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Posted on June 06, 2019

For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


Tweet: Multitalented performing artists @quilken, @ellieheyman, ‏@VuyoSotashe, and members of @ILLDoots join 6th annual Theater Residency @KimmelCenter, celebrating 5 years in partnership with @PublicTheaterNY @JoesPub Public Readings JUNE 28 & 29 #ArtHappensHere


Press Contacts:

Lauren Woodard



Yuri Kwon



JUNE 18 – 29


Artists Nelida Karr, Anthony Martinez-Briggs, Jennifer Kidwell, Helga Davis & Michael Joseph McQuilken, Ellie Heyman & Dane Terry, and Vuyo Sotashe to participate in incubator residency program and FREE Public Readings, June 28 & 29 in Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Philadelphia, PA, June 6, 2019) –– The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and Joe's Pub team up again for the Kimmel Center Theater Residency. Under the guidance of Jay Wahl, Producing Artistic Director of the Kimmel Center, Shanta Thake, Senior Director of Artistic Programs for The Public Theater, and Alex Knowlton, Director of Joe’s Pub, the Theater Residency program serves as an host for artists and their collaborators to create and develop music and theater projects. The residency will be held in the Kimmel Center's SEI Innovation Studio from June 18 – 29 with Public Readings, FREE and open to the public, on June 28 and 29. Readings will be followed by Q&A sessions with the artists.


This year’s residents include artists from New York, Philadelphia, South Africa, and the program’s first fully-international collaboration from Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country, Equatorial Guinea: award-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist from Equatorial Guinea Nelida Karr, backed by her husband, guitarist, and vocalist Elvis-Bob Ohia Bechir. Artists include multi-talented teaching artist, actor, writer, social justice advocate, and sound designer Anthony Martinez-Briggs with ILL DOOTS band members Elle MorrisAndrew Nittoli and Jordan McRee; Pew Fellow and multi award-winning performing artist Jennifer Kidwell; New York-based interdisciplinary performer Helga Davis working with writer, director, filmmaker, and composer Michael Joseph McQuilken; visually imaginative New York-based theater director Ellie Heyman collaborating with storyteller, composer, pianist, and singer Dane Terry; and South African jazz vocalist and Fulbright Scholar Vuyo Sotashe, with jazz musician Chris Pattishall and jazz guitarist Gabe Schnider. The artists will be mentored by OBIE winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith.


Over the two-week Theater Residency, teams focus on creating as much work as they can, without editing or criticizing what they’ve created. Artists are challenged through a process of self-exploration to step outside their comfort zones in development of new work, with guidance from Orlandersmith, Wahl, Knowlton, their collaborators, and each other. Each team mines the depths of long-form multidisciplinary narrative, discovering how text, voice, music, and body are woven together into musical and theatrical storytelling. The residency culminates in excerpt readings – FREE, BYOB, and open to the public – in the Kimmel Center’s SEI Innovation Studio.


Our ongoing collaboration with the Kimmel Center has provided a wonderful opportunity for our community of artists to deepen artistic relationships and develop new work,” said Alex Knowlton, Director of Joe’s Pub. “We are honored to co-host this annual residency and introduce artists to each other’s processes, aesthetics and ways of working to stoke the embers of artistic inquiry and innovation.”


“Our Cultural Campus is beyond proud to again serve as an incubator for new theatrical works developed during our annual Theater Residency,” said Anne Ewers, President & CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. “In partnership with our colleagues at Joe’s Pub, we then produce the world premieres of the intimate, creative works that result. These pieces run the gamut of subject matter, appealing to varied ages and musical genres, from Martha Graham Cracker’s Lashed But Not Leashed to Johnny Showcase in The Johnny Shortcake Show, and most recently Molly Pope in Polly Mope.


Over the past six years, five of which have involved partnership with Joe’s Pub, the Kimmel Center has produced completed works from the following Theater Residency alumni: Jamie Leonhart’s Estuary; Ethan Lipton’s The Outer Space, which then played at The Public Theater in New York City; Dito Van Reigersberg’s Martha Graham Cracker production of Lashed But Not Leashed; David Sweeny’s Johnny Showcase alter-ego in The Johnny Shortcake Show; Courtnee Roze’s The Culture; Martha Stuckey’s Due to the Sensitive Nature; Daniel Alexander Jones’ BLACK LIGHT; Deb Margolin’s 8 Stops, which then played at the Cherry Lane Theater in New York City; Mary Tuonomen’s Hello Sadness!; and, Molly Pope’s Polly Mope.



