So, tell me more
As the centennial celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment approached in 2020, The Pleiades Project was inspired to create and produce a music-theater work in conversation with this milestone event in American history. With a generous grant from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and co-created by November Christine, Noelle McMurtry, and Caroline Miller, A Women’s Suffrage Splendiferous Extravaganza! was born, inspired by turn-of-the-20th-Century vaudeville.
In this staged reading of A Women’s Suffrage Splendiferous Extravaganza!, our daring Maestra Impresaria and her dynamic troupe present the stories of the trail-blazing leaders and watershed moments of the women’s suffrage movement in the United States. Through unique adaptations of suffrage propaganda, popular music from the Library of Congress Archive: Songs of Suffrage, and newly-commissioned songs from NYC-based composers Lacy Rose and November Christine, we endeavor to showcase the breadth and diversity within this eight-decade long struggle, including the pivotal contributions of suffragists of color, who have been continually marginalized and erased from our collective re-telling of the history of the women’s suffrage movement.
Join us on an exhilarating jaunt to celebrate, explore, and problematize this historic fight to win women the vote! By examining the intersection of the voices of American women of the past and women of today, we ask ourselves and our audience to consider how the fight for equality continues in this quest for the enfranchisement of all citizens in our democracy.
AWSSE! Staged Reading
November 5th, 2021; 7 PM
November 6th, 2021; 7 PM
The Lab at Alchemical Studios
104 West 14th Street, 2rd Floor, New York, NY 10011
Meet The Creative Team!
Co-creator (book, lyrics), Composer
November Christine (she/her/hers) holds a degree in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Maryland, as well as a BM in Musical Theatre from the East Carolina University School of Music. Ms. Christine produced her award-winning musical MIRROR, MIRROR at the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival, followed by a 3-week run in Los Angeles, CA. November’s historical hip-hop drama, LEGACY THE MUSICAL was showcased in London in 2017 and won “Best of Fest” at the 2018 New York Musical Festival. She was commissioned by Artistic Stamp Inc. to write her latest piece, IDA, a six-part epistolary play on the early years of Ida B. Wells. November is also a BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop Lyricist and 2021 NYCLU Artist Ambassador.
Lacy Rose is a New York-based classically trained vocalist, composer and poet. She collaborates regularly with choreographer Coco Karol and composers Sxip Shirey, Alaina Ferris, and John K. Stone. She has opened for and performed with such eclectic artists as Cocorosie, Baby Dee, Dave Malloy, Amanda Palmer, and Osso String Quartet. She made her Mostly Mozart Festival debut in the Schubertiade Remix at Lincoln Center alongside members of the International Contemporary Ensemble. As a composer of neoclassical art songs, Lacy regales her audience with tales of magic, myth, tragedy and love. Maria, her six-part song cycle, explores the inner life and personhood of Gustav Klimt’s muses, Maria “Mizzi” Zimmermann and Maria “Ria” Munk. Rose composed the score for a theatrical adaptation of Dylan Thomas’ screenplay, The Doctor and The Devils, and is currently adapting Clarice Lispector’s The Passion According to G.H. into an opera with director Dara Malina.
co-creator (dramaturg), Producer
Noelle McMurtry, vocalist, is drawn to the intersections of music and theater, particularly through art song, new music, and early music, to explore diverse and underrepresented feminist perspectives. She is most interested in innovative, thematic programming to create new contexts in which to approach the classical music “canon,” specifically through female-centric storytelling and prioritizing the works of historic women composers. With The Cantanti Project (NYC), Noelle collaborated on The Little Ghost, Ophelia Transformed, and Her Story, all programs focusing on the perspectives of women in song. Since 2015, she has presented her original programs, including Ophelia and Her Sisters, Femme en fleurs, The Heavenly Banquet, To the queen of my heart, Head, Heart, and Portraits: The Self Illuminated in New York City and Baltimore, MD concert venues.
Noelle currently serves as Director of Live Programming for The Pleiades Project, a production platform for female-identifying artists through digital and live performance opportunities with a focus on classical vocal repertoire. For The Pleiades Project’s 2020-2021 season, Noelle will co-create, produce, and serve as dramaturg for A Women’s Suffrage Splendiferous Extravaganza!, an original music-theater work marking the centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment.
