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Great Performances Staff Entertains and Inspires | Great Performances


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Great Performances Staff Entertains and Inspires
Company News
by Beth Kaiserman

True to our roots supporting women in the arts, we love celebrating the artistic successes of our service staff. We're always proud to see staff members showcase their smooth talents on stages and in galleries around New York City and beyond. Here are some of their latest endeavors.

Amy Charowsky

I do a weekly musical improv show every Tuesday night with my team SNACKS! at the Magnet Theater. The night is called Musical Megawatt, and over the course of the night, eight groups each perform short made-up musicals.

Nothing is prepared beforehand. All the teams get a suggestion from the audience and go from there - no discussion, no planning, just off the top of our heads - and we tell some kind of story from top to bottom. There is a really talented live band that improvises the backing music.

The shows are completely original, so while occasionally a show will lean towards a specific style or genre, we don't take anything from pre-existing musicals. Sometimes shows are really smart and clever, other times they're just really silly and delightful. And we are all comedians first, with varying levels of singing and dancing experience. If you like musicals, but have never seen musical improv before, it's really entertaining!

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Barry DeBois

I’m currently in the role of Guy in the musical Once at the John W. Engeman Theater at Northport on Long Island. Once tells the story of a street musician in Ireland, ready to give up on his dream when he meets a young woman who is captivated by his music. The show features actors/musicians playing onstage for a lively, memorable experience showcasing the power of music. It won 8 Tony Awards in its Broadway run.

©Cory Pattak

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William Spinnato

I’m on a national tour right now for TheatreworksUSA’s SkippyJon Jones: Snow What? It’s a musical based on a book from Judith Schachner’s New York Times best-selling children’s book series, SkippyJon Jones - a twist on the tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. We perform in theaters and schools for elementary school kids and their families. I play Don Diego, SkippyJon’s imaginary six-foot chihuahua friend and Jilly Boo, one of his younger kitten sisters. This is my second time playing the roles; two years ago I went on tour in the original SkippyJon Jones musical with TWUSA playing the same characters. It’s very rewarding performing for young kids who might be experiencing theatre for the first time, and I couldn’t wait to get back on the road again with this new story!

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Erik Parillo

I've been working steadily with Great Performances for over 17 years! I’m starring in the Off-Broadway show Agnus as JUDGE74K1 - governing the ‘trial of the century’ in a futuristic courtroom set in 2047. The show premiered January 18.

For me this is a bizarre and compelling play delving into social justice as it may play out into the future, and I love the amazing assemblage of genuine, collaborative, and fun people.

©Tyler Milliron
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Liz Hepp

I’m currently working with Dusan Tynek Dance Theatre on an evening-length dance work titled “Anna” that will premiere Feb. 16-17 in New York and then will tour to Florida. I also continue to rehearse with Erick Montes/Danceable Projects. From March-May I will be performing and collaborating with visual artist Nick Mauss for his “Transmissions” Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

©Zane Gan
More on the Dusan Tynek show
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Jeff MacKinnon

I'm currently cast in the Off-Broadway debut play One Nation, One Mission, One Promise at The Players Theater, running through February 11. I'm also shooting my first feature film as writer/director in May, a grounded comedy called Mow set in my home state of Massachusetts. Other upcoming projects: head writer and host of Late Night Cap, a comedy talk show pilot on craft beer, wine and cocktail culture; a new comedy talk show broadcasting live from NAB Show in Las Vegas in April; hosting a daily talk show on American history called Don't Make Me Repeat Myself; an untitled comedy pilot with Frameworks Productions casting in early February and starting production in April; wrote original book and workshopping a Tom Petty musical.
Side note: my fiancée, Natalie Storrs (GP alum!) is currently Off-Broadway in the new Grateful Dead musical Red Roses Green Gold and crushing it.  

More on One Nation One Mission One Promise
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Fiona Heeran

I’d been an event chef with GP for 12 years and stopped when I got sick with Lymphoma in 2013. Through encouragement from therapy I started drawing and painting - and in November 2017 was encouraged by Gilda Pervin, a teacher of mine at Parsons, to submit a pastel drawing called “If These Walls Could Talk” to the Edlin Gallery. The painting sold the first night of the opening! 

One of my oil paintings called “Cat’s Eyes” was recently used in MoMa’s digital art studio.

I submitted a piece at Onward at the Outsider Art Fair at Metropolitan Pavilion last month. The fair's theme was the future of women, organized by writer and curator Jamie Sterns and conceived for the one year anniversary of the Women’s March.

I did a female warrior in pastel on black panel board, entitled “We are warriors and our time is here now.” It shows a female in Celtic armor carrying a sword, with a kick ass attitude stepping into a more peaceful and balanced world surrounded by love. My hope for the future of women is to finally take their place and hold it - to step forward and be leaders and equal.

Cat Eyes on a digital screen at MoMa
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Leigh Akin

I'm a singer and stand-up comedian, currently writing and producing a one woman show, a series of stories interwoven with original music, narrated by me at age 89. 
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Damir Catovic

I'm working hard and producing a large number of images, though not focused on one particular project. I'm excited about the direction in which my camera is taking me and the discoveries on that road. It's impossible to choose an image that could represent what I do since I don't have a style and don't aim to adopt one. Still I hope there is a connection in the effect my images produce in the viewers that lead back to my humble sensibilities.

La casa di Silvestri, 2018 by Damir Catovic
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Thumbnail image by ©Michael DeCristofaro

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