A mother-daughter love story.
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|about the play|
"In September of 2010, I moved my mother to New York so I could care for her. She was in the mid stages of Alzheimer's. I had no idea what I was getting in to. But there was no question I would be there for her.
We had quite an adventure - my "real life" on the back burner, my "career" all but halted. But our very vivid, very real life together was, at times, great theatre.
Mom was a character. In fact I've always thanked her on stage for all the good material. Ironically, in her last two years, she took it to a new level. She was funny, she was impossible. My only instinct: write it, sing it, tell it. It was her instinct too: Almost daily she would say, "Boolie," (my nickname) "That's good! Are you getting this down? We should make a play out of it! We could take it to BROADWAY!"
Well, I was getting it down. "My Mother Has Four Noses" is the result: A play and a new album of the songs that weave in and out of the telling.
After successful readings in New York, LA, Philly, and Chicago. "My Mother Has Four Noses" debuted at the Warner Theatre in Torrington, CT in June of 2013. We did four shows at the Playwright's Centre in Minneapolis that August; had an incredible sold out show at the FRINGE FESTIVAL in Philly on September 11; and finally, two sold out, previews at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis in December 2013.
"4 Noses" opened Off Broadway at The Duke on 42nd Street on February 14, 2014 and ran for ten weeks. We couldn't have dreamed of better reviews.
"My Mother Has 4 Noses" at its very heart, is a love story, with all the attendant comedy and tragedy. I only regret that mom couldn't have seen it. "After all," she'd crack, "how many people do YOU know who can say they have FOUR noses?"
|about jonatha brooke|
For more than two decades Jonatha Brooke has created shining musical gems - brilliant combinations of poetic lyrics, complex harmonies and memorable melodies - that have earned her legions of devoted fans and journalistic raves as a highly respected artist.
With ten solo releases (and two from her duo The Story) to her credit, her most recent endeavor was writing and performing the one-woman musical My Mother Has 4 Noses. The critically acclaimed project—which ran in NYC at The Duke on 42nd Street— documents the poignant journey of caring for her mother, who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s-induced dementia, during the last two years of her life.
Another notable project was 2008’s The Works, a collection of songs written after being invited into Woody Guthrie’s archives by his daughter. Jonatha combed through previously unseen lyrics of Woody’s, edited, pared, and set them to her own new music, creating a stunning collection of songs.
Currently Jonatha, who lives in Minneapolis, is touring her recently released CD Midnight. Hallelujah., working on three new musicals, and plans on performing more dates of 4 Noses in various cities.
|about jeremy b. cohen|
Jeremy B. Cohen is currently the producing artistic director at Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. Prior to that, he was the associate artistic director, and director of New Play Development at Hartford Stage from 2003 to 2010. Cohen is also the founding artistic director of Naked Eye Theatre Company in Chicago. He has numerous directing credits at regional theaters all over the country and will direct Colman Domingo's Wild With Happy at CenterStage in Baltimore, Spring of 2014.
|about ben butler|
Originally from Australia, Ben studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since moving to New York, he’s become a highly sought after session musician, sideman, and composer, recording and performing with Jonatha Brooke, Suzanne Vega, George Michael among others. He’s performed at the White House for the Gershwin Awards, and composed for the Films The Heights and The Insurgents. Ben currently divides his time between touring with Chris Botti, and playing guitar for My Mother has 4 Noses. He has a solo release: “Truth In Guitars” available on I-Tunes. www.benbutlermusic.com.
|about anja wood|
Anja has recorded and performed with David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Mary J Blige, Harry Connick Jr, Iron & Wine, Rod Stewart and Rufus Wainwright. She is also the founder and President of Lelt Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists impoverished women and children in Ethiopia. Anja lives in New York City with her husband and 2 daughters.
|about the record|
Most of these songs came to me as I was caring for my mother. "Are You Getting This Down?" and "How Far You'd Go For Love" in particular were visceral responses to our day to day. I would do my best to enter mom's world, join her in whatever made sense to her. Sometimes we'd be facing a "new normal" every few days. Music, and her unflagging sense of humor saved us.
"Scars" and "Time" were written at a songwriting retreat in Malibu a few months before mom passed away. I was exhausted and so grateful for the time away. But I missed her, and felt terribly guilty that I wasn't with her.
They are raw, but I think they get at some pretty universal feelings.
I can't thank my arrangers Gil Goldstein and Rob Mathes enough for their tender care with these pieces. They supported these emotional vignettes so perfectly, catching the humor here and there, and amplifying the sweetness and the dissonance.
"My Misery" is the one that best sums it up for me:
It's that old adage, it's love's sweet triage, and it just might steal the show.
And my misery, just might need company.... after all.