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Salon Radio: Theater of Light; Maureen Van Trease

September 28th, 2017

Salon Solo {Radio}: Maureen Van Trease & her Dorothy Parker play project

Maureen Van Trease is an actress, voiceover artist, playwright and singer, member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor's Equity Association.

Artist Statement:

"I like to make people laugh and also think and consider serious issues and I feel that theater is the most interactive way to do this. It is the most potent form of communicating with an audience because it provides a live visual and sound context. I believe film can do this as well but it is not as immediate as it is not happening live in that moment.

I grew up in Lancaster, PA with limited exposure to theater. I did a school play in 5th grade for the Bicentennial and an Albee play as part of a class as a Senior and that show is what pulled me into acting. My school did have a musical every year, but I didn't really sing then, so never participated. I started to work more at theater in college, dropped out of Nursing classes, took a break, and then went back and got a BA in Theater, and followed that 5 years later with a Post Grad diploma in Musical Theater from Mountview Conservatoire in London. I worked in the Tampa Bay area a lot for about 10 years before moving to New York, where I have been working since 2002.

I have been working on Dorothy parker for quite a few years now. My play “Those Whistling Lads” takes 5 of her short stories and 5 of her poems and adapts them for the stage and includes interstitial scenes from her life about why she wrote what she did. It’s a 4 actor play including Dorothy, another woman and 2 men who play the characters in the stories and the people in Dorothy’s life.  It has had 2 staged readings and 2 full productions here in New York.  I am working on trying to get it in shape to tour it to universities and possibly high schools."

Connect with Maureen on Facebook on my fan page Maureen Van Trease


Salon Radio Special: Theater of Light Inaugural Season in NYC, with founder Ellen DeStasi

History of the Theater of Light Inc.

*Founded and incorporated as a not for profit 501C(3), the Theater of Light served the community of Long Island for the past 20 years through a variety of cultural programs.

*Professional Equity Musical Productions toured communities.

*Became an Associate Institute of Lincoln Center Institute and brought the famed cultural arts program to schools for a dozen years. Projects included: Disney on Broadway school tour/ Public Theater Shakespeare school tour/ Shakespeare Festival in association with Royal Shakespeare Company/ International Drama Festival in association with Royal National Theater.

*Self Esteem Acting Classes Just for Girls in conjunction with Department of Youth and Community Services

The Theater of Light proudly presented its Inaugural Season in NYC, this Spring 2017, “Three Plays-Three Virtues.” The program consisted of three short original plays that demonstrate the power of faith, hope and love in the struggle of life. In keeping with the mission of the Theater of Light, the production toured Senior Centers in NYC offering free performances.

The Theater of Light is committed to continue to serve this ‘forgotten population’ this Fall with a new production...the eldery poor.

Artistic Director Ellen DiStasi is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University Drama Department. Her ensuing career as a professional actress led to founding the Theater of Light. As a professional stage and film performer, director, and university professor she is excited to bring the Theater of Light to Manhattan.

Artist Statement:

"Theater has always been a spiritual experience for me. It touches my soul in a way that nothing else can. What attracts me to theater is the power that it has to inspire, enlighten, heal, empower and change the audience.

I assumed that theater had this effect on everyone. Therefore it was quite an epiphany for me to discover that this is not the case. Through the Theater of Light I have had the privilege of revealing that light to a variety of audiences.

At the start, the Theater of Light performed musicals like the Fantasticks, and I would write a note in the program to give the audience the spiritual insight to see it as a parable of love.

Later as a cultural arts institute we would go into school classrooms to prepare students for shows. I would take the opportunity to open their eyes not only to the greater meaning of the play but how it applied to them. A few weeks after 9/11 we did a unit of study with Disney’s Aida on Broadway. What a powerful opportunity to compare for the students how the stronger Egyptians destroyed its weaker neighbors in Aida and how the USA at this time of national tragedy aspired toward forgiveness and peace.

My work with students gave me the chance to reach out to young girls using the power of theater in workshop exercise to give them the skills, confidence and empowerment to face a difficult world and hard choices from eating disorders to sexual stereotypes.

