a modern play fusing live painting + music + drama

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A story of love and sacrifice comes to life on an artist's canvas.
Observing a seemingly routine slice of life through the mysterious lens of Art, Music, and Film, "Feather" explores how the physical and spiritual worlds collide as a young couple, Catherine (Cat), a human rights attorney, and her husband, Eli, a photojournalist, confront the bold choices that will forever change their lives.

Set against the backdrop of Eli’s current documentary film, this multimedia story transitions between stage and the screen, from past to present, and from tangible to abstract as Cat and Eli recount how they fell in love, events that tore them apart, and what they’d do if they could have one more day together.

After Eli is abducted from a child refugee camp, Cat replays the subsequent events to her therapist, Dr. Peterson, who challenges the choices she’s made and what it means to be Human. Through it all, Cat searches for meaning and, ultimately, salvation in her actions.

Following this journey is The Artist, an omniscient painter visible only to the audience and inspired by the drama of the story he witnesses. Capturing the unfolding narrative with spoken poetry and the rhythmic strokes of his brush, The Artist visibly reveals how true love transcends our imagination yet exists beside and inside everyone.


A real-life subject, a philanthropic mission, an art gallery, and a message to inspire hope and change.

Feather creates synergy between Art, Charity, and Business while mutually benefitting the social and financial missions of all parties involved.

Each performance of Feather blends live painting, music, and film with a dramatic narrative to create a unique multimedia theatrical experience where drama takes center stage and catharsis is available on every level.

Shows are divided into Series based on either their location (as for a one time showing), or a specific charity that is then tied to the drama and selected portraits.

As part of Feather’s community outreach mission, each series of shows is a collaboration between the Creative Team and a predetermined charitable cause. The charity’s main function is to provide individuals of interest, whose stories are then subtly integrated into the theme of the series, influencing aspects of the dramatic narrative for these performances. Their powerful tales inform the actors; their image (for at least one predetermined show) becomes the subject of The Artist’s painting as the audience watches them come to life on canvas.

As the result, no two shows are ever the same.

Every show will feature aspects of the local performance city -- from film clips of well-known locales to references infused in the actors’ dialogue. The result allows each city to become the setting for Feather both fictitiously and in a very real way.

At the end of each run, the production company is able to team with a local art gallery and invite audiences from each show to a fine art exhibition premiering the unique paintings from the entire series of shows. A portion of each portrait sale will then be donated to the charity connected to the specific show in which the painting was created.

save the children Feather is proud to announce a partnership with Save The Children for the NYMF run. A percentage of the sale of each painting will be donated to Save The Children.

About Save The Children

Save the Children is the leading independent organization creating lasting change in the lives of children in need in the United States and around the world. Recognized for our commitment to accountability, innovation and collaboration, our work takes us into the heart of communities, where we help children and families help themselves. We work with other organizations, governments, non-profits and a variety of local partners while maintaining our own independence without political agenda or religious orientation.

When disaster strikes around the world, Save the Children is there to save lives with food, medical care and education and remains to help communities rebuild through long-term recovery programs. As quickly and as effectively as Save the Children responds to tsunamis and civil conflict, it works to resolve the ongoing struggles children face every day — poverty, hunger, illiteracy and disease — and replaces them with hope for the future.


