Project Created: “A jazz musical inspired by the community of Philadelphia.”
Quote: “My project is to write a jazz musical inspired by the community of Philadelphia, document our sound and reflect the exuberance of the classic musicals I love. I will attempt to delve into the stories of people around us, experience the heartbeat of the city and the rhythm of conflict between cultures and the sound of the music that gives us romance and solidifies family values.”– Venissa Santi, 2015
Venissa Santi Bio: Venissa Santi was born in Ithaca NY and is the daughter of Cuban parents. She discovered a love and passion for singing at a very young age and was involved with youth theatre as a child. She began song writing at age 14 and Indie rock bands led her away from theatre as she followed a desire to be a player and entered music school to train in jazz in Philadelphia at the University of the Arts. The Philadelphia world and jazz community proved very inspiring and nurturing, leading her to become a bilingual educator and teaching artist. She got her start teaching in the Latino barrio of North Philadelphia, which led her to discover the music of her roots. Santi was one of the first of her family to return to her ancestral homeland to research and train in sacred and secular music. Those journeys combined with years of bandstand experience in the city of brotherly love, has solidified her signature Cuban American jazz style. She is a 2008 PEW Fellow in the category of Folk and Traditional Arts and released two LPs “Bienvenida” and “Big Stuff Afro Cuban Holiday”. Both were released on an independent record label Sunnyside Records.
She has performed extensively around Philadelphia and the East Coast and has toured to California and Hawaii. She was thrilled to come back to her theatre roots in this collaborative project for the Kimmel Jazz Residency.
Monnette Sudler-Honesty Bio: Monnette Sudler-Honesty is a composer, jazz guitarist, and vocalist, bandleader, performer, poet, and recording artist known in United States and internationally. She has performed with many jazz greats, such as Hugh Masakela, the late Grover Washington Jr., Byard Lancaster, Odean Pope, Kenny Baron, Steve Turre, Frank Lacey, bassists Gerald Veasely and Reggie Workman. She has recorded with poets Sonia Sanchez and Pew fellow Trapeta B. Mayson. Monnette is the recipient of the Transformation Award from the Leeway Foundation as well as the Art and Change Grant 2014. Most recently, Monnette received a grant from The Philadelphia Chapter of the Composers Forum for "If You Could Hear These Walls Talk" in cooperation with the Mural Arts program. Monnette’s most recent CD is “Born Again” Ladies Night Out released on MSM Records in 2012 which features an all-female quartet (Guitar, drums, organ and alto/soprano sax).
As an educator, Monnette gives positive reinforcement and encouragement throughout her students’ creative and learning process. She is the founder and Artistic Director of the Philadelphia Guitar Summit (PGS). Monnette studied at Berklee College of Music and received her degree from Temple University’s Esther Boyer College of Music majoring in composition, music therapy and performance.
Project Description: Three women musicians put their lives on a line, leaving trails of love notes. We listen in on the music of their minds, while they shed messages through song and conversation in support of one another’s art. They dedicate their love of music to you.
Cast - Venissa Santi, Monnette Sudler Honesty, Joanna Pascale, William Erik Honesty, Paulo Acevedo, Josh Lawrence - Trumpet Monnette Sudler- Honesty - Guitar Adam Faulk – Piano, Jason Fraticelli – Bass, Justin Leigh – Drums
Credits - Playwright - Marie Sirakos Director - Carolina Osorio Gil Art Direction & Set Design - Jesse Hill
Film Design- Jason Fifield Lighting Design- Terry Smith Stage Manager – Zach Blackwood
Performance Dates: Venissa & Monnette were in residency from November 1, 2014 – June 20, 2015. Their student workshop was held on March 20, their public workshop on March 4, their work-in-progress on May 16, and their world premiere was held on June 19, 2015.
Special Thanks: Community Arts Partnership of Ithaca NY, Elkins Park School Cheltenham: Counselor, Cyd Smith Singers: Marc Brooker, Khalil Byrd, Stephen Collins, Elijah Foggie, Baye Lyons, Nykeim Robinson, Niyeem Slocum, Ankeel, Malcolm Tyndale, Yasir Valentine; Work in Progress guests: Kwesi Opare and Adwoa Tacheampon, Philadelphia Clef Club, Slife Productions, William Erik Honesty & Cultured Couture, Trapeta B.Mayson and Vernon Gardener, The Vintage Industry, Orvis Projects, Cultura Ithaca, Stiletto Records, The Shop, Jay Levin & Turtle Studios, Community Arts Partnership, Alejandro Bernard Papachrys-santhau, & Patty McMahon.
This production is dedicated in loving memory of Leyla Dietrich.