While Singnasium provides singing classes, voice workshops, voice lessons and voice workshops all in the heart of NYC, the real heart of our organization is the teaching staff. Our faculty consists of an extraordinary team of Teaching Artists who are veterans of the music scene with bodies of work reflecting their exceptional breadth and talent in the NYC singing community. In the spirit of expansion and genre variety, the team is ever-growing, and we will continually welcome new masters to our roster of Teaching Artists in New York City.
Artistic Director, Singnasium
Lennie Watts is a 15-time MAC, 5-time Backstage Bistro, 3-time Nightlife, and a 2014 Broadway World Award Winner. He is the only person to receive awards as an outstanding vocalist, director, producer, and booking manager. He has been active in the New York cabaret scene for over 25 years.
In addition to directing in small cabaret venues, he has directed events at Symphony Space, Town Hall, and BB King Blues Club. He has toured nationally and internationally with productions of “The Music Man” (Marcellus) and “The Wizard of Oz” (Lion). He has performed at Town Hall in several concerts, including “Broadway Unplugged” and “Broadway By The Year, 1949,” and can be heard on the cast recordings of both shows. As a theater director, he has directed productions of “How To Succeed in Business…”, “Godspell,” “Dames at Sea,” “Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and “Phantom.”
Watts is the creator of “cab lab, “Summer In The City,” and “The Arrangement Experience and Boot Camp,” all critically acclaimed professional cabaret performance workshops. He has been teaching and conducting workshops in NYC and around the country for over 20 years. He is on the faculty of Marymount Manhattan College, and has been a Master Teacher at The Eugene O’Neill Cabaret Conference for the last 3 years, and will be returning in August. He created and produced the award winning “Under The Covers” series. “The Village Voice” calls him “A one man cabaret army!” He is the 2013 MAX Award Winner for Outstanding Major Artist for his critically acclaimed show, “Bloody Bloody Lennie Watts.” Lennie was recently named One of the 50 Most Influential People in Cabaret, and is currently the President of MAC.lenniewatts.com
Currently performing in the new Broadway musical Hadestown, Afra is a veteran performer with 8 Broadway credits to her name.
Some of her favorites include SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical where she played Michael/Maid and understudied Disco Donna Summer (performing the role 25 times), In The Heights (Original Broadway Company with Lin-Manuel Miranda), Shuffle Along (Original Broadway Company alongside Audra McDonald, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Billy Porter and Joshua Henry with choreography by Savion Glover), Ghost (Original Broadway Company, understudy Clara/Louise), and Motown (understudy Tina Marie). She also spent a year on the First National Tour of HAMILTON (Angelica Tour) playing San Francisco and Los Angeles. Additionally, Afra was a Radio City Rockette for 7 years.afrahines.com
Ashton Michael Corey
Ashton is a resident of New York City and a proud member of AEA & IATSE.
He has been seen in Musicals, Readings, Concerts, and Plays all over the United States, most notably the second National Tour of the Tony Award Winning musical "A Gentleman's Guide To Love And Murder." Recently Ashton has been seen in the hit musical "Once" at TheatreSquared as well as Off Broadway in "Pip's Island." Ashton has also worked as sound designer and audio engineer for the Off Broadway productions of "Medicine The Musical" and "The Vanity" in addition to mixing the Off Broadway revival of "Tick, Tick... BOOM!."ashtonmichaelcorey.com
Brad Simmons is a concert artist, music director and composer in New York City.
Brad has shared the stage with Broadway’s Alice Ripley, Tonya Pinkins, Beth Leavel, Donna McKechnie, Carolee Carmello and recording artists Sandi Patty and The B-52's Kate Pierson.
Music direction credits include Lysistrata Jones, To Wong Foo, Hood, Mr & Mrs Fitch with John Lithgow and Me and the Girls with Alan Cumming.
Film credits include Camp, The Last Five Years and Hello Again with Audra McDonald, Martha Plimpton and Cheyenne Jackson.