Richard H. Blake (Eli) Richard H. Blake Eli Richard H. Blake - was last seen on Broadway as Fiyero in Wicked. Other Broadway credits include Warner in Legally Blonde, Glen Guglia in The Wedding Singer, Hairspray (Link), Aida (Radames), Saturday Night Fever (Tony Manero), Rent (Roger), Macbeth (Boy Macduff) and The Prince of Central Park. (Prince) He recently finished filming the upcoming feature Life of an Actress. His film and TV credits include The Factory, Any Day Now, Red Light August, All My Children, The Babysitter's Club, Toonces and Friends and Guiding Light. He is a proud member of AEA and SAG/AFTRA. His greatest role to date though is that of husband/father to his beautiful wife and son. 
Charleene Closshey, Actor Charleene Closshey Catherine "Cat" Charleene Closshey (AEA/SAG/AFTRA) is a classically trained composer, violinist and vocalist, a stage and screen actor, and music and stage producer with training from Juilliard, NYU, and Circle in the Square. Recently starred in feature film An Evergreen Christmas (with Robert Loggia and Naomi Judd) and A Thousand Cuts (from the producers of Hit and Run), television pilot Terminal Kill, and art film Walking with Francis where she portrayed St. Clare. Stage credits include the original Los Angeles productions of A War Cycle: Wounded, Sherwood Forrest (LA Festival of New American Musicals), and Three: Songs from the Heart (World Premiere), with lead roles in U.S. productions of La Chiusa’s The Wild Party (Kate), Nine (Claudia), Hair (Shelia) and Jekyll & Hyde (Emma). As a violinist, Charleene fuses jazz, rock, pop, and swinging fiddle, having shared the stage with such artists as Josh Groban, Charlie Daniels, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Mannheim Steamroller and the TransSiberian Orchestra. As a vocal soloistist, Charleene has performed with Operafestival di Roma in Rome, Italy and the St. Petersburg Opera. Various albums available on iTunes.com and Amazon.
Jeffry Feeger, Actor Jeffry Feeger The painter Papua New Guinean Jeffry Feeger is a painter, poet, performer, and rising star in the Pacific art community. Largely self-taught, his work in realism has been met with high critical acclaim and has been seen all over the world, including galleries in China, UK, Africa, Australia, New Zealand and the USA. As a skilled live performance painter, he is the reigning champion of the Shanghai Artist Battle 2010, a live performance competition including artists from all over the globe. He’s recently taken his exciting brand of live painting into various public spaces, performing in front of Sydney's iconic Opera House, and at the UN Women’s Exhibit during the Pacific Art Festival in Honiara, July 2012. An inspirational young figure for people in his country, Jeffry routinely collaborates with performers from a variety of unique backgrounds to share the stories he finds passionate. Feather will be Jeffry’s debut performance in the United States.
Peter Rini Peter Rini Dr. Peterson Peter Rini is happy to be making his NYMF debut with Feather. NY Theater credits include Broadway: Vinnie Bavasi in Neil Simon's Proposals (original company) directed by Joe Mantello, Marco in Mayer's revival of A View From the Bridge, Agent Loyal in Tartuffe: Born Again directed by David Saint. Selected Off Broadway: Sam in The Old Boy ( Keen Company 2013), directed by Jonathan Silverstein, The Talls directed by Carolyn Cantor. Selected roles from regional theater include Joe Tumulty in Edith, Ricky Roma in Glengarry Glen Ross, Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing, Recent television and film work includes roles on Smash, Blue Bloods, a recurring role on One Life to Live as Jason Murray. Upcoming film includes "Killing Kennedy" directed by Nelson McCormick for National Geographic Channel as Agent Murray.
Derek Wieland Derek Wieland The Musician Derek Wieland studied under György Sándor at the Juilliard School where he received the Bachelor of Arts in 1992 and the Master of Arts in 1994 in piano performance. Mr. Wieland gained national recognition in 1987 after being the first pianist to win the grand prize in the Seventeen/General Motors National Concerto Competition. In 1999, Mr. Wieland was awarded first prize in the International Johann Nepomuk Hummel Piano Competition in the Slovak Republic, and Third Prize in the International Piano Competition of Senigallia, Italy.Mr. Wieland has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, South Africa, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Slovak Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Long island Philharmonic and the String Orchestra of New York City at Lincoln Center. Mr. Wieland is the Music Director of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra east coast winter tour and collaborates on a wide variety of productions spanning many genres.
Jonathan Gregg Jonathan Gregg Man in Black Jonathan is thrilled to be a part of Feather with NYMF this season. NYC: Blood Brothers, The Human Comedy, The Secret Garden, Ragtime, Children of Eden (APAC); Man of La Mancha, Six Degrees of Separation (Gallery Players); Once Upon a Time in New Jersey (Prospect Theatre); Four Unfold (MITF).  REGIONAL:  The Full Monty, Grease, Chicago, Alice in Wonderland, Chuckleball.  NATIONAL TOURS: plenty, but they were all for kids and somewhat educational. TV:  Boardwalk Empire (HBO), I Killed My BFF (BioChannel), Wade Barrett Comeback Promo (WWE Productions). Jonathan is proud to be a graduate of Belmont University and a member of the Actors' Equity Association. He loves his family very much.



