CAST & BIOS
George Tsalikis (Director, Lead Vocals – Vladmir) has released 5 international albums, 6 music videos and has performed in various venues throughout the US and Europe, including the lead role in Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera that debuted at NY’s famous Carnegie Hall. George has been involved in over 24 theatrical productions, 18 films and about 12 musical revues. His theater credits include the title roles in Jekyll & Hyde, Jesus Christ Superstar and Dracula and more. George is currently working on releasing his first solo album and is very excited to be part of this production.
Billy Chrissochos (Guitar, Music Director, Producer) was born in Astoria, New York but grew up in Athens, Greece. There he fell in love with his ancestral culture and Heavy Metal. He eventually fell under the spell of the electric guitar. He set out to create the first ever Greek inspired Rock Opera based on themes from the Macedonian dynasties of ancient and medieval Greece. The National Herald (Ethnikos Kyrix) proudly labeled it “Byzantine Rock.” The musical’s main premise is the pivotal year of 988AD which united Orthodox Christian Russia with Greece’s Byzantine Empire.
Dena Stevens (Choreographer/ Principal Dancer), a classically trained dancer, has been performing professionally since 2004. She has been a highly sought after belly dance performer for both private and public venues and has been the house dancer for many notable establishments. Her theater credits include Mosaic Dance Theater’s production of The Fisherman and the Djinn. She appears in an instructional belly dance DVD: Belly Dance with your Daughter. Dena is the Founder, Choreographer, and Artistic Director of her own troupe, Shazadi Dance Project.
Elaine Tuttle (Lead Vocals – Olga) is a professional singer, vocal coach, and full-time musician working as a session vocalist, and performing in 8 different musical ensembles on a weekly basis. Her musical styles include classical, ethnic music, metal, blues, soul, jazz, rock, pop, R&B. Elaine has released a critically acclaimed album of original music titled Spark it Up with her band Infernophonic, and with them has opened for such rock/metal legends as UFO, Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple, Rainbow), and Joey Belladonna of Anthrax. Porphyra, a Grecian Rock Opera was Elaine’s 9th performance at Carnegie Hall.
Marlain Angelides (Lead Vocals – Anna) received her PGDip in Musical Theatre at Royal Academy of Music, London. A hard rock/metal band singer/songwriter, she has dubbed for Disney. Her metal band Ascending Dawn’s debut album Coalesce was released in 2014 to rave reviews. Being an avid lover of new works in development she has worked with many companies including Davenport Theatrical and The Telling Company and she cant wait to rock out with Porphyra! Theatre credits include: Lautrec, Hair (Sheila), Midsummer (Titania), Othello (Desdemona), They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (Jackie Miller).
Dom Giovanni (Lead Vocals – Basil II) is thrilled to be part of the cast of Porphyra. He recently produced a benefit concert in honor of the late Jonathan Larson at the historical Stonewall Inn. His NY credits include Sodd and Gomm (Gomm), Valentine: the Story of Laurence King (Laurence), and Seesaw starring Lena Hall (Ensemble). Regional credits include Mary Sunshine in Chicago and Congressman Wilkins in Call Me Madam. He is a graduate of Point Park University where he performed in the 1st regional production of Contact with dir. Tomé Cousin. He was principal dancer in The Pillow Project Dance Company.
Mantalena Papadatou (Narrator) earned her degree in mass communications and social media in Athens, Greece before moving to New York determined to follow her aspirations. She recently graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her diligence continues through her present work. She recently finished the films “Tenacious Butterfly,” “Pushing the Walls,” and “They Always Win” in which she played the lead. She played Melody in the “Coffeehouse Magik,” and Sam in the play “Good Night,” and she recently acted in the plays “Interview” and “Sons and Daughters.”
Mike Savvas (Guitar, Tzoura) was born in Athens, Greece. From the age of 8 he was schooled in classical guitar and keyboards. At about the same time he found his other passion when he started his training in Martial Arts. Soon, he dropped his classic guitar for an electric one. He moved to Paris at 18 to study Greek Archaeology, his third passion. After his Masters Degree he decided to make a radical change, leave his job and move to NYC where he met Billy Chrissochos and joined his band Porphyra. The band combined all three of Mike’s interests; Heavy Metal, Greek History and the Combative Spirit.
Mia Stevens (Lead Dancer) is trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap, contemporary, and belly dance. She has competed both regionally and nationally. She joined Shazadi Dance Project in 2011 and has had principal roles in the theatrical shows “Nine Lives” and “Spicebox.” Mia wowed audiences in her lead role in the Carnegie Hall debut of “Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera” in May 2015 and is thrilled to be back again at the Off Broadway debut at the Players Theatre.
