624 METROPOLITAN AVENUE
STATEN ISLAND, NY
BA WELLESLEY COLLEGE
(Sociology/ Musicology and Theater)
Only African-American to receive the PRESSER MUSIC SCHOLAR AWARD
MA EMERSON COLLEGE
(Theater Education/ Acting Movement for Theater/ Teaching Fellow at the College)
First African American to complete that course of study.
Teaching Fellow (Asst. Prof.)
Taught acting classes as a part of a specialized masters degree program.
2 Year course of study exploring various acting techniques/analysis of literature/required basic knowledge of “ backstage skills’ i.e. tech direction/ publicity/costumes/ successful completion of a thesis project/ oral and written exams
As part of the course of study co-directed EMEPEROR JONES with Dr. Sensenbach
Thesis focused on Michael Chekov’s theory “ PSYCOLOGICAL GESTURE”
Thesis Project was a collaboration with Prof. Danny Scarbourough at Wellesley College. Appearing and asst in production of a piece about African-American artists living in Europe to avoid racism.. James Baldwin, Josephine Baker.
The piece was written with Alice Walker for the centennial celebration of the College. Assisted in production and acted/danced in the piece as Josephine Baker.
NYU CREATIVE ARTS TEAM
Actor/ Educator (adjunct faculty member)
Developed techniques and new materials in a “ educational laboratory’. The material was used to engage middle school students labeled “ at risk’ in the New York City Department of Education. The materials developed included plays, theater exercises aimed at exploring topical issues such as drug use, gangs, alcohol use, and gender identity. The pieces were performed in these schools as part of a tour. The piece utilized spoken word, music, and movement. The group also was a guest at the Educational Laboratory at the Kennedy Center and also was featured on the TODAY SHOW.
Instructor/ Coordinator (adjunct faculty)/ Content Supervisor
Duties included reviewing the material used in the course of study for all 6 classes included in the program, supervising field/hands-on segment of the course.
Finding guest lecturers, monitoring curriculum, managing recruitment of students, reporting to all the managing organizations( which included the Marymount Administration, DANCERS IN TRANSITION, NYC DOE, New York State Workforce, and The Actors Fund of America.)
The areas of focus included:
History of Public Education
Piaget’s theory of Cognitive Development
Lesson Planning and Structure
Recruiting various Arts Providers for ‘hands-on’ experience
The program was extended to Los Angeles through the DANA Foundation.
As a Dana Foundation Scholar I was asked to set it up with a three-person team in LA. We worked in collaboration with major Arts Providers such as Jacques D’Amboise’s organization and others.
ARTS IN EDUCATION ADMINISTRATION/ PROGRAMMING/ PERFORMANCE/ SPECIAL PROJECTS
DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS
Evaluator / Citywide Monitor Arts Programming for Children Living in Temporary Housing
Monitored and evaluated all grant recipients in District 4, 8, 12, and 23
Designed Conceptual framework for the work-study mentoring aspect of the program as part of a grant-proposal team
This program was in collaboration with all the major arts organizations in NYC including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Natural History, Alvin Ailey, Dance Theater of Harlem, NYC Aquarium, The Staten Island Museum, etc.
SAFARI EAST CULTURAL PRODUCTIONS
COORDINATOR/ ARTISTIC DIRECTOR/ PERFORMER
Grant Proposal Writing
Hiring Artists and evaluation
Curriculum Development, performance development and monitoring
Teaching Artist/ Performer in Assemblies
Safari East primarily services emotionally disturbed “ at-risk’ student populations in New York City Public Schools. Safari East also presents concerts at various National Arts Centers including Lincoln Center, Schomberg Library in Harlem, and has
worked internationally especially in the UK with Terry Monaghan and the Jiving Lindy Hoppers of London with workshops and performances which included appearances at various schools, colleges and The Edinburgh Festival in Scotland
COLLABORATIONS WITH ELIZABETH SWADOS, Director, Composer, Educator
( Professor at NYU, acclaimed performance artist composer and mentor)
Collaborated on a number of projects that used theater as a vehicle to open up discussion about social change at various venues including the 92nd street Y, Synagogues, Delacorte Theater in Central Park, Asia Society, and Saint Marks Church.
