You all know Paul, Ellen and Tina but you might not realize the amazingly talented array of artists they’ve worked with over the years. If you want to experience an encyclopedic, kaleidoscopic, Magical Mystery Tour through Downtown Music and Theater you couldn’t do better than the Talking Band 40th Anniversary Gala on Monday, April 27th at the Ukrainian National Home Ballroom located at 140 2nd Ave!
Just scroll through the bios below to see the incredible range of talent, experience and awesomeness in store! Hope to see you there!
Talking Band 40th Anniversary Gala All-Star Line-up!
WILLIAM BADGETT was a member of Target Margin Theatre for over 15 years and has worked with The Talking Band for nearly 25 years – two New York city based award-winning theater companies. He has performed regionally at The Guthrie Theater, Boston Shakespeare Company, Hartford Stage Company, The Cleveland Playhouse, Trinity Rep, as well as the Shakespeare Theatre in DC, Perseverance Theater in Alaska and others. With the Talking Band he has performed through out Europe, Russia, South America and the States. His work in Target Margin Theater’s translation of Goethe’s Faust parts 1 and 2 was called “a breakthrough performance” in American Theater. TV appearances include: The Shield and 24.
VIVA DECONCINI is Chryssie Hynde meets Jimi Hendrix. Viva plays guitar like a flaming sword, a screaming train, a ringing bell, and a scratching chicken. She sings like if Freddy Mercury had been a woman. She’s played everywhere from Bonnaroo to Monterey Jazz Fest, and is one of the few females to have been featured in Guitar Player Magazine.
MICHAEL EVANS is an improvising drummer/percussionist/ thereminist/composer whose work investigates and embraces the collision of sound and theatrics.While his primary instrument is an unconventionally altered drumset, his work with unusual sound sources includes found objects, homemade instruments, the theremin and various digital and homemade analog electronics. As an active and versatile New York City musician, he has worked with a wide variety of artists of all sorts including Ron Anderson, Jeff Arnal, Audio Artists, Claire Barratt, Samm Bennett, Jac Berrocal, Carla Bley, Naval Cassidy, James Chance, Martha Colburn, Combustible Edison, Lol Coxhill, EasSide Percussion (ESP), Roger Ely (the Devil’s Chaueffeur), Nicolas Dumit Estevez, Ken Filiano, Fast Forward (Gobo), Chris Ferris, Michael Gira (Angels of Light, Swans), Gisburg, Gilbert Godfried, God Is My Co-Pilot, David Grubbs, Alexander Hacke (Einsturzende Neubauten), Susan Hefner, Steve Horowitz’s Code Ensemble, Jarboe (Swans), Pamelia Kurstin, Skip LaPlante’s Music for Homemade Instruments, Zach Layton, Gen Ken Montgomery, Neil Leonard, Aimee Mann, Karen Mantler, Sean G. Meehan, Donald Miller, Eric Mingus, Gordon Monahan, Joe Morris, Michelle Nagai, Anders Nilsson, Evan Parker, Andrea Parkins, Maxime De La Rochefoucauld, William Parker, Yvette Perez’s Birdbrain, Yvette Perez’s Mitra Sumara, Gino Robair, Lary Seven, Elliot Sharp, Moe! Staiano, LaDonna Smith, David Simons, Jesse Stewart, the Talking Band, Toronto Dance Theatre, Stephen Vitiello, Christopher Walken, Jason Willet, Peter Zummo’s Noisy Meditation Band and John Zorn.
JAMES TIGGER! FERGUSON, “The Original King of Boylesque”, is a Stripperformance Artist/Actor/Dancer who has performed in New York & abroad since 1988. A Pioneer in the 90s burlesque renaissance who has been stripping since 1992, he won the 1st-ever boylesque award at the Burlesque Hall of Fame in Las Vegas 2006, plus several Golden Pastie Awards, including “Most Likely to Get Shut Down by the Law” & “Most Unpredictable Performer.” He has performed all around Europe, Australia & North America. His act was banned in Rome’s Gay Village in 2011. He has acted in classics & original works with Taylor Mac, Julie Atlas Muz, Penny Arcade, Target Margin Theater, The Talking Band & other geniuses.