Brad composed the stage musicals A Woman Onstage, A Dickens of a Carol, and A Kiss from Alexander with librettist Stephan deGhelder.
Recordings include "The Simon+Garfunkel Collection", "Mundane Existence", "Silent Night" and "Dreamworld". Brad currently plays The Lineup with Susie Mosher at Birdland Theater.thebradsimmons.com
Hailed as a singer possessing a “crystalline timbre and intense acting ability,” (L'Arena, Verona, Italy) Puerto Rican soprano, Carmen Elisa Cancél received high praise for her performances as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Puccini's Suor Angelica, Mrs. Fiorentino in Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, Musetta in La Bohème, and as Donna Elvira with the Operafestival di Roma production of Don Giovanni at the Palazzo della Sapienza in Rome.
As a crossover artist, Ms. Cancél was proclaimed “flawless” and “completely believable” (Creative Loafing Tampa) in her performance as the title character of Maria’s Song, a musical drama focused on the desperate need for immigration reform in the US. Ms. Cancél enjoyed success as Sarraghina in Maury Yeston’s Nine with the Bruges Festival in Belgium, where she also performed
in Shakespeare Cabaret, a musical revue of the writings of Shakespeare and his influence on musical theater. She has also performed in Fall Pieces, at Dixon Place, and a reworked play version of Maria's Song at Players Theatre in NYC. No stranger to the concert stage, Ms. Cancél has sung the soprano solos in Handel's Messiah and Pergolesi's Stabat Mater as well as the Requiems of Fauré and John Rutter. Her singing has taken her throughout the US and to Italy, Bulgaria, Belgium, Canada, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and her native Puerto Rico.
As a voice teacher in NYC, Ms. Cancél trains high caliber singers in all genres of music from classical and Broadway styles to world music, jazz, rock, and cabaret. In her six years as Director of Programs and Development for Musical Dream Inc, she created the organization’s Vocal Arts Training Program and forged a youth choir partnership with The Father’s Heart Ministries on the Lower East Side of NYC. She served as the organization’s primary vocal instructor and mentored many talented young singers through its music training programs.
Ms. Cancél holds an Artist Diploma in Voice Performance from the University of South Florida as well as a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Clearwater Christian College. Additionally, Ms. Cancél holds a Bachelor's degree in Biology. She is active in music ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC, and when she is not on the musical stage or in the voice studio, Ms. Cancél enjoys reading, running, cooking with friends, and taking in art exhibitions and musical performances of all kinds. One of her greatest joys comes from volunteering her time with Hope For New York (HFNY) working to diminish social injustice throughout New York City. She is a member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and Opera America.
“As she dipped and swooped, twirling notes and phrases with a confidence and playfulness that recalled Ella Fitzgerald in her prime, Ms. Stravelli began interpreting lyrics with a ferocity that her vocal pyrotechnics accentuated.”
--Stephen Holden, New York Times
Award-winning vocalist Gabrielle Stravelli has garnered critical acclaim and a loyal following through her rich sound, original songs and her unique take on material from the new American songbook as well as classic standards. A trained actor, Gabrielle has a soulful sensitivity for the story in the lyric and was called “a powerhouse of individual expression” by The Village Voice.
Most recently Gabrielle headlined the 2018 WBGO Jazz on the Mountain Festival, toured Southeast Asia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan as a United States Department of State “Jazz Ambassador” and toured the US promoting her new album, “Dream Ago” which has received rave reviews from Downbeat Magazine, The Huffington Post and LA Jazz Scene among others. She headlined the 2016 Eleuthera Jazz Festival, a four-country US State Department-sponsored international tour in the American Music Abroad Program and premiered Rooms of Light, a new song cycle by renowned jazz pianist Fred Hersch. She has toured the US with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performing Wynton Marsalis’s Abyssinian: A Gospel Celebration, has been featured in 92Y’s Lyrics and Lyricists Series, at the Caramoor Festival, with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Cincinnati Pops and the Santa Rosa Symphony. She holds a BFA from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.gabriellestravelli.com
Lyricist/singer Jennie Litt is one half of the MAC Award-nominated songwriting and performing team of Alpher & Litt, with her husband, composer/pianist David Alpher, known for their “brilliant” and “enchanting” original cabaret songs, two CDs-worth of which are available on Amazon (Two Apples  and Songs For Sapiosexuals ).
