My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend


Charissa Bertels

Charissa Bertels (Performer/ALL) has performed on Broadway and at Madison Square Garden in A Christmas Story and toured the country in If/Then, starring Idina Menzel, LaChanze and Anthony Rapp. As part of the singing ensemble for New York City Center Encores’ productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Lady Be Good, her work can be heard on the subsequent cast recordings, featuring Megan Hilty and the legendary Tommy Tune.   Charissa starred to rave reviews in her original one-woman musical, My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend, at Merrimack Repertory Theatre, for which she received an IRNE award for Best Solo Performance. She is thrilled to reprise her performance for Arizona Theatre Company and the Human Race Theatre next year.   Her newest collaboration, The Uncivil Ones, features unheard female, trans and non-binary voices from The Civil War and garnered the 2019 Special Mention for the Women in Arts Media Coalition Collaboration Award.  In addition to her own writing and producing projects, she is currently a professor at New York Film Academy’s Professional Conservatory of Musical Theatre and a proud member of Actors’ Equity and SAG-AFTRA

Jose C. Simbulan

Jose C. Simbulan (Music Director/ Pianist) Jose C. Simbulan is excited and grateful to be a part of this musicalization of a real slice of New York City life. As a music director and pianist, his recent credits include productions for Actors Theatre of Louisville, Barrington Stage Company, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Connecticut Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, National Asian Artists Project (NAAP), The Kennedy Center, and Virginia Repertory Theatre. In 2019, he was inducted into the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) Hall of Fame in recognition of his 25 years as the pianist for the Professional Division auditions. He also plays regularly for the Unified Professional Theatre Auditions (21 years), Virginia Theatre Association, and Disney Parks and Cruise Line. He is a proud graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Creative Team

Christian Duhamel

Christian Duhamel (Book and Lyrics) is an internationally regarded playwright, lyricist, composer, actor, voice teacher, voice coach, and the Founder of Cobalt Phoenix. He is the recipient of the BMI Jerry Harrington Award for Outstanding Creative Achievement in Songwriting, the Pearl Studio Songwriting Artist Residency, and the prestigious Kleban Prize in Musical Theatre. His other works include X-MAS: A Merry Mutant Musical, Worlds Apart, The Girl Who Turned into a Feather, Reeling, Miss Mayor, and The Uncivil Ones. As an artist, teacher, and mentor, he is passionate about helping people discover and develop their authentic voices as they explore the dynamic intersection of intimacy, creativity, and self-growth. Christian resides in Seattle where he is an active member of Actors Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild of America.

Ed Bell

Ed Bell (Music and Lyrics) is a songwriter, author, music education and entrepreneur. His creative work is mostly in theatre and film, where he co-wrote the 2018 Kleban Award-winning musical My 80-Year-Old Boyfriend and was previously an Artist in Residence at Pearl Studio (Abominable, Over the Moon) in Shanghai, China. His songs have been performed at venues from Brasserie Zedel and the Battersea Barge in London to the Duplex in New York City and the ACT Theatre in Seattle. As music director, Ed has worked on projects at the Signature Theatre, the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, Leeds Playhouse and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Ed created The Song Foundry, one of the Internet’s most popular songwriting resource sites, and is the author of seven popular books, including the bestselling The Art of Songwriting. Ed is originally from Yorkshire in the UK and is delighted to be visiting Arizona for the first time. Edbell.com

Sean Daniels

Sean Daniels (Director) is honored to be the Artistic Director at ATC, where he first fell in love with theatre.

Sean Daniels is an internationally known theater director, writer and Artistic Director, known for new work and innovative community-engaged leadership. He’s been a NYTimes Critic Pick as a director and a writer.

Sean has directed at Manhattan Theatre Club (The Lion, Drama Desk Award Theatre World Award, nominated for Lucille and Outer Critics Circle), 59e59 (NYC, I and You, nominated for Outer Critics Circle) the Lynn Redgrave (NYC) The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), the St. James (West End, London – The Lion, winner of Best New Musical), and at many wonderful regionals (Old Globe, ACT, Geffen, Cleveland Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep., Long Wharf, Alliance, and the Neo-Futurists in Chicago!).

In addition, Sean has been an Artistic Director at Merrimack Repertory and Dad’s Garage (which he co-founded), and an Associate Artistic Director at California Shakespeare Theatre and Actors Theatre of Louisville.

Sean has been named “one of the top fifteen up & coming artists in the U.S., whose work will be transforming America’s stages for decades to come “One Of 7 People Reshaping And Revitalizing American Musical” American Theatre magazine.

As a playwright, his work has been produced in multiple theaters over the country including a commercial Off-Broadway run of his sober dark comedy The White Chip which was produced by Tony Award winner Tom Kirdahy. It is currently being adapted for a book and for TV.

He’d love to hear from you. sdaniels@arizonatheatre.org

twitter: @seandaniels