A year ago, we wrote about The Ghosts All Around Us, a new musical by Jonathan Fadner. Hobbled by the pandemic, the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance cast was forced into a virtual performance. But this year, glad tidings abound. Things have changed, including a slightly revised title, but the big news is, you can see it in the Howe Theatre, beginning December 10th.
Here’s what MSTDA has to say about the production…
THE GHOSTS ALL AROUND YOU
“Are you looking for a good time? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Welcome to Blackwell’s Islands newest show Nelly Bly the musical spectacular!!” shouts the Dance Announcer at the NYC Insane Asylum as Nelly Bly (played by Brenna Stein) and the Asylumettes rush the stage for a show stopping number in “The Ghosts All Around You,” ready to perform for the enthralled Charles Dickens (played by Kimbirdlee Fadner) who is visiting Roosevelt Island in 1842. This just so happened to be one year before he wrote “A Christmas Carol” and also the inspiration for a new holiday musical by Jonathan and Kimbirdlee Fadner!
Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance announces the opening of The Ghosts All Around You in the Howe Theatre, running Dec 10-12 and 17-19 (in-person & livestreamed). A multigenerational, multicultural cast of talented MSTDA actors, along with a stellar creative team including acclaimed director Steven Eng and a longtime creative contributor to MSTDA, assistant director Jacqueline Lucid are launching what is sure to become a holiday tradition for Roosevelt Island, right on Main Street NYC!
What do Charles Dickens, Nelly Bly, Scrooge and the people of Roosevelt Island all have in common? They will all be appearing live this holiday season on Roosevelt Island! The ghosts of Roosevelt Island will be coming to life to tell a tale in which worlds are interwoven in a gripping and meaningful story of equality, human connection and compassion, just in time for the season of giving!
Composer and Co-writer, Fadner has been riding a ghostly train of thought similar to the “greatest writer in English history”, Charles John Huffman Dickens. Jonathan Fadner’s driving musical score ranges from totally rockin’ to heartbreakingly beautiful.
The musical is set on Roosevelt Island, featuring landmarks such as the Smallpox Hospital and The Octagon (formerly the NYC Insane Asylum). Even the Roosevelt Island Red Public Bus plays a role! Every year, since her husband William (played by Gabriel Portuondo) died, the struggling yet optimistic single mother Cheryl Makepeace (played by Kimbirdlee) reads “A Christmas Carol” to her three young children, hoping to teach her kids goodwill and kindness. This year, the family moved to Roosevelt Island, and Cheryl works for the modern day Scrooge and real estate tycoon, Potiphar Stingyas (played by Russ Cusick.) Circumstances arise to reveal inequalities and painful pasts which lead to self-examination, redemption and valuable life lessons, as the ghosts of the past try to break through and a memorable story is told and sung.
“These ghosts are indeed all around us, and it’s with that pleasant haunting that I invite you into the world of Jonathan Fadner’s ghostly conjurations during this holiday time. As our own Ghost of Yet to Come leaves us wondering how the season will unfold, consider taking the time to honor those who’ve been lost and to look back on how far we’ve come, as well as celebrating the wonder and grace that enable us to share our time together, if but for this one moment in the present.”
A Year to Regroup
Last year was a time of development for “The Ghosts All around You.” At the time, the city was in the grips of the Covid 19 pandemic and life was scary and uncertain. MSTDA forged ahead by reinventing their programming and allowing creative artists a safe haven to be creative and stay connected and safe. Their perseverance is paying off this year with a staged production of the new musical, including costumes by Amelia Dombrowski, choreography by Isaiah Reynolds, lighting design by Zackry Childers (stage manager), music direction by Jonathan Fadner, and digital projection and set design by Rachel Reuben. Executive Director Kristi Towey, AED/THeatre Dept Head Kimbirdlee Fadner and the MSTDA Board of Directors are thrilled to produce this community-minded new work.
“I HAVE endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their house pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”
—— Their faithful Friend and Servant, Charles Dickens, December 1843.
Details: THE GHOSTS ALL AROUND YOU
Show Dates & Times
Friday, Dec. 10* & 17 @ 8pm Saturday, Dec. 11 & 18 @ 2 pm Saturday, Dec. 11* & 18 @7pm Sunday, Dec. 12 & 19* @ 5pm *Indicates livestream offered
Location: The Howe Theatre
Roosevelt Island Cultural Center 548 Main Street
Roosevelt Island, NY 10044
In-Person tickets $20/General Admission; $15 Senior/Student
To be permitted to enter the theatre: Guests ages 12 and older must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccine with an FDA or WHO authorized vaccine AND present a government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport upon entry. Masks are required by all audience members regardless of vaccination status.
Meet the Creative Team:
Director: Steven Eng
Musical Director: Jonathan Fadner
Assistant Director: Jacqueline Lucid
Stage Manager/Lighting Designer: Zackry Childers Choreographer: Isaiah Reynolds
Costume Designer: Amelia Dombrowski
Digital Projections & Production Design: Rachel Reuben
Jeanne Castagnaro …. FUZZYBUTT
Mackenzie Chestnut …. YVE MAKEPEACE
Kay Clark …. FRED JR (YOUNG ADULT), GHOST OF FRED JR
Russ Cusick …. SCROOGE/POTIPHAR STINGYAS
Charlemagne Fadner …. BABBA MAKEPEACE
Jack Fadner …. MESON MAKEPEACE
Kimbirdlee Fadner …. CHERYL MAKEPEACE, CHARLES DICKENS
Dleanna Hoosain …. FRED JR (TEEN), BOB CRATCHIT, DICKENS’ WIFE
Jessy Li …. PORRIDGE MAN, NURSE
Robert Miller … FRED SR
Klara Orlika-So …. CHARITY WORKER, ASYLEMETTE
Thomas Orozco …. POTIPHAR STINGYAS (KID)
Gabriel Portuondo …. GHOST OF WILLIAM, WILLIAM MAKEPEACE
Rachel Remor …. POTIPHAR STINGYAS (TEEN), SAMUEL LANGHORN CLEMENTINE Ty Scanlan …. POTIPHAR STINYAS (YOUNG ADULT)
Micah Silverman ….. KID #1, FRED JR (KID)
Brenna Stein …. NELLY BLY, SHYSTERSON
Katana Stoops …. DANCE ANNOUNCER, TWISTED OLIVER
Louise Wang ….. CHARITY, GHOST OF CHARITY
Amelia Ward …. SCROOGE’S NEPHEW, POTIPHAR STINGYAS (TEEN)
Annabelle Ward …. CHARITY WORKER, ASYLEMETTE
*This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Office of Ben Kallos, and a grant from the State of New York Council on the Arts.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: The Ghosts All Around You