In my work with adults in the AA program we used improvisation to give the participants a dramatic example of the power of choices and consequences.    

This spring the Theater of Light reached out to New York’s elderly poor. The plays were carefully selected to be relatable, entertaining and inspiring.   The talkbacks we had with the audience after the show revealed how the power of theater had reached beyond the often noisy, sleepy, and disruptive audience members to inspire and touch them." ~ Ellen DiStasi

Contact Ellen at to join this project or for more information.

Theater of Light Inc Presents:

Three "Acts" of Grace   a compilation of 3 original plays

*THE ART OF TEA by Daniel Damiano

Play ONE is a story of what one can do with a grievance resulting from one careless screw. Can she forgive this most grievous offence? Will she choose to be gracious, ah here’s the suspense! More is brewing in this play than tea leaves, you may never sit down for a cup of tea in quite the same way.

Director Benjamin Viertel

  by Emily Snyder

Play TWO is a story of humanity and what it can learn from technology. How computerized will our future be? For better or for worse? You decide. 

Director Ernest Johns

*A HIT'S A HIT    by Colette Silvestri

Play THREE the writer can’t write....she’s as blocked as can be and the muse is so tipsy she hardly can see. What is the recipe for a good joke?  

You won't believe the answer. 

Director Paige Kiliany

Original music and lyrics Kathy Sillaway Ulrich

CAST Maureen Van Trease & Ellen DiStasi

Stage Manager/Understudy Penny Pollak

FREE Performances
@ The Little Theater 

at West 71 Street

(152 W 71st St, NY, NY)  

Reserve Free Seats @:

Saturday October 28 (3:00 to 4:00)           

Sunday October 29 (5:00 to 6:00)

Saturday November 4 (3:00 to 4:00)

Saturday November 11 (3:00 to 4:00)     

Sunday November 12 (3:00 to 4:00)

Salon Radio: Cecilie Beck and Joanna Sherman

September 16th, 2017

Salon Radio Special Feature: Cecilie Beck projects

Cecilie Beck is an Scandinavian audiovisual artist, who earned a Master of Fine Arts from The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in May 2013. At the Academy's department 'School of Walls and Space', Beck studied Art-as-Activism in public spaces. During her education she did an internship for Berlin-based artist Annika Lundgren, and went on educational exchanges to Konstfack in Stockholm and Parsons The New School for Design in New York City. In 2010, she traveled through Singapore, Nepal, Malaysia and India. She also spent 6 months in Indonesia where she created a series of street art and music. Beck is now based in New York City, and in January 2016, she released the album “Here is Now” on her own label Sound Vision Lab, Inc. “Here is Now” is her first music album. She has showcased her work at various venues in NYC, such as Nublu, Bar Matchless, Rockwood Music Hall, The Knitting Factory, Paper Box, Red Door, Arlene's Grocery, The Bitter End and Pianos, Bishop Gallery, Lesley Heller Gallery and more. Internationally, she has presented her work at Spikersuppa Sound Gallery in Oslo, The Artist House Museum in Oslo, Basso in Berlin, Litteraturhaus in Copenhagen.

Artist Statement:

"To me, light and sound are two faces of the same coin. The dimensions are codependent; music and visuals are present in all of my work.

While the presentation of my work is audiovisual, the subjects concern social relations; I am interested in the clashes and harmonies between people and places.

The issues I explore include authority, hierarchies, communication, prejudice, gender and commercialism. The source of my inspiration is to be found in the cities I live in and the places I travel to; I am inspired by the people around me, the cities I live in and the places I travel to. It is essential for my work that I locate myself in those environments I find dynamic and problematic. During my processes, I experiment with a variety of social constructions. This performative approach, mixed with an intuitive development of my ideas, gives the process equal value to the material presentation - this being books, installations, performances, concerts, videos, paintings, texts, poems, collages and songs. As an artist, I see it as my privilege and responsibility to work with different methods and approaches as a way to develop and present ideas. My goal is to always challenge myself and my surroundings in order to understand the potential, qualities and abilities of the environments that surround me." ~ Cecilie

twitter & instagram: ceciliebeck1

facebook: @beckcecilie​​


Recent article about Cecilie's latest 2 projects: Danish artist goes into the mystic with eclipse

Recent song licensed for a Patient Story documentary about DjCherishTheLuv. Coming soon!