A fixture on the NYC cabaret circuit for the last decade, Alpher & Litt have taught the art and craft of cabaret performance throughout the five boroughs, in upstate NY, Vassar College, and Boston, and are on the faculty of SummerKeys in Lubec, Maine. Jennie is also an award-winning fiction writer, with an MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers Workshop, and her works for theatre have been performed at Circle Rep (NYC) and the American Repertory Theatre (Cambridge, MA). Alpher & Litt are currently at work on a musical, The Mitfords At War, about the hell that breaks loose when you don't assassinate Hitler when you have the chance.littandalpher.com
With more than a decade of classroom teaching experience and a proven track record of arts education program development nationally, Jerry Phelps is a sought-after arts education professional specializing in curriculum design, program design and development, professional development, teacher coaching, and organizational sustainability.
In addition to a variety of classroom and private teaching experiences, Phelps most recently served as the Director of Arts Education and eventually the Director of Co-Curricular Programs for Democracy Prep Public Schools. In these positions, he managed and oversaw the development and growth of dozens of school-based arts education programs, national award-winning speech and debate programs, and physical education and athletic programs across the nation.
Among his awards and recognition, Phelps was named a quarter finalist by the RECORDING ACADEMY© and THE GRAMMY FOUNDATION© for the inaugural Music Educator Award. As a seasoned singer and performer, Phelps can be seen on stage frequently throughout New York City in a variety of solo shows and one-off performances.
Phelps currently serves as the Principal Consultant for the New York City-based arts education consulting firm, CORE Arts Consulting. In addition, he serves as Director of Arts for Bronx Charter School for the Arts and Director of Music for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury.jerryphelps.com
JOSHUA ZECHER-ROSS has worked on over 100 productions in New York and around North America as a music director, supervisor, conductor, arranger, and electronic music designer, and has been a vocal and repertoire coach to clients on Broadway and national tours.
Broadway: Be More Chill (conductor sub). Off-Broadway: Sweetee (music director/conductor), Broadway Bounty Hunter (rehearsal pianist). Recently: The Louder We Get directed by Lonny Price at Theatre Calgary. Other NY credits include songs in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and many shows at clubs and venues around NYC. Other regional credits include Barrington Stage Company, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, George Street Playhouse, Florida Studio Theatre, Sharon Playhouse, The Village Theatre in Seattle, WA, and The Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, Illinois. Joshua is a musical theatre instructor at the NY Film Academy and at Actor Therapy, and he holds a Bachelor of music in vocal performance from the Steinhardt School at New York University.JoshuaZR.com
Julie Gold is a New York Songwriter best known for Bette Midler’s version of her song FROM A DISTANCE which won the Grammy for Song of the Year in 1991.
FROM A DISTANCE has since received close to 5 million air plays: It has been recited into the Congressional Record (by Senator Barbara Boxer), It has been recorded internationally and translated into many languages, It has been illustrated as a Children’s Book and mass- produced in Music Boxes, It has been quoted in books, calendars and greeting cards, It was used as the wake-up call for astronauts in the Mir Space Station the very first time the Americans hooked up with the Russians in outer space.
A wide range of recording artists have covered it, singers from Jewel to Cliff Richard to The African Children’s Choir to Judy Collins to The Byrds to Donna Summer--just to name a few.
