Jun 16, 2018

Coffeehouse Chronicles #148: Tom O’Horgan

Michal Gamily – Series Director
Arthur Adair – Educational Outreach

a black arrow pointing downward

Coffeehouse Chronicles honors Tom O’Horgan and his long career
with panelists, live performances and archival material from the La MaMa Archives.


Victor Attar, Marc Cohen, Paul Foster, Jeffrey Johnson, Thomas Kopache, Albert Poland, Jim Rado, Amanda Schussel, Tyler Waage, Suki Weston

The La MaMa Troupe: Marilyn Joan Roberts, Jacque Lynn Colton, Beth Porter and Mari Claire Charba

Hair Tribe: A.D.Andy Coughlan, Marjorie Lipari, Natalie Mosco, Charles Valentino, Jared Weiss, Aileen Santiago
Anthony Hollock, Antwayn Hopper, Annie Golden
and Debbie Andrews

Musical Director & Saxophone: Richard Cohen

Piano: Mark Oleszko
Bass: Dave D’aranjo
Guitar: Matt SanGiovanni
Drums: Aaron Drescher

More TBA

Composer, conceptual performance artist, musician, and stage and film director Tom O’Horgan is best remembered for the extraordinary excitement and success of his direction of the 1968 Broadway musical Hair. Although the public appeal of his subsequent Broadway productions – Lenny, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Inner City among others – diminished dramatically until his last show, Senator Joe, never even actually opened, O’Horgan had already left an ineradicable mark on the American theatre through his work with the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club in the 1960s.

While still in high school, Debbie Andrews was cast in her hometown Detroit’s production of the rock musical “HAiR.”  She then toured, opened the Wash DC show after which she came to Broadway playing the role of Crissy, singing “Frank Mills.” Debbie co-founded the band, Gladshot, who will soon release and tour behind their 3rd CD.  She also wrote the rock musical “Barcode” with the help of Jim Rado, featuring Gladshot songs. “Barcode” premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival. You can currently catch Debbie playing pop songs and jazz standards on Cole Porter’s piano in Peacock Alley at the Waldorf – Astoria.

Victor Attar  was Born in Bagdad and immigrated to Israel in 1951. Attar is a founding member of La MaMa Tel-Aviv (1971), Israel. He graduated from New York University in Performance Studies, and a former leading member of the Hacameri Tel-Aviv Municipal Theatre and Khan Theater, the Jerusalem Repetory Theatre. He received critical acclaim for his performance in the 1977 La MaMa production of Fernando Arrabal’s “The Architect and the Emperor of Assyria”, directed by Tom O’Horgan. For the past thirty years, he and his closest collaborator, Director Geula Jeffet-Attar, have been devoting their efforts to modern Israeli plays and new avant-garde theatrical works.

Mari-Claire Charba is an OBIE award winning actress & 2017 Acker Award recipient for work in the Avant-Garde.  Innovative in the Experimental & Café Theatre movement in New York City and a founding member of the original La Mama Repertory Troupe with Director Tom O’Horgan, with which she toured throughout Europe and the U.S. for several years – including the Eugene O’Neil, Spoletto, Frankfurt, and Edinburgh Theatre Festivals; also Off-Broadway, TV, Film and London’s West End ( in the iconic production of  Paul Foster’s “Tom Paine”).  Ms. Charba performed  in the works of Genet, Gorky, Warhol and numerous new American playwrights – including original plays of poets, Frank O’Hara, Leroi Jones (aka Amiri Baraka) and Rochelle Owens in addition to Pulitzer Prize winning playwrights Sam Shepard and Lanford Wilson.  She went on to write and direct her own Performance Art pieces presented at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark – Studio Appia, Brussels – and The Kitchen, NYC – in addition to creating the annual “Garden Dream Event” for the 9th Street & Ave. C Community Garden as part of the Art & Ecology movement…….. In the past years presenting a series of lectures, “Acting in the Avant-Garde”.. ..”Art and Activism”….”The History of Creative Communities in America” …. “Image & Text/Text & Image” and most recently “Happenings: (oR, How it Happened)” at the Woodstock Artist Association and Museum.