Current Art Exhibition:

La Bodega is pleased to present RE: patterns

-curated by Johnny Thornton

La Bodega Studios

695 5th avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11215

This exhibition features a group of artists who have aesthetically or conceptually incorporated patterns and/or repetition into their art practices. These artists have approached patterns in a multitude ways using several different mediums and techniques to create works that represent their respective practices. This exhibit focuses on stylistic varieties of repeating art elements that drive toward movement, harmony and unity.

RE: patterns will be exhibited from September 15th thru October 20th


Salon Solo {Radio}: Joanna Sherman

Joanna Sherman, founder and Artistic Director of Bond Street Theatre, has been initiating and directing theatre projects for social improvement globally since 1984 and in Afghanistan since 2003. The company works primarily in post-war, refugee and disadvantaged communities, collaborating with local artists, and applying the arts to the peacebuilding process. Current focus areas: Afghanistan, Myanmar, Malaysia, Lebanon and Tunisia. Ms. Sherman has directed and taught internationally, is a frequent speaker on Theatre for Social Development, and a member of the Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics at Georgetown University. She is currently conducting theatre-based programs for community improvement in Afghanistan through the US Embassy and the US Institute for Peace, and a theatre project with refugees and migrant workers in Malaysia. She received the 2014 Lee Reynolds Award from the League of Professional Theatre Women and the 2015 Otto Award for Political Theatre, and served as a Cultural Envoy in Myanmar in 2010. Under her directorship, the company received a MacArthur Award for its interdisciplinary and intercultural programming. She has been an advocate and speaker on the role of the arts in peacebuilding at the United Nations, National Council on Women, US Institute of Peace, Association of Performing Arts Presenters, UN Conference on Women in China, universities, and other arts fora, and featured on CNN, BBC, NPR, Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. Publications include The Children of Afghanistan (University of Texas Press) and articles in American Theatre and Women in Theatre magazines. She continues to design and implement arts-based projects for international relief organizations. Ms. Sherman also plays saxophone with the Shinbone Alley Stilt Band.


In August, Bond Street Theatre is initiating a project in Malaysia for refugee and migrant populations. Many of Malaysia's refugees have fled active conflicts in Myanmar, where Bond Street has worked since 2009, while others hail from Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and the Middle East. Entire families make the treacherous trip to Malaysia, through traffickers or across hostile territory or seas, to reach Malaysia, a stable and moderate Muslim country. However, Malaysia is not a signatory of the UN Convention on Refugees, leaving the country's refugee population extremely vulnerable, without legal protections or opportunities, and struggling to survive, send their children to school, and find legal employment. Similarly, migrant workers find themselves in abusive conditions, since they have no legal status to work. For this project, Bond Street will partner with Asylum Access Malaysia, a respected advocate for refugee legal rights, North-South Initiative, which advocates for the rights of migrant workers’ rights, and several local theatre groups.

The beauty of theatre is that you can create a play about any topic and reach people in an entertaining and informative way, with or without language. Theatre workshops boost self- confidence, foster teamwork, improve learning abilities, and stimulate creative problem-solving. Worldwide, theatre is recognized as an effective means to disseminate information. The goal is to create performances with the refugees themselves that convey information about their legal rights, how to register for asylum, where to find health resources, and other information, as well as raise awareness in the broader community about the plight of refugees.


Since January, our youth theatre groups in eight Afghan provinces have been performing shows and leading workshops about rule of law, corruption, and access to justice. Most of the shows center around characters who are asked to pay a bribe in order to get a job, obtain their school diploma, influence the police, or access basic services. 

As of June, the youth have performed for 40,000 people. The audiences consist of government officials, religious leaders, students and teachers in high schools, people in mosques, parks, and other locations across Afghanistan.

In addition, they are conducting active, participatory, theatre-based workshops that cover legal rights, ways of countering corruption, alternatives to violence, and Afghanistan’s new Access to Information Law.

