###500 NAMES### INTERNATIONAL FUNDRAISER IS NOW A PART OF HISTORY, WE DID IT, AND THIS BEAUTIFUL COMMUNITY WILL LIVE ETERNALLY, WE ARE 589 STRONG, WE'RE ALL BROKE WIDE OPEN, AND WE ARE FOREVER CONNECTED!!
500 NAMES is now part of HISTORY, it is COMPLETE, WE DID IT! WE GOT BROKE WIDE OPEN to run as an OFF Broadway Production at The New Theatre at 45th Street, and we did it as a COMMUNITY, this is perhaps what I am most proud of with regards to my journey of developing and eventually presenting BROKE WIDE OPEN over this past 6 and a half years. This beautiful and diverse, multicultural collection of amazing contributors from, literally, all over the world, this is certainly what BEAUTIFUL looks like, and it will live eternally, WE ARE 589 STRONG, you are all FOREVER connected to me and BROKE WIDE OPEN, YOU'RE ON THE LIST!!!!!
3-Cindy Wolfe Boynton
4-Stephen Bishop Seely
7-Noelle V Dor
18-Alison B Levy
24-J. F. Seary
43-Henry UltimateBoricua Valentin
50-Bettina GOLD Wilkerson
55-Carmen Mojica Fabian
66-Alicia Anabel Santos
70-Bernice Sosa Izquierdo
76-Edna Lee Figueroa Millan
80-Jennifer Conley Darling
83-Joyce "BRONX" Bradley
88-Rob "Simply Rob" Vassilarakas
89-Samantha Alethea Inniss
99-James "Peach" Mcclory
102-Joe Ham [Hamit Up Productions]
105-Robert F.Aponte Junior [Leslie Marrero]
108-Greg Demaras [John C. Conover Agency]
113-Elana Rutenberg Hayden
119-Nancy Arroyo Ruffin
127-Efrain Nieves [Pa'lante Latino]
134-Sabrina Sacks Mann
138-Stu Smiley [HBO]
139-Giorgio Kolaj [Famous Famiglia]
141-Maya Barros Odim
157-Arin Maya Lawrence
183-Peggy Robles Alvarado
189-J Skye Cabrera
192-Dennis Michael Lucas
194-Xia Lily Daniel
202-Michele Sobel Randazzo
205-George "Urban Jibaro" Torres
206-Papo "Swiggity" Santiago
207-Eleni Hopkins [Reikes]
209-Stephanie St James
211-Raul Brunet Jr
228-Teresa L. Vescera
232-Rosalia Villanueva Whiteman
236-Jomaira 'La Sensacion' Martinez
256-Lukisha R. Williams
258-Randy Isaacs Karsch
260-Richard Santiago Jr
263-John J Hard Ent.
265-Christopher Garcia [Christbearer]
274-Caridad De La Luz [La Bruja]
275-Arlena Dunn Brown
276-Erika Citron Scotti
283-Wanayran Alvarez Angerer
287-Michael (kidney) O'Grady
294- Joe "Elemento" Romagnano
302-Ralphy Tatuxmen Perez
305-Carlos Manuel Rivera
309-Jennifer "Dotora" Huse
315-Lucy War Cry Warsaw
316-Brian J. Sullivan Jr
317-Dean El Negro
335-Bitty Bast'rd. Rollergirls of Central Kentucky
336-Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory [Phoenix]
340-Joan K. Hunt
344-Michael "HighLight" Bertoncini
371-Robert M. Findlay
377-Kathleen LoPinto Vignolini
383-David T Vignolini
400-Jan Mason Kingston
405-Charlie Poems Sr.
408-Ana Josefa Romero
409-Eneida Caridad Diaz Stubbs
419-Yadira De La Riva
422-Estelle Wiederhorn [Samah]
423-Courtney A. Hollinsworth/US Army
424-Hope Hollinsworth Coaxum
425-Vicki Zeh Rivera
428-Jessica Brenes McClory
434-Keith Anthony Fluitt
443-E. Kevin Jones
446-Albert TainoImage Areizaga
448-Angelique Imani Rodriguez
449-Establishing Artists for Tomorrow Media Group [Christina Denise Rodriguez]
451-Jane M. Rollins
467-Maureen Cronin Segura
490-Melanie Katzner Fox
AND ON TO THE NEXT 4500, WE'RE GONNA GET 5000 NAMES!!!
502-Dêlðis Suñshiñê Ðêê
504-Carmen Del Pilar
509-Kelly Lynn Bowser
511-Sean Elijah Bell Foundation, Inc.
