New York, New York, a “helluva town” during WWII. The city witnessed three million soldiers and sailors passing through, waiting to be shipped out to an uncertain destiny. 

Nightclubs and theaters opened their doors to the droves of servicemen passing through. Broadway’s leading actors and actresses entertained servicemen at the Stage Door Canteen in Midtown. New Yorkers filled the theaters and the Times Square movie houses. They listened to songs that hailed American optimism at a time of national testing…and they listened to “slush songs”, sentimental songs of loss and loneliness. 

Charles R. Hale’s “WWII and NYC: Connecting Time and Place” recalls the electricity of the wartime home front, while recounting the significant role New York played in the national war effort. The show weaves the era’s vivid personalities, music and stories into an exciting tapestry of a city overcoming the greatest challenge of the twentieth century.

Charles R. Hale/Creator and Narrator

David S. Goldman/Music Director

Gertjan Houben/Lighting Designer

Clare Maloney/Vocals, /Sara Caswell/Violin, Robert Anthony Mack/Vocals and Baron Fenwick/Piano


February 11 and 12, Cell Theatre, 338 West 23rd St, NYC

For tickets: http://www.thecelltheatre.org/box-office


Here’s what Columbia Free-Times said about Baron Fenwick, who will be performing in “From Carnegie to the Cell,” 338 West 23rd St, NYC, Dec 13, 7:30pm. 

“Brilliant…. His driving rhythm, virtuosic technique, musical treatment and careful attention to the ensemble were all stunning. Put two or three more years on this young man, and we might well have a major star.” – Columbia Free-Times

Awarded silver medal in the 2019 Sendai International Music Competition, Baron has emerged as a leading pianist of his generation.

At 25 years old, he regularly performs with orchestras around the world, including the Flint Symphony, the South Shore Symphony, the Wintergreen Festival Orchestra and the Sendai Philharmonic, among others. He performed with the Mannes Orchestra after winning the 2018 Mannes Concerto Competition and he recently made his deubt in Carnegie Hall’s “Weill Hall.

For tix and info CLICK HERE


Join Artists Without Walls for its November 26th Showcase at The Cell.

A little about the presenters. (Clockwise from top left):

Shu Nakamura is a guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and music teacher who has performed with many Artists Without Walls’ members including Niamh Hyland, Anand Gan, Annette Homann, Charles R. Hale and others.

Gary Ryan:  “Stories keep haunting me until I write them down. Sometimes even after I write them down they still haunt me.”

Niamh Hyland, Artists Without Walls’ cofounder, is a singer/songwriter, entrepreneur, and executive raised in Co. Leitrim, Ireland. She toured globally as the lead singer of the original rock band Lily Sparks. Notable band and solo performances include The Ourland Festival at LincolnCenter, Whelan’s in Dublin, Webster Hall and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Cellist Martin Fett Martin is an active freelancer in the New York City area and has performed in orchestras and chamber ensembles across the USA and Europe. As a soloist, he has performed with the Manhattan Philharmonia and the Brooklyn Pro Arte Chamber Ensemble. He has played on the Today show at NBC studios and been heard on WQXR. Mr. Fett has held principal positions in many orchestras including the New York City Opera National Company.

Jim Hawkins tells stories and sings songs in the Irish tradition as well as his own personal stories from his childhood in Ireland and his growing up in NYC.Presently, he is working on a 3 part project entitled, “The Irish People in Story, Poetry and Song.” 

Mountain Maidens is a Long Island-based folk harmony trio comprised of Candice Baranello, Lorraine Berger and Marie Mularczyk O’Connell. Since first meeting at the Dickens Festival in Port Jefferson, the threesome has been performing a unique and harmonious mix of ballads, folk songs, country and gospel numbers, love songs and songs of social justice throughout the local area — including a slot at the Folk Music Society of Huntington’s Annual Members Showcase concert in January.

Mark Donnelly is a writer of plays, poetry, short fiction, and nonfiction, with multiple publishing credits. He has an MFA in Creative Writing and teaches English at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights and at Borough of Manhattan Community College. Tonight he’s presenting his newest monologue, “Inner Dialogue.”

Richard Stillman (not pictured) is an actor & musician who plays the banjo, mandolin, ukulele, guitar, bagpipes & 12 other instruments.  He has performed on Broadway, The Kennedy Ctr. and in regional theaters from New Jersey to Alaska. His show, “The Spirit of Vaudeville,” won the BEST CONCERT AWARD at the United Solo Theater Festival in NYC.

You can listen to and meet these very talented performers Tuesday, at Artists Without Walls’ Showcase at The Cell. The Cell is located at 338 West 23rdSt. The doors and bar open at 6:45 and the presentations begin at 7:30.














