American Realness

Neal Medlyn


TUES JAN 14 . 7:30 PM
WEDS JAN 15 . 7:00 PM

Run time: 65 minutes

466 Grand Street / tickets $20 /

Single Tickets Festival Pass

Since 2006, Neal Medlyn has been creating a seven-show performance series in which each piece is built around a pop star or iconic group, from Lionel Richie and Miley Cyrus to the Insane Clown Posse. The finale of this series, King, is built around Michael Jackson — containing radically rethought versions of his music, intuitively-related source material in sculpture and costume, as well as considerations of Medlyn’s personal and artistic trajectory of the past several years. King is about epic attempts.

King was originally commissioned by the Kitchen and is a project of Creative Capital and has been made possible in part by the Cutting Edge Fund of the New York Foundation for the Arts.

conceived, created, text, sound, exhibit, musical arrangements, etc. by Neal Medlyn
costumes by Larry Krone
sculpture by Fawn Krieger
musical director: Matt Ray
lighting by Madeline Best
video by Matthew Romein
production assistant: Katherine Cooper

Kelly Graffin
Tenzin Reed Gund-Morrow
Ginger McCoy
Nyah Rogers
Julianna Zannikos

Farris Craddock

King is a project of Creative Capital.

I want to first of all thank everyone who was ever in or worked on any of the pop star series shows: Carmine Covelli and Farris Craddock, forever and always and without whom most of the shows would not have happened; Kenny Mellman; Bridget Everett; Murray Hill; Adrienne Truscott; Layla Robbins; Kennis Hawkins; Will Rawls; Casey Bartolucci; Bridie Coughlan; Adam Horovitz; Ben Demarest; Larry Krone; Shawn McLaughlin; Michelle Dean; Eleanor Hullihan; Madeline Best; Bruce Steinberg; Kelly Graffin; Tenzin Gund; Lily Hickey; Ginger McCoy; Nyah Rogers; Julianna Zannikos; Matt Ray; Matthew Romein; Katherine Cooper; Marianka Campisi and to all the theaters and their curators and staffs who presented the pieces, especially those that premiered the pieces: the Apocalypse Lounge, PS122, Galapagos Art Space, Dance Theater Workshop, the Chocolate Factory and the Kitchen.

I also want to thank Creative Capital whose support was really transformative for me; Antje Oegel for her support; Queen GodIs, Jessica Almasy, Jesse Bonnell and the other Creative Capital grantees whose ideas and thoughts really deeply influenced a lot of things about this show and the culmination of this series; the Millay Colony where Larry did some early work on the costumes; Jim Andralis; Vinny Vigilante for his invaluable thoughts about the sculpture; Jorg Jakoby; Sculpture Center, Sophia Cleary and Samara Davis for work on an early bit of this show; Jennifer Gelman for her early work in the choir; the TBA Festival for presenting some of the shows in the series as well as their valiant efforts at finding old videos of Pop Star Series shows for me; Ada, Oliver, Peter and Brooke; Matthew, Kerry, Tim, Gillian, Nancy, Laura, Caitlin, Lumi, Eben, Zack, Blake, Andrya, Eamonn, Tim P., and everyone at the Kitchen; Alison Fleminger at University Settlement for her generosity with rehearsal space; Materials for the Arts; Ben Pryor and everyone at American Realness; the families of the wonderful choir members in this show; and you, the audience, for coming.

A huge debt of thanks to Margo Jefferson’s On Michael Jackson, works by J.M. Barrie including The Little White Bird, Peter and Wendy, and The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island, the Wiz, Captain EO, Disneyworld, the Michael Jackson 30th Anniversary TV Special from 2001, the statuary collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Erin Murphy and her amazing videotape collection, The King of Style by Michael Bush, The Picture of Dorian Gray, all of Michael Jackson’s albums, William Pope.L’s The Great White Way, Joseph Vogel’s Man in the Music, Michael Jackson’s films, especially Ghosts and Moonwalker, Rupert Wainwright’s promotional video for HIStory, Snow White by Donald Barthelme, Chroma by Derek Jarman, Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson, Freaks, the life and work of: Walt Disney, Little Richard, Mike Kelley, Liberace, Jackie Wilson, P.T. Barnum, My Childhood by Maxim Gorky, the Biblical book of Lamentations, the made for TV movie Man in the Mirror, the horrible and awful Martin Bashir, La Rouchefoucauld’s Maxims, the performance of Earth Song at the 1996 Brit Awards, among others.

Neal Medlyn (creator & performer) is a performance artist best known for his series of pop star-inspired performance pieces, presented in New York and on tour throughout the U.S. and Europe. Previous works in the series are Neal Medlyn’s Lionel Richie Opera (the Apocalypse Lounge), Coming in the Air Tonight (Galapagos Art Space), Unpronounceable Symbol (PS 122), …Her’s a Queen (Dance Theater Workshop), Brave New Girl (The Chocolate Factory) and Wicked Clown Love (The Kitchen). Along with the above venues, Medlyn’s work has been seen at the New Museum for Contemporary Art (The Neal Medlyn Experience Live, a faithful reenactment of a Beyoncè concert DVD), the Andy Warhol Museum, Joe’s Pub, the TBA Festival, the Fusebox Festival and Duckie (UK). He has collaborated with a wide range of other artists, including Karen Finley (George & Martha) and Adam Horovitz of the Beastie Boys (Neal & Bridget Are F**king and Adam is Watching at Le Poisson Rouge), Kathleen Hanna and others. He was a co-creator and co-host of Our Hit Parade, the popular monthly show at Joe’s Pub, which was named among the top cabaret shows in New York for three years. He was active in the dance community as a dancer and a Bessie Award-winning sound designer, working with artists Miguel Gutierrez, Adrienne Truscott and David Neumann, among others, and as a co-curator of and performer in WHY WON’T YOU LET ME BE GREAT an evening of dance works built around Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak album. He is also in the process of becoming a rapper named Champagne Jerry and his shows as Champagne Jerry have played at BAM and Joe’s Pub. He is also releasing music once a month via his website,

Madeline Best (lighting design), designs dances, lighting and video and is the production manager at The Chocolate Factory. Best graduated from Bennington College, grew up in Durham NC and currently lives in Long Island City, Queens. She has designed lights for Neal Medlyn (this is her 3rd project with him), Heather Kravas, Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith, Keely Garfield, Milka Djordjevich, Aki Sasamoto, Beth Gill (Bessie award winning), RoseAnne Spradlin, luciana achugar’s PURO DESEO (Bessie award winning), and more. Performance experience includes work on The Chocolate Factory Theater’s Resident Projects Selective Memory and HotBox with Brian Rogers; multiple projects with Lauren Petty/Shaun Irons and with Choreographer Juliana May/MayDance.

Katherine Cooper (production assistant) is a Brooklyn-based performer, writer, and director with an MA in Performance Studies from NYU. Recent directing work includes Healthcare (Farm Theater Company), and W.H. Salome (Dixon Place). She is a contributor to BOMBblog.

Farris Craddock (performer) has been in and seen more of Neal Medlyn’s performances than anyone else on Earth. He appeared in early works in Austin, TX; Medlyn’s Unpronounceable Symbol at PS122, …Her’s a Queen at DTW and in Portland, Oregon; Brave New Girl at the Chocolate Factory; Wicked Clown Love at The Kitchen; and in a special performance in Berlin where he set off fireworks inside an apartment. He, along with Medlyn and Michelle Dean, is a founding member of My Sisters’ Prom, a noise band popular in rural East Texas. In the summer of 2012, Craddock attended the 12th annual Gathering of the Juggalos with Medlyn in preparation for Wicked Clown Love–it changed his life. He spent a year abroad teaching English in Busan, South Korea. That was pretty cool too. He’s currently serving as the Hype Engineer and Sergeant at Arms for the world’s greatest rapper, Champagne Jerry.

Kelly Graffin, (choir) 13, New Freedom, PA Lives for the stage! She participates with the EMC Performing Arts Studio’s Black Box Theatre group and takes voice, piano and guitar lessons from the same studio.  She participates in plays and musicals at DreamWrights Theatre in York, PA.  She is active in her school’s choir and select choir groups.  Her passion and goal in life is to be on the big screen someday soon!

