Yuri Juarez and his Afroperuano band are proof that the music of Peru is fast occupying a prominent part of the world stage. If you haven’t heard these musicians perform you are in for a great treat. Yuri and the members of his band are internationally acclaimed and their shows are nothing short of fabulous.
Come hear Yuri and the Afroperuano group at Lehman College, May 3, 12:30pm at the Studio Theatre. There is no charge for this event, which is co-sponsored by Artists Without Walls and the City and Humanities Program at Lehman College…thanks to Professor Joseph McElligott. Charles R. Hale emcees the program.
This Saturday, April 28, weather permitting, 10am-3pm, Artists Without Walls’ member David S. Goldman will be performing at the annual Croton On Hudson Earth Day Festival, along with Strange Pools and Traditional Irish group Shannon Breeze featuring Elinore O’Connell at Vassallo Park in Croton on Hudson.
Strange Pools opens the show, followed by David at noon, and Shannon Breeze at 12:30. There will be many booths on environmental support such as organic farming, Hudson River organizations, environmental arts and crafts for children, Sawmill River Audubon, Croton Climate Initiative, etc.
The audience at the Artists Without Walls’ presentation of “Crossing Boroughs” was treated to a scrumptious mix of singing, dancing, music, and history last Sunday afternoon at the Museum of the City of New York. Weaving together the intricate blend of the music, dance, history and culture that defined each of New York City’s boroughs, “Crossing Boroughs” showcased the magnificent tapestry that defines New York City. Combining a superb narrative, slideshows, singing, dancing and monologues, the show transported the older members in the audience back to the days of their youth, while giving the younger folk a glimpse into New York City’s past.
The opening slideshow presented visual snippets of New York City, which provided the backdrop for Niamh Hyland who sang “Midnight in Harlem” with enough soul to rock a congregation. Charles R. Hale picked up from there, narrating a brief history of Manhattan and its past, his words accenting and explaining the slides flashing across the screen. This background material led to a duet, “Manhattan,” a song written by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart and performed by Niamh and David Raleigh.
Jack O’Connell, while holding a Spalding, known as a “spaldeen,” recounted Brooklyn born Pete Hamill’s description of “stickball” as he knew it growing up in Brooklyn, including the fact that Spaldings were not manufactured during WWII because of the rubber shortage caused by the war effort. Growing up in the Bronx, I can attest to the fact that stickball was played with the same rules across boroughs.
Stickball transitioned to baseball when Charles shared a personal story…his father taking him to his first baseball game at Ebbets Field. It was his first chance to see the Dodgers and Charles recounted the game and the chance meeting with Jackie Robinson at a stoplight as Charles and his dad drove home from the game. This personal touch, acknowledging the importance of the father-son bonds that were formed over the game of baseball, drew the audience in as they reflected on their ties to baseball. To add to the realism of the baseball moment, midway through Charles’ story, Jack O’Connell, to the sounds of a ballpark crowd, walked down the aisles dressed as a ballpark vendor: “Peanuts, popcorn, cracker-jacks….getcha cold beer…cold beer here….soodaaa, soodaa.”
From Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, we were transported to Coney Island when Jack O’Connell (Man of a Thousand Faces) appeared as a carnival barker from the Midway where he pitched the various sideshows that were flashing on the screen behind him. This seamlessly transitioned into the story of another carnival barker, Billy Bigelow, from the 1945 Broadway show “Carousel.” Niamh Hyland once again wowed the audience with her rendition of “If I loved You,” Julie Jordan’s thoughts on her relationship with Billie
Moving from Brooklyn to Queens, Charles took the audience to the 1939 World’s Fair and the introduction of nylon stockings, which led to the opening dance number, “Nylon Stockings.” David Raleigh sang the song, which featured the very talented young dance duo, Laura Neese and Johnathan Matthews.
