Westchester Collaborative Theater’s Living Music Event Fuses Original Plays & Iconic Songs

Shenendoah Thompson of Peekskill and Emily Aronoff of Pelham are in “The Visitor in the Doorway” by Tara Meddaugh of Harrison    Photo > Tara Meddaugh

Westchester Collaborative Theater (WCT)’s Living Music Event combines never-seen short plays with song favorites. It will run from Friday, May 10, through Sunday, May 19, at WCT in Ossining, with an encore performance on Friday, May 24, at Bethany Arts Community in Ossining. Talkbacks with the audience will take place at the May 12 and May 18 matinees. (For ticket information > wctheater.org.)

The plays, featuring WCT playwrights and actors, most of whom are River Town residents, will segue into the tunes that inspired them, sung by Ossining-based vocalist/songwriter Anne Carpenter, known to audiences through her appearances at WCT with guitarist Peter Calo, former musical director for Carly Simon, and in jazz and pop venues throughout the region.


Here are the plays and the local talent bringing them to life …

Joanna’s Story by Howard Lipson (Tarrytown), directed by Mario Giacalone (Croton-on- Hudson) – After a family’s child is murdered, it faces new choices and challenges. Featuring: Dianne Roxy Pennington, Rob Ansbro (Mahopac), Shenendoah Thompson (Peekskill), Chasity Perez (Ossining), Brian Bagot (Ossining), and Lauren Braconi (Stamford).

Ruthie Lives Here by Lori M. Myers (Nanuet), directed by Flori Doyle (Cortlandt Manor) — A woman finds out about life and love in the unlikeliest of places. Featuring Patty Griffith (Ossining), Adam Black (Tarrytown), Anne Glickman (Croton-on-Hudson) and Rob Ansbro (Mahopac).

Have It Your Way written and directed by Julie Griffin (Hastings on Hudson) – What happens when two Broadway stars find themselves needing to audition for a burger commercial in 1974.  Featuring Kelly Kirby, Nick Nazario (Peekskill), and Julie Griffin.

Let’s Make a Deal, written and directed by Susan Ward (Ossining) — Long time partners Rita and Ellen have seen the world together. Now in their 80s, things have taken a turn.  Featuring Enid Breis (Croton-on-Hudson) and Gretchen Metzloff (Ossining).

The Visitor in the Doorway by Tara Meddaugh (Harrison), directed by Marna Lawrence (Peekskill) — After a life-altering event, Clare runs away from everyone she knows and isolates herself in a secluded cabin in the woods. Featuring Emily Aronoff (Pelham) and Shenendoah Thompson (Peekskill).

Rofa Abayon of Peekskill (left), Ann Glickman of Croton-on-Hudson and Andrew White of Nanuet are in “Wishes and Prayers” by Evelyn Mertens of Briarcliff Manor Photo > Missy Flower of Ossining

Wishes and Prayers by Evelyn Mertens (Briarcliff Manor), directed by Missy Flower (Ossining) — Can love survive when demons of the past refuse to die? Featuring Anne Glickman, Rofa Abayon (Peekskill) and Andrew White (Nanuet).

Q+A with Therapist Jared Sossin

An added dimension that WCT brings to the Living Music Event is that it explores the connection between theater and psychology through a collaboration with Jared Sossin, a therapist-in-training who shortly will be entering the profession full-time when he joins The Midtown Practice in Manhattan. Sossin met with the playwrights, directors and casts of several of the plays to examine the psychological issues inherent in each piece. Topics run the gamut from addiction, to coping with loss, to sibling rivalry.

RIVER JOURNAL (RJ) > How did you interact with WCT playwrights, directors and actors?

JARED SOSSIN > For the play Wishes and Prayers, I had a meeting to identify the mental health themes: psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder, and disordered eating. I then met with the actors to explore what it means to step in and out of characters with complex mental health histories and struggles, as well as ways to be mindful when an actor might feel psychologically unsafe during a performance or in the behind-the-scenes work.

For another play, The Visitor in the Doorway, we had an enlightening conversation about grief: how one learns to grieve, how people’s way of grieving can change over time, whether grief can become pathological at a certain point and how to identify if or when that happens.

RJ > How has your working on this project enriched your understanding of theater or mental health issues?

JS > Seeing the characters as real people with full lives and complex histories is enriching clinical practice. The WCT playwrights have a talent for capturing authentic human struggle and growth, so it’s not hard for me to imagine one of their characters sitting in my office.

RJ > What else has resonated with you while working on the Living Music Event?

JS > Music can be powerfully therapeutic. If a client struggles to articulate their thoughts or feelings through words, sometimes I will ask them to pick a song that can do so on their behalf. The process of finding a song helps a client to find their voice in therapy.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recommended For You

About the Author: User Submitted