Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
book and lyrics by Judith Viorst
music by Shelly Markham
directed by Kari Hayter
November 8, 2019 - November 24, 2019


From the moment he wakes up with gum in his hair, to his broken nightlight at bedtime, things just do not go Alexander’s way. Throw in a trip to the dentist, a copy machine mishap and lima beans for dinner, and it’s no wonder he wants to move to Australia! This delightful musical version of the popular book can turn around any bad day and put a smile on even the crabbiest of faces.

Previews: November 8-15, 2019
Regular Performances: November 16-24, 2019

Recommendation: Age 4+. Theatre for Young Audiences … and Their Families is just that, a multi-generational experience for all ages (unfortunately, no children under the age of four and babes-in-arms will be admitted). The only requirement is that each audience member occupies a seat and sits quietly through the performance while having a wonderful time.

Running Time: Theatre for Young Audiences performances are never more than 90 minutes.

Judith Viorst was born and raised in New Jersey and has lived in Washington, D.C., since her 1960 marriage to political writer Milton Viorst. They have three adult sons, whose names are the same as those of the brothers in her play, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. A graduate of Rutgers University and the Washington Psychoanalytic Institute, Viorst is the author of numerous books of poetry and prose for both children and adults. Among her 14 children’s books are two other Alexander stories and two collections of poems—If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries and Sad Underwear and Other Complications. Her 12 adult books include Necessary Losses, Imperfect Control, a comic novel and six collections of poetry. Along with Alexander, Viorst has also collaborated with Shelly Markham on an adult musical, Love and Shrimp, which has been performed around the country, including the Pasadena Playhouse, the Beverly Canon Theatre in Beverly Hills and The Ballroom in New York City. 

Shelly Markham was commissioned to write Flavia and the Dream Maker with librettist Doug Haverty and lyricist Bob Garrett in 1991 and enjoyed the experience immensely. A native of Chicago, Ill., he moved to New York City where he wrote special material for the television show "Captain Kangaroo." He then migrated to Los Angeles, where he collaborated with acclaimed writer Judith Viorst as a theatre composer, beginning with the musical revue, Love & Shrimp, based on Viorst's extensive collections of poetry books. He was asked to write two musicals for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts based on Viorst's best-selling books Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day and Alexander Who's Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move, which are published by Dramatic Publishing. He also wrote songs that are featured in the off-Broadway hit musical Naked Boys Singing. Well-known as an arranger and musical director, Markham has worked with a diverse roster of performers including Lanie Kazan, Carol Lawrence, Bonnie Franklin and Andrea Marcovicci.

Learn more about the production, cast & creative team with a peek into the program. Read full artist bios, in-depth articles and more.


Ricky Abilez (Ensemble #4/Paul) I come from a Hispanic family of more than 200 people who taught me to love, laugh and reach for the stars. Growing up, I would perform “parades” with my brother and sister in the living room; we loved to sing and dance. When I was 16, I dreamed of winning “American Idol” and becoming a recording artist. So, I auditioned, but was quickly sent home. I was heartbroken, until I was cast as the lead in my high school musical—so things worked out! Theatre inspired me to pursue my BFA in acting at California State University, Fullerton. I learned how to listen actively, challenge myself, work hard and I also learned how art can change the world. Now, I’m a teacher, an activist and an artist. You may have seen me here at SCR in The Velveteen Rabbit or with MainStreet Theatre Company in Frederick. Always pursue your dreams and never give up. Remember: if you have a terrible day, there’s always a better tomorrow!


Janna Cardia (Mother/Mrs. Dickens) I love my life in the theatre! I’ve been using my imagination for as long as I can remember and that is where my acting began. I’d conjure up stories in my head with my toys, with my twin sister, with the neighborhood kids and we’d put on plays in our backyard and at my grandparents’ house (we’d put on Christmas pageants); and at school, during recess, we’d re-enact great movie scenes. With all that imagination, it was natural for me to be in the drama club at school, sing in my church choir and perform in local community theatre productions. Once I graduated from high school, I loved musical theatre so much that I chose to major in it at college. I graduated with a degree in musical theatre and dance and now I work professionally in shows. It has been 25 years since I graduated and I’ve been happily telling stories on stage ever since. If you are curious about my adventures as a performer, go to


Robert Collins (Father/Dr. Fields/Shoe Salesman) When I was growing up, I never thought that I would be a performer. That all changed when I saw a production of Annie that weirdly had hip-hop numbers in it that normally would not have been there. As silly as it was, the kids looked like they were having fun so I knew I needed to join! I graduated with a BA in theatre from Cal State Northridge and I am very excited that I get to be silly and play pretend for the rest of my life! I was always a quiet kid, but performing became an outlet to express myself and I am forever grateful that I took the leap to get on a stage. Follow your dreams and always continue to find ways to express yourself, no matter how silly they may seem to others.


