A Thousand Faces has been recognized for its work with Access Coordinator Laura Brecheen, our brilliant deaf actors, Lewis Merkin, Alexandria Wailes and Jackie Roth and our ASL interpreters, for doing groundbreaking work in the area of access in theatre with a 2019 Innovator Award at the 11th annual Excellence in Cultural Access Awards presented by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and The New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
A Thousand Faces: The Lon Chaney Musical tells the incredible true story of the pioneering silent movie star, who changed the face of film. Born to deaf parents who didn’t speak, Lon learns at an early age to communicate through facial expressions and pantomime. With their son Creighton, in tow, Lon performs with his charismatic first wife as a song and dance man in vaudeville houses across the country. When a family scandal destroys his theater career and results in a bitter divorce, Lon must quickly find work and establish a stable home or lose his son. He turns to the budding silent film industry—transforming himself with incredible depth and humanity into characters living on the fringe. Lon shoots to international fame as the star of over 150 films, including the original Hunchback of Notre Dame and Phantom of the Opera. He struggles to meet the demands of career, along with those as a father—as talking pictures sweep the nation.
A Thousand Faces was conceived in 2014, following a visit to Colorado Springs to research Lon Chaney. In 2015 a partnership was formed between Ron Chaney, Chaney Entertainment, and Sam Scalamoni to produce and develop a musical based on the book “A Century of Chaney’s” by Ron Chaney and Lon Chaney Jr. Shortly after this, the creative team began to form, building an outline and a song list. The full team began work in 2016, and the piece had its first table reading in New York City at Pearl Studios. This was followed by book rewrites and the completion of the score.
In March 2017, we presented our first 29-hour reading in New York City and at Skyline Theatre Company, as part of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance’s Stages Festival. This was followed by more book and song revisions, plus the addition of new material. In June of 2018, we presented our second 29-hour reading in New York City at Pearl Studios. Following additional rewrites, a third 29-hour developmental reading was done in January of 2019 at Baryshnikov Arts Center in NYC .
SAM SCALAMONI | DIRECTOR
Sam Scalamoni is a director who is inspired to tell great stories that move audiences. He is based in New York and his work has been seen by audiences across the United States and worldwide. Sam is the director of the critically acclaimed National Tours of Elf the Musical which has had thirteen companies across seven years playing The Theatre at Madison Square Garden and the Kennedy Center. Sam is currently developing a new musical, A Thousand Faces, based on the life of film legend Lon Chaney, the musical Unbelievable, about American baseball legend Jackie Mitchell and a stage adaptation of the MGM musical Summer Stock. In 2018 Sam directed the world premiere national tour of the new musical Noel with book by best-selling author of the Artemis Fowl book series, Eoin Colfer.
Sam has a long relationship with the classic musical Disney’s Beauty and the Beast which he has directed for the Ogunquit Playhouse, North Carolina Theatre and The Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. Sam is the Associate Director of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast for Disney Theatrical Group which he supervised on Broadway and mounted multiple companies world-wide, most recently in Shanghai, China. Sam directed Les Miserables at Cortland Repertory Theatre, winning the SALT Award for Best Director of a Musical along with Best Musical of the Year. He also won the Broadway World Award for Best Director of a Play for his direction of Agatha Christie’s An Unexpected Guest also at CRT. Other national tours directed; Nickelodeon’s Storytime Live! which broke box office records at Radio City Music Hall and The Gazillion Bubble Show.
Sam’s direction of original works include the two original incarnations of Alan Menken’s Broadway musical Leap of Faith in workshop, the original developmental workshop of Mulan Jr. for Disney Theatrical Productions, a workshop presentation of Sense and Sensibility at Playwrights Horizons, workshops of the musical At the Back of the North Wind at the National Arts Club and The Village Theatre, a workshop of The New Picasso at New World Stages, Treaty 321! at the Lucille Lortel, and Fidelity Futurestage at New World Stages for Richard Frankel Productions. He is a founding member and currently serves as the Artistic Director of Skyline Theatre Company, a professional non-profit theatre company in New Jersey.
RON CHANEY | CREATIVE CONSULTANT
Ron Chaney is the founder of Chaney Entertainment, Inc, which was formed in 1992 to preserve and perpetuate the Chaney family history. Ron is the grandson and great grandson of legendary film stars Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney, Jr. and acts as the CEO and president of the company. He oversees the licensing of the iconic images his grandfathers created and portrayed in film. Before devoting fulltime to Chaney Entertainment, Ron had been a contractor in Southern California where he has lived and raised his family.
In 1994 and 1997, he initiated two different United States Postal Service campaigns “Stars of the Silent Screen” and the “Classic Movie Monsters” postage stamps. The first featured Lon Chaney as one of the immortals of silent screen. The second honored both Lon Chaney and Lon Chaney, Jr. as their most famous characters “The Phantom of the Opera” and “The Wolf Man.” This endeavor led to a licensing agreement with Universal Studios that continues today.
