PRODUCTION HISTORY

PHOTO:
Nina's Fire: The Trangle Shirtwaist
Factory Fire of 1911

The Original Broadway Musical
by Michael Monasterial
Story by Mike Jukovic and Michael Monasterial
Music by Christopher Gillard and Zac Zinger

Listen to Samples from Nina's Fire

Free educational theater program for middle school children,
bridging cultures through arts and an exciting musical fund raising event

July 19th, 2014

Passing the Torch Through the arts will be bringing its own brand of
culturally rich and diverse educational theater to its new home at the
Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit
57 Hurlbut St. Albany, NY 12209

The Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit has been established in the Albany community with ties and a history that stretch back well over 150 years has welcomed Passing the Torch Through the Arts and will host our Fall events and upcoming Free acting program for middle school age children.

Saturday August 23rd at 1pm
As part of the Delaware Neighborhood International Picnic.  

There will be a 10 minute commercial for our
Saturday September 13 at 8pm and
Sunday September 14 at 5pm

performances of the critically acclaimed original musical  “Sam Cooke: Where you been baby?” written by Michael Monasterial.

The play about the life and death of the 1950’s pop icon from his early life, raised in a small church in Jim Crow Mississippi, and follows his victories and personal defeats until his untimely death in Hollywood California. Sam Cooke is considered by many to be the first crossover superstar, some regard him a musical genius.

12 of Sam Cooke’s billboard hits and 10 of his gospel hits will be performed with a superb cast: great acting and great voices. 1000’s of Hudson Valley residents have been left inspired and literally dancing in the isles by this energetic and family friendly production.

This play has been our most effective fundraiser and for a suggested donation of $20 general public and $15 for seniors (students are always free to all of our events and we encourage audiences to come and donate what they can, we want your support and attendance more than we want your money).

The proceeds from this event will go to help fund our pilot acting program. Passing the Torch Through the Arts: ALBANY. We will be offering 12 students of middle school age free acting classes in the fall to culminate into a performance In November TBA.  Local artists will volunteer there time to inspire young people to attain an excitement about learning through the Theater Arts.

For more info, call 845-901-6820 


Passing the Torch Through the Arts proudly presents:

"Sam Cooke: Where you been Baby?"
The new Original American rock and roll musical
by  Michael Monasterial

Starring: Evelyn Clarke, Quintin Piper, Marlene Merritt, Stephen M Jones and Lerone Simon
with Live music by Willie "Saxman" Smith

to be performed at the

Woodstock Community Center
56 Rock City Rd, Woodstock, NY ‎

Saturday May 24th at 8pm

For tickets call 845-901-6820
or email us Passingthetorcthroughthearts@gmail.com

Passing the Torch through the Arts has crafted a 90 minute original musical with all of the drama. pathos, humor, electric charisma  and of course, the great music of an era. You will be catapulted back into the late 1950s, with all of its innocence and controversy and in the end you will feel exhilarated by the power of this tale of the triumph of the human and American spirit that will leave you literally dancing in the isles.

This American Musical theatrical classic is about the life of a genius, and was written here in the Hudson Valley and has toured to the delight of thousands of adoring fans from all generations, classes and races, since its original production in 2010.

Samuel Cooke, was an American recording artist, singer-songwriter and entrepreneur. He is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocal abilities and influence on the modern world of music. His pioneering contributions to soul music led to the rise of Aretha Franklin, Bobby Womack, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Billy Preston and popularized the likes of Otis Redding and James Brown.

Cooke had 30 U.S. top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964, and a further three after his death. Major hits like "You Send Me", "A Change Is Gonna Come", "Cupid", "Chain Gang", "Wonderful World", and "Twistin' the Night Away" are some of his most popular songs. Cooke was also among the first modern black performers and composers to attend to the business side of his musical career. He founded both a record label and a publishing company as an extension of his careers as a singer and composer. He also took an active part in the African-American Civil Rights Movement.

On December 11, 1964, Cooke was fatally shot by Bertha Franklin, the manager of the Hacienda Motel in Los Angeles, California, at the age of 33. At the time, the courts ruled Cooke was drunk and distressed, and the manager had killed Cooke in what was later ruled a justifiable homicide. Since that time, the circumstances of his death have been widely questioned.

For directions, call (845) 679-7420, or use the map below


NEW YORK CITY PERFORMANCE
TBA

"Sam Cooke: Where you been Baby?"
The new Original American rock and roll musical
by  Michael Monasterial

The inspirational, original Theatrical hit about the life and death of a musical genius.
 90 Minutes of entertaining History: Dancing in the aisles, (although suggested) is optional. Joy however, is required.

Starring: Evelyn Clarke, Quintin Piper, Marlene Merritt, Lucinda Carr, and Lerone Simon
with Live music by Willie "Saxman" Smith

Ripley Grier Studios
16 floor : Large Studio
 520 Eighth Avenue (Bet. 36th & 37th Streets)
16th Floor, New York, NY 10018

Admission
$25 General $20 Seniors $15 students
Admission is paid in the studio while seated before each performance
We accept Cash and Travelers checks only


 

Passing the Torch Through the Arts
The Hudson Valley's premier educational Theater
Presents

African American History Theater Festival 2014

$15   General Public
$10   Senior Discount
$5    Students
(except the MLK show)

Saugerties Performing Arts Factory
169 Ulster Avenue, Saugerties, NY 12477

Feb 8 at 8pm. Special matinee Feb 9 at 3pm

Michael Monasterials’ hit musical,
"Sam Cooke: Where You Been Baby?"

It's an American Pop Fable that illuminates the life and musical genius of an American original. The pop singer who wrote, performed and produced 24 Billboard hits. Live music by SUNY New Paltz’s Kyle Phillip Lashley and choreography by Abby Lappen.

It stars Kitt Potter, Stephen M. Jones, Evelyn Clarke, Dennis Washington
and SUNY Albany’s Quintin Piper as Sam Cooke.

"Monasterial is a playwright with a mission to educate America about race relations through music.
It's worth learning the lesson!" - New York

"Come Catch the Fire of Inspiration! While we put a PULSE in History!
because African American History is American History"


Haitian People’s Support Project, Working to Get Haitians Out of Tents and Into Homes
Sponsored by Haitian People’s Support Project and New World Home Cooking

Friday, November 12, 2010

New World Home Cooking
Rte 212 between Saugerties and Woodstock
845-246-0900

Art & Craft Sale beginning at 7:30 PM (free admission)
Dance 9PM to 1AM
Suggested donation $20

Haitian People’s Support Project, 845-679-7320,  www.haitiansupportproject.org
New World Home Cooking, 845-246-0900
For info and images on Pont-Rouge Portrait Project visit:
http://www.dailyfreshproduce.com/2010/08/haitian-portrait-project-original-work-by-isaiah-king-x-q-sakamakis/

Now in its 12th year Sonando for Haiti’s Reconstruction, is expected to be the largest dance party yet sponsored by Woodstock’s Haitian People’s Support Project,  at Ric Orlando’s New World Home Cooking, Friday, November 12, 2010.   Expect Sonando and band leader Ruben Quintero to be on fire for a cause so close to their hearts, the rebuilding of Haiti. Festivities begin at 7:30 PM with a unique Haitian art and craft sale (see below) which is admission free, and after 9 PM sounding out the Latin beat with Sonando, the Hudson Valley’s number 1 dance band. 

The Haitian People’s Support Project is proud to present Canadian born artist Isaiah King who currently works and resides in New York City.  King has created a series of large woodblock portraits based on award winning Japanese photographer Q. Sasamaki’s photographs, which were taken at the Pont-Rouge tent camp shortly after the January 12th earthquake that shattered southern Haiti.  King’s social justice printmaking has been exhibited in galleries throughout New York City, Boston and Ottawa.  Q. Sakamaki is a Japanese photographer based in New York.  He has covered war stories from Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Liberia, and Kosovo to Sri Lanka.  His photographs have appeared in Time and Newsweek. 

On September 9 at the Power House Arena in Brooklyn, at a charity auction and benefit for the Haitian People’s Support Project, the works of King and Sakamaki were premiered.  The Haitian People’s Support Project is going to use the proceeds from that sale and from the sale of Isaiah King’s portraits at New World Home to locate the Pont-Rouge families that participated in the portrait project and help them go from tents into homes. 

Haiti Survivor Woodcut from Photograph
Haitian Survivor Photography

 HPSP has just learned that five artists form the FAPADEC Artists Cooperative in Petionville, Haiti will be participating in the November 12th art and crafts sale.  They will be arriving from Haiti just two days before the event.  Since the earthquake these talented and committed artists have been providing a daily hot lunch to 60 elementary age children at their art school Espwa Lavi pou Timoun (ELT), Hope for Children's Lives. HPSP has been sponsoring ELT for several years now. 