Jeremy Culver, Writer/Director Jeremy Culver Writer/Director Jeremy Culver is American writer and director known for blending multimedia mediums to explore life’s mythical journeys. His most recently completed art film, Walking with Francis, chronicles the last days of St. Francis of Assisi and has recently been endorsed by both the Vatican and the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi. The documentary Radical Kindness (narrated by Martin Sheen) chronicles the life and teachings of author and priest, Monsignor John Sheridan. The new musical Feather, fusing live painting, music and film, recently premiered in Australia and will make its US Premiere at the New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in Summer 2013.  He recently co-wrote and directed the feature film, An Evergreen Christmas (Robert Loggia, Naomi Judd), which will premiere Christmas 2013. He is a member of the Dramatist Guild of America.
Charleene Closshey, Composer Charleene Closshey Composer In addition to her performing credits, Charleene is a NeoClasical composer. Recently, she scored and arranged original music for the art film, Walking with Francis and psychological short film, The Fifth World. She is currently co-composing the original score for An Evergreen Christmas, which premieres Christmas 2013. Her YogaChill album “Glimpse,” commissioned for the 13th Annual Association of Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference, takes the listeners on a yogic journey of awakening to savasana and has quickly garnered international attention. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and BMI.
Nick and Liesle, Original Songs Nick Everitt and Liesl Karlsson (Nick and Liesl) Songwriters With roots in both Sweden and Australia, Nick and Liesl’s influences are wide; from folk music to pop, blues and soul, the couple mix infectious melodies with insightful lyrics, beautiful voices and trademark harmonies. Since forming in 2007, they count 4 releases and have performed at over 50 festivals at home and abroad, including The Woodford Folk Festival where they recently pulled crowds of 2,000 to each set. In five years they have completed just as many European tours and worked with some of Australia’s top musicians while independently producing their own award-winning records. The critically acclaimed album Feather (2011) and the EP’s Friend and Lover (2013) and Wyong River (2008) have received national and local airplay in Australia and throughout Europe.
Rae Smart, Artisitic and Outreach Advisor Rae Smart Artistic and Outreach Advisor Through her NGO work in the Asian Pacific Region covering areas such as Human Rights, the Rights of Women, and Children and Post War Conflict, Australian born Rae Smart has dedicated her career toward improving the lives of the economically disempowered in war effected societies. Having lived and worked on Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea for a time spanning over 20 years, which ended in evacuation as a result of Civil War, she co-founded the women’s group, Leitana Nehan Women’s Development Agency, who were awarded the UN Millennium Peace Prize for Women in 2001. Formally the Head of Department in Art and Design in PNG Higher education for 8 years, she believes art in all forms has the potential to solve many of societies issues.
Production Team
Wendy Seyb Choreographer The Pee Wee Herman Show (Broadway/HBO), The Toxic Avenger Musical(Lortel, Callaway, DORA nominations), Myths and Hyms, Yeast Nation, Click Clack Moo (Lortel nomination). Wendy has choreographed for Disney Theatrical Productions, Nickelodeon, SeaWorld; and through her company, EveryDayMan Adventures, has created over 20 dance comedies. Wendy is a recipient of the Golden Nose Award for her dance comedy Super Novas; and is an alumna of Dancebreak and Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Most recently, she completed her first dance comedy short called Catch; and is currently working on a feature film and creating a dance comedy series. www.wendyseyb.com.
Derek Wieland Music Director Derek Wieland, pianist, studied under György Sándor at the Juilliard School where he received the Bachelor of Arts in 1992 and the Master of Arts in 1994 in piano performance. Mr. Wieland gained national recognition in 1987 after being the first pianist to win the grand prize in the Seventeen/General Motors National Concerto Competition. In 1999, Mr. Wieland was awarded first prize in the International Johann Nepomuk Hummel Piano Competition in the Slovak Republic, and Third Prize in the International Piano Competition of Senigallia, Italy. Mr. Wieland has performed throughout the U.S., Europe, South America, South Africa, Taiwan, Korea and Japan. He has appeared as soloist with many orchestras, including the Slovak Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Long island Philharmonic and the String Orchestra of New York City at Lincoln Center. Mr. Wieland is the Music Director of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra east coast winter tour and collaborates on a wide variety of productions spanning many genres.