Review written by 

Vinnie Nauheimer


In the musical “The Music Man,” professor Harold Hill only promised music. In the sixth installment of the series Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell, co-producer Charles R. Hale promised music…but he and Jiin Yang/violin and Wayne Weng/piano put together a wonderful evening of music and storytelling, an evening that was at once both enchanting and educational.

Co-producers Seunghee (Sunny) Lee and Charles R. Hale with Jiin Yang and Wayne Weng

The evening’s theme centered on classical music, however, the intent was to demonstrate how classical music has influenced and been influenced by different artistic genre, i.e. literature, cinema, poetry, jazz, rock, hip hop and more.  Charles added a special touch, weaving music and history—through spoken word and beautifully timed audio video—and in doing so “Connecting the Masters.”

The show opened with the Toys’ 1966 pop hit “Lover’s Concerto.” The melody, which was originally attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, was written by a Bach student, Christian Petzold.  Jiin and Wayne followed with a delightful performance of Petzold’s Minuet in G Major, leaving no doubt of “Lover’s Concerto’s” roots.

When Charles suggested that Radio Head, Sweet Box and even Leo Tolstoy were connected to classical music, audible sounds of wonder arose from the audience. Expounding on this connection, Jiin and Wayne played Bach’s “Air on G String” followed by Sweetbox’s European hip hop hit, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” It was obvious from the opening that Sweetbox’s background music originated with Bach.  

Continuing with the night’s theme, Charles related that the song “Tonight We Love,” a 1941 hit song by Tony Martin, came directly from Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 and Frank Sinatra’s 1945 hit “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” directly from Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No 2.  Wayne followed with the very popular main themes from both Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff’s works. Charles presented a recording of another post war song by Perry Como called “Till the End of Time,” which was based on Chopin’s Heroic Polonaise. One of the highlights of the evening was Wayne’s stirring performance of this Chopin work. 

The evening moved from classical music’s influence on pop tunes to the influence of literature on classical music. Perhaps the author whose works have most influenced classical music is William Shakespeare. One of Shakespeare’s most popular plays, “Romeo and Juliet,” has spawned several beautiful musical pieces, including a ballet by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. Jiin and Wayne performed an emotionally  charged work from the ballet, which is commonly referred to as “Montagues and Capulets.”

Charles’ compelling narration continued. He related how one of the members of the band Radio Head wrote the song “Exit Music” for a 1996 film version of “Romeo and Juliet.”  The audience listened to the opening lines of the song, performed by Radio Head, and then Charles read the remaining lines of the song, creating an interesting and compelling  juxtaposition of music and the spoken word.  

How are jazz, pop and classical music connected? Charles suggested that George Gershwin must have been very familiar with Maurice Ravel’s Violin Sonata when he, Gershwin, wrote “Summertime,” a jazz standard. Jiin and Wayne then performed Ravel’s Violin Sonata, an evocative and bluesy piece for violin and piano. It was quickly evident that Gershwin was likely influenced by Ravel’s work.

Jiin Yang/violin, Wayne Weng/piano and Charles R. Hale/narrator

The penultimate section of the evening featured classical music and cinema. Music from two films, Dangerous Moonlight and Schindler’s List were presented…an audio version of “Warsaw Concerto” from Dangerous Moonlight, followed by Jiin and Wayne’s performance of the main theme from Schindler’s list. The classical music/cinema section closed out with Jiin’s magnificent solo of a caprice from John Corigliano’s film “Red Violin.”

All good things must end and after Charles read a segment from Leo Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata,” a passionate story of lust, marriage and music, Jiin and Wayne presented a bravura performance of the “Presto” from Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata.”

Many thanks to Seunhee Lee (Sunny) and Charles R. Hale for producing this magnificent show and for the entire series. With each performance exceeding the previous one, we can only wait for the next one in the state of anticipation. Next up, Empire Wild, October 18, 7:30pm at The Cell. For tickets and information CLICK HERE 

Photos by Vera Maura.


Connecting the Masters: How are Beethoven, Bach, Chopin and Shakespeare connected to  RadioHead, SweetBox, Perry Como and Tolstoy?  

Ji in Yang and Wayne Weng

Come listen to Ji in Yang/violin, Wayne Weng/piano and Charles R. Hale/narrator illustrate how classical music has influenced and been influenced by the arts including cinema, poetry, literature, jazz, pop music and hip hop.  You might be surprised by the connections!

Charles R. Hale

Grand entertainment, mixed with a dose of history…a recipe for a most enjoyable experience.

For TICKETS, which are $20, and additional information CLICK HERE

Nancy Manocherian’s the cell presents a Charles R. Hale Productions/Musica Solis Series


September 27:  Ji in Yang and Wayne Weng, “Connecting the Masters.”

