Creative Cauldron Opens 2023-24 Season with East Coast Premiere: “Monarch: A Mexican American Musical”

Creative Cauldron Art & Culture

Monarch: A Mexican American Musical written by Alexandria, VA writer, Mayu Molina Lehmann and award-winning Mexican composer, Alfonso Molina, first premiered in 2022 at the Los Angeles Theater Center. Monarch is co-directed by Mayu Molina Lehmann and Creative Cauldron Assistant Artistic Director, Matt Conner. “We are thrilled to open our 2023-24 Season with the East Coast premiere of this important new musical. Mayu and Alfonso’s work eloquently portrays the many challenges that immigrants face, and reminds us that the dream that brought them to our soil, is the same one that brought our ancestors here,” said Founding Artistic Director, Laura Connors Hull. The production runs from October 5 through October 29th. Monarch is sponsored by Mark F. Werblood, Attorney at Law.

Monarch follows the journey of dreamers and undocumented immigrants who live and work in this country, but still must remain in the shadows. After 20 years of running a successful workshop in the US, beloved handyman Luis becomes the relentless focus of ICE Officer Castelo. Fearing for his future, Luis seeks sanctuary in a local church where memories abound of the Monarch sanctuary in Mexico where he met his wife. Like the Monarch butterfly, Luis is determined to follow his fate-defining journey.

Monarch is a celebration of Hispanic immigrants in the United States and it highlights the contributions that they make, while still living in the shadows,” stated Lehmann. “Musically in Monarch, I used Mexican rhythms as a point of departure to create the music like the huapango, the son, but I blended them into a more Broadway musical style,” stated Molina.

About the Writers

Mayu Molina Lehmann

Mayu Molina Lehmann (Book and Lyrics) hails from Sonora, Mexico and currently lives in Alexandria, Va. Lehmann spent her academic years studying in France, Chile, and her native Sonora. She is the author of the bilingual book A New Life for Candy / Una Nueva Vida para Candy (available on Amazon), and a young adult novel La Hija del Candidato. Monarch is her first work for the stage. Lehmann worked at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C. and later as an interpreter helping immigrant families integrate into the school system. She is a member of Congregation Action Network, a non-profit organization supporting immigrants’ rights and was part of a team that created courses for recently arriving immigrants. Lehmann graduated with honors from Tec de Monterrey with a BA in Spanish Literature and Latin American studies. With Monarch, she is making her directorial debut, co-directing with Matt Conner.

Alfonso Molina

Alfonso Molina (Music, Book and Lyrics) is an award-winning composer of opera, orchestral, chamber music, and music for film. His first opera, entitled Illegal Alien (2014), was described by the Boston Metro Opera (BMO), as an opera that “fosters awareness through both text and music” and deals with immigration issues like xenophobia and the right to private property. He holds a Master of Music in Composition at the Manhattan School of Music and a Doctorate of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) from the University of Arizona. Molina’s numerous awards include: ASCAP, The Boston Metro Opera (BMO), The Carolina Foundation, and the National Fund for Culture and Arts of Mexico (FONCA-CONACYT). His works have been performed in the United States, Mexico, Czech Republic, Spain among other places, by the Bratislava Symphony Orchestra (BSO), Manhattan School of Music’s Philharmonia Orchestra and Jazz Philharmonic, The Mivos Quartet, AtonalHits, Associated Musicians from Create New York (AFM Local 802) /RMA, The Bellas Artes Chamber Orchestra (OCBA), The Sonora Symphonic Orchestra (OFS), the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra Chamber players and various soloists. His work for film includes soundtracks such as “De Nadie-Border Crossing” (2006) Audience Award Winner at Sundance, Proof of Birth (2007) and others. In 2022 he was selected to be part of the prestigious Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (SNCA) which has the mission of supporting and recognizing the arts as an integral part of Mexico’s identity.

Cast and Creative Team

The cast of Monarch features two native Mexican actors in the leads, reprising their roles from the L.A. premiere. Marco Salazar will play handyman, Luis, and José Juan Hernandez plays his nemesis, ICE Officer Castelo. The Monarch cast and ensemble also includes: Justin Lopez, Wilmer Juarez, Lizzie Holman, Elizabeth Hoyland, Gretchen Midgely, Patrick Mahoney, Alex Lopez, Emily Flack, Connor Padilla, Lenny Mendez, and introducing Marco Romero.

Joining Directors Conner and Lehmann on the Creative Team are: Alfonso Molina, Music Supervision, Merissa Driscoll, Music Direction. Resident Creative Cauldron Designer, Margie Jervis, Sets and Costumes, Stefan Sittig, Choreographer, Lynn Joslin, Lighting Designer, and James Morrisson, Projection Designer. Nicholas Goodman is the Stage Manager.

Special Audience Talk Backs will happen throughout the run, covering discussions about America’s immigrant makeup, DACA’s current state, educational opportunities for Dreamers, NGOs supporting immigrant’s rights and the current state of immigration reform among other topics. For full description, please visit our website

Monarch Tickets are $20 – $50 and are available online or through the Creative Cauldron Box Office 703-436-9948.

About Creative Cauldron

Creative Cauldron is an award-winning non-profit theater and educational arts organization whose innovative programs in the performing and visual arts embody collaboration, experimentation and community engagement. Creative Cauldron was founded by Founding Artistic Director Laura Connors Hull in 2002. In June of 2009, Creative Cauldron acquired a permanent home in ArtSpace Falls Church, a 3,000 square foot flexible arts space that provides a venue for year-round classes, live performances of theater, music and dance and visual art exhibits. In 2023 Creative Cauldron launched a $500,000 New Home-New Horizon capacity campaign to raise funds for a move into a new theater at the corner of Broad and Washington in Falls Church City.

Programs are presented in part through grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, ArtsFairfax, the City of Falls Church, the Little City CATCH Foundation the
Ross-Roberts Fund for the Arts, and the Robert W and Gladys S Meserve Charitable Trust. Generous corporate and individual sponsors also support Creative Cauldron’s programs.