A theatrical poem by Vayl Larkin
Directed by JNK Enzo
NORM MATTOX - STORYTELLER VOICE Norm Mattox (he/him) is a poet, returning to New York, after raising a family, and “growing up” in San Francisco for over 30 years. He served as a bilingual educator in the public school system of San Francisco Unified School District. Though retired, Norm is a teacher ('maestro' in Spanish) for life. His next journey for teaching and learning is through the voices of poetry that tell a story of love in a time of struggle and challenge. Norm has shared his poetry as a featured reader and at open mics around the San Francisco Bay Area, select venues in New York City and other parts of the world across the ‘zoom universe’. Norm's poetry has been published in two chapbooks. his first collection is titled, 'Get Home Safe, Poems for Crossing the Community Grid’. Norm's second chapbook length collection is titled, Black Calculus, published in 2021 by Nomadic Press.
ALBERTO MEDERO - ASL STORYTELLER Alberto (he/him) has been providing interpreting services in the educational, medical, and performing arts world throughout the NYC area for the past 15 years. A proud CODA and native ASL user, he has grown up existing in both the Deaf and hearing world all his life. He credits the beauty of American Sign Language and the Deaf community for allowing him to see and experience things he never could have imagined. Currently serving as the voice interpreter for ASL Slam NYC, Alberto’s credits include off-Broadway works such as A Commercial Jingle for Regina Comet, Twilight Zone Spooktacular, and From The Ground Up. He has interpreted for settings such as The Obama Foundation Democracy Forum, musical concerts for artists such as Post Malone, and Bad Bunny, and most recently served as the interpreter for Justina Miles, Deaf performer for Super Bowl LVII, on talk shows CBS Mornings and ABC’s The View. Born and raised in the Bronx, Alberto enjoys his downtime exploring all that NYC has to offer, traveling, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends.
JULIAN WILD - NARRATOR VOICE/BODY Juls (he/him) is a champion for the next generation of story-makers. A true multi-hyphenate, he happily and frequently switches between a variety roles on and off the stage and screen. Julian is proving to be a great resource for organizations creating the new artistic culture alongside new and re-imagined pieces. He’s a production manager and creative consultant for experimental and devised works based in New York City. He’s a Life and Wellness Coach for creative professionals, hobbyists, and dreamers the world-over via his service Let Me Help You Love You. Through this work, he seeks to make our systems, our households, and even our own minds more accepting and healthy places for people to be themselves. Julian’s greatest love in life is writing, performing, and manifesting music. He’s an award-winning songwriter and producer, an audio expert and runs his own private production service Wild Humans Studios, where he creates and publishes his original recorded art. Recent clients include Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center (David Geffen Hall), American Opera Project, HERE Arts, Gotham Hall, National Opera Center, Bentley Meeker Lighting & Staging, Emitha Records and Nancy Manocherian’s the cell theatre. His teachings, compositions, and talents have recently been featured at Santa Fe Opera, Detroit Youth Symphony, American Ballet Theatre, ArtPark, EMPAC at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Collective Conservatory, Princeton University, and The University of New Mexico. Say hello on any social media platforms @actualjulian.
DICKIE HEARTS - ASL NARRATOR BODY Dickie Hearts (he/him) is a Deaf, Gay, multiracial actor. His TV credits include a recurring role on Netflix's "Tales of the City" (2019), a supporting role on HBO's "High Maintenance" (2020), and a guest-starring role on Netflix's "Grace & Frankie" (2017). Stage credits include his recent and first Off-Broadway debut in "Dark Disabled Stories" at the Public Theater in 2023. Dickie Hearts continues to push for more Deaf, LGBTQ+, and BIPOC visibility and representation onstage and onscreen.
MALENI CHAITOO - ASL NARRATOR BODY/DIRECTOR OF ASL Maleni Chaitoo’s (she/her) professional prowess in the fields of Business, Education and Performing Arts are fueled by her versatile skill set, interests, experiences and passions followed. She has worked in the following industries: fashion, art galleries, film, television, digital marketing/advertising, video relay services as well as education. Her adept creative endeavors include sign language lecture tours in museums of fine arts, and performances in numerous plays, dance productions, TV/films, and commercials. She loves visual storytelling. Her favorite pastimes are reading, outdoor activities, attending cultural events, and traveling.
JNK ENZO - GRAFFITI BODY JNK Enzo (they/ze) is a non-binary, queer, trans-anti-disciplinary artist from Cleveland, Ohio. Ze are a trained actor, director, and screenwriter and works in the mediums of performance, film production, painting, video, photography, digital technologies, and new media arts. Enzo holds an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts, BA in Theater and BA in Film Production. Enzo's most recent works are on flesh, capital, sustainability, and disability in PH-@-L3$H (flesh) shown at Artes Mota Galiza, & Galleria Geraldes da Silva in Porto, Portugal & what t**y won’t do is…aka mygreenhome which was shown at Art Bazaar at Pragovka Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. This work is through sustainability and accessibility, combating poverty, famine, and climate change in the Czech Republic building a solar powered aquaponic garden.