Brandy Austin Associate Director Brandy Austin is a director and teacher who enjoys balancing projects in the theatre, music and television industries. Recent Chicago productions include directing How I Learned to Drive, Extremities and The Kid Thing. In Chicago, Brandy has worked at Northlight Theatre, The Athenaeum, Stockyards Theatre Project, and at Steppenwolf Theatre as Assistant Director on the Jeff Award-winning The Pain and the Itch. She also had the pleasure of assisting James Lapine on the Broadway in Chicago production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. She has worked on various national music tours including GAC Television, Montgomery Gentry, Little Big Town, and the Judds. With the Judds, she assisted Naomi Judd on their Last Encore Tour and also appeared as a recurring character on their docu-series on the Oprah Winfrey Network. She recently had the pleasure of assisting on set for Hallmark Channel’s Spirit Table with Maya Angelou, and two of Hallmark’s recent films: The Nearlyweds and Window Wonderland. Brandy holds a MFA in Directing from The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago. She has served as faculty at DePaul as well as at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. At DePaul, she recently directed Sideways Stories from Wayside School for their Chicago Playworks Series, as well as Summer and Smoke and Fefu and her Friends for their Studio Series. In 2008, Brandy served as Guest Faculty at Centenary College in Shreveport, LA directing the regional premiere of Echo Boom. She has also spent several seasons as Artistic Consultant for Silver Dollar City Themepark in Branson, MO and a highlight of her career has been the time spent managing tours in Honduras, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, entertaining America’s troops for the U.S. Department of Defense. Other regional directing credits include: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Nice People Dancing to Good Country Music, Spelling Bee, Anything Goes, As It Is In Heaven, and the world premiere of Fraternal Instinct.
Natalie Malotke Associate Choreographer
Kristy Leigh Hall Costume Designer Has worked in Chicago, Washington, DC, New York and regionally on a myriad of productions.  As the daughter of opera singers, her love of design started at an early age and continued through her studies at Northwestern University, then the University of Maryland for her graduate degree.  In Chicago, she has worked at Black Ensemble Theater, Court Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre and Lookingglass Theatre.  Last summer she made her off-Broadway debut with Woody Harrelson's Bullet for Adolf; other NY credits include: Treasure Island, next to normal and Proof at Theatre Three. In DC she has designed: The Illusion (Forum Theatre), Minnie the Moocher (Pointless Theatre), Genesis Reboot (Synetic Theatre) and That Face (Studio Theatre).  Her Broadway assisting credits includeRock of Ages and Arcadia.  Upcoming design: I Forgive You, Ronald Reagan with Mid-Life Crisis Productions at Theatre Row. In 2010, Kristy was awarded the University of Maryland Flagship Fellowship for excellence in Art. Her costume renderings were on display at the 2011 Prague Quadrennial that showcased strong translations of design from the rendering to the realized production. Her work can be seen at: www.kristyleighhall.com.
Grant Yeager Lighting Design New York: Now. Here. This. (Vineyard Theatre); Between Worlds (New York Stages); Chimichangas and Zoloft (Atlantic Theatre Company); Love Child (New World Stages); Designer of the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2009-2012; Designer for the New York Pops Orchestra 2012-2013 Season, and over 25 concerts and events at Carnegie Hall.  Regional/Int'l: Joseph... (Dallas Theater Center); ...Judas Iscariot (Yale Dramatic Association); Soul Doctor (Parker Playhouse); Backwards in High Heels (Cleveland Playhouse); Vices (Theatre Aspen); Academy (Maltz Jupiter Theatre); Mormons... (Barrington Stage); Siudy Entre Mundos (Teatro Teresa Carreño, Venezuela); Central Avenue Breakdown (Suseong Artpia, Korea); The Tempest (Bermuda Arts Festival).
Justin Turner Scenic Design Justin Turner is a designer. His sensibilities developed as a young artist flirting with film during a local resurgence - while still at university for mechanical engineering. He is at home in commercial design for TV and web, episodic television, and the lawless ruins of music video production. According to Justin, a beautiful design is honest - reveals it's process and it's materials. He brings out an essential visual style in each project that enhances, without veneer, the vision of the Director. Originally from North Carolina, Justin is a graduate of UNC-Charlotte, an alumnus of sculpture at Penland, and a lifetime student of the visual arts. Justin has designed branding for Tori Spelling, art directed for Simon & Schuster, and pitched industrial design to Moto Guzzi. Production credits include RuPaul’s Drag Race and An Evergreen Christmas. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Wil Pena Sound Designer/Audio Mixing
BD White Production Manager
Jeff Osborne Director of Photography/Editor
Richard Hillman PR Press Agent
Judy Henderson & Associates Casting Director
CESA Entertainment/Jamie Cesa General Manager CESA Entertainment / Jamie Cesa (General Manager) Broadway producing & general management: Pippin (Tony Award nom), Godspell, Lombardi, Colin Quinn Long Story Short, Carrie Fisher’s Wishful Drinking, Kiki & Herb: Alive on Broadway (Tony Award nom). West End: Hair. Off-Broadway producing and general management: Bullet for Adolf (written & directed by Woody Harrelson); CELIA: The Life & Music of Celia Cruz; La Barberia; Los Big Names (Drama Desk nom), The Women of Lockerbie (starring Judith Ivey); 21 Dog Years; Naked Boys Singing!; Love, Janis; Love Child; Criss Angel Mindfreak and many more.