Theater Residency Public Readings

SEI Innovation Studio

June 28 & 29, 2019, 7:30 pm each night



This is a designated BYO performance, a new feature at most performances in the SEI Innovation Studio. Acceptable forms of BYO are 6-pack of beer and/or 750ml bottles of wine only; no liquor or open containers are permitted. Limit of one (1) 750ml bottle of wine OR one (1) six-pack of beer per two patrons. Corkscrews and rolling coolers are not permitted. Ice, cups and corking service available at venue at no cost. All BYO patrons are subject to lawful ID checks and bag checks at the manager’s discretion.


Upcoming Resident Artists in 2019:

Nelida Karr & Elvis-Bob Ohia Bechiro

Anthony Martinez-Briggs with Elle Morris, Andrew Nittoli and Jordan McRee from ILL DOOTS

Jennifer Kidwell with TBD collaborators

Helga Davis & Michael Joseph McQuilken

Ellie Heyman & Dane Terry

Vuyo Sotashe with Chris Pattishall & Gabe Schnider




Nelida Karr is known to be a contemporary musical revelation of the rhythms and sounds of Equatorial Guinea. The award-winning singer and multi-instrumentalist is a new voice in the world music scene. She classifies her music as "Afro-Fusion" suffused with the many influences she assimilated while growing up in Malabo, the capital city of Africa’s only Spanish-speaking country, Equatorial Guinea. Her sound is an eclectic mix of the music of the Bubi ethnic group and Equatoguinean rhythms like Katya, kotto, bonko, mokom, and antonobe, as well as jazz, blues, Spanish, and Latin music that she nevertheless incorporates into a sound all her own. Besides composing, Karr sings, plays guitar, piano, cello, and percussion. 


She is backed by her husband Elvis-Bob Ohia Bechiro, a guitarist and vocalist who accompanies her everywhere. Last year, Karr won the first prize of the Spain and Equatorial Guinea 'vis a vis' festival, leading to a tour in Spain, where she and Ohia Bechiro graced some of the largest Spanish world music festival stages with their exuberant talent with diverse musical synergies, both vocal and instrumental dexterity. This is the first team of international artists to join the Kimmel Center’s Theater Residency.




Anthony Martinez-Briggs is a Resident Artist with the Wilma HotHouse, teaching artist (Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Wilma Theater, Village of Arts and Humanities), actor (Recent: Passing StrangeAdapt!When The Rain Stops Falling [Barrymore Best Ensemble] at the Wilma), social justice advocate, writer, director, sound designer (Recent: Bienvenidos Blancos with Team Sunshine Corp) and proud member of the band ILL DOOTS. 


ILL DOOTS is a collective of artists, educators, and activists based in Philadelphia; a group of individuals with different perspectives, from different places who want nothing more than to make music unfettered by the standards of the traditional and the prescriptions of the mainstream. What began in 2009 as a jam session, evolved into a dorm room mixtape, and eventually into a live band; several albums and tours later ILL DOOTS continues to hone their craft as performers and collaborators. ILL DOOTS is on a lifelong mission to change the way our communities respond to and value music, art, and life. As a collective of arts educators, ILL DOOTS launched the I Love Learning initiative in 2014, setting up free workshops in schools, after school programs, churches, and other shared spaces along their tour routes and at home. The initiative is ongoing both in Philadelphia and elsewhere. In 2015, they worked under the direction of Joanna Settle to compose and perform music for Flashpoint Theatre Company's "Hands Up", for which they received the Barrymore Award for Best Original Music. In 2016, ILL DOOTS composed and performed the Wilma Theatre's production of "An Octoroon" under the direction of Settle yet again. Moving forward, ILL DOOTS will continue to bring more art into our communities and continue to collaborate across mediums. The intersection of community engagement as collaboration is of particular interest to ILL DOOTS and something to look for in their future works. ILL DOOTS recently released their long-awaited self-titled debut album available on online music platforms. Find the album and more info about ILL DOOTS at