Sonel Guerrier, one of the group's premier artists, was born in Port-au-Prince Haiti on January 18, 1982,  His art is influenced by cubism and surrealism.  His cousin the master painter, Germain Pierre Austin, introduced him to his studio in 1996. He became his best student.  Guerrier is a member of FAPADEC artist cooperative, an art teacher at the ELT school.  He began exposing his work to an international audience in 2007 when he made his first trip to the United States.  Guerrier's work is much in demand and HPSP quickly sell out his paintngs. (See attached jpegs).

Nine months after the devastating earthquake that destroyed the Haitian Capital city of Port-au-Prince and other cities of Southwest Haiti, there are still dead corpses under huge piles of rubble.  More than a million and a half Haitians are living under makeshift tents with no prospect of decent, permanent shelter anytime soon.  In the peripheries of the tent cities, with thousands of criminals outside of the broken city jails, crime is rampant. The people of Haiti can't wait anymore. For those who lost their homes, family members and belongings, every day they wait for help that never comes is a nightmare.

HPSP has recently entered into a partnership with the Haitian humanitarian organization Lise A. Saint-Natus Foundation.   Last march, HPSP participated in the distribution of keys to the first 12 houses in the village of Bwanef, 40 km north of Port-au-Prince.  With the help of Food for The Poor Haiti,  Lise A. Saint-Natus and HPSP, a total of103 houses have been built, in less than 3 months time near the city of St. Marc.  HPSP is providing the necessary assistance for social services and other relocation necessities.  Waste disposal and water distribution system expenditures are being shared with HPSP.  Fruit trees are being donated by nearby villagers.  They are being planted in front of each one of the new homes, setting the tone for food sustainability from the very beginning.  HPSP has just acquired a new parcel of land planted with banana trees to be harvested in a few months for food.   We're actively promoting a self-reliant food security program in partnership with the Lise A. Santus Foundation and Food for the Poor.  In partnership with these two organizations, a technical school for the village has just been completed.  An elementary school is scheduled to be built by December.  This is only the beginning.  HPSP has pledged to contribute to many more community building efforts to provide people with the alternative of better living conditions than the unhealthy tents camps in the overcrowded capital city of Port-au-Prince.   Much of the money raised from Sonando for Haiti will be going toward this project and our other sustainable living project in Lory, near the city of Cap Haitien in the north.
 
So dance for joy as you contribute to helping people help themselves as we continue to build more homes and create a sustainable future for more Haitian families.


JAZZ IN THE VALLEY 11
Celebrate Music heard around the world with
HUGH MASEKELA and the Craig Harris Didgeridoo Quartet
October 10, 2010
Hudson Valley Resort & Spa

West Park, NY September 15, 2010—Hugh Masekela and his Band, Craig Harris’ Didgeridoo Quartet come to the Hudson Valley to celebrate jazz and world music in all its forms at the 11th Jazz in the Valley on October 10, at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa, 400 Granite Road in Kerhonkson, NY. Rain of shine the concert begins at noon.

“For a while it looked as though we would not have a concert this year.  The budget struggles of the state left most arts and other non-profits unable to plan”, said Greer Smith producer of the concert and President/Founder of TRANSART.  “Our audience was not happy with the decision to cancel the concert weekend in August, but we had no choice.  When the budget was announced we got to work and who better to celebrate this music than Hugh Masekela!”

Celebrate the fall with TRANSART and enjoy the best in jazz and world music. Legendary South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela is an innovator in jazz and world music.  He is a, composer, producer and activist. He has collaborated with numerous artists in the USA, Africa and Europe including Miriam Makeba, Dizzy Gillespie, Harry Belafonte and Herb Albert. Renowned choreographer Alvin Ailey chose a piece by Masekela to create a work for his world famous Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Masekela’s work as an activist raised international awareness of the South African government’s restrictive Apartheid policies. In the 80s, Masekela’s hit song Bring Him Back Home became an anthem for the Free Nelson Mandela movement.  Articulate and brilliantly musical in a number of genres, Hugh Masekela has been a defining force in music and the struggle for human rights both in Africa and around the world. This iconic artist is best known for his integral role in Paul Simon’s tour behind the classic album Graceland. Masekela’s Grammy award-winning hit Grazing in the Grass sold over 4 million copies and made him an international star.

When Craig Harris exploded onto the jazz scene in 1976, he brought the entire history of the jazz trombone with him.  From the growling gutbucket intensity of early New Orleans music through the refined, articulate improvisation of the modern era se forth by J.J. Johnson, and into the confrontational expressionism of the ‘60s avant-garde.  The contemporary music world quickly realized that his talents went far beyond his skills as a trombonist.  Here with his Didgeridoo Quartet, (didgeridoo is a wind instrument developed by indigenous people of northern Australia at least 1,500 years ago and is still in widespread usage today both in Australia and around the world.)

JAZZ IN THE VALLEY began in 2000 when TRANSART received a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts to commission Ahmad Jamal to compose a piece in homage to the Hudson River Valley. The presentation of this composition, entitled “Picture Per­fect,” was the beginning of an end-of-summer event for jazz lovers seeking a change of scenery.  The concert has since grown into an annual series showcasing music performed by world-class musicians fittingly complemented by breathtaking views of the Hudson River and the Shawangunk Mountains as a back­drop. During its 10-year history, the jazz series also has featured noted artists Roy Hargrove, Randy Weston, Stefon Harris, Jimmy Heath, the late Oscar Brown Jr. and more.

The 2010 concert commences on the lawn of The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa at noon, transforming the lawn into a field of music lovers enjoying an afternoon of world-class music.  Proceeds from the concerts assist with bringing the music and the people who create it into the public schools in the area. Many young people experience their first professional live perfor­mance through the educational program of Jazz in the Valley, Behind the Beat: Intro to Jazz.  Musicians conduct assembly presentations, master classes and jazz clinics.  There is also a traditional drumming workshop after school program.

Tickets for Jazz in the Valley  are $35.00 in advance and $45 at the door.  Tickets can be purchased on-line, or by phone with a major credit card.  For ticket information and directions to Jazz in the Valley, contact TRANSART at (845) 384-6350, or on the web at www.transartinc.org.

The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa is located 20 minutes from New Paltz or Kingston, NY and offers the perfect balance of charm, comfort and scenic beauty.   Lunch, featuring “The Best Barbecue in the Valley,” is available for purchase during the concert.  Trains leaving New York’s Grand Central Station to Poughkeepsie at 9:45a.m. will be met by a jazz bus to the concert site reservations must be made for the bus by calling Hudson River Valley Tours 800.382.3818.

TICKETS AND INFORMATION
JAZZ IN THE VALLEY 11
October 10, 2010
INDIVIDUAL TICKETS – SUNDAY CONCERT ONLY
 Tickets are $35 in Advance and $45 at the door
Gates open at 11am, Music begins at Noon
Rain or Shine
NO COOLERS, NO GLASS BOTTLES, NO ALCOHOL
Lunch available for purchase – Best barbeque in the Valley!


Sam Cooke comes to Hudson

The reviewers hale:
"Riveting", "Spellbinding"
"The best performance and cast north of Broadway", 
“A Must See!”

From Rosendale to Woodstock to Beacon, audiences keep coming back for more. Join us in Hudson for the kickoff of our regional tour.  Sam Cooke has been presented to large houses and standing ovations and is still being developed for a NYC tour next Spring. So come enjoy this masterpiece as it is honed and crafted to perfection by a multi-talented cast and crew.

Carr enterprises and Passing the Torch Through the Arts present
an original historical play by Michael Monasterial entitled,
"Sam Cooke: Where You Been Baby?"

It's educational theater at its finest with this new musical production. This American pop fable illuminates the life and musical genius of a true original. The pop singer who wrote, performed and produced 24 Billboard hits over his 8 years at the top of the charts was also a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement and an inventor of musical styles that are still incorporated in pop and gospel music 50 years later.

Sam Cooke's early years in Mississippi, his rise to fame and his demons that ultimately lead to his untimely demise are explored in this drama, but it is well seasoned with humor, pathos and most of all great, great music.

Performances are on Saturday, October 23rd at 3pm and 8pm at St. Mary’s School,  Allen Street, Hudson, New York.
Sam Cooke is directed by Esther Taylor Evan’s and the production stage manager is Patricia Gallio, with music by Bruce Berky and choreography by Abby Lappen. It stars Stephen M. Jones, Evelyn Clarke, Dennis Washington and Michael Monasterial as Sam Cooke.
 
