The People’s Choice Award: David Schein
72: David Schein
Complete the musical play, ”Queen City Songs”
A VT native, David is a writer, performer, composer, teacher, producer & arts administrator. He was a co-founder of Berkeley’s Blake Street Hawkeyes, he wrote for & performed with Whoopi Goldberg and was Director of Free Street Theater in Chicago where he helped develop theater & writing programs for inner city youth. David was a founder of One Love AIDS/HIV Awareness Theater in Ethiopia. He served as Director of the Arts Council for Chautauqua County in Western NY & the Willowell Foundation in Vermont. His musical play TOKENS: A Play on the Plague won many awards in the Bay Area. He’s performed his solo piece, Out Comes Butch, in the USA, Canada & Europe. He authored a collection of performance poetry, My Murder & Other Local News, & a novel, The Adoption. David volunteers as Associate Director of Big Heavy World & is the coordinator of Make Music VT. He works as grants & program manager for Alnôbaiwi, a non-profit devoted to preserving & educating about Abenaki culture.
The funds will be used to partially support artist fees, space rental, materials & production expenses for a production of David Schein’s original theater musical; “Queen City Songs” (QCS) at Off Center for the Dramatic Arts in Burlington. QCS is an autobiographical musical theater piece, written & performed by Schein & musician Ron Rost, based on story-songs set in Burlington. Songs deal with true & fictionalized memories & events from the early fifties to the present time, accompanied by images of specific song settings; Adams School, Archibald Place, a Maple St. backyard, the Barge Canal, Champlain Street before Urban Renewal, St. Joseph’s Orphanage, the town Dump (which was on an Abenaki historical site.) etc. QCS song/stories unearth themes that are serious, funny & nostalgic; the loss of a favorite tree, the class split in Burlington’s South Side between “the hill’ & the rest of the town, nascent VT anti-semitism, boy’s fighting culture, high school gender morés; all to illuminate in high relief a sense of place & cultural changes over six decades of American life. Burlington, the lumber town at the mouth of the Winooski River now a “destination” is the palette for social & personal reflection; the songs are replete with ghosts & revelations – of what is lost, what is innate & what grows anew.
David Schein has created theater work for the last 50 years in many genres. His voice is poetic and musical. He has experience developing shows & touring them. This will be the first production of QCS. If it has “legs” & touches audiences the hope is for other Vermont productions & with “development by doin’ it” & probably some tweaking and rewriting to amplify the universal within the specific, perhaps to tour it through America & Europe, expanding Schein’s established performance network. Spoon River Anthology was written as a collection of poems about a town in Indiana & now is performed all over the world. Can QCS be the next Spoon River? Art thrives on hope.
“If You’re Going to London.” From TOKENS A Play on the Plague written by David Schein & composed & arranged by Candace Natvig English & Schein – about the Great Plague of London.
“Skag Table.” Home video sample of a song from Queen City Songs, by David Schein, played and sung by Schein on ukulele.
Video performance of “Man in the Moon” by John O’Keefe’s, performed by David Schein at L’Atelier de la Main d’Or, Paris, France