Song & Dances at Teatro Frida Kahlo Program

Welcome!

We are pleased to welcome you to our workshop production of selected lands from Songs & Dances of Imaginary Lands. We plan to re-mount the full production with an international group of collaborating opera companies in 2028 to coincide with the Olympics coming to Los Angeles. If you are interested in learning more about this co-production opportunity, contact us at [email protected]. Learn more about the premiere here. Keep scrolling to meet the cast and creative team!

Directed by O-Lan Jones

Music Directed by David O

Set Design by Kuva Zakheim

Special Thanks to Ruben Amavizca

 

THE LAND BEFORE LANGUAGE

Idea – Diane Sherry

Composer – David O

 

JAM

Librettist – Merle Kessler

Composer – J. Raoul Brody

 

TASSOS

Librettist – Ruth Margraff

Composer – Eric Culver

 

BURYING THE FATHER

Librettist – Chiwan Choi

Composer – Jeff Fairbanks

 

THE DISENFRANCHISED

Librettist – Sissy Boyd

Composer – Bart Hopkin

 

THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA

Librettist – Kathleen Cramer

Composer – Richard Marriott

 

CHANGE

Librettist – Joe Chaikin

Composer – Penka Kouneva

 

BELLYWOOD – WEDDING CEREMONY

Composer – Jeff Fairbanks

 

Songs and Dances of Imaginary Lands is based on a concept by J. Raoul Brody, Kathleen Cramer and O-Lan Jones. Jones commissioned and oversaw the development of the individual Lands as Artistic Director of Overtone Industries.

 

Illustrations of the Twelve Steps of the Sun by Kathleen Cramer

Original Production Design by Snezana Petrovic

Cast:

Molly Pease

Sue

Kion Heidari

Tom

Jacob Sidney

Tom's Father

Kathryn Krasovec

Tom's Mom

Gretchen Johnson

Sue's Mom

Anthony Moresi

Teacher

Christin Byrdsong

Tassos

Menghe Jing

Ensemble

Mallory Fabian

Ensemble

Elliot Menard

Ensemble

TJ Sclafani

Ensemble

Rae Shrum

Understudy

Brightwork Ensemble

Orchestra

Creative Team:

O-Lan Jones

Director

David O

Music Director

   

Kuva Zakheim

Set Designer

Max Brother

Lighting Designer

Fahad Siadat

Producer

Michelle Magaldi

Producer

Zane Alcorn

Stage Manager

Meet the Cast & Creative Team

Zane Alcorn (Stage Manager)has worked across the country and most recently completed working as a guest artist Stage Manager for Opera UCLA's world premiere of The Grand Hotel Tartarus. Upcoming engagements include Directing Intern with Cincinnati Opera, and Stage Director for The Adventures of Pinocchio at Boulder Opera. Highlights including THIRST & FOG (Director; Theaterlab NYC), Kiss Me, Kate (Assistant Director; Central City Opera), The Artwork of the Future (Stage Manager; Fresh Squeezed Opera Company), The Merry Widow (Assistant Stage Manager; Toledo Opera), The Magic Flute (Assistant Stage Director; Opera Orlando), and Benny & Joon The Musical (Assistant Director; The Old Globe).

Brightwork Ensemble (Orchestra) is a classical new music sextet based in Los Angeles, California. A flexible and fearless group of world-class musicians, Brightwork consists of piano, violin, soprano, cello, flute, clarinet, percussion (an instrumentation which is often called “Pierrot + percussion,” and which is to modern chamber music what the string quartet was to earlier centuries), and champions the best of the music that’s being written today, while continuing to play the classics of “new” music from the last hundred years.

Max Brother (Lighting Designer) is a seasoned theater designer and playwright, blending a background in Jewish Studies and Communications to create compelling stage narratives. Notable for productions such as "Arena a HOUSE MUSICal" and "Stranger in the Mirror," Max skillfully integrates technology and intuitive storytelling. He is proficient in EOS and QLab programming. His playwriting debut was featured at the 11th Annual Playfest at Teatro Frida Kahlo, marking a significant milestone in his distinguished theater career. He is excited to work with Overtone Industries again, and bring these new works to the stage.