Continuing through Queens, Charles once again brought the audience into his early life as he recounted his fond memories of Saturdays at one of the five New York Metro “Loew’s Wonder Theaters.” A short video depicted the grandeur of those theaters, which struck a solid chord with all who had the opportunity to spend time at those theaters, regardless of which borough they hailed from.
From Queens, the show moved over to the Bronx where once again, Laura and Johnathan traversed the floor in magnificent style, dancing the Lindy Hop to Dion and the Belmonts, “I Wonder Why.” The dance scene was followed by a fascinating narrative in which Charles combined the opening of the Triborough Bridge with the concurrent history of the Randall’s Island stadium, located beneath the Triborough, and the part it played in selecting the runners who represented the United States at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
Every show has its highlight: This shows highlight was Niamh Hyland’s performance of the Etta James’ song “I’d Rather Go Blind.” Niamh nailed it, boxed it and delivered it to an audience that devoured every note. At the end of her song, thunderous applause spontaneously erupted as several members audience jumped to their feet paying tribute to the superb performance they had just witnessed.
Once again, back in Manhattan at McHale’s Bar, Jack O’Connell took the stage to give us a sobering portrayal of a bartender speaking to an invisible customer (or the audience?) while reciting Bob Dylan’s “Desolation Row.” A poem that perfectly describes the seedier side of life–desolation–in New York.
As we headed out to the final borough, Staten Island, footage from the Staten Island Ferry with the Manhattan skyline in the background filled the screen. Accompanying the visual, David and Niamh sang “Leaving New York.” The entire experience was made complete by the accomplished musicians who provided the musical accompaniment led by renowned guitarist Shu Nakamura, drummer Shirazette Tinnin, keyboardist Steve Okonski and bassist Mary Ann McSweeney.
For this Bronx boy, who has lived and worked in New York City most of his life, this was a terrific afternoon. It is not very often you see a show that skillfully combines New York City nostalgia, song, dance, music, and fun into one package. Kudos to Charles Hale Productions and everyone that contributed to making “Crossing Boroughs” a most enjoyable show.
Crossing Boroughs was created and written by Charles R. Hale. Charmaine Broad directs the show and Niamh Hyland, in addition to being the show’s lead vocalist, is its musical director.
In conjunction with Artists Without Walls, Kathleen will be doing another event on Saturday, May 6, 6:00pm to 10:00pm, called “One Night Stand.” The evening will feature Kathleen’s work and three great jazz musicians, Thana Alexa, Josh Cohen and Nicole Zuraitis
Mark your calendar for what is sure to be a special evening. First Street Gallery is located at 526 W 26th St #209, in Manhattan.
Mary Tierney is performing in the the Theater of the New City’s production of Tom Jones at 155 First Avenue Thursday – Sunday, September 8 – 22, Thursday – Saturday at 8pm. Sunday at 3pm. All Seats $18/TDF Vouchers For Tickets click here.
Tara O’ Grady will be singing at Winnie’s Lounge at the Refinery Hotel, 63 West 38th St. Tuesday, September 10th, from 6-9pm.
Colin Broderick has two events this week; one with the Irish Society Garden City, New York on Wednesday Sept 11, the other at The American Irish Historical Society on Thursday, Sept 12 with Michael Patrick MacDonald at 991 Fifth Avenue. New York, NY 10028. T: 212.288.2263.
Samara Adell’s New Friday Evening Dance Class begins on September 13th from 6:00 to 7:30 PM at Nola Studios 250 West 54th Street
Between Broadway and 8th Ave on the 11th floor. This is a Technique Class that will focus on Break down of Body Movements, Arms, Hip Work, Traveling Steps, Veils and Finger Cymbals. Samara also works on combinations and choreography. You can email Samara at email@example.com
Antoinette Montague will be performing with Dave Chamberlain’s Band of Bones at the Ridgewood, NJ Jazz Festival, Van Ness Park, Ridgefield, NJ. Sunday September 15, 2013, 1:30-3:00