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The Mark O'Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center
Brooklyn, NY
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A rehearsal between two actors turns into an explosion of angst, politics, literature, motherhood, forgiveness, and love.

With Jordan Batta and Billy Siegenfeld

In Billy Siegenfeld's play, "What Do You Want To Be When You Give Up?," Jordan Batta and Siegenfeld weave the best of speaking, singing, and dancing into a seamless seventy-five minute piece of great theater.
Johnny Nevin, DancerMusic.com

BILLY SIEGENFELD is a former rock and jazz drummer and a present vocal-rhythmic theatre-movement artist, a teacher of the same, and a writer of plays and essays. He is also the founder and artistic director of the performing and teaching company, Jump Rhythm® Jazz Project. He was given an Emmy® Award for his performance the HMS-Media-Produced documentary, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project: GettingThere. Since 1990 Jump Rhythm has served as his and his colleagues lab for building fusions of rhythm-driven movement, song, and speech into a theatre that celebrates the expression of inside-generated energy rather than outside-designed space; of less-is-more, nature-honoring human behavior than more-is-more superhuman virtuosity. (Mantra: Connecting to the earth. Connecting to oneself. Connecting to one another.)

His most recent play  to be premiered this year at the Actors Fund Mark ODonnell Theater in Brooklyn NY and Millenium Performing Arts in London  is WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GIVE UP? Its subtitle is: A new play about letting go  with snatches of song, a handful of dances, rants about life, and impassioned appeals to both the moon and Jane Austen.

His most recent essay is "DEMOCRACYS ENERGY." Its subtitle is: "How the African-American gift to the world called swinging a beat beats back despair; says letting go is better than holding on; warns democracy can only work when you practice it on yourself; and, along the way, relieves lower-back pain." It will appear in a forthcoming book about Jump Rhythm.

He teaches at Northwestern University where he is a Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence in the Department of Theatre. His classes for career and non-career performing arts students focus on two concepts that guide students to base all performance work in gravity-directed, instinct-driven human behavior:
--Standing Down Straight®, an eco-psychological approach to mind-body integration using gravity-directed
alignment as the source of postural, motional, and emotional health.
--Jump Rhythm®, an earth-grounded system of performing arts training inspired by the African-generated concept of full-bodied rhythm-making called ngoma (drumming and rhythmic song-dancing).

He received an undergraduate degree in literature from Brown University and a graduate
degree in jazz-writing from NYUs Gallatin Division. When living in NYC he performed in Don Redlichs company; directed Hunter Colleges dance program; acted, sung, and danced in off-off-Broadway plays and musicals as well as in the Broadway production of Singin in the Rain; and studied Meisner-based acting technique with Tim Philips and "singing-is-only-speaking-in-rhythm" voice technique with Joan Kobin. Following a dozen years of being continually injured (because of dance-training-related training as well as muscle-worshipping "core" and "stretch" regimens), he discovered and studied ideokinesis with AndrĂ© Bernard. Based in Mabel Ellsworth Todds The Thinking Body, Bernard taught him how to stand, move, and be by giving in to the force of gravity instead of using human-created, mechanically false notions of "good" posture to resist it. A supporter of environmental non-profits, he serves as an Openlands® Tree Keeper in Evanston and Chicago. His politics spring from E. M. Forsters thought: "I believe in aristocracy, though  if that is the right word, and a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and privilege, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate, and the plucky."
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Ever grateful you could join us for the premier of "WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GIVE UP?" Watch this space for more on our upcoming tour!


The Mark O'Donnell Theater at The Actors Fund Arts Center (View)
160 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States


Arts > Dance
Arts > Performance
Arts > Theatre

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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