John Moran and Artists Without Walls are pleased to present a staged reading of Ancient History, by David Ives featuring Stephanie Linas and Daniel Schwait,* January 12, 7:30pm, at The Cell Theatre.
Jack and Ruth, a seemingly perfect match, are suddenly faced with the question of marriage. In this smart and spirited play, serious differences, previously swept under the rug, are now forced into the light. She is culturally Jewish and her parents reject her dating outside the faith; he is a lapsed Catholic who scorns organized religion. She enjoys the finer things in life while he is happy to live with little means. She wants to get married and have a family. He has been married before and vows never to do so again. They make their cases with razor sharp wit and poignant pleas, but is staying together the right thing to do?
The Cell Theatre 338 W 23rd St New York, NY 10011 Door opens at 7 pm, curtain at 7:30, free admission, no reservations required.
“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.
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.
I was driving a limousine at the time; It was a late night pick-up, Christie’s auction house to the Upper West Side. An art dealer sat in the back.
“What is art?” I asked.
“Art is the tool which unlocks your soul,” he replied.
“Then what is good art?” I said.
“If your soul needs a hammer to release it and your art hits your soul like a hammer, it’s good,” he answered.
“What if your art twists your soul like a wrench?” I challenged.
“Then it is good for the man who needs the wrench.”
On Friday night Artists Without Walls celebrated the work of Kathleen Bennett Bastis at Chelsea’s First Street Gallery. Her mixed media art works are truly tools to unlock the soul.
Surrounded by Kathleen’s stunning and beautiful creations with names such as Sentinel, Concerto #1, Copper Spirit and Scattered Geometry, the equally evocative and eclectic artists Martina Fiserova, Allison Sylvia, and Annette Homann captivated the crowd with their own forms of highly skilled and entertaining art.
Martina’s accompanied vocals playfully and intensely reverberated through what seemed like near perfect acoustics in Kathleen’s First Street Gallery space. Martina’s sonority so total, so brilliant, so penetrating was a perfect prelude to Allison Sylvia’s attention grabbing, fast paced, stay focused so you don’t miss a thought, hey, I think just learned something about myself, spoken word brand of poetry. Allison is not a rapper, but if Socrates were a rap artist you might think of Allison. Brilliant.
Annette Homann wrapped up the evening’s entertainment by bringing us on a musical theme park ride: Soothing us with the classical, Massenet’s “Meditation on Thais;” moving us with the contemporary, “If I Aint Got You;” thrilling us with her fiddling in Mark O’Connor’s “Caprice for Unaccompanied Violin #2,” and making us smile with a sexy, funny, acrobatic interpretation of Adele’s “Skyfall,” complete with gypsie like dance moves and back bends while never missing a note. She is a profound talent.
Great art on every level for a warm and welcoming crowd.
“Artists Without Walls allows the various artists to bring things they “make” to The Cell, to share with others. Sharing my neon animations, MANAHATTA and THE ATOMIC ADVENTURES OF JACK KEROUAC last night was a real honor. To have been able to offer the crowd a touch of fun and joy is the icing on the cake for an artist.” Jack Feldstein, animator and scriptwriter.
Jack Feldstein’s words echo the sentiment of Tuesday night’s performers who clearly were feeding off the energy of the audience as well as their fellow artists. Lorin Partalis and Larry Fleischman moved the jam-packed Cell Theatre with a poignant performance of a scene from A Cancelled Note, a new play by John Moran. John’s play, directed by Tess Howsam, transported the audience into the bittersweet world of a father and his grown daughter who find themselves at odds to the breaking point. Will they part forever? John is currently shopping the full play with a production goal of March 2015. We’ll keep you posted on all future developments.
Desdemona’s death scene in Othello always comes with a high degree of difficulty and expectation. In the hands of Alessia Sushko and Sedly Bloomfield the audience was witness to a beautiful, passionate and moving scene. Love and fear was on display. Ms. Sushko’s beauty and Mr. Bloomfields’s presence left us wondering, “What would have happened if Desdemona had lived…?”
Singer Serena Jost captivated the AWoW audience with two of her new songs, “Silver Star” and “Bloom.” Accompanying herself on cello and guitar, the subtle poetry of her lyrics was highlighted by her beautiful, haunting voice. A transportive experience by a unique and delightful artist.
