Jeffrey Chen is a classically trained cellist and multi-instrumentalist as well as a University of Connecticut graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts in Music as well as a Master of Business Administration. An avid performer and composer, Mr. Chen has been commissioned to compose and record soundtracks for several dramatic productions, including works by the University of Connecticut Puppetry Department and Theater Department as well as composing, arranging and recording string parts for many performing artists in Connecticut. Mr. Chen also recorded and performed with the progressive rock band The Cargo Cult Revival as lead electric cello, performed with alternative bluegrass band Ernest Hem’n’haw and the Shotgun Republic, is a founding member of a dark Americana performing ensemble Them Damn Hamiltons, contributes regularly on cello and synthesizer with nouveau pop band Murderous Chanteuse, and currently works as a studio musician, as well as continuing to perform and collaborate with many local musicians and ensembles. Mr. Chen currently lives in Storrs, CT with his wife, daughter, son and two cats.
Gretchen Frazier, violist, and violinist, has been a member of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra since 2012. She is a member of the award-winning groups Sarah Lemieux Jazz Quintet and Girls from Ruby Falls and performs with Bivolita Chamber Klezmer ensemble. Past chamber projects include Artillery Punch, the Apollinaire Trio, and the Fischbach Quartet.
Gretchen played Assistant Principal Viola in the Savannah Symphony, Charleston Symphony, and Eastern Connecticut Symphony Orchestras. Festivals include Opera Theater of Lucca, Piccolo Spoleto USA, and Des Moines Metro Opera.
Gretchen holds degrees from the Crane School of Music and the Cincinnati Conservatory, where she studied with Sarah Hersh, Masao Kawasaki, and Catharine Carroll, and received chamber music coaching from Peter Oundjian, Lee Fiser, and the Tokyo String Quartet.
An avid music educator, Gretchen has been teaching Suzuki and traditional violin and viola since 1994. She has guest conducted the Beaufort County (SC) Junior String Festival, the Armstrong (GA) Youth Orchestra, and taught at the Green Mountain Suzuki Institute (VT), Elm City Chamber Fest, and the Hartt Summer Intensive. She currently teaches at Hamden Hall Day School and at her private studio in New Haven. She lives in Westville with her husband John Stoehr, daughter Edie
Sarah LeMieux grew up in an exuberantly eclectic musical family, with a mom who studied and taught French folk and classical guitar, a dad who played the blues, and a little brother who kept everyone awake with the drums. After earning her BA from New York University, her work in NYC as a session vocalist and guitarist in studios and on stages presented her with myriad opportunities to interpret, create and absorb a broad spectrum of music that informed her growing body of original work. Her compositions and performances have graced the stages of the National Women in Blues Festival, International Festival of Arts and Ideas, Hartford's Infinity Hall, the Glastonbury Apple Harvest Festival and International Women Arts (SWAN) Day Festivals, and radio stations from Australia to Japan. Most recently, The Sarah LeMieux Quintet won "Best Jazz" at the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Connecticut Music Awards, with "Moments Musicaux" winning Album of the Year for 2015. Sarah also plays with and composes for the award-winning Americana group The Girls from Ruby Falls.
Marvin Pittman, vocalist, began his singing life while atonally strumming a guitar in front of his family at age 5 in his native Philadelphia. He then went on to perform in choirs, musical theater, spoken word poetry and opera throughout his high school and college years, including work with the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College and the Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival. After more than a decade away from the stage while pursuing an Emmy Award-winning career in news and sports media, Marvin returned to the performing arts in October 2015 as cabaret singer Professor M. Known as "the Black Kingpin of Swagger with a voice to make you stagger," Marvin performs as Professor M in Connecticut's drag, burlesque and variety shows, including with producers The Desultory Theatre Club, Circus Delecti, Lipgloss Crisis, Brian Barganier, Dixie Normous and Summer Orlando. Marvin made his presence known to Madame Thalia from the audience during their show's hallmark sing-along rendition of "Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-De-Ay," and made his debut with the vaudeville troupe in November 2017. He currently resides in Stamford, CT, with his wife and dog.
A retired software developer and a pianist since age 7, Bob now spends his time with his first passion, music. Also a trained opera singer, Bob sang for many years with the Connecticut Grand Opera chorus, and also soloed in the roles of Antonio in "Le Nozze di Figaro" and the High Commissioner in "Madama Butterfly." Other roles include Don Alfonso (Cosi fan tutte), Pistola (Falstaff), Franck (die Fledermaus) and Dr. Grenvil (La Traviata) with Taconic Opera, and the Pirate King (Pirates of Penzance), Dick Deadeye (HMS Pinafore) and Private Willis (Iolanthe) with Troupers Light Opera.
He also appeared as Zuniga (Carmen) and Benoit/Alcindoro (Boheme) with the Norwalk Symphony. He currently sings in the Yale Opera Chorus, and as an occasional bass soloist with the Mendelssohn Choir in Fairfield, CT. He studies voice with the renowned Metropolitan Opera bass John Macurdy.
Zohra Rawling Producer of Madame Thalia
Assyrian-American soprano Zohra Rawling, whose audiences have called a “rara avis” with a voice likened to “warm plum jam with gold flakes in it.” A vibrant artist with a warm and powerful voice, Rawling displays sparkly, sly wit when she performs. Rawling’s recent performances include solo and ensemble work in New England and Germany.
She has performed a cheerful Suor Dolcina in Suor Angelica with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, Maria in Monkey See, Monkey Do, a most maleficent Sorceress in Dido & Aeneas, Frugala in Il Tabarro, The Sandman in Hänsel und Gretel, and a stern but loving Mistress of the Novices in Suor Angelica. Rawling also prepared the roles of Clorinda, Konstanze, and Queen of the Night with coach Tim Shaindlin.
Rawling adds musical spice and theatrical complexity that compliments and enlivens the stage. She has been described as a deeply committed, detailed performer who brings many levels to a character. She has recently participated in L’elisir d’amore, Aida, Pagliacci, Le Nozze di Figaro, Die Fledermaus, and La Boheme.
She also manages Madame Thalia, a vaudeville revival troupe that stays true to any time period they perform, with a peculiar mix of playful reverence and goes-down-smooth history.