Cristina Gerla (Ensemble #3/Audrey/Philip Parker) I have always loved to dress up and create make-believe stories about exciting adventures. I went to college at UCLA, where I learned how to sing all sorts of songs, dance in all sorts of shoes, speak made-up words by Shakespeare and have a lot of fun with my friends onstage. The best part about theatre is that anything is possible—because it’s live and the audience is part of the story, too! Onstage, I’ve played a parakeet, a wolf, a singing ghost, a competitive speller, and even Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep all while traveling through the whole United States! Like Alexander and his big brothers, my big sister and I didn’t always get along when we were little. But now that we are older, we are best friends. Thanks so much for coming to the theatre today. I can’t wait to share this story with you!


Mitchell Gerrard Johnson (Ensemble #1/Nick/Albert) I have always had a love for performing. When we were kids, my sisters and I would perform shows that we created for my parents and that led me to start taking dance classes and singing lessons in high school. Since then, I haven’t stopped dancing, singing, acting and creating. Telling a story through the magic of theatre will always bring me so much happiness. I have been in various stage shows and commercials and you may even see me hanging with my friend Sebastian at Disneyland for Mickeys Magical Map.


Austyn Myers (Alexander) I am so excited to be playing Alexander! I love storytelling and getting to create theatre, and have been doing this since I was 7 years old. I played Gavroche in the national tour of the musical Les Misérables as well as in that show’s 2004 Broadway revival, and you may have seen me opposite Eddie Murphy in the feature film Meet Dave. This is the first show I’ve done since graduating from the University of California, San Diego, with a degree in directing. It is so exciting to be making my South Coast Repertory debut! I have recently been acting in San Diego theatres such as The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse and the Lyceum Theater, as well as the west coast last summer when I was Crutchie in Newsies in performances at both Moonlight Amphitheatre and at La Mirada Theatre. Thank you so much for coming to our show, and I hope none of you has a …Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!


Monika Peña (Ensemble #2/Anthony/Becky) Ever since I was little, I have loved singing and dancing, but I was really scared to perform for people! That was, until I did my first musical when I was 8 years old. When I got on stage, in costume, with a story to tell, I got lost in the make-believe world and found my happy place. With lots of hard work, and supportive friends and family, I’ve been able to do what makes me happy and now I’m lucky enough to perform for wonderful audiences like you! You may have even seen me in last year’s A Christmas Carol here at SCR or as Rhonda in Fancy Nancy at Chance Theater. I hope you enjoy today’s show and continue to dream big. You can achieve anything you set your mind to!

Creative Team

Kari Hayter (Director/Choreographer) I am so grateful to have the opportunity to work on this production with such a fun and fabulous team. Here at SCR, I most recently directed a musical called Nate the Great and assistant-directed Noises Off!, Ben and the Magic Paintbrush and Once. I went to college at California State University, Fullerton, where I earned a BA in theatre and an MFA in directing. I also went to college to earn a teaching credential and MA in education so that I could be a teacher and teach students like you! My favorite plays to direct are musicals because I love to sing and dance. Parade and Urinetown are two musicals I directed recently and they were both nominated for Ovation and Los Angeles Drama Critic Circle awards. When I am not directing, I love to walk my two dogs, Jackson and Toby, around the lake and watch them chase after the ducks and squirrels.

Diane King Vann (Musical Direction) I grew up in a little town on Long Island in New York. I learned to play the piano from my Italian grandmother and I loved it! I also liked making up my own pieces of music. As I grew up and went to school, I started composing, in addition to playing music by Beethoven, Mozart and even Elton John. I’ve always loved making music—playing, singing, composing, arranging. I had a caroling company for a long time and did most of the vocal arranging for the singers, who sang a cappella. Yeah—just like Pentatonix! I also like to perform and, once in a while, you’ll see me up on the stage, instead of behind the scenes. My most recent show here at SCR was playing Baruska in the musical Once. I had to learn to play the accordion for that role. So many interesting things can happen when you’re willing to take a risk and do what you love to do.