LOS TRES REYES ( THREE KINGS)
Was performed for 15 years in various venues using this celebration to reach out to young people and their parents. Many of the participants were living in temporary housing shelters. This piece is designed to emphasize the importance of celebrating life on Epiphany. The piece (lyrics/ script/ and music) was written by Liz Swados and Jeannine Otis Included the HUDSON VAGABOND PUPPET COMPANY, ( Lois Bohevesky, Artistic Director/CEO) and young people in the chorus and as puppeteers, a band, and bi-lingual Narrators.
It was performed at the NJ Performing Arts Center, Children’s Aid Society, Saint Marks Church, and The Cathedral of Saint John The Divine.
It was featured both in the NY TIMES and on National Public Radio in an interview.
( Excerpts can be found on YOU TUBE labeled excerpts from THREE KINGS Hudson Vagabond Company.
HALE HOUSE NYC (GUEST ARTIST)
A FAITH’S JOURNEY PROJECT
Performed, created, and led workshops in the United States and Japan ( Osaka, and Maruko 8 week tour) . The play A FAITH’S JOURNEY, a music drama based on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., was used as a catalyst for discussions centered around parallel discrimination based on race and class both in Japan and societies in the United States.
STATEN ISLAND TEACHING ARTIST TRANING INSTITUTE
This program was comprised of a team that included Dr. Jerry James of the Center For Arts in Education, Russell Granet ( now Director of Lincoln Center’s Teaching Arts Program), Susan Fenley ( SUNDOG Theater) and Kelly Kuwabara ( Staten Island Arts).
This as a concentrated one-month course of study that explored :
1.Effective Lesson planning and Structure for Arts Programming
2.Cognitive Development /Developing Age Appropriate Activities
3.Using art as a tool for exploring issues that build self-esteem and community
STATEN ISLAND MUSEUM
Guest educator/ artist
Worked with acclaimed filmmakers Willi Chu and Robyn George to present a project entitled STATEN ISLAND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS; Profiles in Leadership
This was a documentary/ exhibition written and narrated by Jeannine Otis that chronicled 7 amazing people in every field that are successful and use their success to help the community. It as featured in the NY TIMES and broke attendance records for the exhibition and related events / workshops held at the museum
(On You Tube “ Excerpts from PORTRAITS IN LEADERSHIP”)
TEACHING ARTISTS CREDITS( Performance / Curriculum Development
Worked extensively with various arts providers as an independent artist including:
Bank Street After School Program ( Dance and Movement)
( Engaging students labeled “at risk” to write original pieces that explore topical issues)
Music For Many
Brooklyn Arts Cultural Assoc. ( Actor in a topical play entitled JUMPBACK)
NJ Historical Society( Engaging students in freestyle spoken word and rap to express positive values.)
Enact ( Conflict Resolution through Drama)
Coordinated a recording project that was sponsored by BMG Records,
( Students wrote songs, spoken word pieces, and original music)
Staten Island Arts through the Staten Island Foundation documentary IMAGINING A BETTER WORLD
( wrote and produced a film that explored a dialogue with kindergarten children in the neighborhood here Eric Garner was killed ..it is on YOU TUBE.. IMAGINING A BETTER WORLD)
Puppeteer with HUDSON VAGABOND PUPPETS
(Featured in MYTHS ( Hera),The Constitution ( Funded buy the National Endowment), Peter and The Wolf, Piece about evolution that a presented at Lincoln Center with the New York Philharmonic with the Little Orchestra Society, Toured the United States
Juan Darien Recording Project ( Directed by Julie Taymor Eliot Goldenthal), ensemble member with Eliot Goldenthal)
PORGY and BESS educational workshops ( companion to the European touring company NEW YORK HARLEM PRODUCTIONS /Larry Marshall, Director
Foundation for A Creative Community
Music Theater Workshop ( Lynn Austin piece about Abuse, Aids.