JACK FERVER is a choreographer, writer, performer and teacher based in New York. He has been creating full-length works since 2007. His most recent work, Chambre, a collaboration with visual artist Marc Swanson, premiered at The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts as part of the curation, The House is Open, at Bard College in November, 2014. Ferver premiered All of a Sudden, a collaboration with Joshua Lubin-Levy in 2013 at Abrons Arts Center. Ferver’s solo Mon, Ma, Mes premiered as part ofCrossing the Line at the French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF) in 2012 and returned to FIAF and Abrons Art Center for American Realness in 2013. His solo, Two Alike, a collaboration with the visual artist Marc Swanson, was presented at Diverse Works in conjunction with The Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston in 2011. The work then premiered in New York at The Kitchen and traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art in conjunction with Summer Stages Dance in Boston in 2012. In 2011 Ferver also premiered his duet with Michelle Mola, Me, Michelle, at the Museum of Arts and Design as part of Performa 11. It returned as part of American Realness at Abrons Art Center. Ferver’s Rumble Ghost premiered at PS 122 in 2010, and was brought back for their COIL Festival in 2011. His A Movie Star Needs A Movie was commissioned by The New Museum in 2009. It was also presented in American Realness at Abrons Art Center and at Théâtre de Vanves in France. He was the first choreographer to be presented at The New Museum’s current location with I Am Trying to Hear Myself in 2008. He remounted the work at PS 122 in 2009. In 2009 he also premiered his evening length work Death is Certain at Danspace Project. In 2008 Ferver premiered MEAT and in 2007 his first full length work: When We Were Young and Filled With Fear, both at Dixon Place. As an actor, credits include the film Gayby, Strangers With Candy(Comedy Central), and numerous other film and theatre projects. He currently teaches at NYU, Bard College, and has set choreography at The Juilliard School.
KIM GAMBINO graduated from Performing Arts High School and Purchase College. Since 1997, Kim has worked with The Talking Band in The Black Milk Quartet (La Mama e.t.c.), Delicious Rivers, and Imminence to name a few. Kim worked at length with playwright Ruth Margraff and director Tim Maner including The Hawthorne Trilogy (The Ohio Theatre), Night Vision by jazz composer Fred Ho (HERE),The Cry Pitch Carrolls, The Elektra Fugues, and The Centaur Battle of San Jacinto (Dixon Place). She has worked intensively with Puppeteer Ralph Lee and the Mettawee River Theatre Company including The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Brecht and Peace by Aristophanes (St.John’s Cathedral, Lincoln Center). Other theater credits include Still by David Neumann, Hair (European Tour), Singing in the Womb of Angels by Carl Hancock Rux, and Hot Mouth (PS 122). Kim recently performed at the Bluebarn Theatre in Omaha in Bug by Tracey Letts and has been a guest artist teaching and performing at the Great Plains Theatre Conference for the last 2 years. Film: Laws of Gravity, When It’s Over. TV: Officer Larson on Law and Order.
PETER GORDON is an American experimental composer and musician, whose music draws from influences as diverse as jazz, opera, rock and world music. He has released several albums, and has also composed film and theatre scores. Gordon earned a BA in composition at University of California, San Diego, where he studied with Kenneth Gaburo and Roger Reynolds; he earned an MFA at the Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, where he studied with Robert Ashley and Terry Riley. In addition to his own work, and that with his Love of Life Orchestra, he has appeared on or composed music for albums by Laurie Anderson, Suzanne Vega, David Johansen, The Flying Lizards, David Van Tieghem, Lawrence Weiner, and Arthur Russell. In 2007, James Murphy and Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem used Gordon’s classic Downtown tracks “Beginning of the Heartbreak” and “Don’t Don’t” to open their highly acclaimed dance mix Fabriclive 36. In 2008 an excerpt of his opera (with artist Lawrence Weiner) “The Society Architect Ponders the Golden Gate Bridge” was issued on the compilation album Crosstalk: American Speech Music (Bridge Records) produced by Mendi + Keith Obadike. Gordon wrote the scores for the serial mystery drama “The Necklace”, presented by The Talking Band. He also worked on the soundtrack to Desperate Housewives. In 2010, DFA Records released remixes by Gordon of “Beginning of the Heartbreak/Don’t Don’t” and “That Hat,” cowritten with Arthur Russell.