515-Nancy West McGuire
517-Trish Lay [Souls At Play Productions]
518-TJ De Rosa
520-Shane Tu Kora
521-Tushar K. Pandya
523-CHFS PYA Youth
527-Natalia Mendez Huergo
534-Nelise Marie Vargas
536-Jose Angel Rodriguez
544-Robert Lee Patterson
545-Willie Bell Patterson
548-Christopher Chilo Cajigas
551-Charles Francis Xavier
576-Holly Choon Hyang Bachman
584-Joyce Wright McAdoo
586-Angel N. Pasian
587-Lilia "Bita" Pinedo-Castellar
EVERYTHING BELOW IS NOW OFFICIALLY ARCHIVED MATERIAL, THIS FUNDRAISER IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED, WE SUCCESSFULLY MOUNTED BROKE WIDE OPEN AS A COMMUNITY, IN THE MOST AMAZING WAY, WE SHOWED THE POWER OF COMING TOGETHER, AND I AM FOREVER GRATEFUL TO ALL WHO CONTRIBUTED, AND I LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT STEP FOR BROKE WIDE OPEN, WE'LL SEE WHAT THE UNIVERSE HAS IN MIND FOR US NOW. WHAT YOU WILL READ AND SEE BELOW THIS LINE IS HISTORY!!!!
In summer of 2006, my friend, Jane Rollins was in a downtown hospital, recovering from a hip replacement, or maybe it was her knee, or shoulder, she's had it all, I can't really remember, but I brought some music in for her to listen to that I had been working on, a collaborative project where I was given some very political poetry, and I was asked to "make these poems into songs", and so I did, and the result was some pretty cool productions. I went all out, from drums and bass to guitars and keyboards, I added some beautiful string arrangements, did all of the vocals myself, including some HUGE background arrangements, a Rock WILK "choir" if you will, and so I was very proud of this work. I let Mrs Rollins listen, and since she is first and foremost a vocalist, she had been a big band singer back in the day, and also given the fact that she was, and still is, a social activist, she LOVED this work. One day, her husband, and also my good friend Jack Rollins was visiting his wife in the hospital and Mrs Rollins handed him the headphones and he listened to my music, and he was FLOORED!!! He LOVED it, just raved about it, which made me feel very happy, obviously, especially coming from a man who was responsible for managing the careers of such great artists as Woody Allen, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, David Letterman, among many others, it was a thrill for me to get that type of response from someone like Mr Rollins. I mean, I had a very close relationship with him, but it was really about our love for all of the New York sports teams that we both live and die with, The Yankees, The Football Giants, and the Knicks. This was really the first time, I believe, Mr Rollins recognized me as a serious artist, I never felt it was appropriate for me to approach him in that way, I felt it was better to just remain "friends", and so we did, but this moment changed everything, and it led to a beautiful fall day that October, still in 2006, where Mr Rollins said to me, "Rock, you need to do an album".
I replied, "I have no interest in really doing that, I have nothing to say." At the time, I was earning my living placing music on some television shows, picking up some sessions around town as a background vocalist, doing quite a few independent productions with some young artists around town, and so I was "good" with that, but Mr Rollins had other ideas. "Rock, you have a very unusual, interesting story, you need to tell it, and I mean, NEED. I believe you need to get it out of you, that this is your life's work, and I feel like if you approach it in that way, as ART, and not as "trying to get a record deal", you will do great work, you are an amazing artist, I heard that on the recording I listened to at the hospital". I told Mr Rollins, I couldn't do it because it would take too much time to engage in that type of work, that my life was not set up that way, and he offered to sponsor me, with one "request"........ "Rock, I'm gonna give you this check, but I want you to promise me one thing. That you will BLEED all over this music, that you will dig as deep as you can and be willing and brave enough to really REVEAL yourself in this music. The GREAT artists are the ones who are willing to do that, you KNOW WHO THEY ARE from their work, I believe you are like those artists, very unusual, very special, you have that gift, but the value is only if you are willing to bare your soul like that, and so you need to promise me that you will approach this work in that way, and if you do that, I will support you in this endeavor. I believe that if you are willing to REALLY open it up, to really REVEAL yourself to those who get to experience your work, they will love you as much as I do. Also, Rock, my hope is that this work will serve you for the rest of your life. So... can you promise me that?".
