Charles R. Hale Productions​, Musica Solis​ and Nancy Manocherian’s “the cell” are pleased to announce another season of ​Classically Exposed. This season is called ​”Musical Crossroads,” in honor of the confluence of musical genre that we are presenting. Our goal is simple: To present outstanding music at a great value; accordingly, w​e have assembled a fabulous collection of artists who will performing a variety of musical genre including classical, jazz, theatrical, rock and more. ​Based on the comments we received after our last series, it’s fair to say “this is a one-of-a-kind” series here in New York.

Tickets and season subscriptions will be on sale shortly for the following shows:

November 20: The Anderson Brothers/Benny Meets Artie.

December 18: Igor Lipinski/Piano Illusions

January 8: Rossano Sportiello/Stride Piano Master

January 29: Empire Wild

February 11 and 12: Charles R. Hale’s/WWII and NYC:Connecting Time and Place

February 26: Mark Dover and Jeremy Jordan/Port Mande


Great to be back at the Cell again last night for Janey Choi’s Chamber Music PIck Up session. Quite a number of friends showed up for an event in the Cell’s “garden,” for a great night of music.

So good to see many friends at this wonderful event. I’m really looking forward to the “Cell” series that Seunghee Lee and I are producing beginning in November, “Classically Exposed: Musical Connections.” More details to follow shortly.  


As a young person I viewed the 1930s through a mixed lens. I’d watch films and listen to music and think it was a time of top hats and tuxedos, Cole Porter’s witty lyrics and Fred and Ginger glamorously swirling across a ballroom. But there was another side to the thirties…the life of the everyman, captured here by Lewis Hine’s 1934 photo of unemployed men along NYC’s docks…in stark contrast to the jazz and cocktails of Porter’s thirties.

Hine’s photo is a reminder that life was hard throughout the land: Unemployment was rampant, the country suffered through an awful heat wave and the “Dust Bowl” drought strangled the mid-section of the country.

Interestingly, there was a lyricist who captured both sides of the thirties….Yip Harburg. He wrote a song of hope, “Over the Rainbow and the era’s song of angst, “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime.”



I’ll never forget the moment I was standing in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, paging through “Naked City,” a book of photos taken by the famous NYC crime photographer Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee. I turned a page…a number of firemen and a priest were standing over body bags. The fireman on the far right is my grandfather Charles F. Hale.

Historian Shelby Foote once said, “So you get that thing and you get the weather, you get the soil and you get the coloration of things; get the true feel of it.”

So I’ve often wondered…How do you get the true feel of those who came before you? How do you breathe of an ancestor’s space and time?

I’ve spent a lot of time retracing my NYC ancestor’s footsteps…where did they live, what streets did they walk on, what did they see and hear?

I wondered about the Weegee photo.  How could I determine when that photo was taken? What could I learn about the fire? It was dark so it occurred at night or in the early morning. The priest wore a heavy topcoat, which suggested it was wintertime. And since the fire claimed one or more lives, I surmised that the fire would have kept the company out of the house for at least an hour. I carefully examined the old journals I found at Engine Company 14’s basement, noting the fires that fit those parameters. I found eight.

I learned that The International Center of Photography was the largest repository of Weegee photos. I called the ICP and was directed to an archivist in charge of Weegee’s work. I started with the first fire on my list. It matched my criteria. The fire occurred during a cold-weather month, March; the call came into the firehouse during darkness, 4:51 AM; the company was out of quarters for two hours and twenty-four minutes, and Firefighter Hale was one of the firefighters who responded to the alarm.

I was lucky; the archivist found the photo in a moment. The photo was published in PM Magazine on March 8, 1942.

The next day I visited the New York Public Library’s microfilm room. I requested the specific date of the PM Magazine that I wanted. I found the photo and the story on page three of the March 8, 1942, edition.

A fire had ignited—it appeared someone had fallen asleep while smoking—and the building’s occupants fled in panic. A woman, however, holding one of her children, was trapped on an upper floor. She leaped from the building with her child in her arms. They were killed on impact.

I often sit and stare at the Weegee photo and imagine the events. The photo captures the hard times and sufferings of the poor, and the immediacy of life and death. I imagine the compassion the firefighters must have felt, their feelings of helplessness and despair as the woman prepared to leap from the window with her child in her arms. I think of the men running into burning buildings, coming to the aid of people they’d never met, risking their lives to help those in need.

I walked the street my grandfather did…I saw the building where the women and her child were killed and I listened to the music my grandfather might have heard when he returned to the firehouse, early that winter’s morning…perhaps the perfect title for the night’s events…Blues in the Night


On March 27, 7:30pm, at The Cell Theatre, The Manhattan Chamber Players and Seunghee Lee (Sunny) will be presenting a sampling of a number of the masterworks written for clarinet by Mozart, Brahms, and Weber. The first half of the program will feature the first movement of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, a movement from Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the the last movement of the virtuosic Weber Clarinet Quintet.

The second half of the program will feature tango music, including the works of Piazzolla and JP Jofre. JP and Sunny will perform JP’s Double Concerto, a work that was  written for clarinet and bandoneon and demonstrates the evolution of clarinet music and the instrument’s versatility. The Double Concerto was premiered last  year by JP and Sunny during Sunny’s Carnegie Hall recital.  

For tickets, which are $20, and additional info click here

The cell is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. 



What a fabulous day at 650Read’s “Outta Ireland” event, which was part of Carnegie Hall’s “Migrations” series. Ed McCann, 650’s founder, emceed the event, which included a number of great readers and writers, among them my friends Jack O’Connell, Colin Broderick, Malachy McCourt and Maura Mulligan. 


Please join us at the cell theatre on Friday, February 22nd, 7:30pm when clarinetist and international recording artist Seunghee Lee (Sunny) and I will be showcasing a number of fabulous artists in a preview of our upcoming 2019 concert series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to The Cell.”( The doors and bar open at 6:45.)  

During the evening you will be able to sample the music of four of the upcoming shows and mingle with the performers after the event. This is a free event but you must reserve seats by contacting me at 

Tickets for each 2019 show are $20. A subscription for all seven shows is $100, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, considering the talent we’ve assembled, is a great bargain. (Ticket and subscription sales will begin shortly.) We will also be looking for people who would like to become executive producers or co-producers of the series or perhaps produce one of the shows. Our goal is simple: To present outstanding music at a great value and pay the artists commensurate with their talents. 

Program for February 22nd:

  • Grammy nominated Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney will perform works from their show, “From Opera to Pop” 
  • Yuri Juarez and Renato Diz will perform works from their show, “From Classical to Jazz”
  • Empire Wild (2 cellos & percussion) will perform a sampling of cover songs, which they will be featuring in their show. (All of these artists mentioned in this post have appeared in my shows before except Empire Wild.  This phenomenal trio of Juilliard graduates teamed up in 2018 after discovering a shared interest in musical styles.  They bring their virtuosic technique to far reaching genres.)
  • Seunghee (Sunny) will perform a few works with Empire Wild, as well as music she will be playing with the Manhattan Chamber Players during her show. 


Reserve your seats now. I hope to see you there.

Charles R. Hale



Shows that were written and created by Charles R. Hale:

Charles R. Hale Presents: “A Musical History of the Lower East Side”

“Jazz in the City”

“Crossing Boroughs” at The Museum of the City of New York

Charles R. Hale and David Goldman: “New York/A Musical Memoir”

“From Carnegie Hall to the Cell Theatre”

“WWII and New York City: Connecting Time and Place”

“Crossing Boroughs” A Charles R. Hale Production