There is a suggested donation of $20.00.
This is a joint fundraiser for the two organizations, so that Passing the Torch can keep its programming free for all the youth of the Hudson Valley (we are a 501c3 non-profit, so please be as generous as your means can afford you). You can even sponsor a block of tickets for youth to see the show or purchase advance tickets since we usually sell out early... call 845-901-6820.


New Inroads in the Arts in Beacon NY!

The Howland Cultural Center and Passing the Torch Through the Arts present educational theater at its finest and present…The First annual Educational Theater festival showcasing three plays by new and emerging playwrights in the Hudson Valley: The Finest of the Finest.

4pm: Memory by Dianna Fefas.  A woman visits her friend who has just returned from the hospital after struggling  with cancer. Though they have known each other for 20 years, this is the first time they speak honestly with one another about a variety of issues, especially the meaning of life. 

6pm:  The Finest of the finest by Carol Elkins. Set in New York City, between 1911 and 1918 and is a lively story of Mary Sullivan, the first female police officer in the N.Y.C.P.D. We follow her as she wins over her male cohorts, brings criminals to justice, and tends to the needs of her old mother and young daughter. She handles it all with a light touch until she comes face to face with her nemesis, the magnificent Margaret Sanger, who brings out her Irish temper. And then the fur flies!

8pm: A new musical production of an original historical play by Michael Monasterial entitled, Sam Cooke: Where You Been Baby?
It's an American Pop Fable that illuminates the life and musical genius of an American original. The pop singer who wrote, performed and produced 24 Billboard hits over his 8 years at the top of the charts was also a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement and an inventor of musical styles that are still incorporated in pop and gospel music 50 years later. Sam Cooke's early years in Mississippi, his rise to fame and his demons that ultimately lead to his untimely demise are explored in this drama, but it is well seasoned with humor, pathos and most of all great, great music. The play has been presented to large houses and standing ovations and is still being developed for a NYC tour next Spring.

August 28th (Sat), from 4 to 9pm
The Howland Cultural Center, Beacon NY 12508

Sam Cooke: Where you Been Baby? is directed by Esther Evans Taylor and the production stage manager is Patricia Gallio, with music by Bruce Berky and choreography by Abby Lappen. It stars Sabrina Kershaw, Stephen M. Jones, Evelyn Clarke, Dennis Washington and Michael Monasterial as Sam Cooke.
 
There is a suggested donation of $10.00 for the days’ events and as always all students are free. (limit 1 student with each paying adult, since seating is limited).

This is a joint fundraiser for the two organizations, so that Passing the Torch can keep its programming free for all the youth of the Hudson Valley (we are a 501c3 non-profit, so please be as generous as your means can afford you.) You can even sponsor a block of tickets for youth to see the show or purchase advance tickets since we usually sell out early.


Sam Cooke comes to Woodstock!

WHAT:

 

 

 


 

 

The HAITIAN PEOPLE'S SUPPORT PROJECT and Passing the Torch Through the Arts present educational theater at its finest with a new musical production of an original historical play by Michael Monasterial entitled, Sam Cooke: Where You Been?

It's an American Pop Fable that illuminates the life and musical genius of an American original. The pop singer who wrote, performed and produced 24 Billboard hits over his 8 years at the top of the charts was also a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement and an inventor of musical styles that are still incorporated in pop and gospel music 50 years later.

Sam Cooke's early years in Mississippi, his rise to fame and his demons that ultimately lead to his untimely demise are explored in this drama, but it is well seasoned with humor, pathos and most of all great, great music. The play has been presented to large houses and standing ovations and is still being developed for a NYC tour next Spring. So come enjoy this masterpiece as it is honed and crafted to perfection by a multi-talented cast and crew.

WHEN:
July 23rd (Fri), 24th (Sat), 30th (Fri), 31st (Sat) at 8pm
WHERE:
The Woodstock Community Center, 56 Rock City Rd. Woodstock, NY 12498

"The Cooke Show was absolutely fabulous!  Ab Fab!!!!!!!!
Thanks again .. we'll watch for you at every turn!"

~ June Crillly 

 

The play is directed by Gordon W. Brown and the production stage manager is Alisa Brown, with music by Bruce Berky and choreography by Abby Lappen. It stars Stephen M. Jones, Evelyn Clarke, Dennis Washington and Michael Monasterial as Sam Cooke.
 
There is a suggested donation of $10.00 and as always all students are free. (limit 1 student with each paying adult, since seating is limited).
This is a joint fundraiser for the two organizations, so that Passing the Torch can keep its programming free for all the youth of the Hudson Valley (we are a 501c3 non-profit, so please be as generous as your means can afford you.) You can even sponsor a block of tickets for youth to see the show or purchase advance tickets since we usually sell out early...


Harry Belafonte - Hear the Music

April 2nd, 3rd, 4th,
9th, 10th, & 11th
at The Performing Arts of Woodstock

Hope on the Horizon for Artistic Non-Profits
Passing the Torch Through the Arts: Woodstock in April, Rosendale in May

HUDSON VALLEY, NY—Passing the Torch Through the Arts, the Hudson Valley’s only multicultural, multigenerational education theatre company has found a way to thrive in a world of stiff competition for shrinking funding sources. Although many non-profit arts organizations are facing their last stand this year, this company will not be one of them. Artistic Director, Michael Monasterial said, “we thrive through making allies and COLLABORATING.”

Founded in 2007, Passing the Torch Through the Arts, a Kingston Based educational Theater company with a focus on social change, the Artistic director’s rocky childhood was given direction and a strong sense of purpose through the performing arts. Now he wishes to offer theater as a life preserver for At-Risk youth as a means of expression and hope—hope that can only be carried on through sufficient funding to keep this dream alive.

While many companies have cut programming and reduced productions, Passing the Torch Through the Arts is booked solid for the season. Their vision has always been to keep all shows free for students and offer free workshops to programs that rarely make it to the top of the funding food chain. With this goal in mind, Passing the Torch Through the Arts is weathering the economic storm by continuing their innovative programming and performing original shows as “fundraising productions”. This season the company has joint projects with two time honored institutions that are “feeling the funding crunch” but have a stellar reputation for quality.

This April, the company will be producing an original play “Harry Belafonte: Hear the Music!” at the Performing arts of Woodstock. Show dates are April 2-4 and 9-11. This drama-comedy-musical review is based on the great American entertainer and humanitarian Harry Belafonte and gives a historical context for his life and his place in mainstream music. With wonderful dialogue, timeless songs and strong educational value, the show has been performed for sold out houses and received frequent standing ovations. This musical drama-comedy stars actor/writer Candi Sterling, actor/vocal coach Brett Owen and Michael Monasterial (as Harry).

The Performing Arts of Woodstock (PAW) has been producing the finest local theater for over 40 years and has invited Passing the Torch Through the Arts because of the shared commitment to communities and dedication to enhancing the quality of life through theater arts for all generations and cultures in the Hudson Valley.

On Saturday May 22, 2010, the historic Rosendale Theater will host Passing the Torch Through the Arts theatre company for the joint fundraiser “Night and Day: Two sides of Passion: An Evening of Original Theatre.” The program will start at 8:00 p.m. at the Rosendale Theater, 408 Main Street, Rosendale, NY 12472. The Suggested donation is $10.00 and all contributions are tax-deductable.

The May program will feature the finest local actors and writers for one night of great entertainment for a good cause: the survival of the arts. Dedicated to keeping their visions alive, the two organizations are collaborating on the creation of this event to provide substantial funding for the Rosendale Theatre and Passing the Torch Through the Arts.
  
Michael Cacchio of The Rosendale Theater has invited Passing the Torch Through the Arts because he said the company produces high quality and the cause and he believes their mission to be truly altruistic and timely.

Featured Presentations Include “A Cabaret of Broadway Love Songs, ”produced, written and directed by Ron and Aysa Moorehead of Crown Productions and “Sam Cooke: Where you Been Baby?” by Michael Monasterial, starring the fine acting of Evelyn Clarke, Candi Sterling, Brett Owen and Michael Monasterial.

Artistic Director Michael Monasterial said that there are many elements that make this production different. “At Passing the Torch Through the Arts we believe in debunking stereotypes, that’s why we colorblind cast and cast against old gender and age models. “We just cast a great older actor, who can totally relate with the feelings of the character in this finely crafted story and once she speaks the words, she becomes that character, but she has all the richness of experience, texture and beauty that comes with age. This might not have been the Authors original intent...but once we see the breathtaking and brave honesty of the portrayal, you will be a believer too.”