Jennifer Kidwell is a performing artist. Recent projects include Underground Railroad Game (2017 Obie Award for Best New American Theatre Work, 2018 Edinburgh Fringe First Award), Home (Geoff Sobelle), Demolishing Everything with Amazing Speed (Dan Hurlin), I Understand Everything Better (David Neumann/advanced beginner group, 2015 Bessie Award for Outstanding Production), Antigone (The Wilma Theater), Fire Burns Hot: Little Reno!I Promised Myself to Live Faster and 99 Break-Ups (Pig Iron Theatre Company), Dick’s Last Stand (Whitney Biennial 2014, as Donelle Woolford), Zinnias: the Life of Clementine Hunter (Robert Wilson/Toshi Reagon/Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon). Projects in development include A Hard Time (PITC), TABLE with Thomas Graves & the Rude Mechs and Nichole Canuso’s The Octopus and the Interview. Company member, PITC and Lightning Rod Special, Wilma Theater Associated Artist, co-founder of JACK. Her writing has been published in movement research Performance Journal #45 and at 2013 TCG/Fox Resident Actor Fellowship (with PITC), 2015 Leeway Foundation Art & Change Grant, 2016 Pew Fellow, 2017 Independence Fellowship.  




Helga Davis is a New York-based performer whose interdisciplinary work includes theater, opera, and fine art. Since 2012 Davis has starred in the international revival of composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson's opera Einstein on the Beach; Wilson describes her as “a united whole, with spellbinding inner power and strength.” She also starred in Wilson’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, with libretto and score by Bernice Johnson Reagon (Sweet Honey in the Rock); Milton by Katie Pearl and Lisa Damour; Elsewhere by cellist Maya Beiser and composer Missy Mazzoli; The Blue Planet, a multimedia theater piece, by Peter Greenaway and Saskia Boddeke; and served as a “Sweet Peach” in Soho Rep’s Jomama Jones, Radiate, which made New Yorker theatre critic Hilton Als’ top ten list. 


Michael Joseph McQuilken originally hails from Portland, Oregon, where he was raised in a working-class home by public servant parents who were terrified that his artistic tendencies would leave him perpetually broke. These fears were not allayed when 20-something Michael became a professional street performer for three years, making music with garbage. Fortunately, he finagled a scholarship-fueled higher education, and now he is a not-quite-broke director, writer, filmmaker, and composer in Brooklyn. He holds degrees in directing and sound engineering, and has an amazing wife, Adina Verson, who tolerates his restless creative tendencies that have taken over the majority of the space in their home.




Ellie Heyman is a New York City-based theatre director. Her work is best known for its athletic physicality and visually imaginative aesthetic. Ellie directed The Traveling Imaginary, a theatrical rock show, which was rated in the "top five shows of the year" by NPR and a Time Out “Critic's Pick" on two continents. Ellie is the Co-Artistic Director of The Orbiting Human Circus with Julian Koster (Neutral Milk Hotel) and co-directs/develops the podcast The Orbiting Human Circus (of the Air), featuring John Cameron Mitchell, Tim Robbins, Mandy Patinkin and Charlie Day. It's been downloaded over 2 million times, Rated #1 in iTunes & featured in The New York TimesWired & The Guardian (Top Podcasts of 2016).


Dane Terry is a storyteller, composer, pianist, and singer. Originally from Ohio, Terry is now based in New York City where he has performed at Lincoln Center, La MaMa, Under The Radar Festival, Public Theater, Joe’s Pub, The Kitchen and PS122. Terry describes his style as “musical fiction” influenced by boogie-woogie, late romantic and 20th century classical, Latin, folk, jazz, and pop. Terry has appeared at Afterglow Theater Festival (Provincetown), Oberon (Boston), Bard College (NY), as well as Wexner Center, Garden Theater and City Music Columbus in Columbus, OH. Terry’s latest work includes the music-fiction podcast Dreamboy developed and directed by Ellie Heyman, and the musical show Jupiter’s Lifeless Moons




