Gertrude Opera (AU) in association with Monk Parrots (USA)
Conceived and commissioned by Linda Thompson/Gertrude Opera
80-minute chamber opera based on Giuseppe Verdi’s original score
Adapted and arranged by Peter Stopschinkski
Directed and designed by Luke Leonard
Costume Design by Alison Heryer

”No dream is too big. No challenge is too great.
Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach” - Donald Trump

Mr Macbeth has a born-to-rule complex and delusions of grandeur.  He lives with his foreign-born third wife in a McMansion,  trading in wobbly millions and embroiled in dodgy deals, manipulating his minions as a hands-on property developer.  

Life takes a turn for the bizarre, when he sees three witches in a forest acclaiming his future glory - a vision backed up by a loyal and trusty aide. Macbeth takes the supernatural prediction to heart.  When fate hands them an opportunity, Mr Macbeth and his aspirational wife seize the day, with bloody resolve and dire consequences. 

“Chilling force”

“…a new gripping, shortened and stylized meshing of Verdi's Macbeth…still resonates.”

“Lighting pulses accompanied a total effect that included eerie projected soundscapes which, together with a storm of voice and music, resonated through the darkness with 'Sensurround'-like intensity as each scene bled intriguingly to the next.”

“…edgy choreographed directorial style." – Opera Chaser

Macbeth is made possible in part with public funds from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC serves, connects, and makes space for artists and community.

2019 La MaMa Great Jones Rehearsal Studios, New York, NY
2019 Yarra Valley Opera Festival, Victoria, Australia
2016 Australian Premiere, Nagambie Lakes Opera Festival, Victoria, Australia


Written by Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Lucie Tiberghien
Set Design by D’Vaughn Agu
Light Design by S. Stoli Stolnack
Costume Design by Ari Fulton
Sound Design by Megan Culley
Music by Paul Brill

Monk Parrots proudly presented the second production and NYC premiere of Terminus by Gabriel Jason Dean (Princeton Hodder Fellow, Paula Vogel Award, Broadway Blacklist), directed by Lucie Tiberghien (The Other Thing, Don’t Go Gentle, Soldier X, Hoodoo Love). Terminus is the second chapter in Dean’s The Attapulgus Elegies, a semi-autobiographical collection of plays about the slow fade of a American mill town. Terminus received its premiere at The Vortex in Austin, TX in 2016 and ran to critical acclaim, receiving the Austin Critic’s Table Award for Best Drama and an unprecedented 11 B. Iden Payne Awards including Outstanding Script and Best Drama. Described as “a masterful work of great power and beauty,” ( and “part of an important, groundbreaking cycle of American work that we can only hope will receive the widespread national attention it deserves.” (Austin-American Statesman). Terminus centers around Eller, a poor, white matriarch, and her mixed-race grandson, Jaybo, who live together down by the railroad tracks in rural Georgia. When Eller's mind begins to fade, her violent past haunts her from the very walls of the old family home. And as she descends terrifyingly closer toward the truth about who she is, Jaybo’s capacity to love his grandmother is put to the test.

"...heartbreaking, brilliant...Gabriel Jason Dean has written a handful of a role in his handful of a play, a tale of Southern Gothic horror where fantasy and reality, past and present, freely intermingle." -- The New York Times

" emotional tour de buzzes with the potential as the next great play in the pantheon of American theater." -- Stage Buddy

"WOW. TERMINUS is exactly what this country needs right now." -- Yes Broadway

"Of sprawling imaginative power, yet focused in delivery, it takes on a tremendous weight – the intractable problem of race in the United States – and conveys something both gripping and original, marshaling with near-flawless mastery a bevy of time-honored stage techniques."   -- Blogcritics

"The tension below the surface in TERMINUS simmers like the water in an electric kettle screaming before it boils over. " -- Broadway World

2018 Next Door New York Theatre Workshop, New York, NY


The New York Premiere of Terminus was made possible in part with support from Creative Engagement, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Venturous Theater Fund of Tides Foundation, Liz and Jon Weiswasser, and individual donations.

Written and directed by Luke Leonard
Music by Peter Stopschinski
Lyrics by Katie Pearl and Luke Leonard
Costume Design by Alison Heryer
Set Design by Julien Gardair
Light Design by Eric Nightengale
Sound Design by John Gasper
Makeup Design by Mariah Ilardi-Lowy
Camel Trio costumes by Natalie Leonard

A musical play set in Dhahran that looks at the lives of U.S. expats searching for the American dream in a foreign land.

“Bizarre” - The New York Times
"An extraordinary surrealistic theatrical production...a virtuoso use of humor" - A Seat on the Aisle

The world premiere of Welcome to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the generosity of individual donors.

