top of page

Our Monthly Newsletter - November 2023

What’s Ahead for Alliance for New Music-Theatre in our 2023-24 Season?

We are stepping up our activities this season in anticipation of celebrating in 2024 our 30-Year Anniversary of our humble beginnings as a workshop for local artists to advance their collaborative capacities to experiment in the many art forms of music-theatre.



Our Coro Performs for the Community

Our Youth Chorus (coro de la comunidad) performed on Thursday, Oct 12 at The Hamilton Live in downtown  D.C. at a special celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, sponsored by the Mayor's Office for Latino Affairs (MOLA). Members of our coro opened the program with the US National Anthem, followed by Sueña, featuring solos by some our older students. The voices of all these young singers soared.

Coro MOLA Oct 12.jpg

Based on the hard work of Maestro Herrera and our singers, we have been invited by the District Bridges BID to perform at their annual Columbia Heights Tree Lighting & Market at the Civic Plaza (14th & Park Rd NW) on

Friday December 8, starting at 5:30 pm.

We hope many of you will come out and support our young singers and let this help you get into a season of hope and light.


We look for additional opportunities for our coro members to perform at local events as a way for them to gain more experience in creating a distinct choral blend of singing and to improve their individual abilities and self-esteem.

We also invite you to help us launch a program to underwrite a fellowship opportunity for deserving coro students to join our special subscription series of Live & About, where participants go out together to monthly performances around the DMV, savoring opera, musicals, cabarets, dramas with music, and mixed-media productions from the rich variety of companies and programs offered in our community. Conversation following stimulates reflection and builds critical appreciation of the hybrid forms of music-theatre.

For more information on how you can underwrite a student in our Live & About program, please contact us at


If you know of a student who would benefit from joining our coro, please go to our web page HERE.  Registration materials are in Spanish and English. If you need more information in Spanish, contact us at and we will get back to you.


Spook Walk at the Czech Embassy

Also in October, in an effort to engage students in theatre ‘across the spectrum,’ we enlisted several of our coro students and company members to participate in a “Spook Walk” at the Czech Embassy. The event featured mythical creatures from Czech legends, such as the Bogeyman, the Forest Demon, Vodnik the Water Goblin, Rusalka, the Noonday Witch, and the Granny Witch . We prepared not only in a session with Czech Embassy staff member Andrea Pohl, who provided an introduction to the Czech monsters and sprites but conducted a class in special effects and fantasy make-up led by Master Make-up Artist Frankie Bethea from Howard University.


Haley Armstrong as Polednice-

the Noonday Witch


Daniel Smith as Hejkl - 

The Forest Demon


Sophia Dorr as Rusalka


Lincoln Hop as

Vodnik -

The Water Goblin


Susan Galbraith as Jezibaba - 

The Granny Witch



Artistic Director's Blog

Then I receive a package from a friend and author Blair Ruble. I dig into his little book of essays, The Arts of War. It’s everything I need to hear. Blair writes about Ukrainian artists and how the arts give voice, solace, and solidarity to a nation and the world. Here are some quotes from an early essay:

  • " music and the arts declare who we are"

  • "the arts give voice to our deepest emotions, often revealing them to ourselves and to others before they find formal expression through more purposeful words and deeds.

  • The  arts tell "the much larger story of social and political change. The performing arts, as communal and social activities, bring humans together, in all their agreements and disagreements. They express some of our deepest human emotions and, in response, our innermost passions intensify."

Blair reminds us that they can bomb cultural halls, but they cannot destroy the enduring truth of art. I might add my own codicil that those same halls may also slam shut on their own, because, as I have often said, our society's emphasis on bricks and mortar as signs of cultural success (or even to guarantee “great” art) has been like betting on dinosaurs.


Blair Ruble in Budapest.JPG

Blair also writes in one of the included essays about the initiative of the Center for International Theatre Development (CITD) during the first year of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine to commission Ukrainian playwrights to write short plays documenting their experiences in this war. There have been readings of these pieces not only in Ukrainian bunkers but around the world. He mentions some of the strongest works, and several align with those that Alliance for New Music-Theatre incorporated into our own series of readings this year, adding rich detail about the writers and their works, bolstering the hope for changing the conversation through the arts and supporting our friends in Ukraine who remain committed to throw off Russian aggression.

Yes, we may need to reinvent how we develop and present works, but we need the performing arts more than ever, and maybe music most of all. This is a perfect opportunity to have conversations here and now.

Blair Ruble in Budapest

Arts of War Ruble.png

I think many of us have thought things could not get much worse. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Putin and Xi rattling their cages with nuclear threats. Our Congress in shambles, our supreme court hijacked, and a political party’s front runner indicted on charges including racketeering and conspiracy to overthrow the government. Suddenly, a well-orchestrated attack by Hamas terrorists on Israeli civilians, including the slaughter of young people at a music festival, explodes into a full declaration of war.

  There are still opportunities to sponsor a public or private reading of The Ukrainian Play Reading Project.



Featured Artists

This month, Alliance for New Music-Theatre relaunches its Featured Artist Article. Sometimes the column will introduce you to the conceptual stages of developing a new work of music-theatre and the conversations that must take place in such a collaborative art form. Sometimes, we’ll take you behind the scenes in a rehearsal room where things are being tried out in the heat of that collaboration. Sometimes we may announce a new work that is gripping our hearts, and we ask you to join us for the ride of your life!


This month we will do a little something of all three! To do this, we turn to two of our very special company members, Ronald “Trey” Walton III and Evelyn Simpson Curenton. These two artists are true forces of nature and seem to pop up everywhere in our community where there’s good music being made and there’s also acknowledgement and honoring of important roots of our community’s Black classical and church music.


Trey and Evelyn are also colleagues and close collaborators. On November 19, they will launch a special series, “Bringing Back the Black Concert Hall” at Mount Zion Church in Georgetown, the area’s oldest African American Congregation. Mount Zion has incorporated a Music Ministry since the 1800’s, and the program this month will reflect and acknowledge this, including a special tribute to the female organists who served as leaders of this ministry down through the ages.


There will also be pieces from “the bomb,” Reverend Dr. Dolores Carpenter, who a couple of decades ago compiled the first comprehensive African American hymnal, many of which works were nearly lost and their composers and writers all but forgotten. Three organists will share the spotlight this night, including Trey, Evelyn, and

Dr. Garnet Mowatt.  

Thanks to the African Heritage Cultural Institute for sponsoring this series.


Meanwhile, Walton has also begun work on a new piece of music-theatre, which we consider Part II of The Black Georgetown Cemeteries Project, produced in 2022 in partnership with Executive Director Lisa Fager of Black Georgetown Org and Dumbarton United Methodist Church. The new piece will focus on the little-known history of DC Emancipation and the first African American males who legally voted and who did so in Georgetown’s Rose Park. Several members of the cast have returned to collaborate on the development of the work. A piano-vocal workshop and preview performances are scheduled for April 2024, just in time to celebrate DC Emancipation.


Finally, because our company always has new works “in the hopper,” stay tuned for announcements of Evelyn’s plunge into the waters and music of Haiti. A new work is bubbling up about the Haitian Revolution --and it may surprise you--where we’ve learned women were generals and their constitution had much to teach us in America about equity, diversity, and inclusion. We can’t wait for Miss Evelyn to “dig deeper,” in line with the company’s process of artistically excavating the stories all around us.

bottom of page