The concept for Feather was born out of a few degrees of separation amongst artists living on opposite sides of the globe when Australian human rights consultant, Rae Smart, sent the American production team of Jeremy Culver and Charleene Closshey a YouTube video of acclaimed Papua New Guinean artist, Jeffry Feeger, painting a live portrait, amazingly, in only a few hours.

The painting process, starting with Jeffry using his hands before moving on to brushwork, created an emotionally engaging experience and captivated the couple’s imagination who, at the time, were looking for a unique project to develop using their combined talents and skills. Since Jeffry’s process takes place over three distinct acts or movements, it immediately clicked with Jeremy as a writer and Charleene as a composer.

In October of 2011, Jeremy, Charleene, Jeffry, and Rae met in Malibu, CA to explore potential concepts combining the unique elements of painting, music, and film within the framework of a traditional stage drama. After a few weeks of internal workshopping, Jeffry performed a live painting set to Charleene’s music at a private function in Malibu. The positive feedback validated the concept could work in front of a live audience. As Jeremy subsequently started developing the script, it became apparent the painting subject would have to change with each new performance, a challenge directly affecting the narrative structure of the show. The answer was in the decision to collect awareness stories from human rights, health, and environmental organizations and weave them into the story, making each new show and painting unique. And to better incorporate the back-story of the painting subject with the characters found in the text, a film component was also added at this stage. With a solid template in place, the next step was to incorporate the performance, awareness, and film components into a modern musical.

In the summer of 2012, Charleene and Jeremy were invited to Rae’s hometown of Noosa, Australia, a community known for its support and appreciation of the arts, to write the book and music for what would become the new musical, Catharsis, and to ultimately, stage a performance. It was early in this trip they met and formed a partnership with the songwriting duo Nick Everitt and Liesl Karlsson of the alternative folk group, Nick and Liesl.

Over the next three months, the show continued to develop with Nick and Liesl providing original songs to complement Charleene’s comprehensive score. During this time, Jeremy also worked with Moy Sweetman, of the local charity Frangipani Dreams, who would become the show’s first painting subject, while finalizing the script and producing the show’s original film segments. As the team moved out of development and into pre-production, Jeffry traveled down from Papua New Guinea for two weeks of intense rehearsals and community outreach, painting in public spaces to build awareness for the show.

After a critically successful dress rehearsal, the world premiere of Catharsis opened at The J Theatre Noosa on Friday 10 August, 2012 to an enthusiastic, sold-out crowd, with one reviewer stating, “It’s a living, breathing, beating work of unusual proportion and dimension...Catharsis challenges our notion of what theatre is.” Since the Australian premiere, the writers have been working on the next draft of the show, now titled, Feather, featuring an evolved storyline containing new songs and compositions. The team now looks forward to the U.S. debut of Feather in July 2013 where it will play as part of The New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) in New York City.



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