Vinnie Nauheimer held the audience rapt as he read two poems about current events. The first, “Nigerian Girls Up in Smoke,” addresses the kidnapped and still missing girls from Nigeria, an event the world has chosen to ignore. The second, “Invisible Victims of Tuam,” deals with the missing remains of eight hundred children in the little town of Tuam, Ireland and the horrors of the Catholic run Mother-Baby homes. Vinnie’s poem suggest the notion that apathy can be the progenitor of evil. Vinnie hopes to include both of these poems in a book of poetry called Remembering the Children.
Maura Knowles’ new play Insult to Injury, which examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings, was given a wonderful reading by Maura, actor Jack O’Connell and composer Nathania Wibowo. Maura, accompanied by Sean Chandra Irawan on piano, also provided the vocals to which one of the audience later said, “Such beautiful work, her singing soars through such glorious tones….She made the room sing! And such wonderful collaborators.”
Pat Schneider and Joe Goodrich joined Honor Molloy for a reading from Prisoner’s Cinema, the book to an opera about three long-term inpatients and their psychiatrist. The scene is a darkly layered view into the backstories for the doctor and Natalia, who is actively suicidal. Joe’s portrayal of a psychiatrist was spot on and Honor, well anything Honor puts her voice to is spellbinding.
Steve Silver showed a clip from his feature film The Watchtower, a story of love and survival in notorious Hell’s kitchen, one man’s plight to get out of the gangster life and return to his birth land of Ireland. The audience was captivated by Silver’s sharp humorous dialogue which soon changed to a shocking execution scene of Harvey Steinberg (played by D.J. Sharp), a big time mob tied loan shark. Great ending, which left the audience in breathless silence.
Jack Feldstein closed out the evening with two fascinating neon animations, MANAHATTA, from the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman, and THE ATOMIC ADVENTURES OF JACK KEROUAC. If you’d like to contact Jack for collaborations or simply to keep in touch, Jack asks that you feel free to find him through his website www.jackfeldstein.com .
And we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the contributions that Noel Kilkenny, Consul General of Ireland and Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny made to New York’s Irish American community. They will now move on to their next assignment in Athens, Greece. Athens’ gain is our great loss.
Noel and Hanora’s efforts on behalf of business, tourism and promotion of the arts were tireless and they were gracious hosts to countless events during their four years in New York City. Additionally, Hanora was an enormous supporter of Artists Without Walls, referring many artists and constantly singing the group’s praises. During the evening Hanora was presented an award for her generous commitment of time and support of Artists Without Walls and the New York City multi-cultural arts community. She and Noel will be greatly missed.
The next Artists Without Walls’ Showcase is on August 26th, at the Cell Theatre. For more information about AWoW write to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why attend Tuesday’s Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at the Cell Theatre? Here’s what singer/songwriter Jenai Huff said about a recent Showcase: “What an extraordinary night. I feel blessed to have been a witness and a participant to the magic.” Jenai Huff
Here’s the cast of performers:
Russian born actress and model Alessia Sushko and screen and TV actor Sedly Bloomfeld will be performing the death scene from Othello. “I am thrilled to be performing at AWoW again,” Alessia said. “Being able to expand my craft and exercise my performance muscles with the beauty and the complexity of Shakespeare’s language is a gift.”
Jack Feldstein will be presenting his neon animation films, Manhatta (by Walt Whitman and The Atomic Adventures of Jack Kerouac. Originally from Sydney, Australia and now based in NYC, Jack Feldstein is an award-winning scriptwriter and neon animation filmmaker. His scripts “A House Like Any Other” and “Three Months with Pook” have won prizes in Australia and Britain. His neon animations have been screened and won awards worldwide from Lincoln Center in NYC to Rotterdam, The Netherlands. His philosophy is “search for an interesting life.”
Actress/playwright Maura Knowles will be presenting a scene from her new play Insult to Injury, which examines why we should never give up on angels or anyone with broken wings. The piece is inspired by actual events drawn from Maura’s life. Nathania Wibowo is her composer.
Vinnie Nauheimer, a long time advocate for children and a voice against abuse, will be reading two poems that deal with current events related to the abuse of children. The first poem concerns the three hundred abducted Nigerian girls and the second deals with the events recently disclosed about an unwed mother home in Tuam, Ireland. Though thousands of miles and years apart, the stories are very much connected through the apathy shown to the plight of these children.
Serena Jost is a Swiss-American singer/songwriter/cellist whose music invokes vivid emotional landscapes. Serena’s new album, A Bird Will Sing, was exquisitely produced by the legendary Anton Fier (Golden Palominos) and was named one of the Top 50 Albums of 2013 by New York Music Daily. Serena can be seen at some of NYC’s top venues including Brooklyn’s Barbès and Joe’s Pub, and tonight performs both songs from the album and new material.