Nanci Griffith, the first to record FROM A DISTANCE, has also covered Gold’s songs HEAVEN, SOUTHBOUND TRAIN, GOOD NIGHT NEW YORK, MOUNTAIN OF SORROW, and LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE. Other artists who have recorded Julie Gold songs include Patti LaBelle, Patti LuPone, Lea Salonga, Andrea Marcovicci, Carol Woods, Sinead O'Connor and Kathie Lee Gifford. Gold’s Emmy Nominated lyric WE’RE 4 NEW YORK was a popular favorite that ran on the local NBC affiliate for years. Her song THANKS TO YOU was featured in the motion picture ANDRE, and her song DREAM LOUD was featured in the motion picture UNFAITHFUL, starring Richard Gere.
DREAM LOUD is also a favorite song of The Girl Scouts of America. Gold delights in the fact that she was paid in Girl Scout cookies for that transaction.
Gold has served on The Board of Governors for NARAS and is a guest artist for Lincoln Center's prestigious Meet The Artist Series.
She has 5 CDs documenting her work over the years: Dream Loud, Try Love, The Girl I Found, Love is Love is Love, and Sixty.
Currently she is writing songs for the Oxford University Press for a series that teaches English to elementary school children all over the world. As the daughter of an immigrant, she sees this as her most meaningful endeavor to date.
She performs and gives motivational speeches around the country.juliegold.com
Karen Mason has starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, television, and recording: and "has few peers when it comes to ripping the roof off with her amazing voice that knows no bounds!"
Karen is a twelve -time MAC Award winner and has won the MAC Award for Major Female Vocalist of the Year for six consecutive years. She has also won the 2006 Nightlife Award for Major Female Vocalist and has three Bistro Awards.
Ms. Mason most recently garnered rave reviews starring as The Queen of Hearts in WONDERLAND on Broadway. She originated the role of Tanya on Broadway in Abba's MAMMA MIA!, and was awarded a 2002 Drama Desk nomination as Best Actress.
Her other leading roles include Norma Desmond in SUNSET BOULEVARD, which she performed to critical acclaim and standing ovations on Broadway and in Los Angeles for three years; Velma von Tussel in the final Broadway company of HAIRSPRAY; "Monotony" singer, Mazeppa in JEROME ROBBINS' BROADWAY; Rosalie in CARNIVAL (another Drama Desk nomination); plus featured roles in Broadway's TORCH SONG TRILOGY; and PLAY ME A COUNTRY SONG. Karen won the Outer Critics Circle Award for her performance in AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND, and starred Off-Broadway in her own show KAREN MASON SINGS BROADWAY, BEATLES AND BRIAN.
Her television appearances include the hit dramas ED and LAW & ORDER: SVU. Film credits include SLEEPING DOGS LIE and A CHORUS LINE. In regional theatre, Karen starred in the 1st National Tour of A CHRISTMAS STORY as Miss Shields, in the world premiere of the stage production of WHITE CHRISTMAS, (playing the Rosemary Clooney role at St. Louis Muni Opera), SIDE BY SIDE BY SONDHEIM (Coconut Grove Playhouse in Florida), GYPSY (Sundance Theatre in California), the world premiere of ONE TOUGH COOKIE (Apple Tree Theatre in Chicago), HEARTBEATS (Goodspeed Opera House in NY) and COMPANY (Huntington Theatre in Boston). Most recently in New York, Karen starred in the one-woman musical about Dorothy Parker YOU MIGHT AS WELL LIVE.
Karen has headlined Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Feinstein's at The Regency, Rainbow & Stars, the Algonquin, Arci' Place, The Supper Club and The Ballroom in NYC; The Cinegrill and the UCLA/ASCAP Concert Series in Los Angeles; The Plush Room in San Francisco; and Davenport's in Chicago. She has shared concert stages with Michael Feinstein, Jerry Herman, Chita Rivera, Luciano Pavarotti, Rosemary Clooney, Liza Minnelli, and John Kander & Fred Ebb, among others. Karen has given concerts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Brazil, Scotland, Tokyo and Osaka. Her starring symphonic performances include The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra with Maestro Michael Berkowitz, The Philly Pops with Peter Nero, The New York Pops with Skitch Henderson, The Oklahoma Philharmonic with Joel Levine, the premier performance of The Chicagoland Pops, The Indianapolis Philharmonic, and the St. Louis Symphony with John McDaniel.
