Mitch Traphagen’s photos from Artist Without Walls’ “Love Force” benefit Showcase for Stars of Hope at Sid Golds Request Room.
"THE VERY BEST IN MUSIC, THEATRE AND SPOKEN WORD" at ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS' JUNE SHOWCASE at THE CELL
“A remarkable evening of front-line talent. Artists Without Walls encompasses the very best in music, theatre and spoken-word. Entertainment in a thoughtful, respectful atmosphere devoid of posturing and ego. Quite refreshing. Bravo!” writer Billy Barrett.
Allison Sylvia, a recent graduate of NYU, is a thinking young woman who melds song, dance, poetry, chant and humor in her work, and on Tuesday night she had the crowd on the edge of their seats. Allison transforms her scraps into art and it’s exciting to watch her perform. “A year or more ago, I’d read snippets from journal entries Allison had written—character sketches she committed to paper as she rode the subway between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Mark my words, she’s only coming into her own,” Poet Connie Roberts
John Moran, Rebecca Lowry and Courtney Torres followed, performing an excerpt from Brendan Connellan’s SAVAGE. Family issues come to a head and things get said that have long needed saying. The daughter, Torres, has only just told her father, Moran, that she is getting married and soon. Out of desperation, he calls the girl’s mother, his ex-wife, Lowry, who walked out on them when the daughter was just a baby and nobody has seen her or been in touch with her ever since. She’s just arrived at the house….and from there we were subject to some wonderful performances from three fine actors.
Here’s what pianist Joe McGinty said about singer Andrea Diaz, “I’ve probably played piano for thousands of singers on my piano karaoke nights, but even after just one song, I knew there was something special about Andrea.” And that’s how they met.
We were thrilled to have Joe and Andrea join us on Tuesday night. The Duchess and The Fox, as they call themselves, is a throwback to an era of glamour with McGinty’s piano and Diaz’s voice combining to create highly sensual, piano cabaret music with a solid dose of New York nightlife flavor and grit. Great performance, including shouts of “Encore,” which Joe and Andrea willingly provided.
What happens when a 19th century German immigrant meets a 21st century NYC casting director? Hilarity! Justin Phillips, a nineteenth century German immigrant farmer comes to America to pursue his dream of becoming a Broadway star. He meets a slick, twentieth century casting director played by Clarissa Hoffmann and all hell breaks loose.
The short comedic theater piece “John,” written by Jodie Leidecker and performed by two first time Artists Without Walls’ performers was very well received by AWoW’s audience. Here’s what Clarissa wrote before the show, “I really loved the atmosphere at the April Showcase and I think this piece “John” would be a great complement to the cultural and artistic mix of such an inspiring evening.” And that’s exactly what it was. We hope to see much more of Justin and Clarissa.
Pianist Alexander A. Wu stepped up next and announced he was going to play some Gershwin. And did he ever! The first piece was a dazzling “Embraceable You,” which had been transcribed as a classical piece by Earl Wild.
Not only did Alexander’s performance bring to life one of Gershwin’s earlier piano works, the aforementioned, “Embraceable You,” Alex also performed excerpts from one of the composer’s large scale works, “An American in Paris.” We’re excited to have Alex as our newest member and we hope that between his performances on the international stages with orchestras and chamber groups throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America and the USA it won’t keep him from performing at another Showcase in the near future.
The evening was hosted and emceed by Artists Without Walls’ Artistic Directors Niamh Hyland and Charles R. Hale. Artists Without Walls next Showcase will be on Tuesday, June 28, 7:30pm at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St., NYC.
Photos by Vera Hoar
VERA HOAR'S PHOTOS from ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS' MAY SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE in NYC
Vera Hoar’s photos from Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell Theatre, May 24, 2016
ALLISON SYLIVA, JOHN MORAN, REBECCA LOWRY and COURTNEY TORRES at ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS' SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE
You can watch the artists perform, and meet them as well, at Artists Without Walls’ May Showcase at The Cell Theatre, this Tuesday, 5/24. The doors and bar open at 6:45. Presentations begin at 7:30.
Here are a few of the artists who will be performing:
Allison Sylvia is a poet/artist/dancer who has performed at a number of Artists Without Walls’ Showcases. Here’s what was said about Allison after her performance at “Permutations,” an AWoW/ Kathleen Bennett Bastis collaboration at Chelsea’s First Street Gallery last Spring: “Attention grabbing, fast paced, stay focused so you don’t miss a thought….Allison is not a rapper, but if Socrates were a rap artist you might think of Allison. Brilliant.”