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


“From Opera to Pop”


Vinnie Nauheimer

Could Charles R. Hale and Seunghee Lee (Sunny), the producers of the series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to the Cell,”  have imagined that they would create an event as mesmerizing as Thursday’s, when they booked Clare Maloney and Nicole Zuraitis to perform “Classically Exposed: From Opera to Pop” at The Cell.  The dictionary defines mesmerizing as: “holding the attention of (someone) to the exclusion of all else or so as to transfix them” and to mesmerize, you need just the right ingredients….these two performers provided that perfect mix.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney

Both Nicole and Clare were classically trained in opera, but each has found her niche in other musical fields: Clare’s focus is on pop, rock and folk music, while Nicole’s is jazz, for which she was nominated for a Grammy earlier this year. Their singing, humor and interaction with the audience–and each other–made for a magnificent evening.

Both women describe themselves as “recovering opera singers” so it was no surprise that they opened the program with an operatic burst, “O Sole Mio,” accompanied by pianist Matt Baker with Clare adding a unique touch…an electric guitar.  (As a side note, Clare mentioned she would prefer singing opera while playing the guitar. Interesting choice and consistent with Clare’s musical direction.)  “O Sole Mio” was an interesting way to open the show, since it had all the qualities of a “show-stopping-tune.”  There was, however, no stopping these two fabulous singers. The pace only picked up.

Matt Baker

In keeping with one of the show’s underlying themes–opera’s influence on pop music–Clare sang “It’s Now or Never,” a song popularized by Elvis Presley in 1960 and taken directly from “O Sole Mio.” Clare was followed by Nicole, who performed a splendored rendition of a 1930’s Larry Clinton song, “My Reverie.” Clinton wrote the lyrics, but the music is based on an 1890 piano piece composed by Claude Debussy. After Pianist Matt Baker was introduced he performed Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” which was enhanced by Nicole’s vocalizations. A musical masterpiece.

Enrico Caruso was arguably the greatest tenor—Pavarotti’s fans might think differently—but certainly one of the greatest. Clare honored this great singer with the song “Caruso,” written by Lucio Dalla in 1986. The song has been covered by many including Lara Fabian, who inspired Clare’s stirring interpretation of the tune.  

Clare and Nicole then introduced singer Elizabeth Tasch who sang a clever rendition of “Summertime” from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Singing the song in full operatic voice, complete with amusing theatrical expressions, she created a humorous montage, switching effortlessly between “Summertime” and a number of popular songs.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney

Nicole and Clare followed with one of the most famous duets in the operatic repertoire and one of the evening’s many highlights, the “Flower Duet” from Leo Delibes’ “Lakme.”  The evening was moving into high gear.

Clare then chose to honor two women who had a great influence on her and for whom opera was an inspiration early in their careers, Joan Baez and Linda Ronstadt. Clare began the tribute with a song that Baez sang at Woodstock, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” beautifully sweeping into Ronstadt’s “Blue Bayou.”

Returning to the theme of opera’s influence on popular song, Nicole, with Matt’s accompaniament, performed “Stranger in Paradise,” from the 1953 show Kismet. The melody is taken directly from Alexander Borodin’s opera Prince Igor and known as “Polovtsian Dances.”

The program closed in grand fashion with Clare, Nicole, Matt and Elizabeth reprising “Summertime.”

It was an exceptional night of song, musical innovation and interaction between the performers and the audience. Thank you, Charles and Sunny for producing the series “Classically Exposed From Carnegie Hall to the Cell.” Last night created a new bar for this series.

Matt Baker, Nicole Zuraitis, Charles R. Hale, Clare Maloney, Elizabeth Tasch and Seunghee Lee (Sunny)

Photos by Vera Maura and Tom Myles. 



A wonderful performance in a most “New York setting” last night–The Cell Theatre at dusk–featuring the Verona Quartet, with from left Jonathan Ong, Abby Rojansky, Jonathan Dormand and Dorothy Ro with a special guest appearance by Seunghee Lee, Clarinet/Sunny Kang. A Charles R Hale/Musica Solis presentation. Photo by Tom Myles

The Verona Quartet/Jonathan Ong, Abigail Rojansky, Jonathan Dormand and Dorothy Ro.


Join us on Friday, May 10, 7:30pm for the third edition of “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie to the Cell” featuring the Verona Quartet: Dorothy Ro​/Violin, Abby Rojansky​/Viola, Jonathan Ong​/ Violin, Jonathan Dormand​, Cello and special guest Seunghee Lee/clarinet. Another evening of classical music as you haven’t heard it before.

Hailed by The New York Times as an “outstanding ensemble,” the Verona Quartet is dedicated to showcasing the art form of the string quartet and to elevating their music making to convey the poetic narrative of storytelling.

For tickets and info CLICK HERE. The Cell Theatre is located at 338 West 23rd St. Doors and bar at 7:00pm, 

For tickets and additional info click here

Nancy Manocherian​’s “the cell​” presents Charles R Hale Productions/Musica Solis Series, “Classically Exposed.” With artistic director Seunghee Lee, Clarinet​ (Sunny Kang​)


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.