Her highly acclaimed recordings include her newest single, IT'S ABOUT TIME, written by Paul Rolnick and Shelly Markham; her 2009 MAC AWARD-winning Right Here/ Right Now, 2005’s The Sweetest of Nights, the MAC Award-winning When The Sun Comes Out, as well as three other CD’s: Christmas! Christmas! Christmas!, recorded live at the West Bank Café; Better Days, featuring songs by her longtime composer/arranger, Brian Lasser (including the 1998 Emmy Award-winning song "Hold Me"); and Not So Simply Broadway. Karen has been featured on the soundtrack of the original cast CD of Wonderland; Jeffrey (Varese Sarabande), the studio cast recording of Wonderful Town (JAY Records), the original cast album of And The World Goes Round (RCA Victor), The Child In Me, Vol. 1 (Harbinger Records), and Lost in Boston ll (Varese Sarabande).karenmason.com
The New York Post called her a madcap mix of Ethel Merman, Lucille Ball and Bette Midler, her father called her a lazy piece of shit that would never amount to anything, you decide.
High paying jobs: WICKED, Madame Morrible, Tour; A Catered Affair, Broadway; Mamma Mia – Rosie, Las Vegas; 9 to5 – Roz, 1s t National Tour;
Low paying jobs: Into The Woods, Shakespeare in the Park/Delecort Theatre, NYC, Jack’s Mother; Old Jews Telling Jokes; Tales of the City, The Eugene O’Niell Developmental Program; Roadshow, the Public Theater; Shlemiel The First – Off B’way Skirball Center; Forbidden Broadway: Cleans Up It’s Act (Original Cast) and 20t h Anniversary (Original Cast); Splendora-Sue Ella Lightfoot, Chelsea Playhouse; I Will Come Back - Friend of Barbara, The Players Theater; An Evening with Joan Crawford - Ethel Merman; REGIONAL: Man of La Mancha – Housekeeper, Damn Yankees – Sister, Mae Peterson – Bye, Bye, Birdie all at Goodspeed Opera House; Nine, Papermill Playhouse, Schlemiel The First – Yenta Pesha, OKLAHOMA! - Aunt Eller; Hank Williams Lost Highway – Mamma Lilly; 101 Dalmatians - Cruella DeVil.
I’m paying jobs: Varla Jean Merman is The Bad Seedling - Christine (Lead) Tweed Prods.; Blood Orgy of the Carnival Queens; The Club – Bertie; Cabaret and one person shows: Jackie Hoffman & Kristine Zbornik Joe’s Pub; Holiday Hams Lead; Blow Up World; Ball of Confusion; Serving Mankind; Zbornik In A Trunk.
Created cabaret/one-woman shows for over 25 years throughout the universe.kristinezbornik.com
Lisa Asher is a New York Nightlife Award Winner, Bistro Award Winner and MAC Award Winner. She has appeared as an actress and featured vocalist in numerous theatrical and concert venues around the country.
Lisa's recent theatrical credits include playing the Woman in Woody Guthrie's American Song both at The Marin Theatre Company and the Colorado Shakespeare Festival; Barb in Motherhood, The Musical at The Downtown Cabaret Theatre; Jessica in the NYMF production of Austentatious (for which she received a very nice mention in The New York Times); Bess Earp in I Married Wyatt Earp at Bristol Riverside Theatre and the world premiere of Almost Heaven, Songs & Stories of John Denver for the Tony Award Winning Denver Center Theater Company.
Lisa can be heard on the original cast recording of Almost Heaven, Songs & Stories of John Denver as well as the definitive recording of Woody Guthrie's American Song, live from The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA.