October 8 - October 25, 2015, 59E59 Theaters, New York, NY

Commissioned and developed by Monk Parrots
Music by Peter Stopschinski
Libretto by Kirk Lynn
Directed and designed by Luke Leonard
Set/Light Design by Marie Yokoyama
Costume Design by Alison Heryer
Choreography by Charlotte Griffin
Projection Design by Darwin Gilmore

An opera celebrating the improbable life of Bum Phillips, a National Football League legend and Texas icon. Inspired by Phillips' motivational skills and homespun principles, this epic portrait of Bum Phillips pushes the boundaries of where and for whom opera is staged. This new work from Monk Parrots features composition from Peter Stopschinski and a libretto by Kirk Lynn, both members of the award-winning theatre collective Rude Mechanicals.

“Gary Ramsey offered a tour de force as Bum Phillips…this will undoubtedly make for a fine evening’s entertainment.” – The New York Times

"The quirky and earnest production by the Monk Parrots…is like biting into a deep-fried madeline.” – Texas Monthly

"This is not your typical night at the opera...unique, audacious, quirky, a proud underdog striving to succeed on its own terms." -- USA Today Sports

"You're in for a treat 'cause there's a lot of talent on view in this production...The music by composer Peter Stopschinski is's bound for even bigger venues and accolades." -- The Artsy Voyager

“Ramsey’s charisma, talent, and range pay tribute to Bum while also making him feel like a fully realized character. The music, from Peter Stopschinski also shines.“ -- Letters from the Mezzanine

“Charlotte Griffin’s choreography and Luke Leonard’s direction score…visual and cerebral delight.” – Theatre Reviews Limited

“The adrenaline-fueled fervor of professional sports merges with the dizzying passion of opera, creating perfect harmony.” -- TheaterMania

“We applaud this production. The stodgy, traditional opera world would be wise to take notice of Bum Phillips.” - Maxamoo

PRESS RELEASE (World Premiere)

The world premiere of Bum Phillips All-American Opera was made possible in part with public funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.

Additional support received by Bum Phillips Charities, Drift Studio NYC, La MaMa ETC, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space Artist Residency, Manhattan Community Arts Fund Grant, Monk Parrots patrons via Hatchfund, Opera Moderne, and the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Long Island University, The Baker Hughes Foundation,
and an amazing bunch of individuals (click for the full list) 

September 24, 2015, Houston Premiere/Benefit Performance at The Stafford Centre, Stafford Texas
March 12-30, 2014, World Premiere in The Ellen Stewart Theatre at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, New York, NY
Featured members of American Modern Ensemble
January-February 2013, Act One Workshop at Long Island University Post Campus 

Conceived, directed, and designed by Luke Leonard
Text by David Todd
Set/Light Design by Marie Yokoyama
Costume Design by Alison Heryer
Sound Design by Michael Howell
Makeup Design by Mariah Ilardi-Lowy
Properties Design by Allee Tejada

Taking a cue from philosopher Jacques Derrida, After an Earlier Incident blends various Romeo & Juliet tellings (Mariotto and Gianozza, Pyramus and Thisbe, et al.) with hypnagogic music, choreography, text, and visual art to explore the concept of “hauntology”, i.e. the past inside the present. With contributions by playwright David Todd, director-designer Luke Leonard, associate director Joey LePage, co-designer Marie Yokoyama, costume designer Alison Heryer, sound designer Michael Howell, and properties designer Allee Ilardi-Lowy, the piece searches for a way to move forward in order to become unstuck in history.

March 8 - 17, 2013: The Club at La MaMa, New York, NY

Concept, direction, and production design by Luke Leonard
Text by David Todd
Lighting Design by Eric Nightengale
Costume Design by Jennifer Skura
Sound Design by Michael Howell
Prop Design by Allee Tejeda

Here I Go hitches the emotional gamut of classic country music with a romanticized depiction of Lynette, a cowgirl in her 60s contemplating suicide.  Accusation and acceptance are major themes that prompt questions related to loss, loneliness, and sacrifice. As Lynette prepares her famous banana pudding for her late husband she is visited by her pet horse, memories of herself at various ages, and a man who tries to take her hand...but will she go?

“Director/Designer Luke Leonard mines the associative imagery of the subconscious to surprising effect...a disorienting sense of the rush of conflicting thought and emotion..." -

"...lives up to the promise...a soundtrack for heartbreak...very engaging..." - T&B On the Aisle

"HERE I GO is a brilliantly conceived and executed performance work...Go see this significant gem of a performance." - Theatre Reviews Ltd.

European Premiere at the La MaMa Spoleto Open in Spoleto, Italy - August 30 and August 31, 2012
Featured: Michael Howell, Mariah Ilardi-Lowy, Gates Leonard, Natalie Leonard, Julie Nelson, and Jessica Pohlman.

World Premiere at 59E59 Theaters - May 22 - June 3, 2012
Featured: Michael Howell, Mariah Ilardi-Lowy, Gates Leonard, Natalie Leonard, Julie Nelson, and Jessica Pohlman.

Workshop Performance at Dixon Place - June 23, 2011
Featured: Mariah Ilardi-Lowy, Joey LePage, Gates Leonard, Natalie Leonard, Jessica Pohlman, and the voice of Denise DeMirjian.