Christin Byrdsong (Tassos) (he/him) is a trained singer, actor, and dancer who has had the honor of performing around the world. Christin is a graduate of the Wanda L. Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University where he studied voice under Dr. Florence Birdwell. Christin is bicoastally located between Los Angeles and New York City. Born in Los Angeles, California, Christin began acting at age 3 doing commercials and television spots. He is best known for the principal role of Ralph on HereTV's 'Conframa'. Other roles include guest starring on HBO's Euphoria, and other national commercial spots. Theatrically Christin has played Jesus in 'Jesus Christ Superstar' 4 times, Little Richard in 'Shout Sister, Shout' at Seattle Rep, 'After Midnight' on Norwegian Cruise Lines, Man 1 in 'Songs for A New World', Bélize in 'Angels in America', and many other roles of note. As a queer Black man, Christin is a dynamic individual who has taken his life experiences with gratitude, and is committed to the belief: "the world is my family". Because of this belief, Christin is a Diversity Consultant and social activist seeking to foster equity both on and off stage/screen. From marching in the streets of New York, to leading panel discussions with groups from industry professionals, to law enforcement, he is committed to fighting for change so future generations can breathe freely. 

Mallory Fabian (Ensemble) has performed for RGWW, My Barbarian, Szalt, B. Dunn Movement, among others. She is the Board President for RGWW, Rehearsal Director for Invertigo, and the Artistic Director of FABE. Mallory has toured in the U.S. and Europe, performing/teaching her own work along with co-teaching RGWW GO© workshops. Her recent solo, PLAYLIST, won a Philly Fringie Award and Mallory will begin working on her new piece “I Hate Women'' for WIP showing July 1st at G-Son Studios. Mallory is also focused on producing live events, film, movement directing, and becoming an Intimacy Coordinator. @malibuchoo

Kion Heidari (Tom) is an LA-based vocal artist, composer/musician, and actor. Ensembles he sings with include HEX, C3LA, Tonality, and the Golden Bridge, as well as the LA Master Chorale. He performs in new opera and musical theatre productions and specializes in choral, folk, contemporary, and classical styles. Past credits include Original Vision (2023), Cynosemma (2023), At War With Ourselves (2023, as a soloist with Kronos Quartet), and The Conference of the Birds (2022, music by Fahad Siadat). Kion is also a voice actor for video games and was recently a featured actor in a new production of Alice in Wonderland (2024, music by Brooke DeRosa). As a composer, Kion has written for film, concerts, musicals, and more. His versatile work for media includes animated short films such as First Period (2023, dir. Julianna Romero), Nothing is Here (2021, dir. Kyky Yang), Truce in March (2021, dir. Janelle Feng), and Low-Key (2020, dir. Collin Schuster). In his chamber and concert writing, Kion has a particular passion for uncovering the possibilities of new vocal music. He was selected as a composer for the HEAR NOW Music Festival 2024 for his piece "In Waves", and he holds a BFA degree in composition from the California Institute of the Arts (2020).

Menghe Jing (Ensemble) is a Los Angeles-based vocalist, composer, performing artist, worshiper, and voice teacher known for her expertise in various genres including rock, metal, pop, gospel, musical theater, opera, and experimental vocal arts. With intensive performances, she is active as a solo singer in China and the United States with rich experience working with bands on recitals, tours, ceremonies, and music festivals. Her artistic exploration goes beyond music, incorporating mediums like art, film, and photography into her multidisciplinary approach. Menghe holds a Voice Arts MFA from the California Institute of the Arts and currently focuses on contemporary and experimental composition, as well as interdisciplinary art work.

Gretchen Johnson (Sue's Mom) began her professional music career as an oboist. After playing in her first opera orchestra, she traded the orchestra pit for the stage and has never looked back. She specializes in new music theater and has performed many works written specifically for her unique talents. Her career has led to performances in venues ranging from opera houses to an empty Culver City car dealership to Carnegie Hall and LA’s Shrine Auditorium. She has worked with stage directors as stylistically diverse as Peter Sellars, Meredith Monk and Giorgio Tozzi. As a member of Minnesota Opera’s New Music Theater Ensemble she premiered works by Meredith Monk and the BOBS. Over the past three decades she has collaborated with the LA-based Overtone Industries, premiering six original operas by actress/composer/director O-Lan Jones. In 2021 she appeared in Overtone’s inauguration of “Original Vision,” an annual workshop series assisting composers and librettists developing new operas. Gretchen has toured with the Los Angeles Opera’s community tours and was a performer in the composer/playwright studios sponsored by the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Theater Projects. In recitals, she has performed song cycles of Darius Milhaud, Ned Rorem and Richard Wagner. Most recently she performed "Loves Come and Gone,” a program of classic love songs by American poets and composers from early 20th century to the present, including works by Leonard Bernstein, Amy Beach, Elinor Remick Warren, Ernest Charles, John Duke, Richard Hageman, Ricky Ian Gordon and Jake Heggie. Gretchen is a certified trainer in the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM®.