Lisa toured nationally with the Broadway show The Who's Tommy and appeared in the Off-Broadway sold out production of Woody Guthrie's American Song, which received a Drama Desk Nomination for Best Musical. Other credits include: the dual roles of Minnie and Joan in the East Coast premiere of the musical Bingo at The Adirondack Theatre Festival; the role of Topeka in Christmas At The Swingtime Canteen (which required that she musical direct, sing, act and conduct while providing piano accompaniment for the show) at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina; and, one of her favorite roles, that of Doatsey Mae in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas in Chicago.
Lisa was featured in a concert tribute to Woody Guthrie produced by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame where she shared the stage with such rock and folk notables as Bruce Springsteen, Indigo Girls, Ani DeFranco, Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie.
Ms. Asher is the recipient of a New York Nightlife Award, a MAC Award, and a Back Stage Bistro Award for outstanding vocalist in recognition of her solo work in cabarets in New York. Her critically acclaimed debut CD, Let The Mystery Be, was nominated for a MAC Award for Recording of the Year. Lisa's newest CD, Lisa Asher Live at The Duplex, is a faithful recording of her highly successful show that enjoyed a lengthy run at the famed Greenwich Village nightclub. Ms. Asher has performed numerous times for the Mabel Mercer Foundation's Cabaret Conventions in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and at Town Hall in NYC. She was featured as part of their 20th Anniversary Gala performances at Lincoln Center as well. Lisa has worked for both Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Holland America Cruise Lines as a featured vocalist.
Lisa's national television debut was in a solo vocal performance on the Emmy Award-winning The Rosie O'Donnell Show.
A veteran studio musician, Ms. Asher can be heard on television themes, audio projects for numerous publishing companies and commercial and educational children's products for Sesame Street and Berlitz.lisaasher.nyc/
Michael Holland is a composer/lyricist/arranger/orchestrator/producer/music director who has won 4 or 5 MAC Awards (they are under the bed somewhere and he can’t remember), 2 Bistro Awards, and some other things.
Holland was orchestrator/vocal arranger/recording co-producer for the Broadway revival of Godspell. He composed original music for Clue: A New Comedy at Cleveland Playhouse in 2020 (touring in 2021...maybe? Please...?). In 2019, Holland served as Music Director/ Orchestrator/Vocal Arranger for Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s acclaimed actor/musician production of You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, as well as Arranger/Associate MD for We Are the Champions: The Junior Fellows Sing Queen at Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. He was the orchestrator for Pure Country at Theatre Under The Stars, Houston, which was to have played in Spring 2020, now indefinitely postponed.
As composer/lyricist, shows include: Twelve Angry Men at Theatre Latté Da, Minneapolis (scheduled for May-June 2020; now postponed until 2021); You’re Gonna Hate This (Feinstein’s 54 Below and Joe’s Pub); Hurricane (NYMF); and Believe in Me... a Bigfoot musical (fringeNYC), among others. He has composed incidental music for: Bay Street Theatre; The Old Globe; The Alley Theatre; Bucks County Playhouse; Cape Playhouse; Colorado Shakespeare; Dallas Theatre Center; and Playwrights Horizons.
Recordings include Beach Toys Won’t Save You and Darkness Falls, available on most streaming platforms, as well as a few out-of-print ones. He also recorded the world premier of “Another Day in the Modern World” on The Maury Yeston Songbook (ps classics).
Holland was one half (with Karen Mack) of Gashole!, which terrorized cabaret audiences with irreverent pop mashups and nonstop commentary for 12 (count ‘em) years, and has served as musical director for countless cabaret extravaganzas in NYC and beyond. He has been on several Arrangement Experience excursions with Singnasium, and in the fall of 2019, joined Lennie Watts for a songwriting workshop with students at Brooklyn Jesuit Prep in Brooklyn.
He also writes bios.michaelholland.com ("Woefully neglected since 2014!")