Here I Go began workshop development in 2009 under the mentorship of director Katie Pearl at The University of Texas at Austin.  In 2011, director Luke Leonard and playwright David Todd began discussing ideas for a new text and performance structure, which led to a three week rehearsal period supported by The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space Artist Residency.  Dixon Place marked the first public presentation of Here I Go.

Special Thanks at the 2012 La MaMa Spoleto Open: Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Offucina Eclectic Arts, La MaMa Umbria International, La MaMa ETC, A.R.T.-New York, MFTA, 59E59 Theaters, Monk Parrots patrons, and Brian Lowy and Karen Ilardi-Lowy.

Special Thanks at 59E59 Theaters: Elysabeth Kleinhans, Peter Tear, Nina Segal, Ginger Dzerk, Jim Sparnon, Becca Euliss, John Rotondo and all of the 59E59 Theaters staff, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Karen and Brian Lowy, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Mia Yoo, Core Staffing, 59E59 Theaters, Dixon Place, John Harmon, Joey LePage, Corey Torpie, Capstone Equities, Magnolia Bakery, Mountain View Studios, Spencer Throckmorton, Kraige Block, Throckmorton Fine Art, A.R.T.-New York, Materials for the Arts, George Hirst, Harriet Taub, Sheri Rhodes, Mitch Heine, Allee Lowy, Nat Shelness, David Hinkel, Justin Haskel, John Harlacher, Kiku Sakai, Ellie Covan, Jen Skura, Jack and Kathy Lynn, and Christopher Trujillo.

Special Thanks at Dixon Place: Monk Parrots Patrons, Ellie Covan, Dixon Place, Capstone Equities, Leslie Strongwater, Katy Einerson, TD Rob, Interns Brittany/Michelle, Michael Burke, Brian Lowy, Karen Ilardi-Lowy, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space, Sean Carroll, Will Penrose, Melissa Levin, LMCC, Materials for the Arts, Magnolia Bakery, Katie Pearl, The University of Texas at Austin, Ravelle Mantoura, Martin Zimmerman, Gina Jackson, Sarah Gardner, Bobbie Lloyd, Misty Martin, Eric Hunt, Corey Torpie Photography, and Frank Monteleone.


“Describe this unusual would require Thousands of Key Strokes." -- nytheatre-wire

Loosely inspired by the poetic-documentary style of James Agee's book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, GRBL examines 'citizens' while spurring questions about Western heritage and social perception. Gay Rodeo By-Laws (GRBL) explores assumptions and distance as major themes.  During the performance, scenery drops to show another new performance space and as the piece unfolds, each layer allows for an accumulation of potent symbols and visual fields evoking a journey through the 'world' of GRBL.

May 21 and May 22, 2011
Workshop Presentation in The Vaults at LMCC Swing Space, 14 Wall Street, New York, NY
Featured: Nathan Baer, Joey lePage, John Harmon, Eric Hunt, Annalisa Loeffler, Clark Loeffler, Natalie Leonard, Gates Leonard, Jessica Pohlman, Mariah Ilardi-Lowy, Greg Skura, and Jennifer Skura.

January to May 2011
Swing Space Artist-in-Residence
Director Luke Leonard worked in The Vaults at 14 Wall Street developing Gay Rodeo By-Laws (GRBL), a new performance event with his theatre group, Monk Parrots. 

Space at The Vaults at 14 Wall Street is generously donated by Capstone Equities.

Monk Parrots’ GRBL at 14 Wall St. was supported by the following organizations:

Adelman, Katz & Mond LLP, Capstone Equities, Corey Torpie Photography, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space, and Materials for the Arts.

Once upon a time:


Conceived, directed, and designed by Luke Leonard

“That’s the Word Repetition Game.  It musn’t go too far; I won’t let it.” -- Sanford Meisner

“How you live changes your brain--Thought changes our life and our behavior." -- Milton Glaser

Inspired by Sanford Meisner’s Word Repetition Game and brain scholar Gerald Edelman’s theory shared with friend Milton Glaser about the brain’s susceptibility to almost every encounter in life, THE ART OF DEPICTING NATURE AS IT IS SEEN BY TOADS is a progressive art event featuring two performers, amphibians, one referee, and a herp wrangler engaged in a two-act endurance test.  Part theatre, part performance art, all exploration, THE ART OF DEPICTING NATURE... challenges human behavior and perceptions of reality.

September 24, 2011: New York Premiere, Dixon Place, New York, NY

With: Nathan Baer, John Harmon, Mariah Ilardi-Lowy, Luke Leonard, Joey lePage, Jessica Pohlman, and Shaun Patrick Tubbs.

First premiered January 29 and 30, 2010 in the Lab Theatre in Austin, Texas

Animals provided by Austin Reptile Service.  Featured Ben Schave, Luke Leonard, Joey lePage, and Jon Cook.