DAVID GREENSPAN with Talking Band: Star Messengers and Belize. Two performance Obies: one for The Boys in the Band, one for Some Men and Faust; solo renditions of The Patsy, Gertrude Stein’s lecture, Plays and a program of Stein lectures and a playlet entitled Composition… Masterpieces… Identity; and his own plays, most notably Dead Mother, She Stoops to Comedy (Obie), The Argument (Obie), The Myopia, Go Back to Where You Are and I’m Looking for Helen Twelvetrees; Obie Sustained Achievement.
MARIJA KOVACEVIC was born in Belgrade, Serbia, and began playing violin at age 7. She was trained from the age of 10 at The School for Musically Gifted Children, a boarding school exclusively devoted to string instruments, one of only three such schools in all of Europe. As a solo and ensemble player throughout this period, Marija won multiple musical festival awards and earned summa cum laude distinctions. In 2008 she earned her Masters degree from University for Music Arts in Belgrade, where she studied under Thomas Hagen, Yuri Bashmet, Gordan Nikolic, the Prague Quartet, the Bartok Quartet, the Artist Quartet and the Petersen Quartet. Marija has performed across Europe in chamber and orchestra ensembles. She currently resides in New York City where she plays classical and tango music and is violinist for The Talking Band Theater Company.
SAM KULIK has appeared in two Talking Band productions, Delicious Rivers (2006) and The Peripherals (2012). He has also worked with like-minded theater makers Ralph Lee (the Mettawee River Theater Company) and Pete McCabe. His own band is called Escape From Society and he is currently working on a recording that synthesizes his love of baseball and his compositional and instrumental talents.
HARRY MANN (Saxophone/Composer/Actor) was a member of the Talking Band for many years and congratulates them on their fortieth birthday and thanks them for all the fun, adventures, and visionary theatrical know-how.
THERESA MCCARTHY has had the privilege to work with incredible artists such as directors Tina Landau, Ann Bogart and Richard Jones, conductors Ted Sperling and Marin Alsop, playwrights Chuck Mee & Peter Stone, and composers, Adam Guettel, Ricky Ian Gordon, Michael John LaChiusa and Maury Yeston. Performance highlights include being a member of the original cast of the Tony award winning Broadway musical TITANIC; originating roles in numerous plays and musicals off-Broadway and regionally; appearing as featured vocalist on several recordings including, FLOYD COLLINS, MYTHS AND HYMNS, BRIGHT EYED JOY, and THE FROGS/EVENING PRIMROSE. In 2000, she founded a professional theater in Northern Michigan where she directed MACBETH, GRIMM TALES, ART, and PIGEON RIVER OPERA and taught acting, The Viewpoints, and Shakespeare techniques to students of all ages. There she received grants from the NEA, Michigan Council for the Arts and Culture and others to produce original works and provide arts programming for under-served communities. Currently Theresa is Head of New Music Theater Collaborative at NYU Tisch School of the Arts Playwrights Horizons Theater School (PHTS).