AWoW charter member Brendan Connellan, who has written and produced a number of shows that were premiered on 42nd Street, NYC in the past few years, will be presenting a scene from his play, “Savage.” Appearing in the scene will be:
Courtney Torres, who frequently works with independent theater companies such as Locked in the Attic Productions and Fengari Ensemble. She has participated in various showcases and festivals in the New York City and currently trains at Playhouse West Brooklyn Lab.
Rebecca Lowry, who last appeared on the New York stage in the mid-1990s, when she spent a decade traveling the country as a professional actress performing in everything from Shakespeare to Burlesque. She is currently an attorney and legal writing Professor at Saint John’s University as well as an economic analyst.
And..John Moran, long time fan and charter member of Artists Without Walls, fresh from filming Danni for “Take it to the Stage Productions” and “Age of Consent” in association with Rusty Ferris Wheel Productions and Artists Without Walls.
POWERFUL, TALENTED and FESTIVE: ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS' HOLIDAY SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, 12/22/15
“Oh, my gosh, what a night. The rafters rang.” Cara De Silva
The buzz was palpable as the audience filed into The Cell Theatre last Tuesday for Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase at The Cell Theatre. First time presenter Jim Phelan opened the night’s proceedings and was met with, silence…a high compliment, at least for writers reading their own work. And silence, lots of it, is what Jim Phelan received while reading his story, “Sketches of China.” Jim’s story was a tale well written and well told of a man dying of cancer, wafting in and out of a morphine fog, remembering a love affair when he lived in China half a century earlier. We hope the character, “Mr. J” lives and Mr. Phelan continues to tell his story. Well done, Jim.
The Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase was also the debut performance of the band Too Many Lauras featuring Peter Chance, guitar, vocals, Cecil Hooker, violin, Susan Hwang, accordion, vocals, Mike Muller, bass and Jagoda on percussion. The first tune was the premier of “Living in Sin,” which Peter originally wrote as a woman’s response to a bad breakup. Susan’s backing vocals were psycho-samba! Second was “Rita,” the story of a woman who blames all of her life’s struggles on an ice skating accident she experienced as a child. The band closed with “Burn Me Like a Cross,” the struggles of a young couple in love, against their town that disapproves. The addition of the newest members Susan and Pagoda, who was on an acoustic guitar body, tricked with percussion pieces, rounded out the original trio which appeared at Artists Without Walls’ June Showcase. Of course, Cecil’s beautiful violin and Michael’s bass were evident throughout. The band will be recording an EP over the next few weeks.
Honor Molloy read from Betty Smith’s classic novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” Honor carried the audience back to Christmas Eve, 1912 when Francie and Neeley Nolan brought home the biggest tree in Williamsburg. Honor, one of the finest readers on the New York literary scene, was brilliant. She perfectly captured the spirit of Smith’s scene, casting her voice in pitch-perfect Brooklynese, tossing our imaginations from one vivid scene to the next.
Diversity is a strength and Mary Susan Sinclair-Kuenning has an uncommon diversity of talents including dance, voice and athleticism, which is rarely seen. Additionally, Mary Susan executes her art forms with a passion that was immediately evident to AWoW’s audience. Her Oriental dance, accompanied by Mid-Eastern classical music performed by the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, was both vibrant and artistic. Her sensual performance, the pulsating music and shimmering costume made her dance a joy to watch. Mary Susan followed her dance with a short film of her work on the Cyr wheel, which demonstrates her incredible strength and precision. A wonderful, show-stopping performance.
Allison Sylvia read poems from two chapbooks, “Marginalia” and “Scattered Ethos,” which she had been making and leaving in subway cars, parks, on benches, statues over the past two years. She sang a small poem from a journal she has been keeping lately and–collaborating with the talented Cecil Hooker (violin), Peter Chance (guitar) and Amy Yamashiro (cajon)–she danced the first dance of her one woman show, “Girl Rising” to the sounds of “Amazing Grace.” “As always, I’m grateful to have such a supportive as receptive audience as Artists Without Walls to workshop my work in progress,” Allison said. As always, Allison performed with open hearted eloquence.
A number of great performers including Artists Without Walls’ Artistic Director Niamh Hyland, saxophonist Erik Lawrence, singer/songwriter Ed Romanoff, fiddlers Annette Homann and Deni Bonet with assisting vocals from Nicholas Garr, Mary Susan Sinclair-Kenning, Charles R. Hale and the entire audience, rounded out one of the most festive holiday endings in memory. Niamh Hyland closed out the evening with a beautiful and stirring rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Christmas.”
It was a grand night! The next AWoW Showcase at The Cell Theatre will be on January 25, 2016.
All photos by Vera Hoar.