And so BROKE WIDE OPEN was born, I began writing the songs in October of that year, in 2006, each day riding the subways of New York City all day and all night, which is where I had ALWAYS done my creating, I could be found singing into my little digital recorder all over town, on the G Train, on the A Train, on The D Train, creating songs from the center of my soul, I bled out, I released everything that I had inside of me, and then, at the end of each day I would go visit Mr Rollins and sit in Riverside Park with him, sharing what magic I had come up with on that particular day, and by April, the album had been written and recorded. I produced and performed all of that work in my little studio in my apartment in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn, where I was living at the time, it was the most amazing catharsis, and by August of that next summer, in 2007, BROKE WIDE OPEN was mastered and released out into the universe.
And so now I had this work, this album, and I really didn't know what to do with it, but I began getting feedback immediately, and it was profound, very positive, but also very interesting. This was not your average collection of songs, this was a series of stories that all directly related to my life, in a genre of music that could really only be described as MY genre, and it was not "easy" to listen to, I was putting some controversial material out there, but what was MOST interesting for me was that I guess it all came out in a way that made quite a few people say to me, "it feels like a play".
To make a long story short, I listened, and my first live performance piece was born, called Ma'Plej, which was almost 4 hours of music and poetry and monologue, VERY high energy and maybe just a little bit of chaos. It was a lot, I'll say it like that, it was all of what I was going thru in my life at that time, I had actually endured a lot of LOSS at that time in my life, my mother had passed away, my marriage had fallen apart, my family was crumbling, I was finally, for the first time in my life dealing with my adoption, being fostered before that, my biological beginnings, and so this was how all of my emotions, my reflecting, began to manifest itself, thru my art, and so I just found places to perform Ma'Plej and began to get more feedback. Probably the most important day of this entire journey came at a performance down in Asbury Park, NJ, in a small theater called The Showroom, and a friend of mine invited the artistic director of The Revision Theatre to see Ma'Plej and that person was Stephen Bishop Seely. Stephen seemed to like the piece, and he agreed to sit with me a few days later at a coffee shop and discuss what he had experienced and allow me to pick his brain, share my hopes for Ma'Plej with him, and we sat for 3 hours that day, Stephen told me that he felt Ma'Plej was great, but that it was also about 14 plays, and he felt I should choose one of the stories and develop that into my first play, and BROKE WIDE OPEN had come full circle because in that exact moment. That day in the hospital when Mr Rollins heard my music for the first time had finally led me to my life's work, and I had finally defined it. And so the next part of my journey had begun.
What feels like a million re-writes later, I have the most amazing completed script now. After those humble beginnings I have had the opportunity of doing a 3 week workshop of my play in New York City last year, completed a renegade national tour, traveled to London, survived the riots and had some of the most evocative and compelling performances at The Camden Fringe Festival, sold out a performance at The United Solo Theatre Festival almost 8 weeks in advance that was presented on Theatre ROW here in my beloved New York City, will be a part of the 2012 Mainstage season at The Passage Theatre in Trenton, NJ this coming March, which will be my first inclusion in the programming at a legitimate regional theater, and then.......... We have finally arrived as to exactly why I wrote all of this, why I felt I needed to share this entire story with you.
It is time for BROKE WIDE OPEN to take this major step toward what has been my goal from the very beginning, which is to open one day on a Broadway stage. This journey has been the most amazing and cathartic experience of my life, I have completely re-invented myself, my play IS my life, my life's work and my life's joy, and so I am planning to present BROKE WIDE OPEN this spring, after my performances at The Passage Theatre, as a commercial production, right here in New York City. I am going to do a run, an extended run that, hopefully, will sustain itself, continue to grow, and lead me to Broadway. BROKE WIDE OPEN at it's core, is RAW, it is ME, naked for all of you to see, and that will never be lost in any production, but also, it is BEAUTIFUL, and from the very beginning of Ma'Plej, I knew this was a combination of many things, and so BROKE WIDE OPEN will have the most amazing and dynamic lighting design, I am commissioning an artist to paint a huge mural that will actually house video and still photos, the music is the most unique and eclectic overture that you have ever heard, a combination of so many styles of music, I come from a jazz background, but my music is also steeped in the roots of R&B and Hip Hop, even some roots music, it is all from deep inside of me, I created it all for BROKE WIDE OPEN, and you will feel my spirit in what, I hope, beautifully complements this story of my search for my identity, where I feel wanted and comfortable, my search for HOME, so to speak.