As the author of “Sam Cooke: Where you Been Baby?” Monasterial gives a brief explanation about the story: “Most musical reviews only brush the surface an artist’s life, or are expose’s of an artist’s excesses. The way we tell Sam Cooke’s story is lovingly, his grandmother who used to walk with him to church as a boy is one of the central characters, how she protects an nurtures him comes through, the tragic way he died portrayed him as a womanizing drunk,” he said.

“We leave conclusions up to the audience we only give words he had spoken and might have spoken to his son that died in a swimming pool and to his estranged wife …his passion for his music drove him to success, but his personal life was completely out of his control. It is a tragic, but timeless tale of an American Icon and an American Family.”


Event:


Woodstock’s 20th Annual Birthday Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. --- From Montgomery to Woodstock Speaking Out Against War ---An afternoon of history, song, drama and dance
Date:
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Place:
Woodstock Community Center, Rock City Road
Time:
Starting at 2 PM
Speakers:

Rev. Dr. Modele Çlarke, New Progressive Baptist Church and Pam Africa, MOVE, International Concerned Friends of Mumia Abu Jamal
Performers:




Michael Monasterial, Playwright-Actor delivering parts of King’s 1967 Riverside Speech; Janine Williams, dancer/choreographer with Naomi Eshe  dancing to Michael Jackson’s Earth Song; Princes of Serendipit, anti war songs; Debra Burger, freedom songs, acoustic guitar; Ras T and Asheber Posse, roots rock; and surprise guests
Sponsors:
MLK Day Planning Committee, Town of Woodstock, Haitian People’s Support Project, Woodstock Council for World Peace
Info:
For further info and to arrange for pictures and interviews, call Terry Leroy, 679-7320

Woodstock’s 20th annual Birthday Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will highlight Dr. King’s courage and eloquence in speaking out against the war in Vietnam.  Playwright, actor and director Michael Monasterial of Passing The Torch Through the Arts, will become Dr. King as he does a rendition of the famous 1967 Riverside speech.  Many, many relevant cultural performances will make Woodstock’s 20th Annual Birthday Tribute a diverse celebration and at the same time allow us to reflect on how to build today’s peace movement.

Janine Williams, 42, is a choreographer, dancer, diversity trainer, a mom, elementary school teacher and performance curator/producer of dance events.  In May of 2009 she earned her Masters of Science for Teachers at SUNY New Paltz.  She earned her BA from Bard College in 1990.  Ms. Williams was nominated for an Emmy Award for her first televised choreographic debut in Robert DeNiro’s ,“Tribeca” that aired on Fox Television in 1994.  Prior to attending graduate school she was the artistic director of Janine Williams Dance Company for 12 years.  Janine has presented dances in NYC at Brooklyn Academy of Music, Dance Theater Workshop, BAM’s 651 Majestic Theater, Gowanus Arts Exchange, Thelma Hill, Dance Space Inc., Judson Church, Movement Research, Aaron Davis Hall, The Apollo etc..  National and international venues include: Artist in residence programs in Woodside in California, Hilo in Hawaii, Santa Monica California, Caracas in Venezuela, Germany and Switzerland.  Janine relocated from NYC to Woodstock NY in 1999 and founded the Janine Williams Youth Dance Company in 2000.  As a dance, movement specialist, diversity trainer or as a choreographer she has taught at Livingston Middle school in Albany, Bard College, Woodstock Youth Theater, Onteora Arts Academy, Mill Street Loft and Horizons in Poughkeepsie, Kingston Housing Authority, Ulster BOCES, Woodstock Elementary School, Woodstock Day School, John F Kennedy Elementary School, and she teaches classes independently at many local venues. 

We have been invited by the Theater Dept of SUNY New Paltz
to perform for 300 in Mackenna theater:
Hear the Music - the Harry Belafonte Story
and
excerpts from To Kill a Mockingbird

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009 @12:15pm
music by Brian Gallio

The performance is open to students and the general public
and is part of our classroom classic series.


ASK Presents an Original Play About Henry Hudson
by Playwright Paul Cooper and Directed by Beverly Brumm

 “Turbulent Voyage,” a domestic retelling of Henry Hudson’s epic explorations, a play by Paul Cooper, directed by Beverly Brumm and produced by Michael Monasterial will be performed at the Arts Society of Kingston (ASK), at 97 Broadway. Performance dates are Friday and Saturday, September 25th and 26th, October 2nd at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, October 4th, at 3:00 pm. Admission is $12 for members and $15 non-members and reservations will be taken at (845) 338-0331.

This play is not to be missed. It is an intimate look at Henry Hudson and his turbulent voyage across the sea and in marriage, beautifully written by playwright Paul Cooper. Katherine Hudson, the widow of the great explorer, begins to relate to her servant, Mary, the story or her late husband’s voyages. As she tells the story, Henry’s ghost appears to the old woman, and we begin to see that the voyage of their marriage was at least as turbulent as any of his voyages at sea. Mary, meanwhile, is engaged to the poet Josiah, who, unlike Henry Hudson, doesn’t need any new continents to discover. To Josiah, Mary, will be a new world enough for him to explore, though their names will be lost to history. The play asks: What is the value of fame, and the meaning of success?

Playwright Says that Kingston is Good For His Art.

The playwright Paul Cooper, says he hit his full stride as a playwright only since coming to Kingston three years ago. Before then, little things kept interfering – little things like making a living, which he did first as a professor of theater, and then as a programmer of computers. Yet even while writing computer code, he never forgot his love of theater, and for a few years attended Lehman Engel’s famous BMI workshop in New York for musical theatre composers, lyricists and librettists, where he tried out some of the compositions that would be featured in shows he was writing for Kingston audiences.  Also, he and his wife founded the Hudson Valley Gilbert & Sullivan Music Theatre, for which he directed the first ten productions. And, with what strength was left, he directed for Kingston’s Coach House Players, and the Performing Artists of Woodstock.

After fifteen years of writing in code, Cooper decided to retire early so he could stay home and write in English. For Cooper, home was a 34 acre spread in Marbletown, and when he wasn’t mowing his acres, he did find some time to write – but not enough time.  He had penned a few stories, and that was it.

Then one day, while sitting on his tractor, it occurred to him that the time he was spending cutting brush would be better spent writing plays. This epiphany he duly conveyed to his wife, the artist Carol Pepper-Cooper. Flash forward to late December, 2005, when the Coopers moved to Kingston. Paul joined ASK’s New Playwright’s Workshop. That was what it took. After joining, Paul sat down and wrote ten plays, of which “Turbulent Voyage” is one. He says that it’s inspiring to be with other playwrights, no matter what their stage of development. They comment on his work, and he comments on theirs. “Often,” he says, “after a session with them, I feel more alive, and more eager to write than ever before. I think that I’m a better writer because of it.”

When “Turbulent Voyage” was chosen for production, Cooper celebrated by writing three more plays! “I’m on a roll,” he says.

An Accomplished Director Takes the Helm

Beverly Brumm has been happily directing plays for many years, since the time when she was assigned to direct “Junior Miss”  when she was a high school English teacher. Because she loved this experience, but realized she knew next to nothing about what she was doing, she decided to try and learn more about this demanding craft. Through attending Yale School of Drama, she earned her MFA in directing. Since that time, she has directed about a hundred plays in many and varied venues --- New York City, Northampton, Chicago, Santa Fe, and around the Hudson Valley. She also staged the “Village Voice Annual Obie Awards” for five years.

However, Ms. Brumm’s professional life has been chiefly devoted to college teaching, a career of over forty years, twenty-seven of which were at SUNY New Paltz, where she directed many productions with students, including “Hair,” “Cloud Nine,” “Fefu and Her Friends,” “Grapes of Wrath,” and “Angels in America.” Off-Broadway in New York, she has directed “The Monument” and “A Number” for Clockwork Theatre on Theatre Row. She also taught theatre classes at New Paltz, chiefly acting and dramatic literature, and feels proud that many of her former students have found careers in theatre, film and television. She has also taught in professional acting studios in New York and Chicago. As a college professor, Beverly also holds a Ph.D. from NYU.

Currently, she is feeling especially pleased to have the opportunity to work in her community by directing “Turbulent Voyage” and to be able to create this timely production with the talents of local actors designers and especially the playwright, Paul Cooper. She looks forward to celebrating both theatre and history in presenting “Turbulent Voyage” to Hudson Valley audiences.

Triple Threat Man On Board For “Turbulent Voyage”

His name is Michael Monasterial, and he’s actually more than a triple threat man: He’s an actor, writer, director, producer, educator, builder, and visionary;  and one – just one – of his many jobs is producing Paul Cooper ‘s “Turbulent Voyage,” ASK’s Quadricentennial play, which will be performed at the Art Society of Kingston, Friday and Saturday, September 25th and 26th, October 2nd at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, October 4th, at 3:00 pm. Admission is $12 for members and $15 non-members and reservations will be taken at (845) 338-0331.

