Theatre NOVA presents the world premiere of “Mazel Tov, John Lennon”


Theatre NOVA, Ann Arbor’s professional theatre with an exclusive focus on new plays and playwrights, presents the world premiere of “Mazel Tov, John Lennon” by  David Wells.

January 1972: Vietnam war protests are at their peak, and newly ex-Beatled John Lennon walks into the office of Leon Wildes, an eminent immigration lawyer. As ultra-laid-back Lennon and straight-laced Wildes navigate Lennon’s stormy immigration case, an unlikely and comical kinship unfolds, and both men gain a greater understanding of friendship, personal values, and patriotism. Based on the true story of the Nixon administration’s attempt to deport John Lennon.

Directed by  Carla Milarch, ” Mazel Tov, John Lennon” features  Forrest Hejkal and  Phil Powers. The production and design team includes  Forrest Hejkal (scenic design),  Daniel C. Walker (lighting design),  Haley Cook (costume design),  Diane Hill (sound design), and  Alona Shewach (stage manager, props).

Phil Powers as Leon Wildes and Forrest Hejkal as John Lennon in “Mazel Tov, John Lennon” by David Wells at Theatre NOVA. Photography by Golden Record Media Company.

“Mazel Tov, John Lennon” will run March 22 through April 14, 2019, at Theatre NOVA (410 W. Huron, Ann Arbor), a downtown performance space. Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m. Theatre NOVA features free parking for patrons, as well as quick access to the city’s restaurants, bars, bakeries, and coffee shops.

Tickets are $22, and Theatre NOVA continues its commitment to making theatre accessible by offering pay-what-you-can tickets for those who need them. For tickets, visit, call 734-635-8450 (Tuesdays through Fridays from noon until 3 p.m.), or buy them in person at the box office one hour before show time. Additionally, there will be one preview performance with tickets for $10 on Thursday, March 21 at 8:00 pm.

Theatre NOVA is Ann Arbor’s resident professional theatre company. Its mission is to raise awareness of the value and excitement of new plays and playwrights and provide resources for playwrights to develop their craft by importing, exporting, and developing new work.

Phil Powers as Leon Wildes in “Mazel Tov, John Lennon” by David Wells at Theatre NOVA. Photography by Golden Record Media Company.

David Wells is a recipient of the Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, National New Play Network Showcase Selection, Motion Picture Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Semi-Finalist, Wilde Award for Best New Script, and a National New Play Network Showcase Finalist. His plays have been produced and developed at Tipping Point Theatre, Performance Network Theatre, Theater NOVA, New Jersey Repertory Theatre, San Diego Repertory Theatre, and others. He has developed screenplays with producers at New Line Cinema, Walt Disney Studios, and Sony Studios. David is a National New Play Network Affiliate Artist, a member of the Writers Guild of America, and a graduate of the University of Michigan.

Carla Milarch (Director) is a former artistic director of Performance Network Theatre, whose passion for new plays led her to co-found Theatre NOVA. As a dramaturg and director, she has helped bring 25 brand new plays to fully-staged productions, as well as hundreds of plays to staged readings, including those at the Michigan Playwrights Festival, the Fireside New Play Festival, the NNPN National Showcase of New Plays (board member), and the Kennedy Center’s MFA playwrights’ workshop. She served as board president of the Michigan Equity Theatre Alliance. Some awards include “Best Overall Season/Artistic Direction” from the Oakland Press, “Outstanding Contributions to an Ensemble” from The Detroit Free Press, “Most Valuable Performer” from the Oakland Press, and the Between the Lines “Angel” award for outstanding contributions to the LGBT community. Carla’s love and experience for both sides of the stage have taken her from producing theatre at The Barn Theatre in Port Sanilac, Michigan, to co-founding a theatre in Amarillo, TX with her Purchase classmates, to producing theatre in a barn again-this time in the middle of a world-class city.

MAIN PHOTO BY: Photography by Golden Record Media Company

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