Thrill Me: The Leopold and Loeb Story was a creepy and horrific musical featuring Adam Berry and Ben Berry as the famous killers who failed to get away with a perfect murder in Chicago in 1924. I was music director and on-stage performance pianist. The music was almost entirely constant, either as songs or underscore for the one-act production. It was a difficult topic, but the acting, directing (Jeffry George) and all creative elements came together in a memorable way.
Christopher Sidoli and I recorded Look to the Stars to celebrate the stars, the moon, oceans, rivers, love and human spirit. The recording includes classical and modern music by a constellation of composers: art songs, pop classics, Broadway treasures, film themes, two world premiere recordings of songs by Lucy Simon, and my original music. We recorded it in one of the last surviving Tin Pan Alley studios in Manhattan just before it was shut down and demolished.
My New Orleans performance debut in April 2015 was in a very special setting, the Marigny Opera House, a non-denominational, neighborhood church of the arts. The concert was a 50-minute music meditation with no breaks or applause, filled with my original compositions and music that I treasure by Brahms, Jarre, Morricone, Saint-Saëns and Schumann… with a Bulgarian tango and variations on “Amazing Grace” added into the musical gumbo. A memorable evening.
A Perfect Ganesh took the audience to India in Terrence McNally’s surreal and moving play about outer and inner journeys. I had a wonderful opportunity to compose and record a full music score of incidental music as well as an extended atmospheric pre-show soundscape. “The ethereal and gossamer staging is at times bright and heavenly and other times bathed in saffron-infused warmth, as is the musical score by John Thomas.” – Provincetown Magazine
Elena Mancheva is the first Bulgarian musician who taught me the beauties and intricacies of this special music unlike any other culture. We began to present our Bulgarian-American melodic mix of music on Cape Cod in 2011. These two concerts in 2013 were opportunities for us to share this music with Americans and Bulgarians together and increase appreciation and friendship.
David Drake, award-winning actor, playwright and director, is the creator of Tawny Heatherton who has appeared in various productions. In December 2011, “A Very Tawny Christmas!” recreated a so-bad-it’s-good Christmas special television event with the premise that Tawny and her Bulgarian pianist Boris (me) had been stranded in Provincetown for the holidays. Elena Mancheva and Boris Mozurski added seasonal Bulgarian Koleda songs to the evening.
Old Wicked Songs is a great play, a riveting two-actor story blending the creative life, doubt, strength, religion, survival, compromise, healing, politics and the gorgeous Schumann Dichterliebe for voice and piano. In this 2009 production I played Mashkan, a Viennese professor and voice coach who, in one summer in 1986, helps a creatively blocked young pianist accept both the sadness and joy inherent in life. Ethan Paulini as Stephen was the perfect acting partner.
Joyce Aimee, the “Chanteuse Dangereuse”, has astonished audiences for decades with her charm, humor, singing, accordion playing, and love of life. “Are You Having Any Fun?” is her motto and her answer is “YES!” We performed together many times and adore working together. Now in her late 80s, her acting career has taken off: she is featured in several television shows, the December 2017 Katy Perry video “Hey Hey Hey” and a 2018 Super Bowl commercial.