Her “little” book THE GATHERING was made into a Musical Theater piece entitled WHO AM I by composer MARY CAROL WARWICK, and debuted at The La MaMa Theater in 2014. In August 2019, WHO AM I, featuring Professor Anthony Turner, was presented at the NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY at THE SMITHSONIAN.
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Jeannine Otis has performed under the direction of Liz Swados, Eve Ensler, Louis Johnson, Joanne Tucker of Avodah, and other.
Jeannine Otis has toured extensively worldwide in musical theater. Anthony Tomassini of the New York Times labeled Jeannine a “show-stopper” in a review of a Downtown Music Production’s version of THE CRADLE WILL ROCK. As the STRAWBERRY WOMAN in Porgy and Bess, Jeannine toured extensively in Europe singing in many of the great opera houses in Europe including those in Rome, Cologne, and Modena—home of Luciano Pavorotti.
She also was featured in a production of DOUBT presented by the Staten Island Shakespeare Theater.
The Staten Island Philharmonic perform selections from ‘Porgy and Bess’ by George Gershwin with guest vocalists Jeannine Otis, soprano and Anthony Turner, baritone.
Jeannine says: “I have gone all over the world with PORGY and BESS….sang at the Opera House in Rome, Venice…and I have sung contemporary opera… I was a dance understudy at the MET…”
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In addition to being a performer/educator/writer, Jeannine has been involved directing topical theater for two decades.
She holds a BA in Sociology and Musicology (Presser Scholar) from Wellesley College and an MA in theater education and movement from Emerson College, Boston, where she also taught undergraduate acting. She was an adjunct at NYU and a member of the Creative Arts Team of NYU, touring the schools system with topical plays that were designed to spark dialogue.
She has also developed many theater pieces for various communities to help open up a dialogue with the goal of building community around intergenerational issues, abuse, and bullying. She also has directed theater in many underserved communities with formerly incarcerated youth and adults. Often they develop original material in the form of a play or spoken-word dialogue.
She has worked at the Denver Center, ART at Harvard, the Kennedy Center Theater Lab, in Japan, and in the UK in at-risk communities in London. Her collaboration with Liz Swados on a piece about the celebration of Three Kings included the Hudson Vagabond Puppet Company, a youth chorus, and dancers from the Dance Theater of Harlem’s Breaking Barriers program.
She has been co- director for Theaterworks USA for Freedom Train for 15 years. The piece is about the childhood of Harriet Tubman and it tours the United States, including Town Hall and the Grand Old Opry.
Jeannine is Music Director of St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery. She has been a guest artist with the DANSPACE platform series recently working with Reggie Wilson and Eiko Otake.
In 2018 as an artist-in-residence Jeannine directed a piece entitled “A New York Lamentation,” written by the Rev C. Kramer. The piece toured the NY area.
Question and answer sessions allowed members of various congregations to explore issues related to race relations .
FROM THE HORSES MOUTH (featured artist) at SNUG HARBOR CULTURAL CENTER
It is a celebrated piece sponsored by THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT that has been done Nationally and Internationally that engages people in the process of telling their story through movement with music included. Designed by Jamie Cunningham and Tina Kroll, the piece has featured great artists such a Carmen Delavallade, Linda Tarnay, and the late Dudley Williams of Alvin Ailey.
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