Rounding out the lineup will be long time AWoW fav Honor Molloy, who will present a segment from Prisoner’s Cinema–the book for a new music-theatre work about three patients held in a long-term psychiatric facility who believe they are Christ and their psychiatrist; John Moran, whose scene from his play “A Cancelled Note,” a story of mystery and forgiving will be directed by Tess Howsam and stars Lorin Partalis and Larry Fleishman, and Steven Silver’s film “The Watchtower” a film about the Westies of Hell’s Kitchen. which stars Steve and AWoW member David Sharp.
Tuesday’s Showcase at The Cell Theatre, 338 W23rd St, NYC begins at 7pm. We hope to see you there. This is a free event.
Why are the Artists Without Walls’ Showcases so popular? Take a look at what members and performers have to say:
“It was a thrilling, life affirming night—life-affirming in the sense that an Artist Without Walls’ showcase highlights beautifully, often spectacularly, our shared humanity.” Connie Roberts, poet.
“If you were to put Ed Sullivan, Oscar Wilde and TEDTalks into a blender you’d get Artist Without Walls.” Ed Romanoff, singer/songwriter.
“What was needed so desperately is what AWOW has given us, a loving ear to witness….That room, that audience of art friends, people that really understand and want to see you express it. Wonderful!” Mary Tierney, actress
“Brilliant! Somehow egos are left at the door and you sit there absorbing these wonderful performances. And by the end of the evening you find yourself connected to your soul.” Ray Lindie, playwright.
We have a great night lined up on Tuesday, July 22nd, 7pm at The Cell Theatre. Performers include: Top Row: Maura Knowles, Alessia Sushko, Charles R. Hale. Bottom row: Vinnie Nauheimer, Jack Feldstein, Sedly Bloomsfeld, Steve Silver and John Moran.
The following was written by Artists Without Walls’ member, John Moran:
I have ambitions to actually make acting my next career. Foolish you say! I know. You’re right. It’s a long shot at best and a difficult road lies ahead but having had an interesting and instructive life I believe I’m prepared for both success or failure and am simply grateful to be in a position to try. And try I will. I genuinely want to learn the craft so I am paying attention now to the heavy lifting required by stage acting, such as the concentration needed for Miller’s deceptively simple dialogue, the long emotional monologues of O’Neill or the quick pop and snap needed for much of Mamet’s prose. After that type of work I imagine delivering a line for a TV script will be easier.
I’ve always considered myself to be a good public speaker. I communicate clearly. I enjoy it. An audience of ten is great. One-hundred is even better. Public speaking causes me no concern whatsoever.
Keeping the above in mind, what a surprise to me when I auditioned for a spot in an acting studio, was handed a script, stood in front of a crowd of one man and nothing came from my mouth. Not one word. Not a sound did I utter. “That was interesting.” he said. Then yawned. What great fun.
Apparently I didn’t have a problem speaking my own words but when the words of another person were substituted such as those of a playwright, nothing good seemed to happen, or at least not until recently.
I have many bad qualities but giving up isn’t one of them. For over a year I’ve been working in a scene study class. The teacher, Scott Freeman seems to believe the devil is in the details and the phrase “go back and do it again” is not unheard of. I’ve come a long way since that troubling audition and at last felt competent enough to commit to do a first short scene in front of a genuine audience at an Artist Without Walls’ (AWoW) Showcase in late September.
Showcase time was getting closer and stage fright became the order of the day. Nothing I could do about it. I kept myself busy by taking the day off from work and spending time with an actress rehearsing an entirely different scene from the one I’d be doing that night. The showcase began at seven that evening and as the time grew closer for me to perform I grew……, hmmmm what’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes, nasty; I grew nasty. I told my partner Jason and my buddy Joe not to talk to me and sat in the garden out back of The Cell theater going over lines I’d said a hundred times before. Then of course I found religion. I have a lot of negative opinions about the state of my church and The Creator himself when all is well, but when the guns are about to go off I can say Hail Mary’s as fast as anyone I know. After a decade or two of the rosary the time came, my partner Jason and I performed and all was well. For those who would like to step up, but like me are shy and reluctant, I must say that when you present at an Artists Without Walls’ Showcase you’re among friends. Seize the day. The members of AWoW want to see you do well and regardless of how well you believe you presented your work, they are happy to have you. You/we/us are the reasons for the existence of an organization like AWoW to begin with. And remember, regardless of your feelings ten PM will come. The showcase will be over. You will have done yourself, and AWoW, a service by sharing your art. All will be well once again.