What begins as a quest to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of an infant becomes a gripping odyssey. Immersing himself in faded photos, newspaper articles, dusty basements, and fragments of his own memory, Charles Hale summons the voices from the past and seeks to discover how his ancestors lived. Traversing landscapes, beginning at the burial site of a baby, to a butcher’s shop in Ireland, to a tapestry of tenements, bustling streets, and ballfields in the heart of New York City, Hale asks, Can we navigate the hidden recesses of history and untangle the shadows that shroud the past?

Weaving together a tapestry of stories, a realization emerges: Our narratives shape our very existence, influencing how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Examining both physical and personal terrains, Hale embarks on an exploration of family, grief, meaning, and purpose, infusing his journey with intense self-reflection. Readers will be inspired to embrace the transformative power of family history, the interconnectedness of the human experience, and to become the torchbearer of ancestral tales.



In a place like New York City, experiencing the past can be illusive, things often disappear, but there are exceptions. You might gaze into a mirror in some gin mill, perhaps the same mirror your great grandfather gazed into seventy-five years ago. A neon sign your grandmother walked under fifty years ago may show up as a wall decoration in your favorite eatery. A statue your mother noticed in front of City Hall may end up in a Brooklyn cemetery. That’s New York. 

Hearing the music they listened to, seeing images of the sights that surrounded them and hearing the extraordinary stories of the ordinary folks who came before us, provides a roadmap to life as a New Yorker in another era and time.
I aim to capture the spirit of the past through, live music, dance, theatre pieces and imagery from the nineteenth century when immigrants were arriving by the thousands, through the twentieth century when New York was exploding with energy and beginning to shape our future.  

You can experience the uniqueness that is New York through my: 



From the time I was a young boy growing up in New York, I was fascinated by the connection between music, imagery and history.  Pure and simple…that’s my passion.

“Breathing of an ancestor’s space and time,” is a phrase I often use when describing my passion. Accordingly, my objective is to create historical “New York experiences,” not only for New Yorkers, but for all its visitors as well. What was it like growing up in nineteenth and twentieth century New York? What was it like for our parents and grandparents who grew up and experienced the city through two wars? What was it like for our ancestors, who arrived at the docks of New York, hungry, exhausted and dressed in rags?

I’m a cultural and musical historian by education, but I focus on blending, imagery and performance art to create uniquely New York experiences. My historically-themed shows including “WWII and NYC: Connecting Time and Place” “Crossing Boroughs,” “The Musical History of the Lower East Side,” and “New York City: A Shining Mosaic” incorporate story, music, imagery and dance.


From 2016 through 2022, I performed “Jazz and the City” on the New York scene. The show featured narration and David Raleigh’s jazz quartet in a musical tribute that transports the audience back in time through personal recollections, anecdotes and stories of the artists and musical geniuses who created the great American Songbook and made New York City the jazz capitol of the world. 

In 2017, 2018 2019 and 2022 I produced a series of shows at The Cell in New York City called respectively, “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song,” “Thoroughly New York,” “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie to The Cell,” and “Classically Exposed: Musical Crossroads.” A number of the shows featured performers who now reside in New York, but who came to America from all over the globe, including Japan, Argentina, Peru, England, Ireland, Germany and China.  New York City has always been a melting pot and the home for aspiring artists. The arts, particularly music, have also been a melting pot, a cultural melting pot of antiquity, an integral component of human civilization that has been shared between cultures for the millennia.

I enjoy emceeing and curating events, including Showcases for Artists Without Walls, an organization I cofounded with Niamh Hyland. Niamh and I have always been inspired by the flowering of artistic achievement, which often arises when cultures come together, thus, we founded Artists Without Walls, which is purposed to inspire, uplift and unite people and communities of diverse cultures through the pursuit of artistic achievement.

Other similar roles include emcee and curator at OurLand Fest at Lincoln Center, curator for Irish Stand, 2017, a grassroots movement devoted to civil rights protection for all immigrants, and Masters of Ceremony for “The Dean’s Award 2015” at Lehman College.

One of many great moments in the last few years was meeting with and interviewing singer-songwriter Judy Collins and creating the film “Walls We Are Not Forgotten,” about her life.  The film was presented at the 2012 Eugene Neill Award ceremony, which honored Ms. Collins work in the arts and humanities.

I also enjoy lecturing at college campuses. Currently I have a lecture series at Lehman College as part of the City and Humanities Program which centers on immigration and family history, ” Bringing History, Music and Story Together in a Digital World.” 


Behind the scenes from the filming of “A Moment”