The Classical Theater Of Harlem
Ty Jones (left) Producing Artistic Director & Carl Cofield (right) Associate Artistic Director
CTH combines original adaptations, music, and dance to present great classics of world literature as well as contemporary works that will stand the test of time. It is CTH’s vision to create the 21st century theatre company whose value to its community is inherent and essential, a company that is engaged in producing theatre that has the capacity to change lives, and truly reflects the diversity of ideas and racial tapestry that is America. CTH is purposeful in seeking to create comprehensive access for theatre artists of diverse backgrounds. This includes actors, directors, designers, playwrights, technicians, and arts administrators.
Since its founding in 1999, CTH has presented a repertory of works ranging from traditional classical playwrights (Anton Chekhov, Euripides, and William Shakespeare), to established 20th century playwrights (August Wilson, Langston Hughes, and Jean Genet), to new plays by emerging playwrights.
In addition to its productions, CTH proudly provides theatre-based training and live theatre experiences to Harlem youth and their families through its arts education program: Project Classics. It also engages in robust, theatre-related programming, which include Future Classics, Playwrights’ Playground, and Revisited Classics. These free reading series act as a way to engage new audiences, invest in the artistic development of new work, and give exposure to emerging professional playwrights
Acclaimed composer Michael Thurber’s musical career defies categorization. From composing for The Royal Shakespeare Company and co-founding the smash YouTube channel CDZA, to creating his Thurber Theater variety show at Joe’s Pub, teaching at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, and performing in the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as well as around the country in duo with violinist Tessa Lark, Thurber’s musical journey has been remarkably singular.
As a theater composer & lyricist, Thurber made his international debut with his score of Antony and Cleopatra, a co-production between The Royal Shakespeare Company (Stratford, UK) and The Public Theater (NY, NY) directed by Oscar winner Tarell McCraney. He has since written numerous scores for The Public Theater, Manhattan Theater Club and has developed original musicals with The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center (CT), Joe’s Pub (NYC), The Kimmel Center (PA), Williamstown Theater Festival (MA), SPACE At Ryder Farm (NY) and Theater Latte Da (MN). His one-man musical The Booty Call ran for five weeks Off-Broadway at the TBG Theater in 2016.
Thurber’s concert music has been performed by orchestras around the country including The Louisville Orchestra, The Williamsburg Symphony, The Evansville Philharmonic and The Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra. His work has been commissioned by such esteemed institutions as NPR’s “From The Top” , The International Horn Society and Elisa Monte Dance.
Thurber was co-founder and music-director of one of YouTube’s biggest music collectives, CDZA, which within its first 2 years of formation garnered over 26 Million views and 300k channel subscribers. CDZA performed at TED@nyc and was featured on NPR as well as headlining the first ever YouTube Music Awards alongside Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Eminem and MIA.
In 2015, Thurber joined Jon Batiste and Stay Human as bass player for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. On the show, Michael performed with Yo Yo Ma, James Taylor, Cee Lo Green and Jack Black.
Michael proudly serves on the Board Of Directors for NPR’s From The Top. He is an Adjunct Faculty member at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute. Michael studied music at The Interlochen Arts Academy and The Juilliard School.
Erica Blunt/DJ Twelve 45
Twelve45 is a New York based DJ/Producer. Known for her smooth transitions and blends, she believes a great mix reveals a special space where artists share the same musical frequency. Twelve45 approaches all mixes with purpose and intent. Her mix series ‘12 by Twelve’ is used to highlight different genres, artists, and pivotal moments in music history while telling a story.
Starting the Scratch DJ Academy’s Certification program in March 2014, Twelve45 blazed through the curriculum, finishing top of her class in October 2014. Not wasting any time, she quickly followed up that achievement by receiving certification in Scratch’s Music Production program in January 2015.
From playing the drums in high school to now sequencing them in Ableton, she has personally benefitted from music education and aims to share her knowledge with future generations of musicians. A former mathematics teacher with a Master’s Degree in Higher Education Administration, Twelve45 enjoys relating to students through their passion for music. Through the non-profit Building Beats she has been able to support students through their creative process and further their skills both in music and life.
Her DJ talents have taken her to New York staples like Friends & Lovers, Trophy Bar, Kinfolk, Ace Hotel and Joe's Pub. She was also one of the featured DJs at Essence's Street Style Block Party. Using music as her medium, Twelve45 aims to share a body of work that is both entertaining and edifying.