Tenzin Reed Gund-Morrow (choir) is 9 years old and in the fourth grade. He loves to sing and sew and cook. He has been a member of the Young People’s Chorus of NYC for two years and performed with them at Carnegie Hall last winter. His solo debut was singing Adele’s “Someone Like You” in Our Hit Parade at Joe’s Pub in 2011. Tenzin is excited to be working with Neal Medlyn and performing at the Kitchen. He thanks his family and friends for all their love and joy.

Fawn Krieger (sculptor) is a NY-based sculptress, whose multi-genre works are informed by and shaped from collaboration, movement practices, anti-materialism, primal memory, utopian excavations, and embodiment.  Her sets and sculptures have been supported by, among others, Art in General, The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Soloway Gallery, and The Kitchen.

Artist/Entertainer Larry Krone (costume designer) also designs costumes & sets!  In 2010, Larry started House of Larréon, creating custom gowns and stage costumes for performers including Bridget Everett, Neal Medlyn, Jenn Harris, and Adrienne Truscott among others. Recent credits include set and costumes for Adrienne Truscott’s …Too Freedom… (The Kitchen 2012, American Realness Festival 2014),  costumes for Neal Medlyn’s Wicked Clown Love (The Kitchen 2012, American Realness Festival 2013), a featured costume in Adrienne Truscott’s ha: a solo (Danspace Project 2011), and contributions to the looks of Our Hit Parade hosts and various performers (Joe’s Pub 2010-2012). Look Book, an artist’s book of Larry’s costume and fashion work is due out in early 2014. “Larry Krone: Together Again,” a solo exhibition of Larry’s visual artwork opens at Pierogi in Williamsburg on November 15,

Ginger McCoy (choir) is in the fourth grade. Recently, she appeared in the Films 4 Peace experimental short film, Pinata, by artist Anthony Goicolea. She also had screen roles in Annie Howell’s webisode “Sparks” and Jennifer and Kevin McCoy’s video “I’ll Replace You”. Ginger performs regularly as a member of the Grace Church choir and studies modern dance at Mark Morris.

Matt Ray (pianist/music director) can be seen in some of New York’s best venues where he performs nightly either fronting his own trio, or accompanying some of the city’s most dynamic performers.  Recent work includes performing at Carnegie Hall with Kat Edmonson, music directing The Billie Holiday Project at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, string and piano arrangements for the fifth season finale of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie, performances at Joe’s Pub with Joey Arias, and monthly gigs at Joe’s Pub with Bridget Everett and the Tender Moments.  Other recent work includes performing at the Edinburgh Fringe with Lady Rizo, and touring the world with Taylor Mac’s show A 20th Century History of Popular Music.  In addition, Matt music directed and played piano in Taylor Mac’s Obie award winning play The Lily’s Revenge at the HERE Arts Center in New York. Matt has released two jazz albums as a leader:  We Got It! (2001) and Lost In New York (2006); and one album of original pop/folk material called Songs For the Anonymous (2013).

Hi I’m Nyah Rogers (choir) and I’m on my way to stardom!!!. I enjoy modeling, acting and theater.  I have recently starred in a Music Video called Manner Effect. You could check me out on Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues and an up and coming musical short, Mozart.
My favorite role was ‘Aruba’ in the off Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. Now I have to add KING to my favorites of course!!!

Matt Romein (video designer) is a video designer and interactivity programmer based in NYC since 2011. He has created programs for The A.O. Movement Collective and The Royal Osiris Karaoke Ensemble as well as for his own performance work. He also works frequently as a dance/theatre technician, most recently as the video coordinator for the inaugural Live Ideas Festival at New York Live Arts and as the technical director for the Prelude Festival and Catch.

Julianna Zannikos, (choir) age 10, is thrilled to make her NYC debut at The Kitchen in King.  She has a passion for singing and musical theater and has been seen on stage in the Bucks County, PA area, appearing in over 25 shows since the age of 7.  Her favorite previous roles are Baby June (Gypsy), Tessie (Annie), Gracie Shin (The Music Man), and Mouse (A Year With Frog and Toad), and she is looking forward to playing Marta in a local production of The Sound of Music in November. Julianna would like to thank Neal Medlyn for this wonderful opportunity; Louis Palena, Jordan Brennan, and Ginny Brennan for the excellent instruction and wonderful experiences; and her mom and dad for all they do to support her dream to be performer.