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ROCK ON! This Week's Sound Bites...11/6/14

By Danny Coleman

originally published: 11/06/2014
"Beneath My Father's Sky," is a one woman play written and performed by Montclair, NJ resident, musician, actress and model Zara Phillips.

"Bet you didn't know I could act," she said with a laugh as she discussed her most recent performance. "I love it! I absolutely am enjoying it; this is so much fun!" Phillips, an adoptee and a very intense supporter of adoptee's rights, was born in Great Britain and raised in a suburb of London called Bonnet by her adoptive parents; the Samuels. "Beneath My Father's Sky" depicts Zara's journey from childhood to her mother's passing, her seemingly at times forced relationship with her father and incorporates interactions with her deceased sister who never came to be as her mother miscarried. Phillips weaves a tale of conflict, curiosity, longing and searching for her birth parents while balancing family life with her adoptive parents.

"My song "Big Sky" was the inspiration for the whole play," she explained. "We all live under the same sky yet we don't know each other." Phillips, a musician by trade, began her musical career as a backing vocalist for British artist Bob Geldof. Literally touring the globe, making television appearances and performing for stadiums full of fans; Zara gained the experience and confidence that would carry her through to her current career as an actress and model. In the play, Phillips incorporates her music in short snippets while having at length discussions with her deceased sister, mother, grandmother and still living adopted father. Zara deftly maneuvers her way through this one act short story in a manner that grabs the audiences attention while leaving one wanting to know more. Zara teases and takes you to the brink of wonder in several spots; one in particular is the short interaction and introduction of her grandmother. Phillips allows a glimpse, as she does throughout the play, into her childhood relationships with her adoptive parents; offering veiled explanations for her make up outside of the DNA which belongs to others.

"November is "National Adoption Month;" people need to know this. Do you know what someone said to me today? Someone actually said, "Be glad that you weren't an abortion," can you believe that? It's not the first time that has happened to me either," she said with mild agitation in her voice. "People just don't understand what it's like. As an adoptee it's not easy. Filling out forms at the doctor is a challenge, I have children and I can't determine my birth father's medical history as I've never met him and my birth mother doesn't know. Will that effect my children? I just don't know but..." and as her voice trailed off; the sense of her frustration and sadness was evident.

Zara is a huge advocate for adoptees rights and travels the country, speaking at conferences and raising awareness; something that was her main focus when she wrote the play. "I wrote the entire play during the two weeks that we were without power during and after Hurricane Sandy. I didn't know what to do with myself and I'd often thought of doing it so I sat down and was able to accomplish it during those two weeks. I wanted to get the message out there while incorporating my music."

Zara sought the help of her friends Eliza and Eric Roberts. Eliza produced the play which debuted in November of 2013 at the United Solo Theater Festival in New York City while Eric garnered the festival's "Best Director Award" for his efforts. "Eric and Eliza were just terrific with their help and support last year; I was so happy that they were recognized," she said. Since that 2013 premier, Phillips was invited to perform the play in San Francisco and Los Angeles and back at the United Solo Festival again this year; where her November 23 2 p.m. performance will close the event. "This has exceeded my expectations," she proudly stated as the excitement in her voice grew. "This has been such a positive experience, a growing experience for me. Last year I was so nervous, this year I'm learning more and more and I am less nervous. I was concerned that the audiences wouldn't get my bizarre British humor but they seem to be laughing in the right spots and nodding approval in others so I guess it's working."

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Zara says that she has been contacted about taking the play on the road once again to Florida and several other states; a prospect that she finds very exciting. "Gee, I am performing it this Saturday November 8 at 7:30 p.m. in my hometown of Montclair at the Unitarian Church (located at 67 Church Street), then as part of an adoption panel at UConn Stamford in Connecticut on November 12. Then of course back in New York on November 23. I played some new material in the play because my music plays a huge part in my life and of course, as I said earlier "Big Sky" is the reason that I wrote the play so that's very important as well. I am very much looking forward to taking it on the road; the prospect is very exciting."

