I am a composer, pianist, music director, actor, photographer, writer and event producer. I have made music on three continents and played piano at Boston’s Symphony Hall and with the Cape Symphony. I enjoy performing with musicians and others in Provincetown and Cape Cod, Boston, New Orleans, New York City, as well as Bulgaria, France, Greece, Mexico and Nepal. I play music in concert halls, piano bars, theaters, cabaret venues, churches, festival events, recording studios… any place that music can be created and presented is the perfect setting.
My music runs a wide gamut of styles: classical, New Orleans, Broadway, rhythm & blues, Balkan, Latin, original compositions and more. I have an energetic attraction to cultures and histories, especially New Orleans, Mexico, Bulgaria, Turkey and Japan. I am committed to expanding my creative ventures by working with other musicians and artists in communities around the world that are rich in cultural history and tradition and innovation. I enjoy combining music from different genres, cultures and eras to create something new and interesting.
I composed music for an over-the-top klezmer production of the Esther Purim spiel Pure PolyESTHER: a biblical burlesque, a collaboration with Abe Rybeck and The Theater Offensive; music for several theatrical productions; choral and instrumental compositions; and the anthem “I Hear America Singing!” with words by Walt Whitman. My music has been featured in films. My band Johnny & The Washashores celebrates American and international dance music.
I wrote, composed music for and performed as Walt Whitman in a one-man performance Spontaneous Me: A Night with Walt Whitman; music directed many theatrical productions; and portrayed the Viennese vocal coach Mashkan in Old Wicked Songs, Florence Foster Jenkins’ flamboyant pianist Cosme McMoon in Souvenir, Manny the pianist in the Maria Callas story Master Class, and Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof.
My 2007 compact disc of original music is titled Composing Myself. The 2015 recording Look to the Stars with tenor Christopher Sidoli features art songs about the night, stars, moon, water, and nature. The 2015 recording 4 hands, 2 guys, 1 piano! American Music with Paul Bisaccia features exciting and epic piano duo music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
My photographs have been exhibited in Provincetown’s museums and the Berta Walker Gallery (Tibetan Spirit and Music in the Streets of the World).
In Provincetown MA, I produce the annual Great Music on Sundays @5 concert series (18 weekly events in a four-month season), an inspiring annual Celebration of Life community concert, and WorldFest with the help of dozens of others to welcome international students and workers each summer.
There are no borders in the creative life.
Pure PolyESTHER: a biblical burlesque (with Abe Rybeck, The Theater Offensive, Boston MA), a multi-year theatrical success based on the Purim spiel of the Book of Esther; music for theater productions of Camille and A Perfect Ganesh (Provincetown Theater), The Ash Girl (Cape Cod Community College), and Indian Blood (Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater); Spontaneous Me: A Night with Walt Whitman; The Vigil Cantata, a six-movement choral and instrumental composition memorializing loss and renewal in the AIDS crisis era (1991-1998); Walt & Oscar’s Wilde Weekend (work in progress featuring the choral anthem “I Hear America Singing!”, performed at the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Pilgrim Monument, Provincetown MA, 2010); music for films Abraca o Barco: The Rose Dorothea Story and Women of Faith.
Recordings (CD and Digital)
Composing Myself, original music for theater and nature, recorded in Provincetown and Nepal (2007); 4 hands, 2 guys, 1 piano! American Music with Paul Bisaccia, piano duo music from the late 19th and early 20th centuries (including three compositions by Louis Moreau Gottschalk) (2015); Look to the Stars with Christopher Sidoli, featuring art songs about the night, stars, moon, water, and nature (2015).
More than 1,500 concerts, events and benefit performances in Boston and Provincetown MA, New York City NY, New Orleans LA, Lake Worth FL, Hartford CT, Shrewsbury MA, San Miguel de Allende, Gto., MX and other locations. Classical music, Broadway, jazz, popular, original compositions, New Orleans piano styles, Bulgarian and Balkan music, Latin and Caribbean styles. Performance locations and groups: Boston Center for the Arts; Boston Symphony Hall; Cambridge River Festival; Cape Symphony (Cape Cod); Club Café; Napoleon Club; Peregrine Theatre Ensemble; Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum; Provincetown Art Association & Museum; Provincetown Inspiration Weekend; Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival; Provincetown Theater; Theater Offensive; Tin Pan Alley; Unitarian Universalist Meeting House of Provincetown; Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater. I have created two music performance groups: JT’s Mardi Gras Band & The Lawnchair Ladies; and Johnny & The Washashores.
