There have been so many deaths recently in Hollywood, this one makes me very sad. I remember him as a young girl having such an elegant presence. He was on screen with Rod Steiger in the film In the Heat of the Night. We were living in Tucson and in our last home before moving back to the east coast, there was a drive-in we could ride our bikes to, and we’d watch without sound. He made such an impression on me. Later on and even as recently as last year I watched Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and his words speaking to his father, were so powerful. “You see yourself as a black man, I see myself as a man.” One sentence, covering the essence of a person’s beliefs. It was such a poignant moment in the film and proof, we can all create our own definitions of ourselves. At all times. RIP Mr. Poitier. Thank you for your stellar body of work.
In The Pass Musical, I speak about my guardian angel, Celeste Martin. She owned the carriage house building in the West Village from 1810 that I live in. She passed on December 13, 2018. I have a vignette in my show, about the apartment, aptly titled # 5 My West Village Apartment, and the first time I stepped into this very charming space and started my life in NYC as an artist.
Today I remembered how every holiday Ms. Martin would leave bags of treats for every tenant. She had 36 apartments and 3 commercial spaces at one time all filled, and everyone got gifts! Every year she went to Macy’s and filled up bags and dropped them off at the door of every tenant with a personalized card. And there was always champagne and it was always Veuve Clicquot. I still have a 1999 bottle unopened, because of the date!
Memories can be very special if they are good ones. I like to focus on good ones and when the not-so-good ones come into my head, I whisked them away. No need as these days, are challenging enough. However recalling the holidays with Celeste Martin and the joy she brought to me and all her tenants, well that may keep me warm for days!
How lucky am I to have a memory such as this?
Here’s a story I penned, and West View News shared. A Requiem for Celeste
Had a music/song rehearsal with Tracy Stark yesterday. 2.5 hours of singing, finding tempos, trying new things, adding her voice to a few spots, and it was so good to dive back in. I love singing. Though I have had highs & lows in my career, as many artists do, working on The Pass Musical is empowering me to accept all things, past, present & future.
Wake me up, am I dreaming? No, I am living my dream.
I am grateful, I am learning, and I am so freaking excited for 11/18 at 9PM, NYC, 42nd Street, United Solo Festival. —My Time Spent is My Life Spent–For Janet.
It’s no surprise that the first festival I am performing in, (The Pass Musical) is titled United SOLO Festival. I have been using the word solo describing myself currently, as I am NOT in a committed relationship at this time and I have found it to be a very empowering time. If you have seen my show, you know I dedicate a vignette The Art of Being Alone, to the topic of relationships. In my opinoin, artists (creatives) tend to need more time alone. The creative process is very all encompassing, at least for me it is, and it can drain you and depending on the type of person you are with, that person can either hinder or help your relationship with your art. There is an ocean of difference.
In fact, most of us need a fair amount of alone time, some more than others. Especially these days.
The thing is, solo can also be less motivating. The struggle to find your way and to stay on course, while loving someone, may be a stimulant and something you get use to, or even dare I say it, need. And having all the time in the world, to do whatever you wish whenever you wish, may not be the bliss you imagined. Or is it?
Press Announcement/KeyMedia Public Relations/Music Industry
Contact: Jordani Sarreal, firstname.lastname@example.org
A Story about Songwriting and the Human Spirit
(New York, New York, Tuesday, October 12, 2021) – In September 2018 The Pass premiered in London at The Playground Theatre. Journalists who attended the two performances expressed their strong support for the piece. London Theatre 1 Chris Omaweng wrote, “A nuanced and fascinating show. It all fits like a glove.” Encouraged by the glowing reviews the author of the show, singer-songwriter Denise Marsa was invigorated and gained the momentum she needed to stay on track with the project. She explained “I set out to tell my story about an artist who never quite gets to where she wants to be, although she comes close. She applies focus, tenacity, and determination. Though her talent was continuously praised, she still never really hits it big. There are many shows about artists and bands that have reached the pinnacle of success, this is a story about not getting to the top. About doing what you love, no matter what the consequences, and staying relevant in a constantly changing industry. This show is more about me coming to terms with my long, winding, and often frustrating career path and exposing my vulnerability.”
The Pass was initially developed in 2017 with theater legend Gretchen Cryer mentoring Denise every step of the way. The show is a compelling series of autobiographical vignettes incorporating songs and stories penned and performed by award-winning singer-songwriter Denise Marsa, featuring renowned New York musician Tracy Stark on keys. Denise recounts her career spanning the decades – beginning at the end of the 70s, pushing through the highly volatile and emotional 80’s, continuing through the start of the tech-driven 90s, and on into the 21st century. The show is a testament to the human spirit, a raw biographical performance, comprised of life-defining moments, humor, heartbreak, and self-discovery, accompanied by beautiful music. Tickets are on sale now: https://unitedsolo.org/shows/the-pass-musical/. For more information about Denise Marsa please visit: DeniseMarsaMusic.com.