Fred Kinney (Set Designer) I build the models and create the drawings that carpenters and painters make into the scenery that you see on stage today. This is my 10th production at SCR; I also designed various locations that Nate the Great traveled to in order to unravel that mystery, as well as the marsh for A Year with Frog and Toad, the scaffold playground that lit up for Pinocchio, the forest for Robin Hood, the Elephant for The Emperor’s New Clothes, New Duck City for Lucky Duck and three worlds and an evil brain for A Wrinkle in Time. When I was a small boy, I thought I might become a painter, sculptor or an architect. But in high school, I started to design the scenery for school productions and really enjoyed it—and I still do. I’m the proud father of Kate and Gigi, who will be seeing Alexander…hopefully on a good day.

Elizabeth A. Cox (Costume Design) When I was a kid, I loved to read and make art. Both of my parents liked to see shows and movies, so I was lucky to see many things with singing, dancing and fancy costumes. When I was in high school, I discovered that being a costume designer was a profession; I was hooked because I knew I wanted to make the costumes, not wear them myself! I took as many theatre and art classes as I could in high school and I was even lucky enough to design costumes for shows like Guys & Dolls and On The Town. I ended up going to college for costume design in Ohio at a conservatory known for musical theatre and opera. After that, I decided to move to California and got my MA in costume design at UC-Irvine. Costume design marries together so many things that I love: art, fashion, history, storytelling and, if I’m lucky—music (that is, if I’m designing a musical!)

Andrew Schmedake (Lighting Designer) I started to make theatre when I was in high school and kept with it all the way through getting my masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University. It is my favorite thing to use lighting to help tell stories. I can make scary moments terrifying and sweet moments beautiful. Some of my best work has been making shows that immerse the audience in the play, so that they’re in the same world as the actors. One time, we even turned an old warehouse into a creepy mental asylum!

Jeff Polunas (Sound Designer) I’m so excited to be sound-designing this production at SCR. I have designed many young audiences shows, most recently Naked Mole Rat and Nate the Great here at SCR. I love making new sounds from ordinary things to help create magical worlds and textures. I think its really fun to have sound come from speakers or from microphones that are smaller than my fingernail. I think sound is unique because it is the only design element that you can’t see. There are times when I am in some new place and I just close my eyes and listen to all the wonderful sounds our planet has to offer.

Kathryn Davies (Stage Manager) I grew up in Nova Scotia, Canada, where I studied piano, ukulele, recorder and tap dancing. My parents took me to see a lot of shows and I decided to become a stage manager when I was in the 12th grade. My high school drama teacher, Mr. Drew, inspired me to do this. Through the years, I have studied French, Italian, German and Spanish, which helped me to work on big opera productions. I am very grateful to my parents for making me keep up with my music lessons, because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do now. Today, I get to work with amazingly creative actors, directors, designers, singers, musicians and film stars in several countries.

The Actors and Stage Managers employed in this production are members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

The cast in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Mitchell Gerrard Johnson, Robert Collins, Austyn Myers, Janna Cardia and Monika Peña in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Mitchell Gerrard Johnson, Monika Peña, Janna Cardia, Robert Collins and Austyn Myers in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Mitchell Gerrard Johnson, Janna Cardia, Austyn Myers, Robert Collins and Monika Peña in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
The cast in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
The cast in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
Cristina Gerla, Monika Peña, Austyn Myers, Mitchell Gerrard Johnson and Ricky Abilez in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
The cast in "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." Photo by Debora Robinson.
The Cast of Alexander and the Terrible...
Meet the Cast: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Seven actors portray nearly 20 different characters and they bring a range of credits and experience to their performances. Read on to meet them.

Alexander Book Cover
Alexander and His Terrible, Horrible, No Good—Yet Everlasting—Day

Everybody has bad days. But, as young Alexander learns, tomorrow will probably be better. Read more about playwright Judith Viorst’s upbeat view of life.

Map of Austraila
Alexander & Australian Fun Facts

In the musical Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Alexander really loves the Land Down Under. We’ve gathered some fun facts about the country’s animals, culture, people and attractions.

Judith Viorst
Meet Judith Viorst, Author of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Learn more about this prolific author of children’s books and more.
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Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Study Guide

Learn more about ​Alexander —this delightful musical that can put a smile on the crabbiest of faces—in this study guide.

Apriem Advisors
Timothy & Marianne Kay/Argyros Family Foundation

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Haskell & White

Events for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day