At the end of each performance, audience members are invited on stage to play the person who faces the demand for a bribe to get alternative reactions or solutions to the situation. The shows have been a huge hit at schools and community gathering places, where large crowds turn out to watch the performances.

Salon Radio: Andrea DelGiudice and Rabasi Joss

September 6th, 2017

Rabasi Joss' new album "Heliotrope" to be featured at SOFAR series show (Chinatown location) 9/9 with special guest Grace Galu

GRAMMY Award-nominated music producer and Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Rabasi Joss recently released her new album "Heliotrope" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Saturday, September 9th she has been invited by the SOFAR music series to perform a special acoustic set from the record with guest vocalist/percussionist Grace Galu.


Rabasi Joss is a GRAMMY Award-nominated music producer/archivist and a Brooklyn-based soul/jazz/folk singer-songwriter. Inspired by her decade-long work creating award-winning multimedia documentary music projects and crossing paths with such legends as Pete Seeger, Tim Robbins, Jane Fonda, and Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, she is now returning to the stage and studio as a performing & recording artist. Joss grew up in the Washington DC area on 90s R&B and 60s folk music, with a passion for blues, jazz, soul and funk. Her sound is a Mid-Atlantic blend of folk, jazz, country, blues, hip-hop and soul. She has been invited to open for Richie Havens and the Persuasions, and has performed at venues including the Blue Note, the Bitter End, The Living Room, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Ten years in the making and recorded at the legendary Magic Shop Studio (Norah Jones, David Bowie), "Heliotrope" explores the evolution of American roots music, geography, and connections between intergenerational artists. Produced by multidisciplinary hip hop/theater artist Baba Israel - it features NYC soul/funk/hip hop band Soul Inscribed, world-renowned jazz pianist Geri Allen and legendary jazz & blues vocalist/activist Barbara Dane.

Grace Galu is a vocalist-guitarist and composer who combines the sounds of her Irish and Congolese heritage with a soulful and gritty twist. Her mixed background, combined with her New York City upringing helped to forge her wide range of musical ability.  She grew up singing musical theater from a young age, beginning with TADA, a children's musicial theater ensemble. Mimicking the voices of Julie Andrews, Audra McDonald, and the operatic Kathleen Battle. She was simultaneously being enveloped in the sounds of jazz, soul, and traditional African music, with influences ranging from Esther Phillips to Senegalese Ismael Lo. At fourteen, Grace received a scholarship for an original composition, allowing her to study guitar at the Third Street Music Settlement. There she worked with Liam wood and Jeff Peretz, who produced her song, "Ordinary Sentiment" for the Ed Burns film, "Purple Violets." For the last 15 years, Grace has been performing regularly at many of New York's most notable venues; Webster Hall, the Waldorf Astoria, Beacon theater, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Highline Ballroom, The Nuyorican and the Blue Note to name a few. Currently, she holds a residency at Arlo Nomad and Esperanto's. She has most recently been featured on the albums of Top $ Raz, Soul Inscribed, Kala, Rabbi Darkside and is recording her solo album.

The "Heliotrope" album as well as limited edition Heliotrope "Heliotote" tote bags will be available for purchase at the show, and are also available to download, stream, and purchase on Rabasi Joss' Bandcamp page.


Social media:@rabasijoss

"Special thanks to BRIC, Jenny Green, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Baba Israel & Soul Inscribed, Arbo Radiko, and the Actor's Fund Creative Entrepreneur Program." ~ Rabasi Joss


Andrea DelGiudice, Director of La Traviata and Founder / Artistic Director of New York Opera Collaborative

The original telling of La Traviata...Giuseppe Verdi’s operatic masterpiece La Traviata, based on Alexandre Dumas fil’s popular play La Dame aux Camélias, has remained one of the most popular operas of the standard repertory—both before and after Richard Gere took Julia Roberts to the opera in Pretty Woman (another story about a streetwalker with a heart of gold)! In Hollywood, La Traviata was famously filmed by the great Italian director Franco Zeffirelli with a starry cast led by Placido Domingo as Alfredo and Teresa Stratas as Violetta. Fully costumed and staged, La Traviata will be directed by Andrea DelGiudice with a live orchestra conducted by Jason Tramm, starring Susanne Burgess and Ashley Bell as Violetta, Christopher Nelson as Alfredo and Jonathan Scott as Germont. Lighting design by Greg Solomon and set design by Fred Sorrentino.