Includes work with Eve Ensler/ James Lescene ‘ EXTRAODINARY MEASURES”
( Reviewed in the NY TIMES)
Vagina Monologues / related Workshops
Theatreworks USA, Music Director FREEDOM TRAIN ( 16 years)
Educational Theater ( Equity) that has toured the USA for over three decades playing venues like Town Hall, Grand Ole Opry, etc. It is a piece about the early life of HARRIET TUBMAN. ( Extensive information and reviews can be accessed online)
CITY KIDS USA
Engaging students in projects that encourage students to write material about topical issues
Choral Master; Designing and presenting performances, selecting material
Workshops on songwriting
Ted Turners’ BETTER SOCIETY AWARDS coordinated a 100 voice student choir
AIDS benefit at NEW YORK CITY’S PALLADIUM SPACE hosted by Linda Lavin
Speak Benefit at Saint James Theater featuring original work of students with guests Herbie Hancock, Branford Marsalis, Spaulding Gray and others.
EMMY WINNING Short ( choral master) WHAT ARE YOU GOONNA DO ABOUT HATE’’
NEW YORK LAMENTATION ( Director) 2017-2018
This is drama with music piece that explores the history of slavery in the Episcopal Church in a format similar to OUR TOWN and/or the SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY.
Author Chuck Kramer uses the history of some of those interred in the Graveyard at Saint James Episcopal Church in Hyde Park, NY.
This piece is designed to be a catalyst that is geared to encourage a dialogue about race relations in our society.
WHO AM I
(Based on THE GATHERING co-written and edited by Jeannine Otis)
This piece juxtaposes contemporary classical music with material that was written with young people who are labeled as ‘at-risk’. There is a section in the book that features works that are a collaboration between Ms Otis and young people that were incarcerated in a facility for young people in Virginia.
The Gathering, published by Seabury Books is a collection of prose, poetry, spoken, and rap based on exploring our on spiritual journey as an intergenerational community which Ms Otis believes is the ultimate bridge to building stronger community and has worked in this way since the 80’s. The act of bringing people to create is the ‘ultimate’ icebreaker in tough situations. The piece was performed at
The La MaMa Theater in 2014 . it premiered in Houston, Texas that same year. The piece features ANTHONY TURNER. It is easily accessed on YOU TUBE.
RURAL AND MIGRANT MINISTRIES
Projects include: Using music and original theater pieces written collaboratively as a tool to process the challenges of being a migrant farm-worker as a child and/or adult both for therapy and healing and for raising issues to the community at large.
Performance in various venues upstate, and at Riverside Church
Overnight Camp (an opportunity for young people with no sense of what it is like to be a child to be one)
Special programs presented at various venues included the Theater at Riverside Church
Rural Women’s Conference
(Collaborating with women who are farm workers to use art as a tool for positive expression and therapy)
Richard Witt, Director, Pete Seeger guest artist
Appeared as The Cantor in a piece that explored the commonalities of the African-American and the Jewish Cultural traditions.
Toured the country working with Rabbi’s and in churches from NYC to California.
This piece was designed to open up dialogue between the two cultures during the Crown Heights conflicts in NYC.
Studied with a Rabbinical Instructor to learn the Hebrew Chants a the Hebrew Union School
Dr. JoAnne Tucker Artistic Director
SOUNDTRACK OF LIFE: Living You Best Life
(Using art as a tool to encourage anti-violence)
This program has been in existence 15 years. The content, conceptualized by Ms Otis and based on the same work included in THE GATHERING is geared towards challenging young people labeled ‘at risk’ to explore what living your best life means… especially as it concerns violence. Students are encouraged to express their opinions verbally on current topical issues. They articulate what living your best life is in all the various facets.
Then students either write individually or in teams expressing themselves either in spoken word, rap, or in song-writing. The groups record their work in a professional recording studio and performs the pieces live for the community in special event. There is a built -in intergenerational component Students get the opportunity to be in dialogue with members of the community. Teachers and even administrators participate in activities with the students and there is often dialogue between them.
MUSIC DIRECTOR/ CHORAL DIRECTOR FOR PERFORMING GROUPS/ MUSIC OUTREACH CONCERTS
“Waking New York “, a theater piece presented about ALLEN GINSBERG
Featured in the NY TIMES.