At the same time, he’s directing and performing in “Passing The Torch Through The Arts,” an outreach program one of whose missions is to bring fine plays – such as “To Kill a Mocking Bird” – to young audiences who would otherwise never get the chance to see them. The program also runs a new Playwright’s Workshop in Beacon. Monasterial’s motto is “Theater + Education + Positive Action = Social Change,” and this charismatic man makes you believe in it all.

A Board Member in The Art Society of Kingston, Monasterial enjoys helping out with the drama effort. “These guys are trying to build something,” he says, “and I am, too. I can learn from them.”

Monasterial’s contribution to “Turbulent Voyage”is to design and build the platforms, hang and wire the lights, and provide a myriad of other resources – all this while attending to the demands of other theatrical ventures. Not all the stars appear on stage.

“Turbulent Voyage” Star Stages Her Own Reenactment.

When Rowena Rhyne heard that a replica of the Half Moon was going to sail up the Hudson River, she decided to do a little reenacting of her own. This star of Paul Cooper's Henry Hudson play “Turbulent Voyage,” wasn't content to watch from the shore. She lives near Smith's Landing, where a settlement of Indians used to dwell, and she tried to imagine how these native Americans must have felt to see a ship full of Europeans invade their accustomed tranquility. She tried to get her friends to dress as Indians, jump in canoes, and paddle toward the Dutch Ship, shaking their fists and waving their paddles in protest.

Her friends declined.

Undeterred, Rowena climbed into a kayak (though not in Indian clothes) and paddled her way toward the Half Moon, making as clamorous a protest as she could. It wasn't enough for her to be told about history; she needed to feel as if she were a part of it.

So naturally, when she heard that the Art Society of Kingston was having auditions for their Hudson Quadricentennial offering, she showed up at once.

It's a very good thing for ASK that she did. A veteran of many productions in regional theatres from Boston to Key West, mainly in classical repertory (some of her favorite roles have been Chekhov’s Madame Ranevskaya and Yelena; and Shakespeare’s Rosalind, Viola, Portia, Gertrude, Cleopatra, Titania, Goneril, and Desdemona), Rowena has also created roles in new plays by Rosalyn Drexler, Donald Barthelme, and Tennessee Williams.

She received her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Arizona and her doctorate from the City University of New York.  She has taught Shakespeare, period acting styles, and performance theory at various schools and conservatories around the country.  She currently teaches acting and theatre history at a professional school in Manhattan.

But perhaps more important than any of this is what will be experienced by audiences lucky enough to see her as Katherine, Hudson's wife. For just as poetry doesn't tell you what to know, but tells you what it feels like to know it (as T.S. Eliot said), so Rowena Rhyne doesn't tell us what to know about history.

She shows what it feels like to live it.

“Turbulent Voyage,” a domestic retelling of Henry Hudson’s epic explorations, a play by Paul Cooper, directed by Beverly Brumm and produced by Michael Monasterial will be performed at the Arts Society of Kingston (ASK), at 97 Broadway. Performance dates are Friday and Saturday, September 25th and 26th, October 2nd at 8:00 pm, and Sunday, October 4th, at 3:00 pm. Admission is $12 for members and $15 non-members and reservations will be taken at (845) 338-0331.


Spirit of Beacon Day Performance

Sunday, September 27, 2009

As part of the 32nd Annual Spirit of Beacon Day festivities,
Passing the Torch Through the Arts will reprise
their acclaimed production of:

Hear the Music - The Harry Belafonte Story

The show will take place on the Main Street stage
after the 1:00 p.m. parade

This event is FREE!

visit the "productions" page for more details!
Rain Date: October 4, 2009

Mary Ellen Nelligar has performed and directed in the upstate New York area for twenty-five years.  She founded Crestview Players in New Windsor, NY, where she scripted the acclaimed Footlights I and II and A Delicious Christmas musicalreviews, directed Nunsense and appeared in The Fantasticks.  Favorite roles include Gooch in Mame, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Rizzo in Grease, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at County Players in Wappingers Falls, Jen in Before the Parade Passes By and the title role in Funny Girl.  She most recently had the pleasure to appear as Lotty in Ghent Playhouse’s Enchanted April and directed the premier of her husband Brian Petti’s well-received The Measure of a Man at the CENTER in Rhinebeck.  Mary Ellen appeared Off-Off-Broadway in Petti’s and Joel Flowers’ farce Hindenburg—the Musical  at the American Theatre of Actors, Inc. and Everything’s Coming Up Roses at the Duplex Cabaret.   Other directorial credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, and Next Year in Jerusalem.  Mary Ellen has three sons, James, 16, Conor 10 and Mychal 7.  
Brett Owen moved to Port Ewen from Poughkeepsie with his wife & daughter 3 years ago. He makes his living teaching acting at Dutchess Community College and tutoring clients for the GED exam in the B.I. program @ St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. He is currently in the process of becoming fully certified in the Vocal Awareness Method, which he also teaches. He has been acting for 16 years and is just now starting to become the actor he strives to be. Some of his performance highlights include: We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay, as Luigi, with The American Theater for Actors, The Cocoon, Theater and The Hudson River Theater, Lucky in Waiting for Godot, with Todo Con Nada, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, with The Cocoon Theater and John Merrick in the Elephant Man with Vassar Brothers Theater. He has also toured internationally as The Mathematician in 36 Exposures and has worked as multiple characters on High Window Radio Classics Theater.
Mourka has been acting since she was 6 years old, singing since she was 8, dancing since she was 17 and playing tennis since she was 50.  She thanks her husband for helping her keep all these passions as real and continuous possibilities.

 

 

Brian C. Petti, is an actor, director, producer and playwright.   His plays have been produced in a number of Off-Off Broadway houses, most notably Masquerade at Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC.  He was also the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California for Next Year in Jerusalem.  Hudson Valley productions include Hindenburg—the Musical (with Joel Flowers), Masquerade (New Windsor, NY), Next Year in Jerusalem, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, (Poughkeepsie, NY) The Measure of a Man (Rhinebeck, NY) and On the Expectation of White Chistmases (Hudson, NY).  Favorite acting roles include MacMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Septimus in Arcadia, Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest, Czoglosz in Assassins, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, and Nicky Arnstein opposite his lovely wife Mary Ellen's Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.   In addition to his own plays, Brian also has to his directorial credit The Fantasticks, Into the Woods, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Who's On First? and Michael Monasterial's adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Brian lives in Greene couny with his wife and two boys, Conor, 10 and Mychal, 7.

Nick Melillo is a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz where he received his BA in Theatre Arts. Some of his favorite roles include: Jamie in The Last 5 Years, Angelo in Measure for Measure, Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Edmund in King Lear, Paul Berthalet in Carnival, The Artful Dodger in Oliver!, & Young Ben in Follies. Nick also directed and produced the first touring musical in New Paltz with his production of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Outside of the theatre, Nick has recently been branching out with work in feature films and commercials. His current focus is touring and performing as the drummer and singer in his band, “The Melillo Boys.”


The Howland Lab

Passing the Torch will be hosting a New Playwright’s Lab on Sunday nights at the Howland Cultural Center (477 Main St. Beacon NY, 12508) from 5:30 to 7:30pm.

We are looking forward to offering a venue and peer critique of new plays and plays in progress from all levels, all ages, all unique voices of Hudson Valley playwrights. To allow these works of arts to be polished, honed and perfected in a nurturing environment and free to the general public, (although donations are accepted). We believe the Hudson Valley is a Treasure trove of talent: Writers, Actors, Directors and would love to perfect their craft or just keep their chops, close to home and spare the expense of NYC. Also, we encourage the general public to come and view the works to enjoy the creative process.

As an added feature, and to attract actors, directors and lovers of Theater, we are offering the last ½ hour of the Lab to the reading of scenes, published works or monologues. Is there a play you would love to participate in but are the wrong type? Or a piece of theater or literature that never gets produced but that you love to do? Come share it with us. Bring a small troupe, even a directed staged reading, perhaps to attract a prospective producer? Or maybe just to give an idea some legs.

Since this is a new venture for us in this space, we are open to ideas and input. Come get involved in something new and exciting that could lead to the production of fine works of Theatric art. (Or just to get out of the house, meet some nice people, and have some fun!)

 

Howland Lab History:

Passing the Torch Through the Arts will be reaching back to the entertainment days of yesteryear when it presents a staged reading of Brian Petti’s new play nobody on July 12th, 2009.  All the way back to Vaudeville, in fact, and it couldn’t be more appropriate.

After all, this is the group’s maiden effort at the Howland Cultural Center at 477 Main St in Beacon, so what better place to start than at the beginning?

