- Written by Jacob Coakley
- Published: 22 June 2012
1812 Productions has named the 2012 Summer Residency recipients of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program. Bi Jean Ngo, Tara Tagliaferro, and Kaci Fannen will each receive a week-long residency at the 1812 Studio in Philadelphia to focus on a work in progress and receive feedback and support from the Jilline advisory board. Also as part of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program, Thomas Choinacky will receive a small grant for his solo piece Thomas Is Titanic through the “Couple Extra Bucks Fund.”
The Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program Announces Recipients of the 2012 Summer Residencies and the Couple Extra Bucks Fund Grant
Philadelphia, PA- Each year, as a part of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program, 1812 Productions hosts residencies for three Philadelphia artists, providing them with essential time and space to continue development of original solo works. This year, 1812 Productions and the Advisory Board of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program are pleased to award residencies to Bi Jean Ngo, Tara Tagliaferro, and Kaci Fannen. The summer residencies will take place from Monday, June 25th through Sunday, July 1st. Additionally, small artist grants are awarded annually through the Couple Extra Bucks Fund component of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program. It is with pleasure that 1812 Productions and the Advisory Board of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program award the 2012 Couple Extra Bucks Fund grant to Thomas Choinacky for his solo piece Thomas Is Titanic.
Bi Jean Ngo will continue work on her piece Vietnam Stories with invited collaborator Aaron Cromie. Ngo describes Vietnam Stories as, “…a serio-comic collection of my parents’ stories—narratives I remember from childhood. It is my attempt to tell the epic journey of my mom and dad as they fall in love, lose their country, start anew in America, struggle with raising three kids, navigate the socio-economic landscape, divorce themselves from tradition, and how they permeate me with their legacy. I am toying with various ways to frame this journey, but, ultimately, the story begins steeped in folk myth and folk music and transforms into my own contemporary story being lived and created today.”
Ngo is a Philadelphia actress and educator. With degrees from Boston University’s College of Communication and the Actor's Studio Drama School at the New School University in New York, Ngo has worked collaboratively with or appeared onstage at Philadelphia Theatre Company, InterAct Theatre Company, Wilma Theater, 1812 Productions, Arden Theatre, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, and others.
Ngo’s collaborator on Vietnam Stories, Aaron Cromie, is a Philadelphia based director, performer, designer, and teacher. Cromie is a five-time Barrymore Award winner, a graduate of the Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre, and teaches for Headlong Performance Institute and The University of the Arts.
Tara Tagliaferro will work with collaborator Matt Mastronardi on the development of her newest cabaret I Can’t Read Music. I Can’t Read Music is a celebration of classic musical performers such as Shirley Temple, Carol Burnett, Betty Hutton, and Teresa Brewer—all of whom became musical superstars without ever being able to read the music they performed. Tagliaferro pays tribute to these women by singing some of their most memorable songs in styles evocative of past periods in musical history.
Tagliaferro holds a degree in musical theatre from Montclair State University. She has worked locally with Walnut Street Theatre, Bristol Riverside Theatre, Media Theatre, and 11th Hour Theatre Company.
Matt Mastronardi is an alumnus of The University of the Arts. He has worked as a teacher and musical director at Walnut Street Theatre and Arden Theatre, where he served as assistant director to Anne Kaufman on The Flea and the Professor.
Kaci Fannin will work with Philadelphia theatre mainstay Jeff Coon on her piece Enlarge (pronounced “In-Larj-a”). Enlarge is a multi-character solo piece in film-noir style about a faded, but fabulous, cabaret singer named Enlarge. She is an ultra-feminine, over-the-top diva who is a “legend in her own mind.” Surrounded by an array of colorful characters including her secret lover Sugar Mama Shanks, driver and side-kick Shawty, and younger sister Diminute, Enlarge is a campy, musical send-up of faded divas and the gangster-era lifestyle of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Kaci Fannin is an actor and independent filmmaker originally from Houston,TX. She made her film acting debut in My Own TV (MOTV) for the Fall TV Family Series on PBS, and has since been seen in Soulmates, The Associate (with Whoopi Goldberg), God’s Forgotten House, and most recently in God’s Country on Route 9, as well as a dozen more independent films. After relocating to the East Coast in 2003, Kaci performed in such venues as the Cherry Lane, the Producers’ Club II, the Billie Holiday, the Henry Street and Greenwich Street Theatres as well as regionally with the Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, the Kitchen Theatre in Ithaca, NY, and Two River Theatre Company in Red Bank, NJ. As a producer, Kaci formed BanjiGirl Productions in 1994, a company dedicated to discovering, developing, and producing new and under-represented voices in film and theatre.
Fannin’s collaborator, Jeff Coon, has been a member of Philadelphia’s theatre community since graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. He has performed in almost 100 professional productions and has worked at most of the area’s theatre companies including Walnut Street Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Act II Playhouse, Philadelphia Theatre Company, Prince Music Theatre, and others. He is a 10-time Barrymore Award nominee and has worked as a director and vocal coach for the University of Pennsylvania’s Summer Music program.
Each year, the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program hosts week-long residencies for solo artists at the 1812 Studio in Philadelphia. Each residency focuses on the development of a solo piece already in progress. Artists and collaborators are joined in their efforts by program representatives from the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program Advisory Board. An informal sharing of work for an invited audience concludes each residence.
A second component of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program is the Couple Extra Bucks Fund. The Couple Extra Bucks Fund provides small individual artist grants to professional artists whose solo work is scheduled for production.
The 2012 Couple Extra Bucks Fund grant recipient is Thomas Choinacky for his piece Thomas is Titanic. Thomas is Titanic is Choinacky’s one-man show about his obsession with the history of the fateful ship, the blockbuster film, and the film’s lead actress, Kate Winslet. The show combines the story of Thomas's childhood obsession with the movie Titanic with a one-man reenactment of the movie itself, with Choinacky playing everyone from the main characters, Jack and Rose, to the ship and the iceberg. Featuring puppets, miniature oceans, virtuosic role-switching, and an epic movement ballet of the actual sinking of the Titanic, Thomas is Titanic is a comic and poignant exploration of love, coming of age, and what it really means to “never let go.”
Thomas Choinacky was a previous grantee of the Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program summer residency in 2010. Collaborating with local actor and deviser Justin Jain, the space and time within the week-long residency allowed for the generation of a large portion of material for Thomas is Titanic. Following that period, Choinacky, with Thomas is Titanic, was the first artist to be invited to InterAct Theatre Company’s Supported Artist Series. In late 2011, Choinacky returned to the studio with Jain, now as director, to finalize the play. In January of 2012, Choinacky self-produced Thomas is Titanic at the Maas Building in Fishtown (Northeast Philadelphia). After this sold out run, there has been considerable interest in Thomas is Titanic to tour to other cities including Austin,TX and Chicago,IL. ***Program Mission The Jilline Ringle Solo Performance Program is dedicated to supporting the creation, development and production of work by solo artists across a variety of disciplines—theater, performance art, and cabaret.
For more info about 1812 Productions, please visit www.1812productions.org