Music Director for numerous groups both community and professional groups:
Universal Temple of the Arts
Grover Washington Jr 9 ( choral music caption for select projects)
Jana Productions ( five years)
Kool and the Gang( choral music captain for a cross-country tour)
Explainer ( Calypso/choral music coordinator)
Webster Lewis ( New England Conservatory coordinated vocal music)
Sam Jacobs for Profile Records (coordinated choral music)
SAINT MARKS CHURCH IN THE BOWERY
MUSIC DIRECTOR/ OUTREACH 1991-Present
Responsible for all aspects of liturgical music programming and planning including selection of hymns and choral direction
Planning services with liturgical planning committee
Developing innovative workshops that explore music and liturgy
Producing concert series for Emerging Artists as well as artists such as Pete Seeger Downtown Music Productions, THREE KINGS
(featured in the NY TIMES ( February 2009)….review of THE CRADLE WILL ROCK. Served as producer, actor)
Reading series highlights include work as a producer/coordinator/ actor with Ellie Stone of JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL AND LIVING IN PARIS and Bill Russell.
(The piece is in development ( 2018), it tells the story of Eric Blau’s tragic death and tackles issues related to aging.)
Special Children’s workshops
Using the arts as outreach to underserved communities
Member of National Committee for LITURGY and MUSIC collaborating with Dent Davidson, General Convention
Member of the Board of Church Publishing
Guest artist/choral conductor at The Cathedral of Saint John The Divine
(Kent Tritle Director), with assoc. organist Bill Randolph, Paul Winter, The Festival Diocesan Choir,
Numerous guest appearances nationwide including New Orleans, Chicago
Publishing credits/ books and articles:
The Gathering: CITY HOPES Seabury Books (2007)
Backstage article about the Arts In Education Program at Marymount
Arts Horizons (Recent article about special theater project in Chinatown with “ at risk’ students)
Staten Island Advance 65 articles about various projects etc.
(Review, Ben Brantley THEATER REVIEW IN THE PRESENCE OF DEATH )
Directed by Eve Ensler featuring James Lescene 5/5/95)
In Living Color
(Review DANCE, Jennifer Dunning A Tapestry of Gullah Life- February 27th 1989 by Diane McIntyre and Olu Dara/ Character Old Anna).
The Cradle Will Rock
( Review OPERA Anthony Tommassini February 9th, 2009 by Marc Blizstein/ Character Ella Worker)
THREE KINGS by Liz Swados and Jeannine Otis
Profiles in Leadership : STATEN ISLAND MUSEUM
More Articles in Books/ Magazines
Starting From Zero with 0 $ by Becky Garrison Chapter on Saint Marks
Ambassadors for God Envisioning Reconciliation Rites for the 21t Century:
Liturgical Studies Five Edited by Jennifer Phillips Wellesley ‘76
( Chapter on Jeanine Otis)
Featured in the Wellesley Alumni Magazine
The Living Church 2004 HIP HOP MASS by Becky Garrison
The Living Church 2005 THREE KINGS by Becky Garrison
YOU DON’T MISS YOUR WATER Lincoln Center Library
IN LIVING COLOR Lincoln Center Library
EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES Lincoln Center Library
2010 Rural and Migrant Ministries
2009 Grieving Center.org
Member of the Standing Commission for Music and Liturgy / National Episcopal Church /2006-2012
Member of Church Publishing Board / 2009-2012
2011 William A Morris Humanitarian Award from the NAACP
(For the work on Documentary Profiles in Leadership : SI SOCIAL ENTRPRENUERS)
2012 Willie Award from the SI SHAKEPEARE SOCIETY for Doubt
2012 LIFETIME ACHEIVEMENT AWARD from the New York City Council
Christine Quinn and Debi Rose
2017 SI EMPOWERMENT ZONE
2017 Universal Temple Of The Arts Performer/Educator
Hudson Vagabond Puppets (Excerpts from THREE KINGS Los Tres Reyes)
Excerpts from PROFILES IN LEADERSHIP /Will Chu Productions
Imagining a Better World PS 31 /Will Chu Productions
Jeannine Otis /Heikki Sarmanto FLOWERS IN THE WATER