Petti’s original play with music, which takes place in and around the black theater scene at the turn of the century, will kick off Passing the Torch’s New Playwright’s Lab on Sunday July 12th from 5:30 to 7:30.  It is the first in what will become a regular Sunday night venue for playwrights, actors and directors to polish, hone, and perfect their work.  The reading is free to the public, although donations are accepted.

nobody tells the story of Bert Williams, the first black entertainment superstar in America.  It traces his beginnings as part of a Vaudeville team with George Walker through his career as the only black performer in Zeigfeld's Follies.  Throughout the story, issues of personal identity and racial identification are explored, as this Negro performer of West-Indian descent becomes famous portraying a Southern-Negro racial stereotype while in blackface.

With humor and pathos, nobody explores the price of fame, the struggle for racial equality in America at the turn of the century, and the dangers of moral ambiguity, all through the character of one man.  Former Newburgh resident Mary Ellen Nelligar will direct a talented cast that includes Nick Butler of New Windsor in the title role, and Michael Monasterial of Kingston as his troubled partner George Walker.  Musical accompaniment will be provided by well-known local musician Joel Flowers.

Brian Petti (formerly of Newburgh) has been produced in numerous Off-Off Broadway houses, most notably Masquerade at Cherry Lane Theatre.  He was also the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California for Next Year in Jerusalem.  Local productions include Hindenburg—the Musical (with Joel Flowers), Masquerade (New Windsor), Next Year in Jerusalem, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, The Measure of a Man (Poughkeepsie) and On the Expectation of White Chistmases (Hudson).

July 19th: Selected scenes from Tom Stoppards award winning Rosencrantz and Guilderstern are Dead read by two great Hudson Valley actors, Brett Owen and Ron Morehead.

Ron Morehead - Throughout his career Ron has had the pleasure of working with some of Broadways most esteemed composers including Marvin Hamlisch, Steven Schwartz (Godspell), David Shire (Baby, Closer Than Ever) and Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last 5 Years) and at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and the White House.  He played James Vane in Dorian Grey off-Broadway, performed in Dena Hammerstein’s “Only Make Believe” Foundation Benefit Concert and An Evening with Jason Robert Brown at Cooper Union in NYC.  He can be heard on the World Premiere recording of Vernon Duke’s Sadie Thompson (Original Cast Records) and on Obie Winner Ken Jones’ Lifelines. Additional credits include John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, Seymore in Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin in Pippin, Judas in Godspell, The Major General in Pirates of Penzance, Ladislav Sipos in She Loves Me, the Bellboy in Lend Me a Tenor and many more.  He currently serves as founder and Artistic Director of Crown Productions and serves as Theatre Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Arts Society of Kingston. 
Brett Owen moved to Port Ewen from Poughkeepsie with his wife & daughter 3 years ago. He makes his living teaching acting at Dutchess Community College and tutoring clients for the GED exam in the B.I. program @ St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. He is currently in the process of becoming fully certified in the Vocal Awareness Method, which he also teaches. He has been acting for 16 years and is just now starting to become the actor he strives to be. Some of his performance highlights include: We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay, as Luigi, with The American Theater for Actors, The Cocoon, Theater and The Hudson River Theater, Lucky in Waiting for Godot, with Todo Con Nada, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, with The Cocoon Theater and John Merrick in the Elephant Man with Vassar Brothers Theater. He has also toured internationally as The Mathematician in 36 Exposures and has worked as multiple characters on High Window Radio Classics Theater.

July 26th: Scenes from The Boston Marriage by David Mamet, read by Sharon Greene and Christa Trinler.

Sharon Greene - Sharron Greene has appeared in over one hundred theatre productions. TV credits include Law & Order, L&O: SVU, L&O: Criminal Intent, Rescue Me, and HBO Actual Jokes. Sharron has taught Acting, Voice/Speech, and Acting for Opera Singers at the college level. She holds an MFA in acting from the University of Texas at Austin.

 

Christa Trinler is an actor and producer formerly from Chicago who has relocated to the Catskill Mountains. She has worked with various theatre companies in Chicago including: Stage Left Theatre, Raven Theatre, Famous Door Theatre, Chicago Actor Ensemble, Stage Actors Ensemble, and Boxer Rebellion Ensemble. Some favorite roles include: Olivia in Twelfth Night, Helen in Lady House Blues, Gina in The WAL*MART-ians, Mrs. Martin in The Bald Soprano (Jeff Recommended), Ilana in Diner Tales (Jeff Recommended), Rosalind in As You Like It, Vixen in The 8: Reindeer Monologues, and Multiple Roles in Erik Ehn’s The Saint Plays, directed by Paul Budraitis of the Lithuanian National Music Academy. Theatre goers in Woodstock have seen her in Wonder of the World, Some Girl(s), and The Water Engine at P.A.W..  She has also performed in industrials and training videos for Motorola and The American Medical Association.  Outside of the theatre, Christa has over 15 years experience in the Corporate Communications industry, wearing the hats of Back Stage Manager, Graphics and Speech Coordinator, Talent Wrangler, Tour Manager, and Production Coordinator. Christa has also used her extensive theatrical and communications training to facilitate Doctor-to-Patient Communication Training at Northwestern University: Feinberg School of Medicine.  

August 2nd: The Weir by Conor McPhereson, read by Mary Ellen Nelligar and Ron Morehead. 

Ron Morehead - Throughout his career Ron has had the pleasure of working with some of Broadways most esteemed composers including Marvin Hamlisch, Steven Schwartz (Godspell), David Shire (Baby, Closer Than Ever) and Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last 5 Years) and at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and the White House.  He played James Vane in Dorian Grey off-Broadway, performed in Dena Hammerstein’s “Only Make Believe” Foundation Benefit Concert and An Evening with Jason Robert Brown at Cooper Union in NYC.  He can be heard on the World Premiere recording of Vernon Duke’s Sadie Thompson (Original Cast Records) and on Obie Winner Ken Jones’ Lifelines. Additional credits include John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, Seymore in Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin in Pippin, Judas in Godspell, The Major General in Pirates of Penzance, Ladislav Sipos in She Loves Me, the Bellboy in Lend Me a Tenor and many more.  He currently serves as founder and Artistic Director of Crown Productions and serves as Theatre Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Arts Society of Kingston. 

Mary Ellen Nelligar has performed and directed in the upstate New York area for twenty-five years.  She founded Crestview Players in New Windsor, NY, where she scripted the acclaimed Footlights I and II and A Delicious Christmas musicalreviews, directed Nunsense and appeared in The Fantasticks.  Favorite roles include Gooch in Mame, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Rizzo in Grease, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at County Players in Wappingers Falls, Jen in Before the Parade Passes By and the title role in Funny Girl.  She most recently had the pleasure to appear as Lotty in Ghent Playhouse’s Enchanted April and directed the premier of her husband Brian Petti’s well-received The Measure of a Man at the CENTER in Rhinebeck.  Mary Ellen appeared Off-Off-Broadway in Petti’s and Joel Flowers’ farce Hindenburg—the Musical  at the American Theatre of Actors, Inc. and Everything’s Coming Up Roses at the Duplex Cabaret.   Other directorial credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, and Next Year in Jerusalem.  Mary Ellen has three sons, James, 16, Conor 10 and Mychal 7.  

August 8th: A piece by Harry Belefonte, read by Brian C. Petti and Mary Ellen Nelligar.

 

 

Brian C. Petti, is an actor, director, producer and playwright.   His plays have been produced in a number of Off-Off Broadway houses, most notably Masquerade at Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC.  He was also the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California for Next Year in Jerusalem.  Hudson Valley productions include Hindenburg—the Musical (with Joel Flowers), Masquerade (New Windsor, NY), Next Year in Jerusalem, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, (Poughkeepsie, NY) The Measure of a Man (Rhinebeck, NY) and On the Expectation of White Chistmases (Hudson, NY).  Favorite acting roles include MacMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Septimus in Arcadia, Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest, Czoglosz in Assassins, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, and Nicky Arnstein opposite his lovely wife Mary Ellen's Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.   In addition to his own plays, Brian also has to his directorial credit The Fantasticks, Into the Woods, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Who's On First? and Michael Monasterial's adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Brian lives in Greene couny with his wife and two boys, Conor, 10 and Mychal, 7.

