About Us

Firebird Youth Theater is an independent teen-run theater company based in New York City. The cast of every production consists entirely of kids and teens in the NYC area, and is also teen-directed. Our mission is to nurture the up-and-coming theatrical minds of our community, and create an artistic outlet for kids and teens to express themselves in new and exciting ways. The names in our playbills are names you could be finding in programs of Broadway shows not more than a couple years from now, just a couple blocks from the theaters they’re performing in this year. We believe in young people making art happen.

Cast & Crew of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” – Photo by Katherine Bourbeau

In the Spring of 2013, Firebird Youth Theater made their debut as the first independent teen-run homeschooling theater company in our community, with their first off-Broadway production: Down the Chocolate River and Beyond, based on a beloved chocolate fairy tale by Roald Dahl. The show was adored by audiences of all ages, and sold out a five-show run.

Since 2013, Firebird has produced three more off-Broadway shows, Expresso (2014), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (2015), and Treasure Island (2016). Both “Alice” and Treasure Island received numerous awards and nominations from National Youth Arts, and were reported on by Huffington Post and TDF Magazine.

 Who’s Who in Firebird?


Leo Lion – Artistic Director
Leo is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Firebird Project, and Firebird Youth Theater. Since he founded the company in 2013, he has directed four productions, Down the Chocolate River and Beyond, Expresso, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and Treasure Island. Leo is an actor, and has appeared in a number of productions with various companies including Different Directions, Wingspan Arts, Homeschool Stage, and Firebird Youth Theater. He is also a playwright, whose plays have been produced by Firebird Youth Theater, Downtown Art, and Writopia Lab’s Worldwide Plays Festival. For more info visit www.leolion.com.

Thomas Headshot Square

Thomas Manfred Pflanz – Resident Production Stage Manager

Thomas has stage managed every Firebird production since 2014, after joining the company as a stage hand and prop master in their first show. Other tech credits include work as a Venue Production Assistant in the 2015 NY International Fringe Festival, and continued lighting design/operation. Thomas’s most recent projects include Theater of the Apes’ 2017 Repertory Season and Tales of Neverland, an original adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy, written by himself and Tinamarie Panyard. A techie by trade, he also acts when the occasion presents itself. Follow Thomas on Twitter, and stay up to date with his current and future projects: @Thomas_Pflanz