O-Lan Jones (Director) is an award-winning composer, sound designer, writer, actress and theater visionary who has been experimenting in the performing arts her entire life. She founded Overtone Industries in 1980 to develop and produce new and original opera-theater works. Her early achievements forged the path for modern, experimental opera companies to continue challenging the antiquated perceptions of the art form. As founder and Artistic Director of Overtone, she leads the vision for new works and is focused on fostering a collaborative environment where she and other artists work together to give voice to their authentic stories. She is dedicated to mentoring and supporting fellow creatives, who also refuse to be confined to boundaries, through Overtone’s Original Vision Project.

Kathryn Krasovec (Tom's Mom), mezzo soprano, is a graduate of The Juilliard School and San Francisco Opera's Merola Young Artist Program. She has performed at The Metropolitan Opera, Spoleto Festival USA, Weill Hall/Carnegie Hall, National Theater of Prague and Theater Bremen, Germany. Her career spans engagements throughout Europe, North America, and the Middle East. After becoming a MET winner, she made her debut at The Metropolitan Opera as a Woodsprite in Rusalka, among other roles. Other prominent performances include a world premiere of a one-woman monodrama The Echo Drift by Mikael Karlsson with The Prototype Festival in NYC. Recent performances include an appearance with The HEX Vocal Ensemble at The Hear Now Music Festival in LA, performing Kion Heidari’s In Waves. She also appeared as Edka in Jake Heggie’s Chamber Opera Two Remain with Lyric Opera OC as a part The California Festival: A Celebration of New Music. Last season, Ms. Krasovec made her debut with Jacaranda Music in Los Angeles with The Bakkhai by Dylan Mattingly. She then returned to Jacaranda Music to perform the World Premier of the guitar arrangement of three arias from The Exterminating Angel by Thomas Adès. Speaking fluent German, she was engaged for five seasons in Germany and Czech Republic, notably the debut of Frid's Das Tagebuch der Anne Frank in the title role. She made her Spoleto USA debut in Philip Glass's Kepler. Additionally, and she was the first American to sing the title role in Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, and the British Dancing Girl in John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer at The National Theater of Prague. While at the Juilliard Opera Center, Ms. Krasovec was the recipient of the prestigious Juilliard DeRosa Grant. She earned her Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Denver Lamont School of Music and her Master of Music Degree from the Indiana University, Jacob School of Music.

Michelle Magaldi (Producer) has collaborated with Overtone Industries since 2000, presenting the groundbreaking Songs and Dances of Imaginary Lands, as well as The Woman in the Wall, and the Spontaneous Combustion Choir World Tour of Los Angeles. As Production and Technical Manager for LA Opera, Michelle produces chamber operas, concerts, live fils mores, and simulcasts across the city. She is the co-founder of Vibrant Production Management, a company that provides comprehensive production services to create vivid theatrical experiences. www.vibrantmgmt.com

Elliot Menard (Ensemble) is an opera-maker. Working at the nexus of experimental music, theater, and performance art, she is dedicated to bringing new works to life and exploring opera’s many forms. As a mezzo-soprano, she performs classical vocal music across all eras (from pre-baroque to contemporary) and a variety of non-classical styles and traditions, such as Jewish cantorial music, jazz, improvisation, and extended techniques. As a composer, she explores how text allows music to emerge and the expressive range of the voice. She is currently developing [Orpheus], an opera that examines a personal loss through Ovid’s poetry on the Orpheus myth. Her academic background in both vocal performance and ancient literature brings a unique perspective on Latin poetry to her compositions. As a producer and grant writer, she supports emerging artists, underrepresented voices, and arts-access. She holds an M.F.A. in Voice Arts from CalArts and a B.A. in Classics from Reed College.