Richard Cohen—woodwinds/keyboard musician, and composer. A member of Peter Brook’s theater ensemble including “Conference of the Birds” with Liz Swados. Played and recorded with Steve Reich’s group (“Music For 18 Musicians”, ECM), and with Laurie Anderson (“Big Science”, Warner). At Lincoln Center “The Cherry Orchard” Andre Serban/Liz Swados. At LaMama with the ETC Company (Wilford Leach) for “Carmilla”. Great Jones Rep Co. under Ellen Stewart for “Trojan Women, Electra, Medea”. Also Broadway show orchestras of “Pirates of Penzance” with Linda Ronstadt, “Marriage of Figaro” directed by Andre Serban,“Sweeney Todd”, “Follies”, “Annie”. Wrote music for “Midsummer Night’s Dream” with Theater For A New Audience/Public Theater. Co-wrote with Bryan Leys the opera/musical “La Ribalta”.

Jacque Lynn Colton has come from LA to celebrate Tom O’Horgan with other fabulous theatre people and members of the Obie-awarded La Mama Troupe. During her two European tours with Tom, she performed in the film Boxiganga with the company, as well as Sam Shepard’s Chicago, Jean Claude Van Italie’s Interview, Leonard Melfi’s Birdbath, Lanford Wilson’s This is the Rill Speaking and Paul Foster’s The Recluse, and continued to Six from La Mama at the Martinique Theatre which included the aforementioned plays.  She later traveled to Los Angeles with New York Shakespeare Festival’s National Company of Two Gentlemen of Verona (John Guare and Galt McDermott) where she co-founded La Mama Hollywood (with Ellen Stewart’s blessing) with Robert Patrick and June Perz.  She won a Drama-logue award for Sam Shepard’s Action on a double bill with Cowboy Mouth, and more recently played Hallie in Buried Child. She appeared in Marlene Myers’ Kingfish at Los Angeles Actors’ Theatre and subsequently at New York’s Public Theatre; Irene Fornes’ Abingdon Square, plays by Tennessee Williams, Summer and Smoke, Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, The Physicists, The Women, Arsenic and Old Lace and two productions of The Threepenny Opera (one with Marilyn Roberts as Pirate Jenny) with Jacque Lynn as Mrs. Peachum. She also has many credits in film and TV, as well as service on the boards of AFTRA and SAG (where she served as ninth Vice President) and was a local board member and Western Regional Vice President of Actors’ Equity, at which time she was a Tony voter.  She couldn’t be more thrilled to be back in NYC.

Luther Creek selections – Broadway: RENT, Urinetown, Spider-Man, Jesus Christ Superstar, Footloose. HAIR – U.S. tour, City Center Encores (NYC) and London’s West End. Backing Vocals: Michael Jackson, Usher, Destiny’s Child, Luther Vandross, Whitney Houston. Film/TV: Zoolander, Flight of the Conchords and many more. Luther is also a filmmaker, writer, photographer and has been a fine arts model for more than a decade. Gratitude for aspirations of Kindness & Love, Good Health, Happiness & for Peace.

Dave D’Aranjo is an electric & upright bassist, drummer, and producer originally from Singapore. He’s toured the world as a musician: throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Southeast Asia, and more. In 2006, he played one of the final shows at New York City’s infamous punk venue, CBGB’s. Dave also attended NYC’s world-famous Bass Collective, and has appeared on an instructional DVD (“Groove Workshop”, 2008) by Grammy-award winning bassist Victor Wooten. Dave is a triple-graduate of Boston’s renowned Berklee College of Music, with degrees in Professional Music, Performance, and Contemporary Writing & Production. He is the founder of Interrobang Records, a record label and production collective that specializes in supporting the music of Berklee graduates. Dave is also a member of ASCAP and a voting member of The Recording Academy. Over the past two years, he’s had the pleasure to play bass for musicals such as “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”, “In the Heights”, “Legally Blonde”, “AIDA”, “The Wiz”, “Avenue Q”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, “The Rocky Horror Show”, “Disney’s The Little Mermaid”, “The Last Five Years”, “Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”, and many more. He is an avid collector of tiki mugs and memorabilia.