In 2009, Ron followed in his grandfathers footsteps starring in the independent film “House of the Wolf Man” adding to the Chaney legacy. He occasionally does guest appearances around the country and has appeared in several television documentaries about his family’s contributions to film history. Ron aspires to continue the path of his forefathers with his love for film, acting, makeup and the creative process.
Ron also produced events at The Palm Springs International Film Festival and Beyond Fest screening the original 1925 silent “The Phantom of the Opera” accompanied by an orchestra along with several charitable events. In 2015 on the 90th Anniversary of the film produced another show at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood having a pianist and violinist perform live the original score composed for the film.
Currently he’s working to complete a book started by his grandfather titled “A Century of Chaneys” scheduled for a 2018 release. His end goal for this project is to create and produce a new film based on the book about Lon Chaney’s true-life story. In between, he’s written three screenplays, developed a television reality talent show based on Lon Chaney titled “MonStar” and two comedy projects intended for all ages.
With “1000 Faces, the Musical” in collaboration with Sam Scalamoni and team, hopes to reach another audience and a world yet to discover the amazing story behind “The Man of a Thousand Faces.”
“It’s only fitting after many close but failed attempts at a new film thus far, that Lon’s return should be on stage, his first love.” Ron Chaney
ERIC LANE | BOOK
Premieres of his award-winning plays include Ibis and Riverbed (Summer Shorts at 59E59), Ride (WHAT), Filming O’Keeffe (commission) and Times of War (both at Adirondack Theatre Festival), Heart of the City (Theater at 30th Street) and Dancing on Checkers’ Grave, which starred Jennifer Aniston. Musicals include The Accidental Caterer (book/co-lyricist) and Crunchy Apples (Symphony Space). His plays are published by Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts and in Best American Short Plays. Eric was staff writer on ABC-TV’s Ryan’s Hope (Writer’s Guild Award) and a writer on the CBS pilot Carly. He wrote and produced the short films First Breath and Cater-Waiter, which he also directed. They screened at the British Film Institute, The Public and the D.G.A. With Nina Shengold, he edited 14 play anthologies for Penguin and Vintage Books, earning a Lambda Literary Award nomination. Honors include the La MaMa Playwright Award, Berrilla Kerr Award, Jonathan Larson residency at ATF and Yaddo fellowships. Eric is an artist member at Ensemble Studio Theatre and an honors graduate of Brown University.
RACHEL DEVORE FOGARTY | MUSIC
Rachel DeVore Fogarty's works have been commissioned, awarded and performed by organizations in the U.S. and internationally, including ACDA, KMEA, IAWM, the Bryan Symphony, the Oak Ridge Symphony, St. Olaf's College, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Indianapolis Children's Choir, SACRA/PROFANA, Oklahoma State University, University of Kentucky, Conundrum, Tapestry Singers, Muse (Cincinnati Women's Ensemble), the Young New Yorkers' Chorus, the Concert Chorale of Nashville, Western Michigan University, the Seen/Heard Trio, the Belvedere Chamber Music Festival, the Astoria Music Project, the Luna Nova Music Ensemble, the Six Degree Singers, the Festival Singers of Atlanta, the Capital Hearings and VocalEssence. Her works have been chosen for inclusion in Vox Reflexa's New Millennium Composers project, the Cro Patria Choir Festival and in the London Contemporary Church Music Festival. She was the 2014 American Composers Forum Welcome Christmas winner in which her music was featured by VocalEssence on a national broadcast by American Public Media. Her vocal arrangement of “Silver Bells” was featured in the 2016 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade performed by Sarah McLachlan and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. She received both her M.M. in Composition and her B.M. in Piano from Belmont University and now resides in Astoria, NY, with her husband, musical theatre composer Kevin Fogarty.
KEVIN FOGARTY | LYRICS
Kevin Fogarty is a contemporary musical theatre composer and lyricist, a recognized commercial songwriter, and an experienced multi-instrumentalist. A finalist for the John Wallowitch Award, his work has been selected for both the New Voices at CUA Music Festival and the Manhattan Repertory Theatre Summerfest. His songs have been featured twice by Cutting Edge Composers, a concert series featured at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF). His musicals have been produced as readings, full productions, and workshopped by Montgomery Bell Academy and Skyline Theatre. A member of the BMI Lehman Engel Advanced Workshop, his current projects include music and lyrics for Unbelievable (with composer Rachel DeVore Fogarty and book writer John DeVore), a musical about female baseball pitcher Jackie Mitchell; The New Mrs. Nugent, a musical that tells the true story of Bernie Tiede.