Anthony Moresi (Teacher) has performed around SoCal much of the last decade. He’s excited for his induction into/debut with Overtone Industries for this show, having worked with O-Lan Jones previously in the rehearsal development process for their show Iceland in 2021. In 2019 his professional operatic debuts were with the Opera Santa Barbara and Pacific Opera Project. Most recent performances with OSB include Hector Armienta’s Zorro (2024), il Trovatore (2023), Carmen (2022), and La Traviata (2022) as a chorus member with comprimario roles; and with the OSB Chrisman Studio Artists in Speed Dating Tonight (2021) by Michael Ching. He was in the original cast of the award-winning operetta by composer Brooke DeRosa Gunfight at The-Not-So-OK Saloon, which premiered at the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019, which also was revised, expanded, and revived for Fringe in 2023. He’s a regular player with Ventura County Gilbert & Sullivan Repertoire Co. since 2016. Choral groups he regularly sings with include the San Fernando Master Chorale, City of Angels Community Choir, and Areté Vocal Ensemble at Cal Lutheran University. He thanks his family for their support while pursuing his music career and caring for his dogs and cats while he’s in rehearsals, traveling, and performing shows.

David O (Music Director) is a music-theatre artist specializing in new music for the stage and concert hall.  On Broadway, David was the Musical Director for Billy Crystal’s “Mr. Saturday Night”.  In the early days of the pandemic, David co-created the popular and star-studded YouTube video “You Can’t Stop the Beat: a Celebration for the Actor’s Fund”.  As a Los Angeles-based Musical Director, David has conducted the world premieres of 13 and Soft Power, as well as numerous productions at the Pasadena Playhouse, Center Theatre Group, La Mirada Theater, The Blank Theater, and South Coast Repertory.  David’s original compositions include the choral compositions “A Map of Los Angeles” and “One With the Wind”, music for the film “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony”, and the original music-theatre pieces “Helen” and “Hippolytos” (Getty Villa), “The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip”, (Kirk Douglas Theater) and “Songs and Dances of Imaginary Lands” (Overtone Industries).  David Is known to a generation of young Angelenos as “The Professor” for his work co-creating and co-hosting the LA Philharmonic’s “Summersounds at the Hollywood Bowl - Voyage of the Global Harmony”.  David has been the Musical Director/Conductor for Songs & Dances of Imaginary Lands since the 2014 production and for several years, both real and Imaginary, before then.

Molly Pease (Sue) is a versatile, experimental and collaborative vocal artist and composer whose singing has been described as “sonically mesmerizing” (LA Weekly) and “amazing” (LADC), and whose compositions defy genre. Molly premiered multiple solo roles in The Industry’s acclaimed opera Sweet Land (2020), and performed as a background vocalist with Björk on her 2022 Cornucopia tour. Solo performances include N.E.O. Voice Festival (2023) and Tune-Yards at Walt Disney Concert Hall (2020). Molly sings with HEX, LA Master Chorale, C3LA, Tonality, LA Choral Lab and First Congregational Church of LA’s Laude. Theatre credits include Cynossema with Overtone Industries (2023), Conference of the Birds with Resonance Collective (2022), and hell prepared with theatre dybbuk (2019). As a performer-composer, Molly incorporates improvisation, extended vocal sounds and inter-disciplinary collaboration. Examples include her album Inner Astronomy, and Score for the Near Future with sculptor Jimena Sarno. Molly’s experimental rock album ACKLAND was pegged as “not of this world” (Emerging Indie Bands, 2018). She was a 2019 composer fellow at N.E.O. Voice Festival. Molly has an MFA in Jazz Studies from California Institute of the Arts (2017). www.mollypeasemusic.com

TJ Sclafani (Ensemble) is a composer and performer from NYC/NJ, currently based in Los Angeles. His music has been performed by gnarwhallaby, pianist Alison Brewster-Franzetti, C4: The Choral Composer-Conductor Collective, and the Moravian Philharmonic; and he scored the award-winning 2019 documentary short, People Like Me, directed by Marrok Sedgwick. As a vocalist, he is a member of HEX, a vocal sextet based in Los Angeles that focuses on new music, and has performed at LaMaMa ETC, Williamstown Theatre Festival, and the Knitting Factory. TJ has an MFA in music composition from CalArts and a BFA in theater from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU.