Noelle is a frequent and avid collaborator in new music. For the 2019-2020 season, she performed the title role in excerpts from Kaija Saariaho’s monodrama Émilie with Now Hear This, debuted with IN Series (DC) at the Women Composers Festival in Kate Soper’s chamber opera Here Be Sirens, as well as co-programmed and performed in the IN Series’ Festival Gala Concert with works by Louise Talma, Jessica Krash, and Caroline Shaw. During the 2020-2021 season, Noelle collaborated with INVISION (DC), performing the role of Senator Ben Cardin in a virtual production of Melissa Dunphy’s Gonzales Cantata, as well as making her film debut in German Romantics: Clara, exploring the songs in Romantic-era composer Clara Schumann’s Op. 12.
To further her research on historic women composers, feminist musicology, and more diverse concert programming methodologies, Noelle is in her second year of a joint Master’s in Musicology and Doctorate in Musical Arts at Peabody Institute under the tutelage of soprano Ah Young Hong. Through her recent affiliation with Peabody Institute, Noelle participated in an art song residency with DC-based composer Lori Laitman, as well as co-created a feature-length film-concert, I take the long way there, in response to creating art during the COVID-19 pandemic, which included the song repertoire of Jessica Krash, Melissa Dunphy, Clara Schumann, Vittoria Aleotti, and Maddalena Casulana. In 2021, Noelle was also awarded a Presser Award to further her research into the life and Lieder of German Romantic-era composer Luise Adolpha Le Beau with an upcoming research trip to Berlin, Munich, and Karlsruhe in the spring of 2022. Noelle resides in Washington DC with her partner, Kevin, and her puppy Cashew. www.noellemcmurtry.com
co-creator (book, lyrics), Producer & Director
Caroline Miller is an innovative and theatrical singer, director and producer with a particular interest in telling womens’ stories through contemporary opera, operetta and film. With a BA in English Literature and Music from Washington University in St. Louis and an MM in Vocal Performance & Literature from Eastman School of Music, she employs an interdisciplinary approach to producing, writing and performing in music-theater works. In 2021, Caroline will also begin her tenure as a Teaching Artist with the Metropolitan Opera Guild.
In the 2019-2020 season, Caroline was a Resident Artist with Toledo Opera, appearing as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel vs the Witch, as well as the Plaintiff in Gilbert and Sullivan’s Trial by Jury.* In collaboration with St. Michael’s in the Hills and the Toledo Opera Resident Artists, she presented Nevertheless, We Persist, a virtual concert which explores the positive and negative aspects of operatic depictions of women and their stories throughout history. Nevertheless, We Persist was also featured virtually on Momentum, a Toledo-based arts festival. In the 2020-2021 season, Caroline will return as Valencienne in Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow.* She also appears on the only contemporary professional recording of Sigmund Romberg’s Blossom Time, produced by Albany Records. Opera News lauded her portrayal of Bellabruna, writing “Miller projects all the confident insouciance of a pampered prima donna.”
Caroline is Co-Founder & Artistic Director of The Pleiades Project. She starred in the short-film Così, excerpted from W.A. Mozart’s Così fan tutte, which was named an official selection of the NY Indie Theatre Film Festival. Caroline directed the entirety of the 24|Series, produced the short opera film Ophélie, excerpted from Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet, as well as created and directed the short film mini-series German Romantics in collaboration with DC-based opera company IN Series for their new virtual platform INVISION.
Since 2018, Caroline has trained in the circus and aerial arts, which she has recently incorporated into her film and performance work. With collaborator Erin Garber-Pearson, a Toledo-based circus artist and welder, she has created Aber, a short film combining aerial dance with a live performance of “Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit” from Johannes Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, which was an official selection of the International Circus Film Festival. www.carolinemillersoprano.com
*cancelled and/or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
Music director, pianist
Anneliesa Trethewey is a versatile classically trained pianist, and music director. She teaches and performs in many genres: classical; musical theatre; jazz; gospel; and popular music from all eras. Anneliesa’s career as a pianist has given her many opportunities to perform and highlight her love for all music. Anneliesa received her Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and also performed as lead pianist for the FAU Jazz Orchestra. Anneliesa graduated from the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) in New York City with a Master of Music in Collaborative Piano for vocals. During her classical piano training at MSM, she was a student in the studio of Professor Thomas Muraco who in addition to many years of academia worked with Leonard Bernstein. Anneliesa also furthered her training in accompanying Italian, German, French and musical theatre lessons/classes which she provided for her fellow colleagues. Anneliesa has performed and music directed musical theater shows in the South Florida area. She music directed: Peter and the Star Catcher; Oklahoma; Rocky Horror Picture Show; How to Succeed in Business; and Damn Yankees. Anneliesa has also directed children’s musical theater plays: Matilda, Shrek, Aladdin, and the Adams Family. Anneliesa has privately taught piano students for many years. She is currently a piano instructor in New York City with Music To Your Home, the accompanist for the opera company City Artist Corps, and an accompanist and vocal coach in opera and musical theater.