Aaron Drescher, originally from Albany, New York, is very happy to be back at the Coffeehouse Chronicles, after playing for the 50th Anniversary of Hair last season.  Aaron currently holds the drum chair for the international tour of Kinky Boots.  Performing often at 54 Below, as well as many other venues in New York City, Aaron’s original work was also recently featured in the New York Songwriters Circle at The Bitter End.  @aarondrescher

Paul Foster is a recipient of the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, NEA, NY Arts Council, British Arts Council, Theater Heute, Irish Universitis Awards. He has written 22 plays, 6 television scripts, and 5 films. There are nine editions in print of his works by 6 publishers in as many languages. He has been, and continues to be, performed in regionals, Broadway, the West End and just about every major theater on both sides of the Atlantic. He has translated plays, including Horvath. He has taught creative writing at NYU and University of California. Three times, he has lectured in Europe, North and South America for the State Department. He has spent his entire life in the theater and yet, curiously, he has never received the Pulitzer. I guess he is simply not worthy of it, or he has to work harder.

Matt San Giovanni is a versatile guitarist/multi-instrumentalist and graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston. Currently living and working in New York City, Matt has played on several shows On and Off-Broadway and continues freelancing around the city. Most recently, he was out on the road with the national tour of Kinky Boots. For more information, or to contact Matt, you can visit his website www.mattsangiovanni.com.

Annie Golden has most recently been seen on five seasons of NETFLIX’s hit series ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK as Norma Romano. Annie made her Broadway debut in the first revival of HAIR at the Biltmore Theatre in 1978 and was blessed by being directed by its original director, Tom O’Horgan! All of this good fortune while she was also playing Jeanie in the film version of HAIR being shot in Central Park by Milos Forman! Annie considers herself the flower child who will not wilt!

Anthony Hollock is a NYC based actor/singer/musician/gardener. He has appeared in the Tony award winning revival of Hair on Broadway, London’s West End and Shakespeare in the Park. He was crowned Mr. Broadway 2009. He currently teaches voice and piano to all ages at New York City Guitar School. @anthonyhollock

Antwayn Hopper–BWAY:Hair (Hirschfeld) Off-BWAY: Civil War Christmas (NYTW) NY: This Ain’t No Disco (NYS&F), A Strange Loop (P73, MTF, Playwrights) Yeast Nation (Fringe-“Best Show”), Lesser Mercies (EPBB), Roller Derby (NYMF), RESPECT (NYS&F), Showboat (Carnegie Hall). Select Regional: Kilroy in Camino Real (Goodman), Elegba in Brothers Size (Old Globe), Rent (Syracuse Stage), UnCivil War (ATF), Jesus Christ Superstar (Lyric Opera House) Smokey Joe’s Cafe (New Theatre), Madame Soutsazka (Toronto), Porgy & Bess (Cinn. Pops Orch.) & White Noise (La Petit/NY). NY Readings/Workshops: Toronto, Playwrights, Williamstown, Roundabout, Warner Bro’s., Labyrinth, York Theatre, Rattlestick & Civilians. TV: Woodson on The Knick, Blacklist, Royal Pains, Z: The Beginning Of Everything, Girl Most Likely, A Gifted Man, Bored To Death and Feature Film Girl Most Likely. Voice-over work as well as Choreographer. Training: School of Drama, Carnegie Mellon.

Thomas Kopache is so happy to have worked with Tom O’Horgan in 4 productions: “The Architect and The Emperor of Assyria”, The Resistible Rise of Arturo UI”, “The Tempest”, and “Hurrah for the Bridge”.  Each production had Tom’s unique stamp, and it was always a joy to be directed by him.

