Larissa Gallagher starred as the historic opera diva Nellie Melba (above, left). She also doubled as Young George, Nellie's son. Julie Briggs (above right) portrayed her teacher/mentor, Madame Mathilde Marchesi. William Salyers (2nd row, left) played Charlie Armstrong ("Kangaroo Charlie"), Nellie's husband.
I AM COTTONWOOD: An Opera in Words is based on the true life story of Dame Nellie Melba, the 19th-century superstar opera diva who rose from the Outback of Australia to the heights of European society but sacrificed everything and everyone on her way to the top. Dame Nellie was a recent "guest" on Downton Abbey.
I was inspired to write the play by the painting "The Shadow Side" by Maynard Dixon (2nd row, right).
Many thanks also to Kipper Adams (Jonesy the Mailman/Alphonse the Footman), Jeremiah Benjamin (Mr. Mitchell/Judge), Tom Diggs (Salvatore/Bailiff/Stage Directions), Ron Morehouse (Philippe, duc d'Orleans/Mr. Lanyer/Herr Strakosch), and of course to Trey Nichols, in whose Workshop I developed the play and who did the casting. Brava to one and all!