VERA HOAR'S PHOTOS from AWoW's HOLIDAY SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, 12/22/15
Vera Hoar’s wonderful photographs from Artists Without Walls’ Holiday Showcase at The Cell Theatre.
JOIN ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS for its CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 22nd at THE CELL THEATRE
“Lovely and talented! Brilliant across the board. Thrilled to attend; super sounds, sights and words – magical evening it was!” Bassist Michael Muller, who will be part of Tuesday’s Showcase at The Cell, commenting on a recent AWoW gathering.
Allison Sylvia is a poet/artist/dancer who has performed at a number of Artists Without Walls’ Showcases. The Holiday Showcase will find Allison trying something new – reading through little chapbooks and collaborating with musicians.Here’s what was said about Allison Sylvia after her performance at “Permutations,” an AWoW/ Kathleen Bennett Bastis collaboration at Chelsea’s First Street Gallery last Spring: “Attention grabbing, fast paced, stay focused so you don’t miss a thought….Allison is not a rapper, but if Socrates were a rap artist you might think of Allison. Brilliant.”
Mary Susan Sinclair, holds a B.A. in both Modern Dance and Theater from Sweet Briar College, and is classically trained in Opera as well as being a equestrian, competing in show jumping and equitation. Mary Susan has danced with the Jose Limon Dance Institute, trained extensively with Samara Adell for Middle Eastern dance, and danced for Mosaic Dance Theater Company for 4 years. She also began her training in Cyr wheel two years ago and has since represented Team USA at the CSIT world sport games in Lignano, Italy and performed in venues throughout the city of New York. Mary Susan will be performing a Middle Eastern fusion dance piece to a modern work of Oriental dance music.
If you haven’t heard Honor Molloy read–she’s one of the best in NYC–you can hear her read/perform from Betty Smith’s internationally famous, “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.” Published in 1943 by Harper & Brothers, the passage Honor will read takes place on Christmas Eve, 1912 when Francie Nolan sets out with her little brother Neeley to bring home the biggest tree in Williamsburg. Honor’s reading of Smith’s classic is always a great Christmas treat!
Jim Phelan is a professional writer from Allentown, PA, by way of NYC and Washington, D.C. The foundation of his fiction writing was speech writing for Presidential appointees during the Clinton and Bush administrations. He still guest lectures at local colleges and circulates his work in the Allentown area. In addition to fiction, he is a free lance writer for businesses, brochures and funeral eulogies. “Self-requested eulogies must be paid for in advance,” Jim said. We’re looking forward to Jim’s first appearance at an Artists Without Walls’ Showcase.
Tuesday’s Showcase will be the first show for the newly formed Two Many Lauras which is now a full five piece band, including Peter Chance, Cecil Hooker, Susan Hwang, Mike Muller and Pagoda Will. The band will be premiering a brand-new song along with some old faves. Peter, Cecil an Mike have performed at a number of AWoW Showcases and they were sensational. We’re thrilled to have them and their new band members back with us.
And closing out the evening will be a Niamh Hyland inspired Christmas spectacular with an incredible cast of musicians including Deni Bonet, Annette Homann, Erik Lawrence, Noah Hoffeld, Ed Romanoff, Niamh, the band members of Two Many Lauras and others. Charles R. Hale will be hosting what promises to be a very festive evening at The Cell Theatre, 338 W 23rd Street, NYC. The doors and bar open at 6:45. Hope to see you there.
STELLAR PERFORMANCES at ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS' JUNE SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE
“Performing at Artists Without Walls is a deep privilege and a pleasure. To appear as part of a lineup of such talented artists is simultaneously thrilling and humbling. I always leave AWoW with a soaring spirit, full of gratitude for the gifts of my fellow artists, and newly energized and encouraged in my own work. Mille Grazie to Charles Hale and Niamh Hyland for creating this warm, welcoming community.” Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, poet/author
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell began Artists Without Walls’ June Showcase at The Cell Theatre by delighting the crowd with her recitation of “Crossing Irish,” a sequence of poems exploring her predicament as a Sicilian woman fatally in love with Ireland. Full of echoes of Irish poetry and the music of everyday speech, the poems were by turns sharp-witted and humorous, poignant and full of longing, culminating in a final recognition of her double-minded state: “I don’t belong. / I could make myself a life there.” (This sequence of poems appeared on Artists Without Walls blog in March 2014.)
Michelle Macau and Sarah Hammer brought to vivid life the story of a break-up in Burying Elephant, a one-act play by Robin Rice Lichtig. The dramatic and vibrant performances were genuine and poignant, bringing as some viewers remarked, laughter and a few tears. “Artists Without Walls is a muse, a gift to artists stimulating the creative life energy,” said Michelle. “We are given the opportunity to share our creative work and be received by a truly supportive and empathetic audience of fellow AWoW members and their guests. AWoW’s talented artists revitalize my spirit giving me strength and passion as I pursue my craft.”