Rev. Marjorie Lipari (Mudra) considers herself a Mystical Philosopher, as an Interfaith Minister. She has created music and lyrics for well over forty + years as a singer song writer. She does spiritual counseling, healing work, ceremony and writes daily.

Natalie Mosco credits include Broadway: Hair (OBC), The Magic Show (“Charmin”), West End: Grand Hotel (“Grushinskaya” alternate), Paris: Hair (“Jeanie”, in French), Australia: TV/theatre leads including Antony & Cleopatra (“Cleopatra”), Grease (“Rizzo”), 2 Gentlemen of Verona (“Julia”), Dames at Sea (“Mona Kent”), Stepping Out (“Vera”), Women Behind Bars (“Blanche”), The Archbishop’s Ceiling (“Maya”), Rocky Horror Show (“Magenta”), etc. plus numerous TV series (guests star and regular roles). Regional US: numerous roles — favorites include Housewives of Mannheim (“Sophie”, NJ Rep and 59E59St and Santa Barbara’s Ensemble), Follies (“Emily”, at Paper Mill Playhouse), A Brush With Georgia O’Keeffe (“Georgia”/author for Smithsonian Institute, St. Luke’s and The WorkShop). Foundign member Shakespeare Globe Australia.  Current member The WorkShop Theater, NYC and sundry organizations in Australia.

Mark Oleszko is a New York-based music director, pianist, composer, and arranger. He is also a current full-time high school music teacher with the New York City Department of Education. His performances have spanned various stages ranging from The Apollo Theatre to the United Nations. Mark’s original musical #LoveStory played the NYC Fringe Festival in 2015, winning an audience favorite award. He sends big love to his family and students!

Albert Poland has produced or managed more than 90 productions on and off Broadway. His relationship with LA MaMa began with FUTZ in 1968 and he was subsequently involved with moving dozens of shows from off off to off and even on Broadway, including plays by Tom Eyen, Sam Shepard, Israel Horovitz, Al Carmines, Bill Hoffman, Robert Patrick and Charles Busch. In 1991 Ellen called Albert and said ‘Baby, I’ve got a show for you!” They sat and watched Blue Man Group together at La MaMa and Albert booked it into the Astor Place Theater. In 2000 Blue Man Group bought the Astor Place Theater! That same year Ellen and Albert flew to Las Vegas together for the opening of Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel. As a performer, Albert appeared at La Mama in Tom Eyen’s Eye on New York, John Vacarro’s Elegy to a Down Queen and at Judson Poets Theater in two Al Carmines productions, The Faggot and Religion.

1966: After Lanford Wilson cast Beth Porter in his premiere of “The Rimers of Eldritch,” Tom invited her to join the LaMaMa Troupe, featuring in all their repertory productions both in NY, & to rave reviews on their 6-month tour of Europe. 1967/8: Recovering from an illness during rehearsals for “Massachusetts Trust,” Tom asked her to become his assistant. Then he & Ellen sent her to London to co-found The Wherehouse La MaMa, bringing Tom’s techniques to new audiences all over Europe, including Scotland, France, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Holland & Belgium. 1969/70: They received the first UK Arts Council grant for Alternative Theatre, & created two immersive TV shows, “Groupjuice” for BBC-TV and a Dutch version for NOS, the national station. Voted Most Promising Actress of 1970 by The London Times, Beth later co-starred in the West End with Albert Finney; on television with Tim Curry & Telly Savalas; & on film with Barbra Streisand. For 10 years she was London Editor of “Film Journal International,” and was a BBC-TV Drama Series Commissioning Executive. She later re-focussed as an Executive producer of international websites, wrote a monthly column for “.Net,” & Intellect Publishing commissioned her book “The Net Effect,” foreword by film producer David Puttnam, & featuring a long interview with Tom. Beth lectured and gave workshops in Stockholm, Paris, and at London’s Birkbeck College. She was elected to the Board of Women in Film and Television, is an elected lifetime voting member of BAFTA, and a judge of the international Webby Awards. She has published two collections of short fiction, her autobiography [which documents the 1967 LaMaMa tour], a novella “Feeding the Twins,” & her new novel “ScreenSaver!”