Richard S. Khuzami (Percussion) has worked to produce and promote the finest in artistic achievement in World Music, with a special emphasis on the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. Of Lebanese descent, he is an accomplished percussionist, specializing in instruments from the Balkans, Anatolia, Middle East, and North Africa. He consulted with Carnegie Hall on their presentation of Eleftheria Arvanitaki in 2014. Richard is proud of his instrumental role in the development of an outdoor 2500 seat performance space in Astoria Park, Astoria, New York. In 2015 he performed at Carnegie Hall with the rock opera “Porphyra.”
Grzegorz (Greg) Swirszcz (Bass) was born in Warsaw, Poland and has lived in 5 countries and on 4 continents. He holds a Ph.D in theoretical math and has a degree in music from Krzysztofa Komeda Institute of Pop and Jazz. He is a multi-talented guitar and bass player. He is also a composer, writer and music producer. The bands he has worked with in Poland include Kot Hupple’a (band leader), Zero, and Altamont (band leader). In the US he has worked with Karascene, Lost Legacy, Demon Boy, and Porphyra. He has recorded with Wojciech Pilichowski, Michal Dabrowka, and Cayra. He owns 42 guitars.
James Shepherd (Drums) was born and raised in Queens, New York. His father, a classical music buff, held nightly listening sessions of Liszt, Chopin, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven. At the age of eight he began private guitar lessons, but after seeing the school marching band he fell in love with the drums and switched over. He has been an avid drummer for close to 30 years. He studied under various teachers such as session drummer Carl Tallarico and Mark Amsterdam of the Queens Symphony Orchestra. He is a drum instructor at Laconia Music and a full time Percussion Designer for his company RimRiserUSA.
Elias Markos (Stage Manager) is an NYC based writer, director, and producer. He has directed for both the stage and screen, having written and produced multiple short films and plays. Most recently he directed the opera “Olympic Flame”, which was the first Greek opera ever performed at Lincoln Center. He has also worked as a production manager for the young upstart company BARE Opera on their first two shows. As a constant student of cinema, Elias has written multiple feature-length film screenplays, placing in the semi-finals at the prestigious Slamdance screenplay competition.
Peishan Lo (Principal Dancer), a New Jersey-based Oriental dancer and principal dancer of Shazadi Dance Project, has wowed audiences across the US with her graceful and powerful dancing. She has graced the stage with Serena Wilson, Layla Mary, Yousery Sharif, Nourhan Sharif and Andrea Anwar and has studied with Raqia Hassan, Aida Nour and Tito to further perfect and deepen her Egyptian Oriental dance technique. She previously danced in the Carnegie Hall debut of “Porphyra, A Grecian Rock Opera” in May 2015.
Carola Gremlich (Dancer) has been with Dena Stevens’ Shazadi Dance Project for 4 years and has performed in the productions of Spice Box and Nine Lives. She was also in the production Venus Uprising in 2011 and has been a NJ belly dance troupe member for 10 years. She fell in love with Middle Eastern dance when she took her first belly dance class in the back of a little beauty salon in Union City, NJ. Being of Ecuadorian and Swiss heritage, she embraced the love for Latin and all types of dance early on and has also enjoyed being a Zumba instructor for the last 6 years.
Alicia Kubeck (Dancer) is a classically trained dancer who studied with Finis Jhung, Lance Westergard, Stormy Brandenberger, and Robin Becker, and was a featured dancer with the Concert Group Repertory Company and Spirit Dance. She worked as an audition instructor for the children’s program at the Feld Ballet before a career in advertising. Her passion for Oriental dance was sparked after studying with world-renowned dancers Serena Wilson, Layla Mary and Zenaide Zeina. She is honored to dance alongside Dena Stevens and the ladies of Shazadi Dance Project and to be a part of this production.
Under the Auspices of
UNESCO Club of the Department of Piraeus and Islands
President Ioannis Maronitis
a Co-Production of the Hellenic American Center of the Arts
President Panagiotis Karousos
New Greek TV (NGTV)
Cosmos FM 91.5
George Georgilis & Building Solutions NYC
Team Tsougranis Realtors
Smiling Village Dentistry P.L.L.C.
Mediterranean Foods, Inc
Ruschell Boone & NY1 News
Maria Psomas Studio – CHUBBUCK NYC
Sarah Bennett & The Ophelia Theatre Group
Long Island City Academy of Music
Neil Ioannou and Bargain Printing
The National Herald (Ethnikos Kirikas)
Nektarios S. Antoniou
The Aldos Democratic Club
Archdiocesan Cathedral of the Holy Trinity
The Federation Of Hellenic Societies of Greater NY
Veronica V. Nevzorova and the Consulate General of the Russian Federation
Many thanks from Porphyra go to Stella McGovern for all her behind the scenes work and for maintaining our website.
PORPHYRA: A GRECIAN ROCK OPERA
– Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall Debut in May 2015