TOM NELLIS Broadway: Enron; The Caine Mutiny Court Martial, Aida. Off Broadway: Road Show, Richard III, Henry IV, the title role in Henry VI, The Merchant of Venice, ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore (Public Theater); Doris to Darlene (Playwrights Horizons); Ipheginia 2.0, Hot ‘N’ Throbbin, (Signature Theater); Orlando (Classic Stage Company); Septimus and Clarissa (Ripe Time); The Merchant of Venice (Theater for a New Audience, The Royal Shakespeare Company); Ahab in Laurie Anderson’s Songs and Stories from Moby Dick (BAM/World Tour); The Blue Sky is a Curse (The Talking Band); Dionysus (Suzuki Company of Toga); Oscar Wilde in Gross Indecencies (Minetta Lane); Hot Mouth (Manhattan Theater Club); Pearls for Pigs (Richard Foreman/World Tour); The Trojan Woman/A Love Story, Strange Feet, Another Person is a Foreign Country (En Garde Arts). Mr. Nelis is a founding member of SITI Co, Anne Bogart Artistic Director and as such has appeared in Cafe Variations, American Document, Antigone, Under Construction, Score, bobraushenbergamerica, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, War of the Worlds, Going, Going, Going, The Medium, and Orestes. Nelis teaches Suzuki and Viewpoints training for SITI and is on the faculty of Barnard College. Awards: OBIE (THE MEDIUM), Drama League Nomination (SCORE), San Diego Critics Ensemble Award, (WINTERTIME), Barrymore Nomination (CANDIDE). MFA, UC San Diego.
STEVEN RATTAZZI: With Talking Band: Painted Snake on a Painted Chair, Belize, Imminence, New Islands Archipelago, Walk Across America For Mother Earth, Marcellus Shale. New York: City Of (Playwrights Realm), Marie Antoinette (Soho Rep), Galileo (CSC w/F. Murray Abraham), The Tempest (Target Margin), Spy Garbo (3LD), Henry V (NYSF w/Liev Schrieber), David Adjmi’s Stunnning (Lincoln Center), Dinner Party (dir.David Herskovits), The Tempest (w/Mandy Patinkin), Age of Iron (dir.Brian Kulick), Therese Raquin (dir.David Esbjornson), McGurk (ERS), The Fourth Sister (dir.Lisa Peterson), Samuel’s Major Problems (Richard Foreman). Regional: The School for Wives (Two River Theater), Marie Antoinette (A.R.T and Yale Rep), The Lovesong of J. Robert Oppenheimer (dir.Mark Wing-Davey), Really Rosie (Maurice Sendak). TV: The Venture Brothers (Dr. Orpheus). Film: The Family (Luc Besson).
RANDY REYES, Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts, graduated from The Juilliard School Drama Division in 1999 and has worked as a professional actor, director, and theater educator in theaters and educational institutions including The Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Ten Thousand Things, Thirst Theater, Chicago Ave. Project, The Playwrights’ Center, Cincinnati Playhouse, Seattle Children’s Theatre, NYU Graduate Acting Program, University of Minnesota/Guthrie BFA Acting Program, Wagner College, The University of Utah, Augsburg College, and Macalester College. He is a board member of the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists (CAATA) and the Minnesota Theater Alliance. Randy also represents Mu as a member of the newly formed Twin Cities Theater of Color Coalition (TCTCC) along with Penumbra, New Native, Pangea World Theatre, and Teatro Del Pueblo. Acting credits include FOB, A Little Night Music, Yellowface, Little Shop of Horrors, The Romance of Magno Rubio, at Mu Performing Arts, M. Butterfly, The Government Inspector, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both “Dromios” in Comedy of Errors at the Guthrie, Pacific Overtures at the Alliance/Cincinnati Playhouse/North Shore Theater, and Tibet Through the Red Box by David Henry Hwang at Seattle’s Children’s Theater.
MICHELLE RIOS has performed throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe in numerous theatrical, operatic, and concert venues. Her credits include featured roles in the Broadway productions The Capeman by Paul Simon & Derek Walcott, and the Tony Award nominated revivals of The Sound of Music and Man of La Mancha. She also appeared Off-Broadway as “Abuela Claudia” in the Tony Award Best Musical In the Heights, and originated the role of “Maria Elena” in Elizabeth Swados’ Missionaries at La MaMa, ETC., and at New York Stage and Film. Ms. Rios also appeared with the Talking Band as “Miss Fitz” in Bitteroot and as “Salviati” in Star Messengers, both at La MaMa, ETC..
