Charlotte Mundy

ASHBME on tour


"A Star Has Burnt My Eye" went on tour at the end of 2017, with performances presented by  Skidmore College, The Vermont Arts Exchange, and Castleton University.

Photo by Dante Haughton

At Skidmore, we worked with the college's theater students and staff on a brand new iteration of the project, what we unofficially called "The Lecture Version" -- a performance that stripped away the fictional elements of the BAM version that premiered in 2016, and intensified the show's primary focus on the music and life of Connie Converse.

photo by Dante Houghton

Two new cast members , Osei Essed and Dina Maccabee, joined myself joined myself and original cast member Charlotte Mundy for this tour, adding new musical elements and textures on viola, upright bass, mandolin, banjo, and electric guitar.

Photo by Dante Houghton

Skidmore's theater department ran a nice blog post about the experience, interviewing some of the students who worked with us on the show. You can read it here.

Photo by Dante Houghton

We took a break from preparations for the show to perform a multimedia evening at the Tang Museum, where we interacted with photographs from their collection.


After the successful run in Saratoga Springs, the show traveled to Bennington, VT for a one-night only showing presented by the Vermont Arts Exchange -- the most intimate show of the tour, and one that featured no theatrical lights or amplified sound. It was a magical evening.


From there, we moved up to Castleton University, where we kicked off our brief stay with an assembly for local grammar schools kids who were bussed in to spend some time with us talking about music.

Photo by Martin Van Buren III

Our last show of the tour was also our biggest, performing at the university's 500-seat proscenium-style Casella Theater.  Here's the exhausted and relieved company after the final performance, with our trusty production stage/tour manager Mr. Nic Adams:

post show.JPG

For more photos from the tour, here's a gallery:

A Valentine for Connie Converse

Have you ever just wanted to quit? Have you ever been so worn down by the unkind and the uncaring people in your particular sphere of work that you just decided that it wasn’t worth it any longer?  Have you ever reached a saturation point of disappointment and smashed hopes and dreams and fantasized about just giving up on the thing or things you’re most passionate about because you just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, pay the price required to keep those dreams alive any longer? Have you ever just had enough?


Connie Converse (1924-?) decided she’d had enough.  After spending the best years of her life trying to make it as a songwriter and composer in New York City, she quit.  She turned her back on the music managers and agents and record producers who rejected her, over and over and over again, over the course of her fifteen sum odd years living in Manhattan.  And she turned her back on her music -- the beautiful, haunting, ingenious, intensely personal music that she finally became convinced no one wanted to hear.


Connie spent the next portion of her life in Ann Arbor, Michigan working in academia, a time sadly devoid of almost any personal creative output. She made a mark for herself in the academic world, but she also sank into depression, alcoholism and mental illness.  In 1974, she left again, this time for good.  One day she simply drove away, leaving notes behind to friends and family that she needed to go and make a fresh start somewhere else. She’s never been heard from again.


Connie Converse’s music has since been discovered and embraced by legions of fans around the world. Recordings that she made while living in New York in her prime were released a few years ago on an album called “How Sad, How Lovely.” And now, an entirely different corpus of piano art songs have come to light, and have been recorded by the young artists Charlotte Mundy and Christopher Goddard. A new album --“Connie’s Piano Songs” -- will be released on Valentine’s Day, with a CD release show to follow on Feb. 17 in NYC.


The music industry people who told Connie Converse that no one would be interested in her songs are gone.  The record industry people who told her that her music wasn’t commercial enough are gone.  The producers and agents who condescended to her, the experts, they’re all gone. No one remembers them. No one cares who they were. They are forgotten.


Connie Converse’s music lives on, inspiring a new generation of listeners, revealing more and deeper shades of beauty and meaning as the years go by.  Her music will continue to live on, as long as there are people with open ears, open minds, and open hearts.


Come hear Connie’s Piano Songs live and breathe for the first time ever on February 17th at Le Poisson Rouge.  Come and celebrate the genius of this singular woman.


Tickets are here.


Connie's Piano Songs


On Febrauary 14, 2014 the world will finally get to hear Connie Converse's art songs for voice and piano for the first time, a half-century after their completion.  The songs were left behind in manuscript form at the time of her disappearance in 1974, and never recorded until now.

Connie's Piano Songs features the recording debuts of soprano Charlotte Mundy and pianist Christopher Goddard. The world premiere concert/CD release show will take place on February 17, 2014 at Le Poisson Rouge in NYC. Tickets are on sale now.

Those of you who have followed the progress of "A Star Has Burnt My Eye," my music-theater-documentatry piece about Connie Converse, may be especially interested in learning more about this music.  I wrote a fairly extensive essay about her for the album's liner notes -- you can read it here.

It feels appropriate to release this new CD on Valentine's Day. Producing it was a labor of love for me. I hope you'll join me in celebrating, at long last, the release of this beautiful music.