JUSTIN WITHERS - BROADSIDE BODY Justin (he/him) is an actor, singer, dancer and teaching artist born in Chicago, Illinois. Since age 13, he has been living in NYC in a constant pursuit of achieving his artistic dreams. He is thrilled to have that road lead to The Why Collective and to be a part of this new and exciting work. Theatre: American Underground (Barrington Stage Company); Days Of Rage (Second Stage Theater, Dir. Trip Cullman); Thirst (Contemporary American Theater Festival). Film: A SHOT THROUGH THE WALL. TV: THE GOOD FIGHT. He is a graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University where he received his B.F.A. in Acting. He was also honored to spend a year abroad studying at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London. He’d like to thank his family for supporting a crazy 13 year old’s artistic dreams; and God, for always having his back. @justbwithers
DEMARCO SLEEPER - THE BALLET BODY DeMarco Sleeper was born and raised in Cleveland, OH. where he found strong connecction making music and dancing. during his high school career he was involved with choreographic and musical theatre projects. Before ever taking any formal dance training, DeMarco choreographed middle school show choir and high school sports half time shows in the community where he is from. He won awards and features such as: WKYC’s special entitled “Rising Star” 2016, an Outstanding Performer from Cuyahoga Classic Show Choir Invitational, Outstanding Musician Award and Outstanding Soloist from Music Festival Showcase. He worked with the Fine Arts Association in Mentor, OH choreographing for summer theatre, taking part in three productions with FAA, “Peter Pan”, “Seussical” and “Shrek”. In 2014 he joined the Dancing Wheels Company based in Cleveland, Ohio. He continues work on his own music production as singer song-writer and rapper as well as recording and playing instruments. He began his first season at FullRadiusDance Aug. 7th 2017 where he spent two years in Atlanta GA. training, teaching in outreach programs and touring. During this time he was a part of many performances in Atlanta, The Atlanta Dance Academy showcase in 2018 and Arts in the Park through Southern Arts Dance, to name a few. He then joined AXIS Dance Company in the summer of 2019 and was a dancer with the company and a part of the Bay area performing artist community for 3yrs. DeMarco has traveled Internationally to Europe and Dubai for 2022 world expo. DeMarco was also featured in the Dance Magazine 25 to Watch for 2021 and CNN/Target Filming promoting disability arts and athletic wear https://youtu.be/ZwOb0cP6VCY
MARY-ANGELA GRANBERRY - TROMPE-L'ŒIL BODY Mary-Angela Granberry (she/her) is an interdisciplinary performer and dance choreographer. With a background in dance, music, acting, and visual arts. This versatility has enabled her to engage in various collaborations as a performer. Notable dance credits include The Tonight Show, Beyoncé, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, ELSCO Dance (artistic dir. Ellenore Scott), Lollapalooza Music Festival, various music videos and commercial acting credits. As a choreographer, she has presented at Harlem Dance Festival and the AAPI Dance Festival - “We Belong Here” produced by J.Chen Project and Midheaven Network. Mary-Angela is a graduate from the Meisner conservatory program at Terry Knickerbocker Studio of which she was named a recipient of their “Excellence Scholarship” and notable student. She is thrilled to be a Core Collective Member with The Why Collective this season!
SYDNEY ANDERSON - Soprano/Music Director Sydney Anderson is a versatile soprano, actor, director, educator, and the founder of The Why Collective. A contemporary classical music enthusiast, Sydney has participated in numerous World Premieres as well as workshops at various stages of the creation process. She has most recently been featured with American Lyric Theater, Beth Morrison Projects, HERE Arts, Opera Saratoga, and Opera NEO. Last season, she created the roles of Dalinda in the World Premiere of Being Ariodante by Jonathan Dawe with Ensemble Échappée, One in the World Premiere of "it is a comfort to know" at National Sawdust, and portrayed Ruth Bader Ginsburg in "Scalia/Ginsburg" with Opera in the Heights. This season, she will sing Marzelline in Beethoven's "Fidelio" with Opera Company of Middlebury. Sydney was named an Eastern Region Finalist after winning the Eastern District of the 2020 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and went on to win the Audience Favorite Award at the Region Finals. When she is not singing or fostering creative laboratories for artists, she teaches early childhood music education classes and conducts the Preperatory ensembles for Brooklyn Youth Chorus.