BROKE WIDE OPEN is actually a very complex story, it includes, as a thru line, my very ambivalent search for my biological mother while also introducing you to my adoptive parents and what incredibly loving and generous people they were. In many ways, BROKE WIDE OPEN is about how fortunate I was in my life, despite the fact that the first significant moment of my life was that I was given away, this is a story of realization, a "coming of age", of finally being comfortable in my own skin, of loving myself, and releasing all of the obstructions that existed, including the ones that I created, in my life to keep me "separated" from my own happiness for most of my existence. And so BROKE WIDE OPEN, much like The Wizard of OZ, is the story of me trying to get HOME.
And so here I am, all of this work, all of this life, and it is time for me to take my shot, and so I have found the perfect space here in Manhattan, and I need to raise money to secure it. I am trying to raise $40,000 to run BROKE WIDE OPEN, to begin this part of my journey. Part of that money is to secure the space. Part is to pay my wonderful collaborators, my set, light and video designers, my artist, my director, my publicist, it costs a lot of money to get something like this off the ground, I have laid the foundation, have acquired the most beautiful and amazing core of supporters, have sold out almost every show I have done here in the city for the past year, and although this is a big mountain to climb, I bet my life on BROKE WIDE OPEN 5 years ago, have accomplished everything I set out to accomplish between then and now, and so it is time for me to make this very important step in my progression happen. This exact moment is what all of this work and dedication, sacrifice and commitment has been for. I hope that you will consider helping me with my journey to a Broadway production. It begins here in a small theater in midtown Manhattan where the full production will be put up for the first time, and as they say, and what I fully expect to happen, "if you build it, they will come".
I've been building this for my entire life, and so to honor my parents who saved my life, my Grandmother who made me feel as if she was my "blood", to all of the people who have supported me and my dream both financially and spiritually over the past 5 years, to honor more people than I could ever mention here, I am intent upon finishing this deal, and realizing my dream. Somehow over the past year, BROKE WIDE OPEN stopped being "all about me", and it has become everyone's story, that has been clear in the consistent response at every performance I have done over the past few years, and so I feel it is my RESPONSIBILITY to fulfill Mr Rollins' wish, that this work will "serve me for the rest of my life". I love that he used the word "serve". I will "serve" with this work for as long as I am able, for as long as you all will have me. THANK YOU for your support, whether it be your love and good wishes or your money, it all feeds me and I am grateful for every drop.
I want BROKE WIDE OPEN to be a play that people WANT to see, that they WANT to be a part of, this story was born on the subways and streets of NYC, then spread across the country and eventually navigated overseas to London, and so I feel like BROKE WIDE OPEN is about COMMUNITY, and even though this story is ”all about me”, it has really become EVERYBODY'S story, BROKE WIDE OPEN is about ALL OF US, and it would be such a beautiful thing if I could somehow get 500 names on this page to contribute to the continuation of this magical ride, and that you will all continue to fly with me. BROKE WIDE OPEN. The world is our community. Lets begin again with 500 names. Give what you can. I'll take care of the rest!!
Let the fundraising begin.......... The road to $40,000, Dear Universe......... I need $15,000 by the end of December. I promise you I will use it wisely and continue to work hard for as long as I am alive.
See you at the theater!!!!
Peace and love
ALL CONTRIBUTORS WILL BE LISTED AS DONORS IN THE BROKE WIDE OPEN PROGRAM
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $50 OR MORE WILL GET YOU 1 FREE TICKET TO A SHOW DURING THE RUN
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $100 OR MORE WILL GET YOU A FREE COPY OF MY ALBUM, BROKE WIDE OPEN, PLUS 2 TICKETS TO ANY SHOW OTHER THAN THE OPENING NIGHT GALA
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $250 OR MORE WILL GET YOU AN ALBUM AND A SIGNED SCRIPT AND 2 TICKETS TO OPENING NIGHT
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $500 OR MORE WILL GET YOU ALL OF THE ABOVE AND YOU WILL BE CREDITED AS CONTRIBUTOR
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $1000 OR MORE WILL GET YOU ALL OF THE ABOVE AND YOU WILL BE CREDITED AS MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $2500 OR MORE WILL GET YOU ALL OF THE ABOVE AND YOU WILL BE CREDITED AS EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
CONTRIBUTIONS OF $5000 OR MORE WILL GET YOU ALL OF THE ABOVE AND YOU WILL BE CREDITED AS PRODUCER
THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT, WE ARE ONE DAY CLOSER TO BROADWAY!!!
WE DID THIS!!! THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU ALL.