SECRET CITIES is an ongoing collaboration between Luna Stage and surrounding communities. Beginning in 2018 with the site-specific WALKING THE VALLEY, a series of short plays set in venues and outdoors in the Valley Arts District, Luna has commissioned and produced new work inspired by local interviews and history. In June 2019, HEART OF ORANGE celebrated people and stories along Main Street in Orange, New Jersey. Coming in 2020: a cycle of commissioned songs inspired by local community heroes.
Excerpt from "Look Up Orange", created and performed by Orange resident Turron Kofi Alleyne for Secret Cities: Heart of Orange
ABOUT SECRET CITIES: HEART OF ORANGE
6 playwrights, 2 composers, 2 lyricists... and 1 neighborhood.
Eight short pieces inspired by real locations and people in the City of Orange—performed on location in the spaces that inspired them on June 8, 2019.
Written by Turron Kofi Alleyne, Jessica Baskerville, Sergio Caetano, Phoebe Farber, Miranda Ferriss Jones, Kait Kerrigan, Ben Morss, and Diane Polledri. Directed by Chris Kuiken and Ari Laura Kreith.
Excerpt from "Burgers and Fries" by Ben Morss, performed by Chris Kuiken at State Diner as part of Secret Cities: Walking the Valley
ABOUT SECRET CITIES: WALKING THE VALLEY
Walking The Valley was a site-specific theatrical adventure with music inspired by the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange. Set in three distinct locations in the Valley, the piece included a score Emmy Award-winning composer D.D. Jackson, with choreography by Chantel Adams (Dallas Black Dance Theatre) and vocals by Marlaina Sims Powell (Broadway's The Lion King) and three site-specific new plays (written on location in just 48 hours!). The performance began at Artfull Bean Cafe, 400 S. Jefferson St in Orange, at 3pm on March 18, and traveled from there to State Diner and Luna Stage.
Written by Jessie Field, Stephen Kaplan and Doriane Swain, with songs by Clint Edwards and Ben Morss (Cake, Wheatus.) Performers included Turron Kofi Alleyne, Andrew Binger, Ilana Ruth Cohen, Aaliyah Habeeb, Jevonnah Mayo, Brittani Murphy, Alexa Teebo, and Joanna Warner, with creative support from Maggie Borgen and Chris Kuiken. Directed by Ari Laura Kreith.
Songs of Unsung Heroes
We began Songs of Unsung Heroes prior to the current pandemic, to celebrate the people who inspire and uplift our communities. We need these stories now more than ever. Because we can't be together in the theatre right now, Luna is recording these songs and sharing them online.
We introduce our series with "We Knead" by Miranda Ferriss Jones, sung by Allison Posner with piano by Ben Morss, inspired by Phil Serrani's Sanitary Bakery in Orange, NJ. Serrani's opened its doors in 1948, and is one of many local small businesses supporting their communities today and every day.
We're thrilled to bring you "Burgers and Fries," with music/lyrics/keyboard by Ben Morss, performed by Varín Ayala. This song is inspired by an interview with a West Orange diner cook who knows that what matters isn't the food, it's the way food brings people together.
This is the first of several programs we will be sharing in coming weeks to bring our communities together, inspire creativity and connection, and offer hope at this time.
Do you know someone whose story should be sung? Email us and let us know! (And if you're a composer or lyricist or singer who is interested in joining us as a creator on this project, please reach out too!)
Songs for Unsung Heroes is supported in part by Stages Online, a partnership with New Jersey Theatre Alliance to bring theatre content into homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. www.njtheatrealliance.org
To suggest a song idea, please email Luna's Artistic Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stages Online is made possible by generous funding from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Bank of America,The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey, OceanFirst Foundation; the George A. Ohl, Jr. Trust; New Jersey Historical Commission; and Fund for the New Jersey Blind.