Chris Brubeck’s Band Triple Play
Triple Play is the name given to three outstanding and versatile musicians, Peter Madcat Ruth (on harmonica, guitar, jaw harp, percussion & vocals), Joel Brown, (folk and classical acoustic guitar and vocals) and Chris Brubeck (electric bass, bass trombone, piano & vocals). Collectively they bring a rare level of joy, virtuosity, and American spirit to the folk, blues, jazz and classical music they perform. Triple Play’s musical roots go way back (nearly 40 years!) in each member’s history. Chris and Madcat have toured and recorded together in different settings since 1969, first as young rock musicians in the group “New Heavenly Blue” (with albums on RCA and Atlantic Records), “Sky King”(on Columbia), and then as jazz musicians touring the world with Dave Brubeck.
Chris went on to form the group Crofut & Brubeck with the uniquely talented banjo player Bill Crofut and also featured Joel on guitar. A highly unusual and critically acclaimed CD, “Across Your Dreams” (Telarc) featuring famous mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade singing songs written by Chris, Dave & Iola Brubeck. Their next project was the recording of the acclaimed “Bach to Brubeck” (Koch International Classics) at Abbey Road Studios with the London Symphony Orchestra.
Sadly, Bill Crofut passed away in 1999, and Madcat joined Chris and Joel to form the group Triple Play. Their live performance is documented on their first cd, “Triple Play Live”, recorded at one of their college concerts. In reviewing this disc, All Music Guide wrote: “This boundary stretching CD should be investigated by anyone who enjoys great American music.”
Their second CD, “Watching the World” was recorded in studios across the country and according to All Music Guide: “It’s great to hear a group that combines top-notch musicianship, potent originals, and a touch of humor, this CD is truly a Triple Play in any fan’s score book.”
With an ever-expanding repertoire, the Trio continues to play in concert halls, clubs and festivals all over the country, including performing many of Chris’ symphonic arrangements with orchestras across the U.S. Recently they played a set at the Monterey Jazz Festival and later that evening were featured in the premiere of Dave Brubeck’s Cannery Row Suite. Paul deBarros, writer for the Seattle Times and Downbeat, commented: “Triple Play is what jazz always was and always should be about: good-time rhythm, unbridled joy and the sweet release but bittersweet aftertaste of the blues. If there’s a better old-time blues and jazz harmonica player out there than Madcat Ruth, I’d sure love to know where he lives.”
Rachel Dozier-Ezell (Costumes)
An Alabama Native, Rachel Dozier-Ezell is an NYC-based freelance costume designer & technician. Currently, she is the Costume Director at The New School for Drama. In addition to costume design her skills include costume shop management, hair & make-up design, crafts artistry, draping, distressing, shopping/swatching, dyeing, and teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level. Rachel has a BFA in costume design and technology from The University of Montevallo and an MFA in Costume Design from The University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign. Rachel has taught at The University of Illinois, The University of South Dakota, The New School, Pace University, and Marymount Manhattan College. She has designed and/or worked with regionally for Birmingham Children’s Theatre, The Classical Theatre of Harlem, Trisha Brown, Papermill Playhouse, National Black Theater, Manhattan Theatre Works, Ensemble Studio Theatre, The Black Hills Playhouse, American Players Theatre, and Elisa Monte Dance Company among others.
Rachel is always looking to connect with other companies and artists with similar goals and passions.
Getting Personal: “My passion is for new work for theater and performance that is always socially and/or politically engaging. Call me an idealist, but I love working on art that dares to challenge the norm or ask the question why. I feel it is important that theater fuels knowledge and promotes change and awareness of the world around us whether it asks a question or creates beauty and laughter that allows a person to continue being an active member in her world and community. I currently am doing this type of theatre while working for The New School for Drama as their resident designer for their blossoming performing arts program. I also strongly believe in participating in art that reaches all socio and economical level and looks to bridge the gaps in accessible art. I am always looking to connect with other companies and artists that share these goals and passions. I am in constant search to learn something new. I enjoy teaching and sharing information. I learn so much from teaching and meeting other artists. In my ‘free time,’ I enjoy dancing in the rain with my son and husband, getting inked, and doing mini embroidery projects.”