Who is who in "Tonight: Lola Blau"?

annaAnna Krämer (Lola Blau) is a bilingual musical theater actress and solo artist who lives in Germany. Lola Blau is becoming her "signature" part after productions at international theater festivals in Amsterdam, Aruba and Ivory Coast. She has performed leads in musicals including the "Rocky Horror Show," "I Love You, You´re Perfect, Now Change" and "Little Shop of Horrors." A comediènne, singer and songwriter, she created a musical, "Die Twotones," for herself in Mannheim and has toured it throughout Germany. She has been a lead singer and host on cruise ship shows (Kuba, Mexiko, Carribean) and in Varieté. In addition to her solo turns, she has also played the unforgettable French chansonnière Edith Piaf. She was trained in both Germany and New York, studying at the Universities of Münster and Heidelberg and also in New York at the Lee Strasberg Institute and the Ward Acting Studio (Meisner technique). She trained in singing at SUNY Purchase and cabaret at the Singers' Forum in New York. She has also studied voice with Philippo Di Stefano (NYC) and Mary Ann Seibel (Mannheim). www.annakraemer.de

joeJoe Völker (musical director and pianist) has played and directed numerous musicals in Germany, Italy, and the UK, including "Evita," "Rat Pack" and "Cabaret." He works steadily with the "crème de la crème" of the German theater scene. His CD productions are prolific and he is a well-known musical arranger in Germany. He's also a much sought-after sideman for pop and jazz shows as well as classical concerts and works as a character actor in dramatic plays. "Tonight: Lola Blau" shows him off as both a musician and an actor. www.pianojoe.de

Dick Top (director) was born in Holland and has worked for over 30 years as a stage director on productions around the world. A man of many theatrical interests, he has directed plays, opera, musicals and operettas in Belgium, Scotland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. His productions include the musicals "The Life," "Evita, the "Rocky Horror Show," "Little Shop of Horrors" and "Nunsense," often with American actors in the cast, and plays by Pinter, Albee, Israel Horovitz, Shakespeare and Mamet. He has worked in the Drama Department of the University of Hartford in Connecticut and he was an assistant to Jo Mielziner and Alan Schneider. He studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio in New York. His directorial approach is heavily centered upon the actor. On a personal level, he rejects the negative image of man and believes in "the human force, the force of the individual person who is capable to create his own world and tries to find in that world his personal happiness." His other productions on WWII themes include "Korczak and the Children" by Erwin Sylvanus and "Address Unknown" by Kathrine KressmAnn Taylor. www.dicktop.eu

There are also reverberations of Lola’s story in the life of Dick Top’s wife and close collaborator, Irene Hulst. Her mother, being Jewish was only able to get a visa to Australia (although Irene’s uncles and aunts manage to emigrate to the U.S. and settled in Massachusetts). On the boat to Melbourne, she met and fell in love with a Dutch man, married him by proxy in Indonesia, and returned to join him in Amsterdam only 15 days before the fighting broke out. She lived with him in Amsterdam, in hiding, throughout most of the war. “People of our generation owe our lives to the Americans and the Canadians,” Irene says. She adds that she and Dick are grateful and proud to present this play in New York, especially this year, which is the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage.