Sunday, November 7, 2010

TPW Opens Triumphantly at fallFRINGE

Once again The Poet Warriors swept audiences into an emotional 100 minute musical ride. The talented six-member ensemble and two-piece band brought back the 2010 Capital Fringe favorite musical to the stage to a highly engaged audience.

Come and join the Warriors for an unforgettable night of theater.  Four more performances left.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

fallFRINGE performance dates announced

Saturday, November 6th @ 9:00pm
Thursday, November 11 @ 6:45pm
Sunday, November 14th @ Noon
Friday, November 19th @ 7:00pm
Saturday, November 20th @ 12:30pm

WHERE: the SHOP at Fort Fringe, 607 New York Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001

TICKETS: Go on sale October 5 at -- $20 ($5 discount with Fringe Button)

The Poet Warriors is one of eight out of 134 shows invited back by Capital Fringe - by popular demand! Here is what a few theater insiders had to say about our show…

Capital Fringe Founder

"…an intelligent and beautifully written book, score, and lyrics…a wondrous cast… whose angelic harmonies and heart-felt performances earned a long standing ovation…my favorite musical of this year’s Capital Fringe Festival."
Joel Markowitz, Theatre Columnist -

"This production was a sterling example of a new musical, well-produced, well-directed, and exceedingly well-cast that isn’t afraid to have a few false numbers in order to have musical moments that truly shine."
Anna Brungardt,

"…veers from somber ballads to rollicking show tunes backed by boot camp-inspired choreography…effortless ensemble work…as we follow the players through training, deployment, and the dislocations and tragedies that form the plot’s emotional core."
Derek Hills, Washington City Paper

Our cast will be thrilled to see you and grateful if you would help us spread the word! So come on down to the hoppin' Gallery Place/Chinatown/Convention Center Area and "Git it while the gittin's good!"

Friday, September 17, 2010

fallFRINGE … here we come!

We got good news and good news… The Poet Warriors is one of nine shows (out of 134) invited to be part of fallFRINGE (Nov. 4 – Nov. 21).  The other good news is that all but one of our marvelous cast will be returning in their roles.

We hope that you can "git it while the gittin's good" tickets go on sale October 5, 2010. Please help us spread the word and create some buzz.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Virginia Based Photographer Shares His Point of View

Performing Arts photographer Paul Gillis captured the last performance of The Poet Warriors at the 2010 Capital Fringe Festival. The cast and production team are thrilled to see his evocative images online.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Some Numbers to be Proud of…

During the closing ceremonies, Julianna Brienza, Capital Fringe Festival founder and artisitic director, shared some amazing statistics that are worth noting. Since its inception five years ago, the Fringe has brought 600 productions to the stage. Almost 50% of them were new works. This year alone there were 57 new works (The Poet Warriors among them). In 2009 there were 67 shows sold out. This year's sold out shows totaled 88. In 2009 there were 25,500 tickets sold. This year, 33,897 tickets were sold.

The cast and production team of The Poet Warriors are extremely proud to have been part of this amazing festival in our Nation's capital. Jose Luis Díaz asserts: "We couldn't have done it without the amazing audiences that supported us through out the festival."

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Poet Warriors Closes FRINGE Run on a High Note

After five emotional performances, the company of THE POET WARRIORS bid goodbye to the 5th Capital Fringe Festival yesterday afternoon. In a sold-out house, the company once again moved a highly engaged audience to tears and to their feet, when they offered a heart-felt standing ovation.

This final performance was attended by many of Washington's finest local talent, artistic and music directors -- and the most enthusiastic audience. Joel Markowitz of DC Theatre Scene, wrote "It was my favorite musical of this year’s Capital Fringe Festival, and I am confident that it will find a wider audience in the future. With an intelligent and beautifully written book, score, and lyrics by George Purefoy Tilson, this show had a wondrous cast of extraordinary singers and actors -  Jase Parker, Rachel Brook, Jonathan Henson, Ben Levine, Alan Naylor, and Jamie Ogden  whose  angelic harmonies and heart-felt performances earned a long standing ovation by the audiences and this writer. Thanks, George, for bringing this amazing production to DC audiences. It was an honor to be part of the audience at the final performance. I saw a local Artistic Director in tears applauding wildly. I hope she will bring the show to her theatre. Two hours never moved so quickly and so elegantly."

THE POET WARRIORS will "go and go and go so far, that it will return eventually."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The reviews are in… said…
"[It has] moments that are intensely genuine and evoke honest emotional response." 

"this production was a sterling example of a new musical, well-produced, well-directed, and exceedingly well-cast that isn’t afraid to have a few false numbers in order to have musical moments that truly shine."

"[Jase] Parker’s entire performance was captivating—he exuded an energy/presence/what have you that demanded focus while serving, never hindering, the action of the play.

audiences said… 
"It was poignant, funny, and moving… The actors were completely committed to their characters and drew you in from the start."

"It is a beautiful beautiful story in so many ways. I loved it. And I was so very moved by it. It will stay with me for a long time."

"[we] were blown away by it, as was the entire audience – as you saw when the show got a standing ovation."

"I am not a fan of musical theater. This show may have changed my mind about that!"

Come experience THE POET WARRIORS in the hands of six incredible performers. Tickets available for only three more performances!!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Standing Ovation on Opening Night

The incredibly talented and unflappable company of The Poet Warriors opened last night to a full house, drawing a thunderous well-deserved standing ovation. The two-hour theatrical experience was punctuated by a very engaged audience that pondered, laughed, and cried as they watched this heart-felt story unfold from the hands of six amazing artists.
After a very intense 2 1/2 month work period, The Poet Warriors are out in full force. Come join us. "Git it, while the Gittin' is Good!"

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Under the big top…

If anyone questions whether DC has a bohemian side they should have been down at the Fringe Festival headquarters on July 1st! Many of the 134 shows were represented by their producers and artists. People jammed themselves into the Festival tent on NY Ave to hear performances by several of the artists, but mostly to hang out, drink beer and pitch their shows. Our fearless producer was right in there working the crowd. It was very much a “show me yours, I’ll show you mine” kind of evening! When the box office people found out we were with “Poet Warriors” they volunteered that ours was in second place for ticket sales! Spread the word – our performers are awesome and deserve full houses!
George P. Tilson

Friday, July 2, 2010

Meet our musicians...

Greg Watkins – Music Director/Pianist  
A native Washingtonian, Greg is a proud alumnus of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and current candidate for a Bachelors degree in Music Education at The Howard University. An extremely gifted individual, he is a pianist, musical director, vocalist, composer, arranger, producer, and an aspiring educator. He is a former member of the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Mass Choir and Howard University's premiere vocal jazz ensemble Afro Blue.

For several years, Mr. Watkins faithfully served as member, Associate Choral Director, and organist for the Metropolitan Baptist Church (Washington, DC). Prior to and following this assignment, he served as pianist and organist for several other churches in the Washington Metropolitan area including The Isle of Patmos Baptist Church, The East Friendship Baptist Church, and The Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh Day Adventist Church. Mr. Watkins has toured Italy, performing as baritone soloist in the Annual Amalfi Coast Music & Arts Festival with Gospel recording artist Nolan Williams, Jr. He has also traveled to Russia and China, performing as member and Student Conductor of the world renowned and critically acclaimed Howard University (Concert) Choir. In 2008, Mr. Watkins served as pianist and Assistant Musical Director, alongside Director and Broadway and television actress Lynda Gravatt for the Duke Ellington School of the Arts’ collaborative all-school musical of William F. Brown’s The Wiz. In 2009, he was featured in the leading role of The Lyrics of Sunshine and Shadows, a two act opera by Steven M. Allen, based on the life and love of Paul Laurence Dunbar and Alice Ruth Moore. Most recently, he served as Musical Director for the Restoration Stage Theater Company’s two week production of All That Glitters, at The H Street Playhouse.

Mr. Watkins is a recipient of numerous awards and achievements including the ASCAP Foundation/Cherry Lane Foundation/Music Alive Scholarship Award in Honor of Quincy Jones, for his outstanding work in production, composition, performance, and musical direction. He currently serves as Music Director of the Washington Youth Choir, Director of Music and Arts at the Jerusalem African Methodist-Episcopal Church (Clinton, MD), vocal psalmist of Patrick Lundy & The Ministers of Music, and is the Artistic and Musical Director of his own youth & young adult community gospel ensemble WORSHIP BY CHOICE, which he founded in January 2005. Mr. Watkins has shared platforms with notable artists including Yolanda Adams, Take 6, Melba Moore, Minister Byron Cage, The Reverend Richard Smallwood, Dorothy Norwood, Phylicia RaShaad, India Arie, Clay Aiken, Donnie McClurkin, Regina Belle, Dr. Maya Angelou, Patti LuPone, Ben Vereen, Brian McKnight, and Neena Freelon. Some of his theatrical stage credits include Hallelujah: the Soul of Broadway, Junkanoo, Come Sunday: Duke Ellington’s Sacred Music with Dance, Gian Carlo Menotti’s Amahl & the Night Visitors, Loften Mitchell’s Bubbling Brown Sugar, James Baldwin’s Amen Corner, and Marc Blitzstein’s Regina. His playwright and production credits include his own I’ll Make a Difference, and The Devil Tested Me But God Preserved Me, along with three children’s musicals written by Howard University Theatre Assistant Professor Denise J. Hart, entitled, How I Learned to Be a Kid, When a Tree Grows In Brookland, and A Marvelous Celebration of Sound, which featured many of his own musical compositions and arrangements.

Brian Alpert - Drums 
Brian has been a student of the drums for 44 years. The list of those he has worked with reads like a "who's who" of the Washington area music scene, including guitarists Danny Gatton, Muddy Waters' Bob Margolin, blues legend Jimmy Thackery, and jazz and blues virtuoso Tom Principato. Brian has also backed-up legendary jazz pianist Mose Allison, accomplished jazz artists Deanna Bogart and Tim Eyermann, and even once supported comedy legend Red Skelton! These days Brian is a member of Doc Scantlin's Imperial Palms Orchestra and recently appeared on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion with the roots rock ensemble Karl Stoll and the Danger Zone. Brian's list of influences is wide ranging, from Ringo Starr and Gene Krupa to many of the great drummers of New Orleans, Louisiana. Read stories culled from his 30+ years on the road on his website,

First press coverage...

Our very own Rachel Brook (Miriam) was interviewed by Washington Jewish Week. Check out what she had to say!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

They sing…

" …we have no need to hang on to what was…"
Jonathan Henson (Lewis) and Alan Naylor (Ray)

"…deep six the turkey, and dump the nog…"
Alan Naylor (Ray), Jase Parker (Eddie), and Jonathan Henson (Lewis)

"…now it's time…"
Jase Parker (Eddie) and Ben Levine (David)

A sneak peak…

Miriam (the misguided optimist pacifist) with her love Ray (the West Pointer with a Southern whiskey voice) in a shared moment of contemplation.
Alan Naylor (Ray) and Rachel Brook (Miriam)

Friday, June 25, 2010

From the playwright...

We are now 15 days away from opening.  Seven years after I began writing the show.  2 ½ months since we held auditions. 

Our director, Patti Woolsey is an amazing director – and dramaturg; her vision of how to present the show is brilliant.  Greg Watkins is a stellar music director.  The cast – well you’ll just have to see ‘em to believe ‘em.

The show has 18 original songs and an original story inspired by my father and mother.  It examines the complex and often inconsistent beliefs and values held by those most closely affected by war – soldiers sent to fight and those on the home front wanting so desperately to believe in the cause that has taken their loved ones away.  In this ensemble piece, three unlikely couples are brought together because of the military.  Miriam is a pacifist married, as only fate would have it, to Ray an Army officer with a love of Greek mythology, nature…and music. Jeanette, from a wealthy New England family has fallen in love with a sharecropper’s son – now an Army chaplain.  And David – a reporter haunted by a tragedy he witnessed, falls in love with Eddie – who joins the military to prove himself.  

Someone asked me what words I would use to describe the piece.  I like to think audiences will find it provocative, visceral, humorous, entertaining, heartbreaking – and hopeful.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Jamie Ogden (Jeanette)

Jamie is thrilled to be making her Fringe Festival debut. She was last seen in Treemonisha with The Washington Savoyards. Jamie is a graduate of New York University. NEW YORK/NYU: The Boy Friend (Maisie), The Merry Widow (LoLo, Dance Captain), 110 in the Shade, and The Apple Tree. Other favorite roles include Dorothy in The Wiz, Hedy in How To Succeed..., and Abigail in The Crucible. Many thanks to God, her family, and of course her new husband, Tim.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jase Parker (Eddie)

WASHINGTON SAVOYARDS: The Mikado (Ko-Ko), Iolanthe (The Lord Chancellor – DC Theatre Scene 2009 Audience Choice Award nomination: “Favorite Actor in a Musical”), Trial by Jury (The Learned Judge), The Pirates of Penzance (Samuel), Babes in Toyland (Roderigo). KENSINGTON ARTS THEATRE: RENT (Angel Dumott Schunard). KEEGAN THEATRE: Man of La Mancha (Anselmo). CAPITAL FRINGE FESTIVAL 2009: Count Dracula's Café (Server). KENNEDY CENTER: Such Sweet Thunder (Dance U/S). IMAGINATION STAGE: Disney's MULAN (Soldier U/S). OPERA: The Old Maid and the Thief (Bob), Cendrillon (Master of Ceremonies), Rigoletto (Chorus), Regina (Chorus). EDUCATION: The Catholic University of America, 2007, Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre, Magna cum Laude.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Alan Naylor (Ray)

Alan is a native of St. Louis, and has performed with major regional companies such as Opera Theatre St. Louis, Union Ave Opera, and The MUNY. Favorite roles include, Papageno(Die Zauberflöte), Jean Valjean(Les Miz), Petruchio(Kiss Me Kate), and Trevor Graydon(Thoroughly Modern Millie). He has sung in many of the great concert halls around the country with reknowned St. Olaf Choir, and was recently called to San Francisco as a finalist for the vocal ensemble Chanticleer. With a Master’s in Vocal Performance from Washington University in St. Louis and a Bachelor’s from St. Olaf College, Alan is a professional teacher of both voice and piano in the D.C. area. He can be contacted at


To purchase tickets, please visit

Ben Levine (David)

Ben is glad to be a part of this performance and part of the Fringe Festival. Armed with a degree in theater arts from Drew University, Ben has been working in the DC metro theater scene for the last 3 years. In addition to his work in plays and musicals, Ben can be seen performing with modern dance company Carla and Company and with vocal band Vox Populi DC A Cappella. When not on stage, Ben may be found backstage. As the Technical Director of the Dance Place theater in Northeast Washington, he has served as Lighting Designer and Stage Manager for many dance companies, including Dana Tai Soon Burgess and Company, NY2Dance, Olive Dance Theatre, and Deborah Riley Dance Projects.

Rachel Brook (Miriam)

She is proud to join the cast of The Poet Warriors for her first Capital Fringe Festival. Recent credits include: Female Voice in the premiere reading of Adam Tendler’s Schlüsslieder in NYC, Maria in West Side Story with RMT (WATCH nomination), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro) with Palmetto Opera and Westminster Opera Theater, the title role in Savitri with WOT, Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) with the Philharmonic and Operatic Society of Bourgas, Bulgaria, Musetta (La Boheme) with Amalfi Coast Music Festival, and one season as company member with Beechwood Theater Company in Newport, Rhode Island where she specialized in Victorian theatre and improv comedy, which go together surprisingly well. Rachel’s latest gig is as Cantorial Soloist at Temple Beth Ami in Rockville. Thanks to the fabulous PW team, my supportive friends and family, and Matt, my “young, handsome Perseus”.