Michael Kanan hails from Boston, Massachusetts where he first began to play the piano at age 7. He started improvising at the keyboard early on, and by age 10 he was listening to jazz. His first instructor was pianist Harvey Diamond, a student of jazz innovator Lennie Tristano.
During his years at Boston College, Michael had the opportunity to perform with several jazz greats including Tal Farlow, Lee Konitz, Al Cohn, and Alan Dawson. After graduating college and doing some freelance work around Boston, he moved to New York in 1991 to study with another Tristano student, the pianist Sal Mosca. He established himself in New York, playing and recording with Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, and Jorge Rossy, among others. He also developed a growing reputation as a vocal accompanist. In 1996, he joined the band of legendary singer Jimmy Scott, touring the US, Europe, and Japan and recording 4 CDs. In 2001, Michael became the accompanist and arranger for one of today's most celebrated vocalists, Jane Monheit. With Ms. Monheit's group, he has toured all over the world, recorded several CDs and DVDs, and made many TV appearances, including The David Letterman Show and The Conan O'Brien Show.
When not on the road with the Monheit band, Michael performs and records with his own groups. His current trio includes bassist Neal Miner and guitarist Greg Ruggiero. The trio has released two live recordings from New York’s famed jazz club Mezzrow.michaelkanan.com
Mykal Kilgore is an award winning actor and NAACP Image Award nominated singer/songwriter. His debut album “A Man Born Black” is a gumbo of American roots music and modern feels that highlight his ability to go from Broadway Showtune Storytelling to Soul and Jazz scatting to Gospel.
Mykal was most recently seen on his Born Black Tour and with India Arie on her Worthy Tour. Theatre credits include The Witch in Into The Woods at Barrington Stage Company, The Who’s Tommy at The Kennedy Center, Songs For A New World at Encores! Off-Center, Motown the Musical and Hair on Broadway, as well as Book of Mormon (1st National Tour.) He has also appeared in TV/Film with roles in NBC’s Jesus Christ Superstar and The Wiz Live and Collateral Beauty. Mykal’s racked up 10M plus views on social media with his videos from Scott Bradlee’s Post-Modern Jukebox (PMJ) and his viral “Reclaiming My Time” video.
#blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter #loveoneanothermykalkilgore.com
Nikki M. James
Tony Award winning actress Nikki M. James was recently seen as a series regular on the new Fox series Proven Innocent.
James received rave reviews for her starring role as Viveca in Kirsten Child’s musical The Bubbly Black Girl Sheds Her Chameleon Skin in Encores! Off-Center production at City Center. The musical review was an ambitious follow up to Nikki’s portrayal of Portia, Brutus’ proud wife, in The Public Theatre’s extremely press worthy and politically prescient version of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park in 2017. Nikki reprised her role of Viola in the musical version of Twelfth Night this past summer under the direction of Oskar Eustis at the Delacorte Theatre.
Recent notable work in television includes a starring role in CBS’ quirky series Braindead and a recurring guest arc on the hit series The Good Wife, CBS’ Bull, Escape From Dannemora on Showtime and reprised her role of Monica from The Good Wife on the CBS All Access series The Good Fight. Her film credits include: Lucky Stiff and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.
James most famously, originated the role of Nabalungi in the Broadway hit musical, Book of Mormon, for which she won the Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. After her award winning performance, Nikki went on to star as Éponine in the 2014 Broadway revival of Les Misérables. She has also performed several sold-out, one-woman cabaret shows at popular New York City venues such as 54 Below and Joe’s Pub.
No stranger to Broadway, Nikki has starred in productions of All Shook Up and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Other memorable theater productions include; Romeo and Juliet, Caesar and Cleopatra alongside Christopher Plummer, The Wiz, Bernarda Alba, House of Flowers and Preludes.
She resides in New York City and holds a BFA in Drama from NYU.