Mary Ellen Nelligar has performed and directed in the upstate New York area for twenty-five years.  She founded Crestview Players in New Windsor, NY, where she scripted the acclaimed Footlights I and II and A Delicious Christmas musicalreviews, directed Nunsense and appeared in The Fantasticks.  Favorite roles include Gooch in Mame, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Rizzo in Grease, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at County Players in Wappingers Falls, Jen in Before the Parade Passes By and the title role in Funny Girl.  She most recently had the pleasure to appear as Lotty in Ghent Playhouse’s Enchanted April and directed the premier of her husband Brian Petti’s well-received The Measure of a Man at the CENTER in Rhinebeck.  Mary Ellen appeared Off-Off-Broadway in Petti’s and Joel Flowers’ farce Hindenburg—the Musical  at the American Theatre of Actors, Inc. and Everything’s Coming Up Roses at the Duplex Cabaret.   Other directorial credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, and Next Year in Jerusalem.  Mary Ellen has three sons, James, 16, Conor 10 and Mychal 7.  

August 9th: Medal of Honor Rag by Tom Cole, featuring Stephen M Jones

Stephen M. Jones has been involved with theatre for over 25 years. He has worked in many areas of theatre including design, writing, producing and acting. He has been seen throughout the Midwest and New York in such various roles as Puck in Midsummer Night's Dream at the Indianapolis Shakespeare Festival, Doc in Tooth of Crime with Star Mountain Productions, in the Woodstock area, Conjure Man in Dark of the Moon, with The Henry Street Players and Langston with Karamuu Playhouse in Cleveland. Steve, when not living like a hermit, is obsessed with the detail of minutia and butterflies.

August 16th: A scene from The Seagull by Anton Chekov, featuring Ann Osmond and Bruce Pileggi

Ann Osmond has performed as an actor and singer in NY, CA and abroad. Favorite roles include the title role in "Tamara" (L.A. production) and Carlyle in "The Stonewater Rapture" by Doug Wright (Fringe First Award, Edinburgh). Recently she's been enjoying performing classic cabaret songs around the Hudson Valley with accompanist Dennis Yerry.

August 23rd: "The Weir" by Conor McPhereson, with Mary Ellen Nelligar, Brett Owen, Ron Morehead, and Brian Petti.

Mary Ellen Nelligar has performed and directed in the upstate New York area for twenty-five years.  She founded Crestview Players in New Windsor, NY, where she scripted the acclaimed Footlights I and II and A Delicious Christmas musicalreviews, directed Nunsense and appeared in The Fantasticks.  Favorite roles include Gooch in Mame, Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, Rizzo in Grease, Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes at County Players in Wappingers Falls, Jen in Before the Parade Passes By and the title role in Funny Girl.  She most recently had the pleasure to appear as Lotty in Ghent Playhouse’s Enchanted April and directed the premier of her husband Brian Petti’s well-received The Measure of a Man at the CENTER in Rhinebeck.  Mary Ellen appeared Off-Off-Broadway in Petti’s and Joel Flowers’ farce Hindenburg—the Musical  at the American Theatre of Actors, Inc. and Everything’s Coming Up Roses at the Duplex Cabaret.   Other directorial credits include Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma, and Next Year in Jerusalem.  Mary Ellen has three sons, James, 16, Conor 10 and Mychal 7.  
Brett Owen moved to Port Ewen from Poughkeepsie with his wife & daughter 3 years ago. He makes his living teaching acting at Dutchess Community College and tutoring clients for the GED exam in the B.I. program @ St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. He is currently in the process of becoming fully certified in the Vocal Awareness Method, which he also teaches. He has been acting for 16 years and is just now starting to become the actor he strives to be. Some of his performance highlights include: We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay, as Luigi, with The American Theater for Actors, The Cocoon, Theater and The Hudson River Theater, Lucky in Waiting for Godot, with Todo Con Nada, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, with The Cocoon Theater and John Merrick in the Elephant Man with Vassar Brothers Theater. He has also toured internationally as The Mathematician in 36 Exposures and has worked as multiple characters on High Window Radio Classics Theater.
Ron Morehead - Throughout his career Ron has had the pleasure of working with some of Broadways most esteemed composers including Marvin Hamlisch, Steven Schwartz (Godspell), David Shire (Baby, Closer Than Ever) and Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Last 5 Years) and at venues that include Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Radio City Music Hall and the White House.  He played James Vane in Dorian Grey off-Broadway, performed in Dena Hammerstein’s “Only Make Believe” Foundation Benefit Concert and An Evening with Jason Robert Brown at Cooper Union in NYC.  He can be heard on the World Premiere recording of Vernon Duke’s Sadie Thompson (Original Cast Records) and on Obie Winner Ken Jones’ Lifelines. Additional credits include John Wilkes Booth in Assassins, Seymore in Little Shop of Horrors, Pippin in Pippin, Judas in Godspell, The Major General in Pirates of Penzance, Ladislav Sipos in She Loves Me, the Bellboy in Lend Me a Tenor and many more.  He currently serves as founder and Artistic Director of Crown Productions and serves as Theatre Chairman on the Board of Directors for the Arts Society of Kingston. 

 

 

Brian C. Petti, is an actor, director, producer and playwright.   His plays have been produced in a number of Off-Off Broadway houses, most notably Masquerade at Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC.  He was also the winner of the Humboldt State University National Play Contest in California for Next Year in Jerusalem.  Hudson Valley productions include Hindenburg—the Musical (with Joel Flowers), Masquerade (New Windsor, NY), Next Year in Jerusalem, Everything’s Coming Up Roses, (Poughkeepsie, NY) The Measure of a Man (Rhinebeck, NY) and On the Expectation of White Chistmases (Hudson, NY).  Favorite acting roles include MacMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest, Septimus in Arcadia, Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest, Czoglosz in Assassins, Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, and Nicky Arnstein opposite his lovely wife Mary Ellen's Fanny Brice in Funny Girl.   In addition to his own plays, Brian also has to his directorial credit The Fantasticks, Into the Woods, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Who's On First? and Michael Monasterial's adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Brian lives in Greene couny with his wife and two boys, Conor, 10 and Mychal, 7.

August 30th: "April in Leningrad" by Nina Shengold, with Mourka and Brett Owen

Brett Owen moved to Port Ewen from Poughkeepsie with his wife & daughter 3 years ago. He makes his living teaching acting at Dutchess Community College and tutoring clients for the GED exam in the B.I. program @ St. Paul's Church, Poughkeepsie. He is currently in the process of becoming fully certified in the Vocal Awareness Method, which he also teaches. He has been acting for 16 years and is just now starting to become the actor he strives to be. Some of his performance highlights include: We Won't Pay, We Won't Pay, as Luigi, with The American Theater for Actors, The Cocoon, Theater and The Hudson River Theater, Lucky in Waiting for Godot, with Todo Con Nada, Reverend Hale in The Crucible, with The Cocoon Theater and John Merrick in the Elephant Man with Vassar Brothers Theater. He has also toured internationally as The Mathematician in 36 Exposures and has worked as multiple characters on High Window Radio Classics Theater.
Mourka has been acting since she was 6 years old, singing since she was 8, dancing since she was 17 and playing tennis since she was 50.  She thanks her husband for helping her keep all these passions as real and continuous possibilities.

What are people saying about the show?

Dear Michael, Brett and company,

On behalf of myself [Alba, volunteer at the Howland Cultural Center], and that of the many other people I spoke with after the shows on Thursday and Friday.

     Thank you for the memorable experience, all of you in the cast gave us by way of those two brilliant performances....BRAVO...A Standing Ovation!   To Kill a Mockingbird would be a hard play to put into such a condensed form...but many attending last night's performance voiced this opinion, "it was done amazingly well by your artistic company".  Many people also told me that they were blown away by the minimal costumes or stage setting you use to pull this off.  I told them, "It is the slight face and body gestures,  and  the voice mimicking, that is what I admire most, in how they go about bringing the multitude of characters alive."

     I think it was brilliant of you to do additional publicity in making the public aware of these performances. As per our conversation I want to remind you  about the wording as to  'Students Always Free' by perhaps instead noting students up to a certain age, because most college students would be included with this statement.   Or if you will allow a suggestion:  'Children Always Free, College Students Half Price with ID' ...I say this because college students are mostly people, of all ages, struggling with today's high academic and life expenses, and perhaps this might attract them to your productions.......Just a thought.

     I also want to take this opportunity to let you know that if in the future you need someone to post any of your activities in local areas.....(libraries, shops..etc) please count me in.  I will continue to support all your efforts, please let me know if I can serve as a volunteer in any capacity, because presently I am unemployed and have some spare time.

     By-the-way, The two lovely daughters of cast members opening the second play was so heartwarming.

Love, hugs and best wishes,
Alba


Passing the Torch through the Arts presents Of Mice and Men written by John Steinbeck.