SOPHIE DELPHIS - Mezzo-Soprano Franco-American mezzo-soprano, Sophie Delphis, has performed for Beth Morrison Projects, Opera Parallèle, National Sawdust, SongFest as a Stern Fellow, American Opera Projects, the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, the Tianjin Symphony Orchestra, UMS (University Musical Society), Bronx Opera, Opera on the James, Bare Opera, City Lyric Opera and the iSING Festival, among others. Her operatic roles include: Félicie/Adélaïde (La Belle et la Bête, Glass), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Giunone (La Calisto), Carmen and Mercédès (Carmen), Flora (La Traviata), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Cenerentola and Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Concepción (L’heure espagnole) and Elle (La voix humaine). An avid recitalist, Sophie regularly produces recital programs and fundraiser concerts for musical and cultural organizations in the United States and China. Recent and upcoming works include: Ravel's Chansons madécasses and Trois poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé, Bolcom's Cabaret Songs, Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire and Das Buch der Hängenden Gärten and Messiaen's Harawi. Along with classical repertoire, she enjoys collaborating with composers, improvisers and theater artists on new works. Sophie can be heard as the Mother/Witch in the original English cast recording of Matti Kovler’s Ami and Tami and as a soloist on the Grammy Award-nominated Naxos recording of Milhaud’s Oresteia trilogy, produced by UMS in association with the University of Michigan's School of Music, Theatre & Dance. In addition to performing, Sophie is passionate about writing, linguistics and non-musical art forms. She teaches French language and poetics, as well as interpretation of mélodies repertoire. She currently resides in New York City, where she is pursuing a doctoral degree in voice performance at the Graduate Center CUNY.
VAYL LARKIN - PLAYWRIGHT Vayl Larkin (they/them) is a trans, queer, disabled, wheelchair-enhanced writer and all-purpose nerd. An upstate New York native, they now call Pittsburgh home. They write poetry, short fiction, theater, and sometimes impassioned essays and are a frequent feature at accessible literary events. Their work has been published in journals like Drunk Monkeys, various anthologies, including Love Letters to Gaia, and their multimedia work with ASL actor Crom Saunders has been featured in venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. They were a 2021 Brooklyn Poets fellow.
JNK ENZO - STAGE DIRECTOR/LEAD CHOREOGRAPHER JNK Enzo (they/ze) is a non-binary, queer, trans-anti-disciplinary artist from Cleveland, Ohio. Ze are a trained actor, director, and screenwriter and works in the mediums of performance, film production, painting, video, photography, digital technologies, and new media arts. Enzo holds an MFA in Performance and Interactive Media Arts, BA in Theater and BA in Film Production. Enzo's most recent works are on flesh, capital, sustainability, and disability in PH-@-L3$H (flesh) shown at Artes Mota Galiza, & Galleria Geraldes da Silva in Porto, Portugal & what t**y won’t do is…aka mygreenhome which was shown at Art Bazaar at Pragovka Gallery in Prague, Czech Republic. This work is through sustainability and accessibility, combating poverty, famine, and climate change in the Czech Republic building a solar powered aquaponic garden.
ZOE GRIFFITH - LIGHTING DESIGNER Zoe Griffith (she/her) is currently at Pace University working towards a B.F.A in Production and Design for the Stage and Screen. At Pace she has worked on several productions including Co-Lighting Designer for Dance Out Loud 2022 and Dance Space 2021, as well as Key Grip and Gaffer for Paces Film Department in films Best Friends, The Beautiful Side of Disruption, and Passages. She also recently was the Lighting Designer for two of Pace’s main stage musicals She Loves Me, and 9 to 5. She also recently assisted on Bora Yoon's PHONO KINETIC at EMPAC Institute. She would like to thank the team for writing and creating something so beautiful and inviting her to be a part of it.
TYSON GHOLSTON DAVIS - COMPOSER Tyson Gholston Davis (b.2000) is an American composer in his senior year at The Juilliard School where is a recipient of the Jerome L. Greene Fellowship studying with Robert Beaser. Davis began composing at the age of eight years old and entered the University North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) as a high school freshman, studying with Lawrence Dillon. In the summer of 2019, Davis worked with the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America (NYO-USA) and Antonio Pappano to premiere his work, Delicate Tension, a piece that was commissioned by the American Embassy in Berlin for the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The work was performed in Berlin, Edinburgh, and Hamburg. Since then, Davis has been a leading desired composer to be performed and commissioned by leading ensembles. He has been the recipient of more than 22 commissions by organizations such as; The Juilliard String Quartet, the Albany Symphony, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, WQXR (New York Public Radio), New York New Music Ensemble, Metropolis Ensemble, and various other groups and soloists. His recently finished work, Amorphous Figures (String Quartet No. 2) was commissioned by Da Camera Society of Houston, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Chamber Music Cincinnati for the Juilliard String Quartet. The work will be premiered in April of 2023. Currently, Davis is backed up with commissions until mid-2024 with works for soprano saxophone and piano (for Robert Young), wind quintet (for Zephyros winds), solo piano (Jonathan Biss), and several others. Tyson’s favorite classical composers include Beethoven, Elliott Carter, Henri Dutilleux, Unsuk Chin, George Benjamin, and Jacob Druckman. He also loves the pop music of Marvin Gaye, John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, and many others. He lives in Washington Heights, NYC, and enjoys frequent walks in Fort Tryon Park.