Team The Pass Musical:
- Written & performed by Denise Marsa
- Featuring Tracy Stark, keyboard & additional vocals: https://tracystark.com
- Gretchen Cryer: Development: http://gretchencryer.com
- Lauren Helpern: Executive Producer/Set Design: (LORTEL AWARD & OBIE for set-design) http://www.laurenhelpern.com/
- Karen Carpenter: Script Consultant/Director https://www.kcdirector.com/
- Stuart J. Allyn: Sound Design https://www.broadwayworld.com/people/Stuart-J-Allyn/
- Brendan Warner: Lighting Design http://www.brendanwarner.com/
- Social Media & Public Relations: Meggie Dimitrova, KeyMedia Public Relations: https://keymedia-group.com/
About Denise Marsa: Denise is best known internationally for the UK #3 hit, “Lucky Stars,” a duet she performed with Dean Friedman. She went on to become the lead voice on The Flirts international Billboard charting dance record, “Helpless” (You Took My Love). Marsa has been under contract as a songwriter with Warner Bros. London and Warner/Chappell in Los Angeles. Marsa has released two solo albums, Self and Live Forever on her own label, KeyMedia Music Group. Her song “Steady,” from her second release, won Best Song and Production in the Adult Contemporary category at the 2013 New Mexico Music Awards. Her Marsa Music catalog is currently being administered by BMG Rights Management. They are co-producing her new solo show The Pass Musical.
About USTF: The United Solo Theatre Festival is the world’s largest solo theatre festival held at Theatre Row on 42nd Street in New York City. Omar Sangare is both the founder and artistic director. The festival features many categories of solo shows, including storytelling, puppetry, dance, multimedia, improvisations, stand-up, magic, drama, and comedy. Since its inaugural edition, the festival proceeds have been used to raise money for The Actors Fund.
Another new song “SWIMMING” and it will open up Act 2 of THE PASS Musical, 11/18/21! Rehearsed it this past Monday with Tracy Stark, it’s working…
“Close your eyes
And get over here and love me
Get over here and love me
Come on over here and let me love you
You’ve drowned, I’ve drowned
Now we’re both swimming…”
As a Jewish woman, it is in my blood to nurture. I was surrounded by nuturing women my entire childhood and my teen years. Some might say, a bit too nurturing leaning towards bossy, at times. Whatever. The intent was/is always to care for those we love. The Yiddish saying Balabusta (Yiddish: בעל־הביתטע) is a Yiddish expression describing a good homemaker. And I was called that by my dad, during his final years on earth. He thought it meant bossy. Yup, I got a bit bossy with my dad (desperate times call for concise measures!) –I wanted to be sure he was comfy during his final years. Love.
I believe I started writing songs out of love, to nuture listeners or to bring a respite from everyday life, to express feelings in a song to those that might not be able to expess themselves as freely. To entertain. That is how I started my singing career, as Baby June in Gypsy, with the famed song “Let Me Entertain You.” Well I guess I took it literally! Thank you Jule Styne (music) Stephen Sondheim (lyrics) for the inspiration.
Now you may be wondering why the title of this blog is Matza Ball Soup, well here we are with the answer. Today I sent a sick friend in Los Angeles, Matza Ball soup, from Canter’s in LA and delivered feverishly by Uber Eats (Odi) and ordered from my West Village apartment. Nurturing has never been easier and if I could, I’d send a quart of Matza Ball soup to allthe people I am close to. It is good for the soul. We all need some nurturing these days!!
And check out my next performance where I share all kinds of stories and songs during the United Solo Theatre Festvial 2021 of THE PASS Musical: https://unitedsolo.org/shows/the-pass-musical/
Time for some soup…
Our first NYC stage, Theatre Row, United Solo Festival: https://unitedsolo.org/shows/the-pass-musical/
We are going to be presenting The Pass Musical on November 18, 2021 @9PM. I hope you can attend, if you are in NYC and if we go live.
I am currently in West Hollywood, and the 12th vignette of the show is entitled West Hollywod. It is good to be back however it is also bringing up lots of the past. Which funny enough, is also sometimes what people think the title of the show is, when I say The Pass, they ask, The Past? I do recall in the show, and often, so in essence there is a direct connection.
The past is a very tender part of life. We have lived it and it gathers meaning as time goes on with or without us knowing it. The skill is to know when to let the past navigate our present and perhaps our future and when to close that door, and keep it closed. We are all travelers, time is our map, and what we choose as our compass, is up to us.
I am focusing right now, in this moment, on love as my compass. I sometimes forget that, it is with love, I carry on. Other emotions can taint the windows or cloud the water, I swim forward with my heart; as it has led me wisely thus far.
Songwriting is in my blood. I know exactly when it started, and how much I wanted to write songs as a young girl and play the piano. I taught myself how to play so that I could write songs. My songwriting continues and I am so grateful.
I explained to a friend, about this new song. I was standing in my bathroom a few days ago – mid-morning and a towel was hanging on this hook…and the first line came. “Your towel still hangs on the hook where you left it, the morning I told you my truth.” I rushed to one of the many pads I keep around, to write it down. Then I sat at the piano, with excitement and fervor, as if this song was bottled up in me for 6 years. It came out. As if I was just the vehicle. The song took shape, I fumbled on chords, notes, the melody, until it sounded how I wanted it to sound. After a few hours — it was a song.
The next morning I woke at 6:15 am and by 7:00 I was recording it with my home-studio equipment. By 1PM I had my first demo of “Either Way.”
And that is what happened…oh and after I listended to the simple, raw demo, with a few production elements added, for the first time, I began to cry. It was the 3rd time I cried for a new song.
It has been such a journey for me, and yet, the songs keep finding me. I guess it is my destiny to be a songwriter.
Think about what makes you happy. One of my grandest and certainly most long-term moments of happiness, which is thankfully on-going, is sitting at the piano and creating songs. I sing, I explore, I scribble words, and it feels like my soul and my feet, meet. Grounded and yet soaring.
I am reading a book and today’s segment refers to an old American proverb: “If you can’t be grateful for all the things you don’t have and want, be grateful for all the things you don’t have and dont want.”
That just hit a chord for me. Wanted to share. Major C?
And talk about sharing, a new song arrived, ALL THIS TIME ALONE. In production and will be released forthwith.