PETER SAMELSON insists he doesn’t do magic, he only helps people to see it. He combines twin passions – magic and theater – to carve out a unique place in the world of show business. He has been a supporter of Talking Band since first seeing Worksong, then consulting on Pedro Paramo, and finally collaborating on and performing Radnevsky’s Real Magic. Christened “the soft-spoken conceptualist of sorcery” by the New York Times, Peter is a producer of Monday Night Magic, New York’s longest running Off-Broadway Magic Show, where he headlines throughout the year. He designs illusions for television, film and theater, including Sam Mendes productions at BAM and the Old Vic (London) and for the Broadway shows, Leap of Faith and Harvey. He created and starred in two other critically acclaimed Off-Broadway shows; The Magician, PaperWork, and is the author of the book Theatrical Close Up.
KAMALA SANKARAM has appeared with Beth Morrison Projects, the Philip Glass Ensemble, and the Wooster Group, among others. She is the currently the frontwoman for world music ensemble, Bombay Rickey. Also a composer, awards and grants include: Jonathan Larson Award, NY Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical, Opera America, NEA ArtWorks, and MAP Fund. Residencies: Civilians R and D Group, HERE Artist Residency Program, the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center. In addition to her musical pursuits, Kamala holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology and can be heard as a voice on the Cartoon Network show Superjail.
“BLUE” GENE TYRANNY, composer and pianist of avant garde music, has toured extensively in solo and group concerts throughout the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico and Brazil. He also played in teenage rock bands and for a gospel church. He has composed over fifty works for electronic, instrumental and vocal ensembles, over thirty film and video soundtracks, and fifty scores for dance and theatre productions. He has performed on many albums and performed with such diverse performer-composers as Robert Ashley, Peter Gordon, Laurie Andersen, John Cage, Leroy Jenkins, David Behrman, Brenda Hutchinson, Jon Gibson, William Duckworth (The Cathedral Band), Phil Perkins, Ben Manley, Carla Bley, Iggy Pop, Lise Vachon and many others. He has published articles including the 20th Century Avant-Garde section of the recent All-Music Guide (Miller-Freeman, 1993, 1995, 1997).
LOUDON WAINWRIGHT III is a singer- songwriter and actor. He has recorded over 25 albums including the 2010 Grammy Award winning “High, Wide, & Handsome ”. Wainwright’s songs have been recorded by , among others ,Johnny Cash , Bonnie Raitt, Mose Allison, Earl Scruggs, and Rufus Wainwright. As an actor he has appeared on TV (“M.A.S.H.”, “Ally McBeal, “Undeclared”), in movies (“Big Fish”, “The Aviator”, “Knocked Up”), on Broadway (“Pump Boys & Dinettes”) and off Off-Broadway (“Hot Lunch Apostles”). His one man theatrical piece “Surviving Twin” will be presented on Wednesday nights this June at Subculture (45 Bleecker St). “Mr. Wainwright wrings more truth out of his contradiction than any other songwriter of his generation”- Stephen Holden, The New York Times,
JACK WETHERALL is a distinguished artist in theatre, television and film. With the Talking Band: TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, PEDRO PARAMO, HOT LUNCH APOSTLES, THE FURIES, THE WALK ACROSS AMERICA FOR MOTHER EARTH. Over 40 Years in the Theatre including Broadway(title role in THE ELEPHANT MAN); Stratford, Canada (“Orlando” in AS YOU LIKE IT and “Konstantin” in THE SEAGULL, opposite Dame Maggie Smith) and Regional Theatre (title role in CYRANO DE BERGERAC at the Guthrie). Television and Film: “Vic” in the Showtime series QUEER AS FOLK, 4 seasons.