The Woman (Sundance), Funeral Kings (SXSW) Ghoul, Theresa is a Mother, Jugface (Slamdance), In The Family (Independent Spirit)  and she’s a consultant for NYU Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program (1999-2020).

HEAD OF PROPS – Daniel  Brothers. Playwright, Propsmaker, Carpenter, Mechanic, Actor, Game Master, Ornithologist, collector of professions. Recently, he has been writing a Sci fi novel for publication in 2023, a play “Living Together” to be staged in the fall, and props for Playco’s production of Will You Come With Me. Further, inquire at dannyjbrothers.com

PROPS ASSITANT – Brittany Daggett-Duffy was born and raised in Brockton Massachusetts and had the privilege of attending Brockton High School where her interest in technical theatre began. It was not until her Freshman Year at Ithaca College where she discovered her passion for Theatrical Scenic Design and Props Artistry. https://www.brittanydaggettduffy.com/

SOUND ENGINEER – Colin Taber graduated from Temple University with a degree in Jazz/Commercial Guitar Performance. After 16 months on a cruise ship in the house band he moved to NY city and spent the past years gigging and teaching throughout the tri-state area and beyond as well as working in theatrical productions. https://www.colintaber.com

FESTIVAL PRODUCER –  Cate Cammarata is an Off-Broadway producer, director and dramatic specializing in the development of new plays and musicals. She is also the founder of CreateTheater.com, an online theater community, and the producer of the Monday Night Reading Series.

Off-Broadway: THE ASSIGNMENT, MY FATHER’S DAUGHTER. Regional: MY LIFE IS A MUSICAL (Bay Street Theater), BRAN CASTLE (Porchlight Theater), CRUDE (Cape Cod Theater Company), and numerous early developmental productions and readings in NYC.

Cate coaches writers on script development and self-producing, leads musical theater writing workshops and serves as the Literary Manager for Theater Resources Unlimited (TRU). She is also the associate Artistic Director of Rhymes Over Beats Hip Hop Collective and the Artistic Director of CreateTheater’s ETC.

​Cate has an MFA in Dramaturgy and a BFA in Directing, and teaches theater at Baruch College. In development: AUSTEN’S PRIDE, ATLANTIS and a hip hop musical by the recording artist Masta Ace. www.CreateTheater.com, www.CateCammarata.com

CREATETHEATER SERIES –  is a new theatre series in NYC – of new works presented  by series producer Cate Cammarata, that’s focused on the development of new plays and musicals. The full series – with six new musicals and one new play – ran April 14 – May 15, 2022  at Theatre Four –  Theatre Row at 42nd Street, NYC.  “The Golden Cage” ran April 20-24. CreateTheater New Works Festival.

STREAMING MUSICALS  – is a new streaming network dedicated to creating, capturing and presenting new, original musical theatre content, working with artists in bringing the magic of theatre to international audiences. The productions are filmed on theatrical and sound stages in high definition video and sound. As we did with our Award Winning capture of Estella Scrooge, Pride and Prejudice and the feature film, 1660 Vine, we continue to focus on storytelling, character, and music and we do it because we love theatre and want to build a bigger outlet for people who love theatre. Visit Streaming Musicals

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