SHARON MCNIGHT made her Broadway debut in 1989 in “Starmites”, creating the role of Diva. She received a Tony award nomination as “Best Leading Actress in a Musical” for her performance, and is the recipient of the coveted Theatre Worlds Award for “Outstanding Broadway Debut”. New York magazine’s John Simon said “Sharon McNight is a winner” and Al Hirschfeld did a caricature of her.
The singer/comedienne’s regional credits include Amanda McBroom’s “Heartbeats” at the Pasadena Playhouse, and an award winning Dolly in “Hello, Dolly” at the Peninsula Civic Light Opera (a role she repeated in her hometown, Modesto). Sharon was Sister Hubert in “Nunsense” in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where she received the Bay Area Critics Circle award for “Best Performance in a Musical”. She is the narrator of the documentary, “There That Night,” the story of the Provincetown, Massachusetts fire, and was featured in the A & E documentary, “It’s Burlesque”, for her research on Mae West and Sophie Tucker.
“McNight continues to be one of the wonders of the musical stage” -Los Angeles Times
McNight began her career in San Francisco where she received her Master of Arts degree in directing from San Francisco State. She taught a City College of S.F.. has been a master teacher at the Eugene O’Neill Center and is currently on the faculty of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University. She was chosen as one of the 50 most influential people in cabaret for 2010.“A tireless performer who will drop everything to perform in any benefit with a cause, the Tony-nominated McNight can sing anything and make it her own” – NiteLifeExchange.com
She has played from Moose Hall to Carnegie Hall and anywhere the check doesn’t bounce. She has won 6 San Francisco Cabaret Gold awards, 3 Cable Car awards, a MAC award, a Bistro award, and received a Nightlife award from New York’s critics for her Best Musical Comedy show, “Ladies, Compose Yourselves!”, featuring songs by “living” female composers. Other songs include “Betty, Betty, Bette”, celebrating the screen legends Grable, Hutton & Davis; “Songs To Offend Almost Everyone”, a throwback to the party records of the 50’s mixed with political and social satire; “Gone, But Not Forgotten”, a tribute to the late ladies of stage & screen – Merman, Martha Raye, Madeline Kahn, Patsy Cline, & Judy Garland. In contrast is “The Sophie Tucker Songbook” which contains the music of the one-woman show based on the show business legend. The “Songbook” debuted at New York’s Rainbow & Stars as part of the ASCAP Sunday night showcase. Since then, she developed it into a one-woman musical, “Red Hot Mama”, which was workshopped at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Lucille Lortell’s White Barn Theatre, and finished a successful three month run Off-Broadway at the York Theatre. “Here is an extremely versatile artist…..she is tireless……first rate vocalist, and totally in command of her audience.” -Variety New York
She has six solo recordings to her credit. Her eclectic repertoire ranges from blues to country (yes, she yodels) to good old-fashioned entertainment. She is most noted for her movie reenactment of The Wizard of OZ and for being one of the few real women to impersonate Bette Davis.
As an only child, her parents kept her busy with all kinds of lessons: ballet, tap, hula, social dancing, flute and piano. She is single and lives in Hollywood. She has been at the forefront in the fight against AIDS since the early eighties, and was featured in Randy Shilts’ book “And The Band Played On”. She was chosen twice as the honorary chair of the San Francisco AIDS Emergency Fund, and was one of two heterosexual women chosen as the Grand Marshall of San Francisco’s Gay Parade.
She says the greatest day of her life was the day she quit smoking.
Ted Stafford is a full-time music teacher at Saint Saviour Catholic Academy in Brooklyn, New York. He teaches general music to elementary and middle school students and conducts two concert bands and two choruses. He recently completed the 3-year certification course at the Summer Kodály Institute at NYU.
As a performer, Ted is a two-time MAC award winner for his work on the Ted & Lo Show with Lorinda Lisitza. Ted has also been part of the creative team for four Cabaret Boot Camps with Lennie Watts. Since 2001, Ted has enjoyed playing guitar, bass, and singing regularly with many inspiring performers and musical directors on the New York cabaret scene.Ted Stafford - YouTube