(she/her/hers) is a Queens based composer, and collaborative theater artist. She is invested in new work that functions as a vehicle to reimagine the possibilities of what the world could be. She is a member of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop, New Dramatists Composer Librettist Studio, Maestra and the Dramatists Guild. Recent works include: Impossible Green (The York Theatre), Silent Springs (BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop), Recipe for a Sellout (The Wild Project), and Gravity of Me Gone (Ars Nova). Follow her at www.sequoiasellinger.com
Olga Turka is a maximalist and creative who wears multiple hats in the industry: Costume Designer, Production/Set Designer, Wardrobe Stylist, and Creative Director of films, commercials, editorials and theatre. She has a lifelong curiosity and borderline obsession for treasure hunting, storytelling and creating characters and worlds, with a detailed emphasis on celebrating individual idiosyncrasies. If you added the Golden Girls, John Waters, Tim Burton, Pee-Wee Herman, Dolly Parton and Turner Classic Movies together, and peppered it with Coming to America, you’d find her dream aesthetic.
Amanda Miryem-Khaye Seigel
Yiddish translator and consultant
Amanda (Miryem-Khaye) Seigel (Yiddish Translator and Consultant) is a Yiddish singer, songwriter, recording artist, actor, and researcher in Yiddish theater and song. She is co-editor of the forthcoming book, Women on the Yiddish Stage (Legenda, 2022) and of the Digital Yiddish Theatre Project. She has performed throughout the United States and internationally, frequently appearing with Shane Baker (Royter Kuter Teater), Hankus Netsky‘s Hebrew National Salvage, and with many other luminaries of the Yiddish and klezmer scene. Toyznt tamen = A thousand flavors (2015) is her first solo album. She received a 2016 Folks Arts Apprenticeship to study with master Yiddish song teacher and songwriter Joshua Waletzky, sponsored by the New York State Council of the Arts / Center for Traditional Music and Dance. Visit amks.bandcamp.com
ALEXIS SILVER is a New York City based dancer and choreographer. She joined The New York Baroque Dance Company in 2010, and has toured the US and abroad, performing in Baroque dance reconstructions and historically informed opera productions of Handel’s Teseo at the International Handel Festival in Göttingen, Germany, Festival de Música Antigua Esteban Salas in Havana, Cuba, in Rameau’s Le Temple de la Gloire with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra, among many others. Alexis also performs as a member of the Boston Early Music Festival Dance Company where she danced in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Charpentier’s La Descente d’Orphée aux Enfers and La Couronne de Fleur, Handel’s Almira, Campra’s Le Carnaval de Venise, and Steffani’s Orlando. Alexis choreographed the modern day premiere of Lully’s La Chûte de Phaëton and Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the Aquilon Music Festival and has presented her choreography on numerous occasions at the Washington National Cathedral. Additionally, she performs with Balam Dance Theater, Sarah Skaggs, Marie Carstens, and Becky Radway. Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, she grew up in Berkeley, CA and Boston, MA. She trained with Ronn Guidi’s Oakland Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet School, Marcus Schulkind, and Nordic Baroque Dance Company’s International Summer Academy. Alexis is also an accomplished photographer, www.asilverphotography.com. She earned a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Certificate of Higher Education London Contemporary Dance School.
Jonathan Randell Silver
Jonathan Randell Silver is an actor/magician living and working in NYC. Film and TV credits include: Keeping the Faith; Jack; Dear John; Rover; Change In The Air; The Knick (Cinemax); Bored To Death (HBO); Royal Pains (USA); Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon). Recent Off-Broadway and Regional Theatre credits include shows at New World Stages, The Davenport, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Pearl, Labyrinth, Denver Center Theatre, ART, Westport Playhouse, Long Wharf Theatre, Williamstown, Charles Playhouse. Proud artistic member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Jonathan received his BA from Drew University and a certificate of higher education from LAMDA.