Vuyo (Vuyolwethu) Sotashe is a young South African jazz vocalist gradually making his mark in the New York jazz scene. Sotashe moved to NYC in 2013 after being awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to pursue Master of Music at William Paterson University. Since then, he has gone to win first prize at the very first Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival Vocal Competition and performed on the festival's main stage. More recently, he won the Audience prize award and placed second over-all at the Shure Montreux Jazz Voice Competition held at the annual Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. He placed third in the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Vocal competition, where he was the very first male vocalist ever to place in the competition's finals. Sotashe has also performed on international stages which include singing at the Arcevia Jazz Fest and the Fermo Jazz Festival (Italy 2012); the Stockholm Jazz Festival with South African National Youth Jazz Band (Sweden 2012); the Cape Town International Festival with George Benson and the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra 2010; the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival 2012; and toured with the SAMA Award (GRAMMY equivalent) winning band Proxy in the UK and Ireland 2009-2011. He has also performed with Multi-Grammy Award winning gospel artist, Israel Houghton as part of New Breed (Africa) Ensemble. Sotashe is also the winner of the biggest music scholarship competition in South Africa, the South African Music Rights Foundation Scholarship, where he performed for the former South African President Thabo Mbeki. Vuyo Sotashe is currently performing around New York City with the praised drummer Winard Harper, who has performed with the likes of Betty Carter, Shirley Horn, and many other legends in jazz.


Chris Pattishall was recently named by Wynton Marsalis as one of the top five jazz musicians under 30 to watch. Combining an impressive technique and patient sensitivity, Pattishall embodies a music that is at once intelligent, soulful, and joyous. He has appeared with Wynton Marsalis, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Heath, Donald Byrd, George Coleman, Billy Hart, Jamey Aebersold, Wycliffe Gordon, Fred Wesley, Steve Wilson, Steve Nelson, Billy Kilson, Bucky Pizzarelli, Russell Malone, Mark Whitfield Sr., and Rafiq Bhatia. Pattishall has toured internationally as a leader and sideman, presenting original music as well as inventive readings of a broad range of jazz repertoire. Active as both a pianist and composer, Chris holds an ASCAP Young Jazz Composer’s Award, and participated in the Kennedy Center's Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program and the Ravinia Festival Stean’s Young Artist Program. Pattishall currently resides in New York City, where he performs at many of the city's renowned jazz clubs including Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Small's, Mezzrow, Iridium, Smoke, the Kitano and The Blue Note.


Gabe Schnider fell in love with the guitar at age 10. He has performed/recorded with Wynton Marsalis, Joshua Bell, Damian Woetzel, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, Arturo O’Farrill, Jane Monheit, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Wycliffe Gordon, Julian Lage, Bill T. Jones, Lil' Buck and Esperanza Spalding, among others. He has performed at venues including Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, The Jazz Standard, Birdland, Sweet Rhythm, Gracie Mansion, The Jazz Gallery, Carnegie Hall, Capitol Records, Staples Center (2011 Grammy Awards Telecast with Esperanza Spalding), The Blue Note NYC, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Newport, Cape May, Pittsfield, Monterey, Montreux, Montreal and Toronto International Jazz Festivals. A former member of the Next Generation Jazz Orchestra and Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony, two-time selectee for the GRAMMY Jazz Ensembles, and a National Foundation for Advancement of the Arts YoungArts winner in Jazz, Gabe now resides in New York City where he can be seen/heard throughout the city and abroad, performing with a variety of different ensembles and projects. In addition to performance, Gabe also has been involved in film scoring and recently served as Guitar Arranger for the award-winning independent motion picture Teresa is a Mother. Gabe was also selected as one of ten semifinalists from around the world to compete in the International Guitar Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival and was featured at the 2016 Marciac Jazz Festival as a member of Wynton Marsalis' band, "The Young Stars of Jazz." Gabe is a graduate of The Juilliard School.