Rae Shrum is a mezzo-soprano gaining increasing notice on both concert and operatic stages, including recent debuts with Independent Opera Company as Oksana in Zaporozhets za Dunayem and in Santa Monica as L'Opinion Publique (Orphée aux Enfers). Specializing particularly in “pants parts,” favorite roles include Cherubino, Stéphano, Hansel, and Nicklausse. Other recent performances include Charlotte (Werther) and Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus). With a voice hailed by critics as “agile and enticing,” the mezzo has been featured in concert series throughout Southern California and beyond, including Pacific Symphony Outreach, Leipziger Kammerchor, Konzertchor Leipzig, Long Beach Camerata Singers, and the Los Angeles Chorus. Ms. Shrum spent all of 2023 in studying and performing in Leipzig, Germany under the tutelage of internationally-renowned mezzo-soprano Elvira Dreßen. This summer, she looks forward to returning to Germany to participate in the Internationale Sächsische Sängerakademie Torgau. Off-stage, Rae serves as Executive Director of Source/Filter Music Collective, Director of Marketing for Sierra Madre Playhouse, Digital Content Manager for Pacific Opera Project, and Director of Early Childhood Music at South Pasadena Arts & Music Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Classical Voice Performance from Chapman University.

Fahad Siadat (Producer) is a multi-faceted musician and arts entrepreneur with a specialty in music for the voice. He is an experienced conductor for both opera and chorus and has music directed works with Long Beach Opera, the Resonance Collective, Overtone Industries, and been assistant conductor of The Industry opera company. As a choral director, Fahad leads the contemporary music ensemble HEX and has conducted the Chaffey College Concert and Chamber Choirs, the CalArts Institute Choir and Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Columbia University Glee Club, C3LA, and C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective. Fahad is a sought after choir clinician and has made workshop appearances with ensembles from coast to coast.

Fahad is also a community organizer, arts entrepreneur, and administrator. He is the founder of C3LA: The Contemporary Choral Collective of Los Angeles, a board member of C4 in New York, and the founder of See-A-Dot Music Publishing, Inc., a company devoted to the advocacy of new choral works and emerging composers. He has a reputation as a dynamic and engaging speaker and has received featured interviews in over a dozen podcasts, print magazines, and online publications. Fahad regularly writes articles for NewMusicBox and the Choral Journal and has presented on various topics at the American Choral Directors Association, Chorus America,  the NY Choral Consortium, and Classical: NEXT. He is also a composer, performer, and conductor of music for the voice. For information about his creative work, please visit www.fahadsiadat.com

Jacob Sidney (Tom's Father) Coming to the Hollywood Fringe in June (bit.ly/pennyhff):  In for a Penny, a time-hopping Ripper that’s funny, feminist, and dark as f*ck. Regional:  Conference of the Birds (Broad Stage); Holmes and Watson (Holmes); Of Mice and Men (George); Bent; The Normal Heart (Felix); Uncanny Valley (“a tour-de-force” - LA Times); Stuart Little (Stuart); Hamlet (Dir. Jessica Kubzansky), A Chorus Line (Paul); The Grapes of Wrath (Tom); West Side Story (Riff); La bohème (Schaunard); The Duchess of Malfi; Saint Joan (Dir. Dan Savage); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Lysander); Much Ado About Nothing.  Los Angeles:  Hamlet (Guildenstern, Dir. Michael Michetti); The Behavior of Broadus; Hamlet Max (Hamlet); We Are Proud to Present… ; You Can’t Take It With You; The Government Inspector; The Treatment; Sparks’ The Seduction of Ingmar Bergman (Ford Amphitheater, Dir. Guy Maddin); The Tempest (Caliban); Model Behavior (Jekyll/Hyde, Theatre Movement Bazaar); The Beastly Bombing; Peer Gynt (Peer).  Film:  Cockroaches, Worm, Killer Bud, The Velocity of Gary.  Directing:  Waiting for Waiting for Godot, Rose and the Rime, Hamlet Max (Sacred Fools).

Kuva Zakheim (Set Designer) has spent much of his life exploring the intersection of philosophy, meditation and resourceful craft. He is curious about the impact our everyday objects have on our sense of self and how we view and engage with our world. Kuva is particularly drawn to reuse of materials and uses a wide range of craft skills in his practice including metal work, sewing, printing, & tool making. @namwalli

 

O-Lan Jones, Artistic Director

Fahad Siadat, Executive Director

Michelle Magaldi, Producing Director

Liz Eldridge, Development and Communications Director

Board of Directors: Sabina Zuniga Varela, Nicki Harper, Paul Chwe MinChul An, Kate Noonan


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