Singing off keys: A music show with no piano!

No to piano!: Judith Barnes, artistic director of the Vertical Players Repertory in Cobble Hill, has launched the monthly “miniatures behind the door” series with “PiaNO” on Jan. 28, featuring sopranos and musicians, but no piano.
Brooklyn Paper
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They’ll be singing off keys!

The piano will stay silent and untouched during a keyboard-free opera performance at Cobble Hill’s Vertical Players Repertory on Jan. 28. The show, titled “PiaNO,” is the first in the “miniatures behind the door” series of monthly shows designed to bring the highbrow art down to earth. The company’s storefront space on Court Street is the ideal intimate venue for the task, said one performer.

“It’s a non-traditional space perfect for these sort of salon-type performances that are intimate, and makes the audience feel like they are really part of the performance and the experience,” said soprano Elise Brancheau. “This isn’t something you have to put on your best pearls and furs for, and just enjoy the art in a casual and informal environment.”

The hour-long concert will include five piano-free acts, including classical arias for voice and strings, a Portuguese folk melody, a set of protest songs from the 1960s, and an adaptation of the poem, “I Never Saw Another Butterfly,” based on works by children murdered in the Holocaust.

The show is also an act of resistance to the politics of President Trump — all proceeds from the show will to the American Civil Liberties Union’s New York chapter, said Brancheau.

“We all feel that as artists it’s our responsibility to promote social well being and bring communities together through our art and performances” she said. “We just feel that it’s a good all-encompassing organization that is standing up for the people and the platforms that our current president doesn’t seem all too concerned about protecting.”

The intimate series of shows can also help counteract divisive politics that drive people apart, said the company’s artistic director.

“It’s a special feeling doing this series now, because I think we need these intimate cultural gathering places where people can feel more connected,” said Judith Barnes. “The philosophy behind it is creating things and sharing things, and to bring high-caliber arts and creators, and give affordable access to the public to an intimate performance where you’re sharing the space.”

The new monthly series will welcome a variety of acts, including play readings, vocal recitals, and open “non-mic” nights.

“PiaNO” at Vertical Players Repertory [219 Court St. between Wyckoff and Warren streets in Cobble Hill,]. Jan. 28 at 7 pm. $20.

Reach reporter Julianne Cuba at (718) 260–4577 or by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter @julcuba.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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