Passing the Torch through the Arts, founded by Michael Monasterial, is dedicated to the enlightenment and education of at risk youth through the medium of theater. Our interactive, culturally diverse material appeals to students in high school and college. Our mission is to foster literacy, sharpen social skills and explore curriculum up close and personal. Productions are designed for the classroom environment: 35 minutes in length, mobile and curriculum based. This is age appropriate material for ages 13 to adult.

As part of our program Classroom Classics, Passing the Torch… will offer two one-act plays. Both plays examine concepts of justice and dreams deferred. Of Mice and Men, written by John Steinbeck and adapted by Michael Monasterial, is set during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, and follows Lenny and George as they dream of a better future while they cope with a harsh reality. Soyal Smalls, Michael Monasterial and Brett Owens perform while Dorothy Penz directs.

This production will be showcased at The Howland Cultural Center 477 Main st. Beacon NY, 12508. The performance will be  Friday, April 24th at 6pm.


Sidney Norinsky’s “Giordano Bruno” Debuts at ASK

A passionate new drama, “Giordano Bruno,” by Sidney Norinsky arrives onstage at ASK, the Arts Society of Kingston, 97 Broadway Kingston, NY Friday and Saturday May 29 and 30, curtain at 8.

A recent upsurge of interest in Bruno was ignited by a new biography (recently reviewed in NY Times, Wall St. Journal, The Nation, and other major media) of the remarkable sixteenth century self-styled “natural philosopher,” dramatist, poet, lover, memory wizard, playwright, astronomer, and early harbinger of scientific method well before the term “scientist” had ever been coined.

The play interweaves intimate scenes of Bruno’s personal life with highlights of his career as the celebrity European public intellectual  of his century whose books, lectures, and pioneering conceptions of the universe some fifty years after Copernicus and thirty before Galileo made a palpable impact on the social and religious and political thought of his era.

The multi-media drama is the first play to graduate from the resident ASK Playwrights Lab, now in its fourth year, to public performance before audiences.

Directed by Michael Monasterial with a cast including Ron Morehead, Adele Calcavecchio, Mercedes Miranda, Patricia Martin, Amos Newcombe, and Bruce Pileggi, and others in a benefit performance for ASK.


May 22nd - 24th, 2009
Red Masquerade
click the logo to see the full invitiation

May 8, 2009

We are proud to announce our new acting/playwriting classes for youth at The Shirt Factory in Kingston (77 Cornell St Kingston NY 12401) every Monday night in May, from 5 to 7 (room 315). We are offering these classes free to youth as an introduction of our unique program to the youth of Kingston. Our first project will be a partnership with the Awareness program and its founder Marie Shultis, in which 12 High School students will participate in classes and Improvisation training to raise the awareness and dangers of underage drinking. This class will be taught by Brett Owen of Vocalpower training and Mr Monasterial.

Passing the Torch through the Arts, founded by Michael Monasterial, is dedicated to the enlightenment and education of at risk youth through the medium of theater. Our interactive, culturally diverse material appeals to students in high school and college. Our mission is to foster literacy, sharpen social skills and explore curriculum up close and personal. This Production is designed for a Fundraiser that will be presented at the Bearsville Theater on Saturday May 23rd, there will be local judges, youth and parents in attendance, all to highlight the rich work of the AWARENESS program and its contributions here in Ulster county. All are welcome.

For more information of this program contact awarenessmentoring@gmail.com.


May 4th at 12:00 noon

SUNY New Paltz Theater Dept

TWO WHORES
a drama performed mostly in bed and illumined by rock & roll
by Michael Monasterial

A bumpy ride into the dark side of sexuality. Question: can two people laden with tons of life’s baggage still find an iota of happiness? A brutal hommage to Breakfast at Tiffany’s but infested by monsters of guilt hiding under the bed ready to grab you in the dark. For a mature audience. Featuring Michael Monasterial and his female co-star to be announced.

 


A Raisin in the Sun

For the 50th Anniversary of the writing of the ground breaking inspirational work of Art, we present A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry, for the celebration of African American History Month February 2008.

Our goal is to reach every child in the city of Kingston by offering a free admission to every child under 18 years old regardless of ethnicity, religion, or economic situation. The themes of the play are: the unity of a family and courage in the face of racial bigotry. We believe these themes are universal and above all, healing. We would also like to bring our production to the High schools (free of charge), the Art Society of Kingston and UPAC, and raise the money for the entire production through contributions from local businesses and community minded individuals.

As part of the production, an actor playing the character of playwright, Lorraine Hansberry, will be on-hand to introduce the play and discuss the era in which the play was written.  A question and answer session will follow the event.

We have invited Mr. Sidney Poitier, Ms Ruby Dee, and Mr. Louis Gossett Jr, being part of the original cast to our production, and to a black tie affair to follow at a restaurant on the Roundout.

There has been an alarming increase in the rate of racially motivated crime in Ulster County, and Passing the Torch – Through the Arts, Inc. would like to counter this plague with a healing balm of non-partisan, multi-racial, motivational and inspiring theatre productions.

You can be part of this effort of building community relationships through the arts.  We have already booked our production at local schools and theaters and we are very excited with the response to our endeavors.


Recidivism

Our debut production of Recidivism & When the Chickens Came Home to Roost was a smashing success. We hosted an awards ceremony for individuals displaying outstanding community relations during our run at the Art Society of Kingston. It was a fabulous evening with succulent hors devours gracioussly donated by the Guido Family & the hot grooves of our music director, John Trent's Mysterious Sound Laboratory, topped off by emotionally charged performances of Recidivism & When the Chickens Came Home to Roost.

Recidivism: A one-act play by Michael Monasterial. It is the story of a father and a son who meet for the first time in a holding cell of a county jail. The focus is on the young man at the beginning of a career in crime.  It addresses the issue of gang violence and gets to the heart of the initial breakdown of the family and the motivating factors in the surrounding community's decline, starting with the parents - a lost generation swallowed up by the introduction of Crack to poor neighborhoods. The crux of the play is about choices and accountability; the only final decision being the last one you make.

Malcolm  X is iconically famous for transforming his life from pimp, thief, drug dealer and all around hustler into the firebrand spokesperson and leader that he became for America's beleaguered, brutalized and ghettoized urban blacks, especially in the north. When the Chickens Came Home to Roost shows another side of Malcolm that people are unfamiliar with. We are given the highly developed and sensitive man of exceptionally pure spirit, unwilling to compromise his flame forged manhood and his finely tuned, exquisite morality and high standard of pure truth, even when facing certain death.

An excerpt from Recidivism, Written by Michael Monasterial © 2001

Andre Barnes, a 38 year old man. Good physical shape despite the wear.  He has good genes and an infectious charm.

Young Andre Barnes, a 20 year old man, healthy but serious. Same man 20 years ago, but with an intense anger about him.  It lies just below the surface so even when he's joking or relating to his friends it is still evident.  He speaks well and has a sense of humor, but that anger can turn to rage very easily.  He is angry at the world, God, and man for the home and life he fells he never had and feels justifies at anything he does.

Time: Present
Place: The Bull Pen in a county jail

Andre Sr. Son I...Andre, when I saw you here for the first time it was like I had seen my life, what it stood for, all the wasted, wasted...years.  A man only marks time by how the things he loves around him change.  You're a man.  I missed your whole life.

Andre Jr. I can't believe that word came out your mouth.

Andre Sr. Just because you're an asshole doesn't mean you don't love.

Andre Jr. There you go again.  Forgive me if I don't get choked up but if you don't get out my face... you will.

Andre Sr. I got that comin', but listen, even if you don't want to hear it.  Don't let your hate or your rage stop your mind from working. (pause) I couldn't stay.  I was just too much of an idiot.  People would rather kick a man out than work with him to grow up.  Maybe they right. But I feel just like I woke up the day I met you here.  Can you believe it? Just walking around in a fog ‘til I'm 38.  But I still remember holding you and feeling proud.  I'm gonna make you proud of me.

He moves to Andre Jr. and puts his arm on Andre Jr.'s shoulder. Andre Jr. pauses for a second.  He then jumps up, knocks the hand away and easily subdues his father. Andre Jr. produced a razor and holds it to his father's throat.

Andre Jr. You'll forgive me if I don't feel like eatin' no soup wit you or no shit, but this is something I promised myself since I can remember.  You don't deserve to be breathin'.

Andre Sr. (Speaking slowly and carefully) See that? You got "youngblackmanitis". You'd rather kill than think.  You're just like me.

Andre Jr. I'm not like you!

Andre Sr. Just like me.

Andre Jr. You! I'm not you. I'm not you MUTHASUCKA!!

Andre Sr. Go ahead, spend the rest of your life in a box.  Go ahead, if you can't forgive me you can't forgive yourself for what you're doing to your son.  Go ahead, ‘cause if you can't forgive me, I don't want to live anyway.