Walt Whitman in Spontaneous Me: A Night with Walt Whitman; Manny the pianist in the Maria Callas story Master Class; Cosme McMoon, Florence Foster Jenkins’ flamboyant pianist, in Souvenir; Mashkan, the Viennese vocal coach, in Old Wicked Songs; Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof; Narrator/Pianist in Billy Bishop Goes to War. Various roles in industrial videos produced by Commonwealth Films, Inc.
Performances with Musicians and Actors
Jon Arterton, Balkan E Boston (Petar Dimitrov, Elena Mancheva, Zoran Matich, Goran Daskalov), Adam Berry, Ben Berry, Paul Bisaccia, Judy Brubaker, Brian Calhoon, Julia Chalfin, Jay Critchley, Lea DeLaria, Peter Donnelly, Richard Dowling, David Drake (as Tawny Heatherton), Christie Hardwick, Shane Jenek (as Courtney Act), Scott Jordan, Deborah Karpel, Roxanne Layton, Mauro Ledesma, Zoë Lewis, James Mack, Sharon McNight, Melanie, Allison Mickelson, Fausto Miro, Carolyn Montgomery, Ethan Paulini, Sylvie Richard, Jeffery Roberson (as Varla Jean Merman), David Roth, Abe Rybeck, Christopher Sidoli, Bruce Vilanch. Outer Cape Chorale; Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (Symphony Hall, Boston MA).
Bat Boy The Musical; Cabaret; Candide; Hair; Lover, Liar, Lady, Whore: The Women of Kander and Ebb; Nevermore; The New Orleans Jazz Funeral of Stella Brooks; Streakin’; Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story; The Wild Party; Working. Lower Cape Concert Band (conductor).
The Black Monk (Wendy Kesselman).
Great Music on Sundays @5, Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, Provincetown MA (19 seasons, 1999-2017); Celebration of Life annual free community concert, Unitarian Universalist Meeting House, Provincetown MA (24 years, 1994-2017); WorldFest, Provincetown’s annual international cultural festival, celebrating the town’s international workers/students and their musical talents and providing essential information to them for a good quality of life while living in Provincetown (seven years, 2011-2017). Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, concert producer for “Saloon Songs” (2016) and “Ballads & Beer” (2017).
Outermost Community Chorus (founder); Christian Union Church.
Cocaine Lil (Nancy van de Vate, American premiere).
Spontaneous Me: A Night with Walt Whitman.
The Provincelands (cultural, geographic and political history of an important traditional cultural area now part of Cape Cod National Seashore), originally published in Provincetown Magazine; editor of Life In Provincetown (LIP) Magazine.
Tibetan Spirit (images of Tibet), Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown MA (2007); Music in the Streets of the World (images of street musicians in New Orleans LA, Provincetown MA and San Miguel de Allende, Gto., MX), Berta Walker Gallery, Provincetown MA (2014-15); Monument Mist, Provincetown Art Association & Museum and Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown MA.
Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology (magna cum laude), Boston University, Boston MA; Juris Doctor degree, Northeastern University School of Law, Boston MA.
Representation of Witnesses Before Federal Grand Juries, co-author with Rikki Klieman, Esq. of semi-annual supplement release of recent federal law cases, published by Thomson Reuters (1995-present).
Legal Areas of Interest
Constitutional rights of street performers; more than twenty years of experience as primary author of the street performer by-law in Provincetown MA and volunteer advocate. Twenty years experience as advocate of local traditional cultural rights in federally owned lands and waters. Work experience in criminal defense, civil litigation, and Native American rights. Interested in immigrant legal rights and advocacy.
Spanish (writing, speaking, reading); basic Bulgarian; skilled at learning languages.
John Thomas: johnwthomas.com
John Thomas: youtube.com/channel/UCy7h55zNcv_lY_cp6HZ27Gw
John Thomas: facebook.com/john.thomas.54738943
Also on Facebook: Great Music on Sundays @5; WorldFest Provincetown; Johnny & The Washashores; JT’s Mardi Gras Band & The Lawnchair Ladies
Great Music on Sundays @5: ptownmusic.com