First time performer and new member Phoebe Farber presented a wonderful short play, Class Reunion, about a high school reunion that goes awry– starring two fine actors Ruby Hankey and Scott Breiden. “I had a great time at AWoW’s Showcase. So wonderful to be in the midst of talented and supportive artists. I’m hooked!” said Phoebe.
Allison Sylvia performed two more pieces – L to the A and aDAm(BEcoming)eDEn – for an appreciative audience, once again incorporating spoken word, song, chant and dance. Said, Allison, “Artists Without Walls is a warm supportive community of fellow artists – every showcase brings in new, exciting talent and new work from familiar faces. It is always an event to look forward to for inspiration.”
Serena Jost wowed AWoW with her new whimsical voice-cello songs. She also sang an affecting ballad commemorating the 100th anniversary of WW1. “Performing for an always attentive AWoW audience inspires me,” said Serena. “Every showcase is a delight!”
The final act of this great night, Too Many Lauras, featured AWoW members singer/songwriter Peter Nolan (aka Peter Chance) on guitar, Cecil Hooker on violin and Mike Muller on bass, performing original compositions. The songs range from discovering new love to life as a vampire to helping a distressed friend. A big surprise was spoken word artist Allison Sylvia returning during the third song, “Holding On,” to dance during the solo and sing on the last verse and chorus. The showcase ended with a cover of Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” with Niamh Hyland and Deni Bonet joining the band and the entire audience singing along in the refrains.
Another brilliant evening.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase will be on July 28th, 6:45pm at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St.
All photos by Vera Hoar
VERA HOAR'S PHOTOS from AWoW'S JUNE SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE
Vera Hoar’s photos from the Artists Without Walls’ June Showcase.
JOIN ARTISTS WITHOUT WALLS for its SHOWCASE at THE CELL THEATRE, TUESDAY, JUNE 23RD.
Here’s what bassist Michael Muller, who will be part of Tuesday’s Showcase at The Cell, said of a recent AWoW gathering, ““Lovely and talented! Brilliant across the board; Martina, Allison, Kathleen, and Annette. Happy I was able to attend; super sounds, sights and words – magical evening it was!”
We have a great lineup planned:
Phoebe Farber is a playwright living in Montclair, New Jersey. Her plays have been seen in New York and New Jersey, including Luna Stage, Strangedog, Horse Trade Theater, The Players Theatre, Short Play Lab, The Chain Theater, and The Depot Theater in Garrison NY. This fall she will begin a residency at Playwrights Theater of New Jersey’s Emerging Women Playwrights. Phoebe will be presenting a scene from her short play “Class Reunion.
Angela Alaimo O’Donnell will be returning for her second Showcase presentation. Angela is the author of six books of poems, three books of prose, essays about poetic craft, contemporary poetry and the nexus between faith, art and literature. Her work is highly personal and always powerfully presented. If you haven’t heard or met Angela, here’s your chance. She’s wonderful.
Michelle Macau actor, theater director and producer with a passion for storytelling, who adapts and applies her skills to train non-performers in the techniques of improvisational acting, will be doing a two-character, ten-minute play with Sarah Hammer and written by Robin Rice Lichtig entitled Burying Elephants.
Here’s what “Time Out NY” wrote about singer/songwriter/cellist Serena Jost. “”Serena Jost writes gently eccentric songs and sings them in an elegant alto, often accompanying herself on cello, but it isn’t quite right to call her a singer-songwriter. The term art song—normally tied to 19th-century concert music—usefully characterizes Jost’s carefully arranged pieces and succinct lyrics, neither quite rock nor folk”
Allison Syliva, a recent graduate of NYU, is a thinking young woman who melds song, dance, poetry, and chant in her work, which often ends with the crowd on the edge of their seats. Allison enthralls her audience with her character dramatizations be they cello players or unrequited lovers, transforming scraps of script into art. It’s exciting to watch her perform. If you haven’t seen her you’re in for a treat.
Closing out the show will be musicians Cecil Hooker, Peter Chance and Michael Muller. Their first piece will be “Wide Open,” a duo with Cecil and Peter. Michael will join them for two more tunes, “Holding On” and “Ancient Curse.” Knowing how talented and creative these fellows are, and knowing how creative and collaborative some of our members are–particularly Allison and Niamh Hyland–it wouldnt surprise me if this act takes a few twists or turns. Join us and find out.
The Cell Theatre is located at 338 W23rd St. The doors open at 6:45 See you then.