"I have drawn my inspiration for La Traviata  from the Alexander Dumas Fils novel “The Lady of the Camellias” from which Verdi based his famous opera, and Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar”.  Violetta’s journey, (A Timeless woman’s story),  set in modern day New York City and tells the story of a young girl’s struggle with schizophrenia, as she yearns to have a happy, normal life" ~ Andrea

"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;

I lift my lids and all is born again.

(I think I made you up inside my head.) …. ~ Sylvia Plath


Andrea DelGiudice, is a renowned international operatic soprano, and New York City based Voice teacher. She Founder and Artistic Director of New York Opera Collaborative, Artistic Director of the International Vocal Arts Festival in Narni, Italy; Vocal Director at the Neighborhood Playhouse of the Theater in New York City and the highly sought after private studio in New York City.  

OPERA NEWS: "Andrea DelGiudice was impressive from moment to moment as she inflected her complex spinto sound to elucidate Puccini's musical and dramatic intent…”

Andrea DelGiudice has enjoyed a full career in Europe and the United States as a leading international soprano. Venues include the Scottish National Opera, Munich State Opera, Liege Opera, Opera Bonn, Edmonton Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, DiCapo Opera Theater and Arizona Opera. Her verismo roles include the Puccini and Verdi heroines alongside renowned artists such as Placido Domingo, Johan Botha, Sherill Milnes, Alexei Steblianko, and Nicola Martinucci. Andrea is currently one of the most sought after voice teachers in New York City. She enjoyed a full international career as a leading Puccini and Verdi soprano on the Randsman Artist Management roster.

Andrea was recently appointed to the Advisory Board of Dell'Arte Opera Ensemble of New York City, whose members include NYC Agents, Directors/ Conductors from Chicago Lyric Opera, Metropolitan Opera, West Edge Opera, Yale University, and renowned singers and is currently serving as Founder and Artistic Director of New York Opera Collaborative, Artistic Director of the International Vocal Arts Festival in Narni, Italy; and Vocal Director at the Neighborhood Playhouse of the Theater in New York City. Her private studio in New York City includes artists who are currently engaged in the most renowned opera houses in the world as well as Broadway. La Traviata marks her debut as stage director

Artist Statement:

"We have engaged a world class cast of young “up and coming” singers who have completely embraced this modern concept (reminiscent of “Rent”) in it’s vital social and emotional challenges as “mental illness” continues to be misunderstood and misdiagnosed, leading to isolation, loneliness and in many cases suicide for those who are never successfully treated. The TED TALK “I am not a monster” deeply moved me as this young, successful woman told her story of her ongoing battle with Schizophrenia and the importance of “telling her truth” rather than hiding behind the shame and isolation that is so commonly experienced by those with mental illness. Statistics show that young adults between 18 – 22 are most commonly stricken with the delusions and depression that accompany schizophrenia.  My hope is to tell this story through young Violetta’s eyes. Those of a woman trapped in her head “The Bell Jar”, living her daily life in  a prison “Bellevue hospital” as she seeks to understand and relive her “past”… Real or delusion?" ~ Andrea

LINK:TED Talk “ I am not a monster”

Facebook: New York Opera Collaborative

Contact Andrea at:

Two Performances of La Traviata will be fully staged with orchestra at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal, New Jersey, 

Saturday, September 9 at 8:00 pm and Sunday, September 10 at 3:00 pm.

For tickets and more information go to


CONDUCTOR / PRODUCER         JASON TRAMM                  

STAGE DIRECTOR                      ANDREA DELGIUDICE     

PIANIST / COACH                      NICOLO SBUELZ                







ALFREDO                       CHRISTOPHER NELSON   

GERMONT                      JONATHAN SCOTT   

DOCTOR                        JEREMY HIRSCH       

MARQUIS                       JAY CHACON           

FLORA                       CLAIRE LEYDEN                

ANNINA                    EMILY GELLER         

GASTON                        ANDREW TROUPE

BARON                          JASON DUIKA