GARY ADLER | Music Supervisor
Gary Adler is a conductor, pianist and composer in New York City. He served as the music director/arranger of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the world-famous Rockettes for eight years. He also music directed Avenue Q for its six year run on Broadway. As a writer, he received two 2005 Drama Desk nominations for his music and lyrics for the off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz. For Disney Channel, he created the musical world for Johnny and the Sprites, starring John Tartaglia. He co-produced and arranged two albums for Broadway’s Telly Leung, and has extensively toured with Chita Rivera. He also arranged the dance music for the Jimmy Buffett musical, Escape to Margaritaville. Other New York playing/conducting credits include The Fantasticks, Urinetown, Hairspray, Kinky Boots, It Shoulda Been You, and Nunsense.
LAURA BRECHEEN | ACCESS COORDINATOR
Laura is a NIC Certified ASL Interpreter and has been living, serving and working with the Deaf community since the 1990’s. She enjoys working with emerging interpreters/signers. For 25+ years. Laura has worked with seniors, youth, and adults helping them build their dreams, accelerate their results, and create richer, more fulfilling lives. As a Certified Life Coach, Laura helps individuals design a life that’s in harmony with their purpose. She thrives working with individuals as well as speaking in group settings. She has 15 years of experience in the long-term care arena serving seniors, families, and the community that support senior citizens. She served in the Army National Guard for 8 years as a trumpet player, vocalist and keyboard player and was also seen behind the scenes as their photographer, media relations, productions manager and historian for the unit in Washington, DC (2008- 2017). Additionally, Laura enjoys the role as Access and Interpreter Coordinator for various projects that come across her path; the new musical One Thousand Faces; large and small conferences: Def Con, Deaf Con, USANA International convention, Elite Performance Summit; various youth and adult conferences, 200+ Deaf attendees on a cruise.
Access Coordinator/ Interpreter Coordinator; One Thousand Faces (2016 – Present)
Def Con/DEAF Con (2018 – Present), USANA Elite Preformance Summit (2018 – Present)
Production Manager; Adam Levowitz ROCK Orchestra – (2014-2018)
Lon Chaney was born April 1, 1883 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was the son of deaf parents, Frank and Emma Chaney, and he learned from childhood to communicate through pantomime, sign language and facial expression. In 1901, he went on the road as an actor in a play that he co-wrote with his brother titled “The Little Tycoon.” Later, while on tour, he met Francis Cleveland Creighton, (Cleva). When the show ended its run, she was asked to join the traveling entourage. During their travels, Lon and Cleva became “sweethearts” and while touring, Cleva became pregnant. In February of 1906, she gave birth to Creighton Tull Chaney. They arrived in California in 1910 and found consistent employment with Lon as a stage manager, choreographer and actor, while Cleva became a popular singer in Cabaret shows. Their marriage became strained due to working conditions, money and jealousy. In April of 1913 after continued disputes, Cleva entered the Majestic Theater where Lon was working and in a suicidal attempt swallowed a vial of poison. The poison damaged her vocal chords putting an end to her career and marriage to Lon. The public scandal also damaged Lon’s stage career and he was forced to seek new employment. He turned to the booming industry of silent films. This move began one of the most legendary acting careers in film history. Between 1913 and 1930 he played more the 150 widely diverse roles, frequently villainous and sometimes bizarre and macabre, almost always pathetic and moving. In 1919, Lon received critical acclaim for his role in George Loane Tuckers “The Miracle Man” portraying “The Frog,” a con man who pretends to be cripple and is miraculously healed. Lon often suffered to achieve the character he was portraying. In 1920, for “The Penalty,” he had his legs bound tightly behind him in a harness, inserting his knees into leather stumps devised as artificial legs with his feet bound at the thighs. This was a very painful ordeal that would cut circulation to his legs resulting in broken blood vessels. For “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in 1923 he devised a hump and harness reportedly weighing in excess of 50 pounds, twisting his torso to feel the pain of Quasimodo. In 1925, Lon created the makeup that secured him into film immortality with his portrayal as “Erik,” the tortured opera ghost in “The Phantom of the Opera.” His ability to portray an endless variety of characters led Lon to be called “The Man of a Thousand Faces.” Like Charlie Chaplin, he shunned the transition to talking films and was one of the last silent screen stars to holdout against speaking roles. His stock and trade as he professed “was in makeup and the art of pantomime.” In 1930 he made his one and only talking film, a remake of 1925 “The Unholy Three.” He played Echo, a crook ventriloquist and used five different voices in the movie, thus proving he could make the transition from silent films to the talkies. Unfortunately, less than two months after the film’s release on August 26, 1930, he died from a throat hemorrhage. MGM Studios was ordered to stop production and observe a period of silence while Lon’s remains were lowered to their final resting place. The world mourned his passing and lost one of film’s most unique and greatest actors. Over 85 years since his passing, his legacy continues to grow. He left a lasting mark on the industry and was a one of a kind actor who will never be replaced. The characters and makeup he created continue to inspire new artists of today.