James Rado is an actor, songwriter, and co-creator of the characters, the story, the dialogue and lyrics of HAIR. His daydream, since a teenager, was to write a Broadway musical. He taught himself how to write lyrics from intense study of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter, etc., as well as pop music from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. In college, he wrote the music and lyrics for two shows: Interlude at the University of Maryland and Cross Your Fingers at the Catholic University of America. After a two-year gig in the U.S. Navy, in 1956 he moved to New York to be an actor. Five years later he got his first Broadway break when the famed director and teacher Lee Strasberg plucked him from an acting class for a small part in June Havoc’s Marathon ’33 starring Julie Harris. This led to a string of acting roles in Luther, Generation, The Knack and, in 1964, Hang Down Your Head And Die, where he met fellow actor Gerome Ragni. He told Ragni about his daydream of creating a Broadway musical and proposed that they team up to write a show about the hippies and the anti-war movement that was happening all around them. Ragni came aboard with some of his exciting experimental poetry. In 1966, in the midst of writing HAIR, Rado got a leading role as Richard the Lionhearted in the James Goldman play The Lion in Winter starring Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris and Christopher Walken. By 1967, Rado and Ragni had a script of HAIR, and handed it to the producer Joseph Papp. Papp liked what he read and decided  HAIR would be the inaugural production of his newly-founded New York Shakespeare Festival, The Public Theater on New York City’s Lower East Side. The rest is theatrical history. HAIR opened on Broadway in the spring of 1968 and starred Rado and Ragni in the lead roles. Over the intervening years, Rado has been working on two other pieces: American Rainbow and Sun.

Marilyn Roberts career as an actor and director has been a brilliant and varied one. As a teenager she became a three time North American roller skate dancing champion, with her partner. She attended San Francisco State University and received a B.A. in Drama. She moved to New York and studied with Lee Strasberg in his private classes. A fellow student, Gregory Rozakis, actor and writer, brought her to Director Ron Link to star in his One-Act play, THE CLASS. This was her introduction to the new Off-Off Broadway scene. Two more shows directed by Ron were GABRIELLA (Harris) and WHY TUESDAY NEVER HAS A BLUE MONDAY by Robert Heide at the new Off-Off venue on Second Avenue, La MaMa. One night after the show, Tom came backstage and asked her if she wanted to go to Europe. This was THE TROUPE’s 1966 tour. At the end of this tour Ellen Stewart sponsored four actors including Marilyn to study with Eugeneo Barba in Holstebro, Denmark, the techniques of Jersi Grotowski. They brought these techniques home. This blend of Grotowski and O’Horgan styles resulted in the Emergent Form of The Original La MaMa Troupe and award winning productions such as FUTZ! (Owens) and TOM PAINE (Foster) which both had long runs under the Off Broadway Contract, TIMES SQUARE (Melfi), and MELODRAMA PLAY (Shepard). TOM PAINE had a run at the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End. Marilyn also appeared in A RAT’S MASS Directed by Seth Allen at LaMaMa , and was featured in MERT AND PHIL at Lincoln Center, playing a roller skating mother in law, directed by Joe Papp, and was in THE THREEPENNY OPERA, in Los Angeles. She was featured in LOOKING FOR MR. GOODBAR, and in FUTZ! (the movie), as well as the Danish government sponsored film, BOXIGANGA, directed by Tom. She appeared as a Special Guest Star on THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW. Marilyn directed GORGEOUS MISTAKES starring Dierdre in The Club. She is a long time resident of WESTBETH HOME OF THE ARTS, in New York City, and is a winner of the 2017 ACKER AWARD For Avant-Garde Excellence. She is an active member of TIMES SQUARE PLAYWRIGHTS.

