For two weeks this December, Luna Stage presents five extraordinary solo performances from five New Jersey artists. From the legacy of female codebreakers in World War II to the intense absurdity of the social work system; from a musical celebration of extraordinary black women to a gently humorous coming of age story in the wake of mental illness, all culminating with a musical performance by a reluctant holiday jam-band, there is something for everyone.
Phenomenal Woman - December 8-10 | Performed by Ami Brabson. Directed by Corinna Sowers Adler. With a little help from strong women like writer/activist Ruby Dee, songstress Phoebe Snow and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Ami Brabson explores the many facets of being a phenomenal woman. This evening of music, poetry and storytelling celebrates women who have dared to speak their minds. Phenomenal Woman stars Ami Brabson and features Corey Wachala on piano, Christian Fabian on bass, Brian Crooks on drums
Call Me Crazy: Diary of a Mad Social Worker - December 9-10 | Written and Performed by Helena D. Lewis. After being assigned more cases than she can handle, social worker Lewis has a nervous breakdown, tries to kill her boss, and is committed for psychiatric observation. It’s all in a day’s work. While being restrained, Lewis recalls her true-life experiences working with prostitutes, drug addicts and prisoners, portraying twenty-five different characters from pimps to menopausal women. Call Me Crazy is a funny and moving look at the highs and lows of working for peanuts while trying to save the world one client at a time.
Panther Hollow - December 15 | Written and Performed by David Lee White. Directed by John Augustine. Part stand-up comedy confessional, part examination of the cultural taboo of mental illness, Panther Hollow details storyteller and monologuist David Lee White’s struggle with love, sex, and clinical depression while he was 25 and living in a one-hundred- year-old house under a bridge in the eerie Panther Hollow neighborhood in Pittsburgh.
Once in...Never Out! - December 16 | Written and Performed by June Ballinger. Directed by Janice L. Goldberg. An 80-year-old British former codebreaker at Bletchley Park looks back on her life and all the secrets about her work and identity that she has held onto for 50 years. Will she ever be truly known by her children? How will she be remembered? Was her contribution worth the sacrifices? Written and performed by June Ballinger, this piece is inspired by her own mother’s work at Bletchley Park during WWII. The story was created through memories, letters, and a diary discovered after her mother’s death in 2013.
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Trent Armand Kendall’s Reluctant Holiday Jam! featuring Brass ILLUSION - December 17 | Written by Trent Armand Kendall. They’re snowed in and the band is “SCOOGE’D”! Ripping through the hits of Louis Armstrong, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Sam & Dave, Ella Fitzgerald, Donny Hathaway, Johnny Mathis, Prince, Annie Ross, Blood Sweat & Tears, Manhattan Transfer, Luther Vandross, Lee Ann Womack, Maroon 5 ... and more contemporary favorites!
Trent Armand Kendall - Book & Vocals; Martin Askinazi - Arrangements & Bass; Louie DiNatale - Piano; Stu Seiderman - Saxophone; Paul Somer - Trombone; Frank Rizzo - Drums
All performances take place at Luna Stage, 555 Valley Road, West Orange, NJ