"Beneath My Father's Sky," is one woman's struggle with adoption, conflict, constant wonder, searching and a longing to put the final pieces in place of who she is and where she comes from. Phillips does a masterful job of taking audiences on her journey. When seeing the play, one can't help but feel her emotions and frustration; all while empathizing with not only her struggles but her persona as well. This is a well written and acted play. Phillips deserves major accolades for the presentation of her life and efforts to raise awareness of adoptee rights.

To discover more about Zara and the "Beneath My Father's Sky," please visit

That's it for this week! Please continue to support live and original music and until next week....ROCK ON!

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Alchemist & Barrister

28 Witherspoon Street Princeton
(609) 924-5555

Thurs. 10 p.m. John Morrison Jazz Trio

Sun. 9 p.m. Ed Wilson

Wed. 10 p.m. Open mic. night

All shows 21+

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Amalfi's Restaurant & Bar

146 Lawrenceville-Pennington Road Lawrenceville

(609) 912-1599

Fri. 8:30 p.m. Kindred Spirit

Amarones Windsor Inn

29 Church St. Windsor

(609) 448-7144

Thurs. 6:30 p.m. Scott Gager & Debbie

Fri. 8 p.m. Rick & Kenny

Sat. 8 p.m. Lonnie Youngblood

Tues. 7:30 p.m. Texas Hold'em

Wed. 7 p.m. DJ John Rossi

Big Shots Bar and Grill/Hebe Music Lounge

835 E Rte. 130 South, Burlington

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(609) 267-1200

Fri. 7 p.m. Love For Pluto, The Once Was, Mammal Dap

Wed. 7 p.m. Open Mic.

Blend Bar & Bistro

911 Highway 33, Hamilton

(609) 245-8887

Tues. 8 p.m. Triviajam

Wed. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Hosted by Shaun Ruymen

Candlelight Lounge
24 Passaic St. Trenton
(609) 695-9612

Sat. 3 p.m. Monnette Sudler Guitar Quartet. (No cover-$10 minimum)

Chambers Walk Cafe
2667 Main St. Lawrenceville
(609) 896-5995

Fri./Sat. 6 p.m. Dick Gratton

Chickie's & Pete's

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183 US Highway 130 North Bordentown

(609) 298-9182

Tues. 8 p.m. Acoustic Music Night feat. The Dawgs

Dubh Linn Square
167 Rte. 130 North Bordentown
(609) 298-7100

Sun. 4 p.m.Billy O'neal

Tues. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night hosted by Shaun Ruymen

Wed. 9 p.m. Trivia Night

Fran's Pub

116 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.


Mon. 8 p.m. Open Mic Blues Jam hosted by Jimmy Pritchard

All shows 21+

Havana New Hope
105 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-9897

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Thurs. 8 p.m. "An Evening with Anna Nalick" w/ Lauren Marsh. Doors at 6 p.m., $25 (limited reserve seats), $55 (meet and greet VIP).

Fri. 8:30 p.m. Jumper

Sat. 8 p.m. Robert Randolph and the Family Band. Doors at 6 p.m., $49

Sun. (1 p.m.) Sip & Shop Event (6 p.m.) Bob Lanza Blues Band

Mon. 10 p.m. Karaoke in the Bar w/ DJ Ron Sherr and Bridget

Wed. 8 p.m. Pat Foran and Friends

All shows 21+

Ivy Tavern
3108 S. Broad Street, Hamilton
(609) 888-1435

Fri. 10 p.m. Blind Lemmon Pie

Sat. 10 p.m. The Dawgs
All shows 21+

John & Peter's
96 S. Main St. New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-5981

Thurs. 9 p.m. Mountain John

Fri. (4:45 p.m.) Mountain John (8 p.m.) North X New Hope Music Festival Night 1

Sat. (3 p.m.) North X New Hope Music Festival (7 p.m.) North X New Hope Music Festival Night 2

Sun. (3 p.m.North X New Hope Music Festival (7 p.m.) North X New Hope Music Festival Night 3 Finale