DEREK J. WEAGLE - COMPOSER Musician/Educator/Wearer-of-Many-Hats Derek J. Weagle (they/them) is a Brooklyn-based artist and healer invested in the disruption of social and academic barriers around classical music, as well as the preservation of music-making as an act of joyful humanness. With a practice rooted in syncretism, Derek can be found equally comfortable in roles ranging from conductor to composer, performer to teacher. They hold a B.M. in Music Education from UMass Lowell and an M.M. in Composition with a minor in Choral Conducting from New England Conservatory, as well as a Certificate in Sound Healing from the Sage Academy of Sound in Woodstock, NY. Current engagements include work as an independent Sound Healing Practitioner; Associate Conductor of the Queer Urban Orchestra; Assistant Conductor of Choral Chameleon; Artistic Director of the Adelphi University Vocal Ensemble; Founding Artistic Director of Bloom Sound Collective; Composer & Owner at Risanare Music; Board of Directors for the Refugee Orchestra Project. For more information on Derek’s artistic practice and services offered, see their website at www.derekjweagle.com.
VASILY RATMANSKY - COMPOSER Vasily Ratmansky is a composer/improviser currently residing in Berlin, Germany. He creates music in different kinds of settings with a big part of his work being the electroacoustic theater music. He is a member of the InfraSound ensemble as a Composer and Production Associate as well as the artistic director of dasKONZERTs concert series in Dresden with Volker Sondermann. Vasily plays trombone and performs in improvisatory settings with it often utilizing electronics created in MaxMSP. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Manhattan School of Music in Composition and is currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Composition from the Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden. He studied with Susan Botti, Reiko Füting, Manos Tsangaris, Stefan Prins and Hannes Seidl and has taken classes and masterclasses with Natacha Diels, Chaya Czernowin, George Lewis, Rama Gottfried, Artemi Maria-Gioti, Jason Thorpe Buchanan and Trond Reinholdtsen and is very thankful to them all for their imput.
ELIZABETH GARTMAN - COMPOSER Elizabeth Gartman (she/her) is a composer and soprano currently based between Berlin, Germany and New York City. Her compositions explore the implications of the voice paired with the physical body, process in performance, and active listening and response. Elizabeth’s music has been commissioned by companies such as Washington National Opera, New Chamber Ballet, the NYC Virtuoso Singers, Beth Morrison Projects, Wisconsin Youth Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble Chemie, InfraSound Ensemble, and others. Accolades include being named a composition fellow for the American Opera Initiative 2023, Runner-Up of Beth Morrison Project’s 2022 Next Gen Cycle 2, the William Schuman Prize for Most Outstanding Score in the BMI Student Composer Awards (2021), twice recognition as a finalist in ASCAP’s Morton Gould Young Composer Competition (2021, 2019), the Karl Canter Prize for Orchestral Composition (2021), and the Giampaolo Bracali Composition Award (2021), among others. Elizabeth holds degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Illinois.
MICAELA BOTTARI - SCENIC DESIGNER Micaela (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based artist who specializes in creative production at the intersection of art and technology. She translates this passion to music (her own), theater (such as set design for Words of the Prophets), and web3 (the digital collectible wild west of the internet). An integral part of the Metaversal studio since its inception in 2021, she brings new IP and stories to life in the digital age. Micaela currently manages the studio’s flagship project, Omega Runner, in collaboration with Clubhouse Pictures (credits include KATE, I, Tonya, and Birds of Prey). Other professional passions include education programming and development. In 2020 Micaela created a collaborative, arts-driven, mentorship-focused program for Dallas high school students to highlight the validity, complexities, and joys of a multi-hyphenate artistic career. Despite spending most of her days among futurist-technologists, Micaela still considers herself a luddite in sheep's clothing and would prefer to sip coffee, read, and find community among the trees.
SEBASTIAN ARMENDARIZ - SOUND/PROJECTION DESIGNER/LIVESTREAM PRODUCER Originally from El Paso, TX, Sebastian Armendariz is a Mexican-American tenor, actor, freelance producer, content creator, and cancer survivor currently based in NYC. He has previously produced the livestream for The Why Collective's "MIXT: A Living Gallery," and "The Smallest Sound, in the Smallest Space," and is honored to continue to contribute to further TWC’s artistic vision.