posted by Andrew Russell, director
Having collaborated with Jerome Augustus Parker several times in NYC, I’m looking forward to bringing our energies together on the west coast for this fusion of jazz, theatre, and performance art. Labeling this piece a “jazz opera” gives us the freedom to exploit the best of jazz and the best of opera, and to throw in everything else that comes to mind to truly bring to life this ghostly story.
The reward for working tirelessly on a creative endeavor comes in the form of new relationships, and the reuniting of old creative flings. Having studied together at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh, PA almost 8 years ago, I know Anderson Davis and Kristolyn Lloyd will bring their best work to the table. Anderson is an absurdly talented composer, musician, actor, and human, who has made a name for himself in all of those areas, and Kristolyn is an actress whose heart is just as big as her talent, and who can light up any room. From Broadway to TV stardom, they’ve both made their mark on the industry, and I looking forward to seeing how they’ve developed their craft over the past years.
If I were to brag about them, I’d say that Kristolyn is captivating on Bold and the Beautiful, and can sing her face off as would have been seen when she sang with Hairspray at the Hollywood Bowl, or in her own hit cabaret; and I’d give a big shout out to Anderson for killing it as Joe Cable in the national tour of South Pacific, rocking it in Les Miserables on Broadway, and for getting over 40,000 hits on one of his YouTube videos.
Also worth noting, that there is a producer who has joined the team, and her name is Ashley-Nicole Grosse and she too is a Carnegie Mellon alum. I’ve directed her as an actress in her one woman show, I’ve danced with her in a drag performance (Tina Turner’s Proud Mary if you are curious), gambled with her in Las Vegas, and have known her now over 10 years. I’m madly in love with her, and her support and guidance will influence this project, without a doubt.
This is a workshop presentation, and we’ve brought together a strong team to explore what Nick, Hitomi, and Jerome have been working on. We now need energized audiences to come and check it out, give feedback, and help us make this piece stronger and stronger as we work towards a full production. So, come get Strange with us!
Andrew Russell, director of this opera, is currently the artistic director of Seattle’s Intiman Theater. More on this young visionary in a later post…