Aileen Santiago made her singing debut at the age of ten at Lincoln Center, and has been performing ever since. Some of her favorite roles are Mary in “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Shelia and Jeannie in the European tour of “Hair”, Riio (Workshop) directed by Tom O’Horgan and made her off Broadway debut in My Big Gay Italian Wedding Aileen is excited to be performing with the tribe in Celebration of Tom O’organ and would like to thank her family and friends for all their love.

Amanda Schussel is an actress and dancer from New York City. Off-Off Broadway: The Mar Vista, Blank, August 8 1974, Dragon Slayer The Musical, andTwelve Angry Women. TV/Film Credits: Still Waiting In The Wings, The Munster Stomp for NBC/Cozi TV, and Crepusculo.

Charles Valentino attended classes at the New York School of Ballet and the American Ballet Theatre while a student at the High School of Performing Arts and when he danced with the Harkness Ballet, the work was choregraphed by Geoffrey Holder.  He made his acting debut in The Me Nobody Knows, played Hud in the Australian production of Hair and returned to the States for a national tour of the show.  He had a hit single “I Was Born This Way,” on Gaiee Records, released by Motown.  In Bill Turner’s version of The Ziegfeld Follies Valentino portrayed the legendary Bert Williams.  He also appeared on “Komedy Tonight” a NBC TV special.  He was the Scarecrow in the national touring company of the Wiz as well as the 84 revival on Broadway with Stephanie Mills. His more recent work was with his close friend Joni Mitchell.  He is featured on her special Painting With Words and Music.  He was also featured in her video Come In From The Cold, he sang on Ladies Man from the album Wild Things Run Fast, and Yvette In English from the album Turbulent Indigo.  He is a dance partner to Anjelica Huston who writes in her book Watch Me “He twirls me around as if I were a silk scarf.  I never sat down unless he was dancing with his other favorite girl Joni Mitchell.”

Tyler Waage is originally from Kodiak, Alaska, and has been living and working as an actor in New York City for the past six years.  Most recently, Tyler played Jesse Tafero, in The Exonerated at The Secret Theater, and Diego in Trinkets, at The Gene Frankel Theater.  His past roles include: Johnny in A Hatful of Rain; Timmy Cleary in The Subject was Roses; Don Baker in Butterflies Are Free; Horst in Bent; and Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew.  He is an ongoing member of Tony Greco’s Method Acting Class. Tyler is beyond thrilled at the chance to take part in the honoring of Tom O’ Horgan’s legacy, and the indelible mark he made on The American Theater.

Jared Weiss is a Singer/Songwriter, actor, and performer born in Manhattan. Jared recently created the role of Bob Dylan in the Off-B’way premiere of Larry Mollin’s 60’s folk musical SEARCH: PAUL CLAYTON (The Triad), for which he also contributed original music. Other favorite credits include Roger in RENT (Sharon Playhouse), Things To Ruin (Le Poisson Rouge), Joe Iconis Christmas Extravaganza (54 Below), 54 Celebrates David Bowie (54 Below). Jared can frequently be seen singing and strumming all over town with composer Joe Iconis and his merry band of musical theatre punks; “Joe Iconis & Family.”

Suki Elkind Weston met Tom O’Horgan in 1974, when she was working as the Assistant to the General Manager of the Public Theater/Shakespeare Festival. Producer Joe Papp asked her to be Tom O’Horgan’s Personal Assistant for THE LEAF PEOPLE, the Broadway production that Tom was directing at the Booth Theater. She continued to work with Tom throughout the 1970’s and part of the 1980’s.  For the last 15 years of Tom’s working life, she stage managed and assisted him on all of his theater projects. She is also a painter.

Coffeehouse Chronicles


Coffeehouse Chronicles is an educational performance series exploring the history of Off-Off-Broadway. Part artist-portrait, part history lesson, and part community forum, Coffeehouse Chronicles take an intimate look at the development of downtown theatre, from the 1960s’ “Coffeehouse Theatres” through today.

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