Former Resident Artists


James Harrison Monaco & Jerome Ellis

M’Balia Singley

Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes, Sabaah Folayan, & Joe Caravalho

Somi, Jesse Alick, & Toru Dodo

Max Vernon, Erin Courtney, & Ellie Heyman

Sofia Tosello, Yuri Juarez, & John Osburn



Molly Pope with Matt Aument

Jo Lampert with Kate Ferber

Martha Stuckey, Kate Faust, and Isaac Stanford

Martha Redbone, Aaron Whitby, and Catherine Marie Rodriguez

Daniel Watts with Michael Thurber

Ethan Lipton - Playwright-in-Residence

Ellie Heyman - Director-in-Residence



Carol Lipnik with Tareke Ortiz

Dawn Landes with Daniel Goldstein

Theo Bleckmann with Jacob Cooper

Courtnee Roze with Jeffandy AllTogether

David Sweeny with Ross Bellenoit and Michael Baker

Ellie Heyman – Director-in-Residence



Daniel Alexander Jones with Bobby Halvorson

Jamie Leonhart with Joanna Settle

Ethan Lipton & his Orchestra

Dito Van Reigersberg with Eliza Hardy Jones, David Sweeny and Vince Federici

Migguel Anggelo with David Drake and Mau Quiros






JOE'S PUB, a program of The Public Theater named for The Public’s founder Joe Papp, opened in 1998 and plays a vital role in The Public's mission of supporting young artists while providing established artists with an intimate space to perform and develop new work. Under the new leadership of Director Alex Knowlton, this fall begins Joe’s Pub’s 20th Anniversary Season of presenting the best in live music and performance nightly, committed to diversity, production values, community and artistic freedom. The venue also offers opportunities like New York Voices, an artist commissioning program that provides musicians resources and tools to develop original theater works; Joe’s Pub Working Group, an artist development initiative; The Vanguard Award & Residency, a yearlong series that celebrates the career of a prolific and influential artist, who leads their own artistic community; and nationwide programming partnerships. Commissioned artists include Mx Justin Vivian Bond, Bridget Everett, Daniel Alexander Jones, Ethan Lipton, Toshi Reagon, Allen Toussaint and more. The venue’s food and beverage partner is NoHo Hospitality Group, helmed by acclaimed chef Andrew Carmellini. With its intimate atmosphere and superior acoustics, Joe's Pub presents talent from all over the world as part of The Public's programming downtown at its Astor Place home, hosting approximately 800 shows and serving over 100,000 audience members annually.




THE PUBLIC is theater of, by, and for all people. Artist-driven, radically inclusive, and fundamentally democratic, The Public continues the work of its visionary founder Joe Papp as a civic institution engaging, both on-stage and off, with some of the most important ideas and social issues of today. Conceived over 60 years ago as one of the nation’s first nonprofit theaters, The Public has long operated on the principles that theater is an essential cultural force and that art and culture belong to everyone. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Oskar Eustis and Executive Director Patrick Willingham, The Public’s wide breadth of programming includes an annual season of new work at its landmark home at Astor Place, Free Shakespeare in the Park at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, The Mobile Unit touring throughout New York City’s five boroughs, Public Forum, Under the Radar, Public Studio, Public Works, Public Shakespeare Initiative, and Joe’s Pub. Since premiering HAIR in 1967, The Public continues to create the canon of American Theater and is currently represented on Broadway by the Tony Award-winning musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Their programs and productions can also be seen regionally across the country and around the world. The Public has received 59 Tony Awards, 170 Obie Awards, 53 Drama Desk Awards, 54 Lortel Awards, 32 Outer Critic Circle Awards, 13 New York Drama Critics’ Circle Awards, and 6 Pulitzer Prizes.




Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, our mission is to engage the region’s diverse communities with art through performance and education. Our Cultural Campus serves more than 1 million guests per year and includes the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music, and the Merriam Theater – representing more than 160 years of rich history for the performing arts along Philadelphia’s Avenue of the Arts. We are home to eight esteemed Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, we are the region’s most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. Our Cultural Campus serves as a preeminent and inclusive place to enjoy exceptional experiences that reflect the spirit of our region by cultivating a creative and socially-responsible environment where our community shares experiences that are delivered with pride, integrity, and respect. As a 501 c 3 nonprofit organization, we collaborate on, present, and produce a broad range of relevant and meaningful events, we serve as an active gathering space for social and community events, we educate the region’s young people through access to quality arts experiences, and we provide support to artists in the creation of new work. TD Bank, America’s Most Convenient Bank, is our proud sponsor of the Kimmel Center’s 2018-2019 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit



For a PDF version of this press release, click here.


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