Mon. 9 p.m. Open Mic. Night w/ Chris

Wed. 9 p.m. Justin Wells and Matt Woods
All shows 21+

JoJo's Tavern

2677 Nottingham Way Hamilton

(609) 586-2678

Wed. 10 p.m. Karaoke

Palermo's Of Hamilton
310 Klockner Rd. Hamilton
(609) 838-7979

Thurs. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Sat. 9 p.m. The Mojo Gypsies

All shows 21+

Patriot's Crossing

1339 River Rd. Titusville

(609) 737-2780

Fri. 7:30 p.m. Sensei Juan & The Black Belts

Sat. 7:30 p.m. Shawn Would

Pete's Steak House
523 Whitehorse Ave. Hamilton
(609) 585-8008

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Radio Fiction

Sat. 9:30 p.m. The Polish Nannies

RHO Waterfront

50 Riverview Plaza Trenton

(609) 393-7300

Thurs. 9 p.m. College Night w/ DJ Wessey Wes

Fri. (4:30 p.m.) Happy Hour w/ DJ Frank Olivetti $10 Buffet (9 p.m.) The Soul Cruisers

Sat. 9 p.m. "Team Single vs. Team Taken Traffic Light Party" feat. Kombo Latino and Epoch Failure / DJs. $10 (advance) $20 (door)

All Shows 21+

Sunsets at Cream Ridge

181 Rte. 539 Cream Ridge

(609) 208-2500

Fri. 9:30 p.m. Late 88

Sat. 9:30 p.m. Bad Little Doggie

Tavern On The Lake

101 Main St. Hightstown
(609) 426-9345

Fri. 9 p.m. Jazz Night

Wed. 8 p.m. Karaoke Night

The Ivy Inn

248 Nassau St. Princeton

(609) 921-8555

Thurs. 10 p.m. Karaoke w/ Ron Sherr

Fri. 10 p.m. DJ Fatha Ramzee

Sat. 10 p.m. Boxorox

Tues. 8 p.m. Quizzo w/ Bob E Luv

Wed. 10 p.m. Theme Night w/ DJ Rockin' Ron

The HOB Tavern

146 Second Street

(609) 291-7020

Sat. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Wed. 9 p.m. Frank Squared

The Record Collector

358 Farnsworth Ave. Bordentown

(609) 324-0880

Sat 8 p.m. Christine Ohlman & The Rebel Montez. All ages, doors at 7:30 p.m., $15 (advance)

The Sun National Bank Center
81 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 656-3200

Check web site for upcoming events

Tir Na Nog
1324 Hamilton Ave. Trenton
(609) 392-2554

Fri. 9 p.m. David Falcone

Sat. 9 p.m. John Richards

Tues. 9 p.m. Taylor Reed

wed. 9 p.m. Paul Weise

All shows 21+

Trenton Social

449 South Broad Street Trenton

(609) 989-7777

Thurs. 8 p.m. Cinema Thursdays Presents: "I Grew Up in Princeton"

Fri. 10 p.m. Friday night w/ Jay Kountree & Jaxx

Mon. 10 p.m. Service Industry Night w/ DJ-Jay Kountree

Triumph Brewing Company (New Hope, Pa. Location)
400 Union Square New Hope, Pa.
(215) 862-8300

Fri. 10 p.m. Christine Havrilla ($5 cover charge)

Sat. 10 p.m. Dirty River Boys $5 (cover charge)

Sun. 7 p.m. Open Jam Night

Tues. 9 p.m. Acoustic Grateful Dead feat. members of Splintered Sunlight

Wed. 9 p.m. Matthew Szlachetka

All shows 21+

Wildflowers Inn

2572 Pennington Rd. Pennington

Sat. 9 p.m. Live Acoustic Rock
Mon. 9 p.m. Karaoke

Danny Coleman is a veteran musician and writer from central New Jersey. He hosts a weekly radio program entitled “Rock On Radio” airing Sunday evenings at 7:000pm EST on multiple internet radio outlets where he features indie/original bands and solo artists.



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