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Invitation to Play: A Cabaret for the Musical Mannequin

Details

Categories: Cabaret, Music, Theater

Dates: September 11, 2021

Run Time: 60 mins

Venue: Mister John's Music

Overview

During the shutdown last year Jennifer Blaine began to write a musical, Mannequin. Even under enforced limitations, she discovered a new aspect of her creativity. We invite you to discover yours too. Join us for this interactive evening to playfully explore some Mannequin songs, themes from the musical, and sing together so we can animate once again. With special accompaniment performed by Steven Crino, and vocals by Diamond Franklin, Samantha Solar, and others.

Jennifer Blaine and Guests

JENNIFER BLAINE has been performing one-woman shows for 25 years. Her original writing, performing, and comedy delve into serious and socially relevant issues and provide audiences the opportunity to unite in laughter. Jennifer has opened for George Carlin and performed with Chris Rock and Joe Piscopo. According to the Philadelphia Daily News “not even Sybil can compete with Blaine’s cast of characters. Her comic genius is like Lily Tomlin and Tracey Ullman.”

Jennifer was the resident Theatre Teaching Artist at the Showstoppers program at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts from 2013-2018 in which she created four original plays on topical issues from bullying to civil rights. She produced the “5,000 Women” festival, showcasing women artists and social activists, at The Center for the Arts at Wesleyan University in 2011 and 2012 and in Philadelphia in 2014.

She has performed in every FringeArts for the festival’s first decade. Some of her 15 FringeArts works include Sorry (why women can’t stop apologizing for their existence), White Flight, Hearing Voices, and Ridiculous, which asked the audience to end the patriarchy once and for all.
During the pandemic, Jennifer crafted a musical, Mannequin, which was workshopped in December 2020. It has 16 parts for actors who sing. Obie award-winning Heather Woodbury called it "an operatic fugue that meets this moment with compassion." MANNEQUIN takes place at the site of a fur store in South Philly, hopscotching through time from 1965 to the present time of 2020. There’s a longstanding conflict between the owner, Olive, an elderly Jewish woman who is a Holocaust survivor, a mobster, and Betty, a protester who vehemently opposes the fur trade and its barbarism. Olive takes solace in collecting mannequins, who serve as a modern greek chorus, sharing their observations on how they see us humans and one other. They gaze at the world with depth, humor, and absurdity revealing what it takes to survive systemic oppression.

Credits

Jennifer Blaine (creator) has been performing solo shows for 25 years. Her original works delve into serious and socially relevant issues and provide audiences the opportunity to unite in laughter. She’s opened for George Carlin and performed with Chris Rock and Joe Piscopo. The Philadelphia Daily News says “her comic genius is like Lily Tomlin and Tracey Ullman. She has performed in every FringeArts for the festival’s first decade. Some of her 15 FringeArts works include Sorry, White Flight, Hearing Voices, and Ridiculous, which asked the audience to end the patriarchy once and for all.
Diamond Princess Franklin (actress) trained under renowned musicians: Monette Sudler, Ruth Naomi Floyd, and Angel Blue, and has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Walnut Street Theater and the Kimmel Center with rock and R&B artists Jon Bon Jovi and Estelle. Diamond received her Bachelors of Music from Cairn University, and in addition to performing also works as a music instructor and vocal coach for the prestigious settlement music school and school of rock in Philadelphia.
Samantha Solar (actress) appeared as South Philly girl #1 in the virtual staged reading of Mannequin. Sam graduated from Muhlenberg College with a Bachelor of Arts in both Theatre & French. She performs with Ladysuits, Pulley, Buttonhole Theatre Company, and Luke Allen Productions. Sam also writes and performs with Tribe 12’s Theatre Group, creating Jew(ish) parodies to well-known shows! On IG: samanthajsolar & www.samanthasolar.com
Steven Crino (keyboards) is a composer primarily interested in simplicity, compositional craft, and emotional immediacy. His music has been performed by ensembles and soloists, such as Peter Sheppard Skaerved, The Podcast Opera Company, The Boston New Music Initiative, The Philadelphia Experimental Theatre Ensemble, and The Temple University Singers. His first opera, Tomb of Beauty, is a national finalist for the 2021 Ame

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