A Conversation with Lennie Watts

| April 29, 2017

A Conversation with Lennie Watts

April 29, 2017

Lennie Watts

Lennie Watts, a multi-award winning singer, director, and producer, has also spent a lot of time off stage as a teacher. In addition to his The Arrangement Experience, and Cablab, he has taught at The Singers Forum, the O’Neill Center, has conducted master classes across the country, and is an adjunct professor at Marymount Manhattan College. With this background as a performer and instructor, he—along with Kim Grogg, John Koprowski, and Lynly Forrest—has established a non-profit called Singnasium which will offer a space for performing artists to hone their craft.

Cabaret Scenes: Where did you get the idea for Singnasium?

Lennie Watts: Well, I think it was just the next logical step for me. I’ve been wanting to expand my teaching for a while. I know so many wonderful people with so much to offer as teachers and mentors. I was somewhat inspired by all of the defunding of the arts that is going on currently. I started thinking about all of the talented people that come to NYC to pursue their dreams and can’t afford to further their education, or get so beaten down in the city that they either give up or leave. I wanted to create a space and a community for these people.

Kim Grogg & Lennie Watts

CS: How did you come up with the name and what does it signify?

LW: LOL! I was sitting on my couch and it just came to me. I wanted to create something that was hip and fun and NOT academic. A place for people to “work out.”

CS: We understand Singnasium is a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible organization. What does having that status allow you to do?

Well, it will allow anyone who donates to get a tax deduction, which you can do by going to www.singnasium.info. Also, it gives us the opportunity to create ways to involve the community, create outreach programs, and help people who may need financial assistance.

CS: What is the mission of Singnasium?

LW: Our tag line is “Keeping the arts alive by helping the artist thrive.”

The mission of Singnasium is to provide a safe, nonjudgmental place for artists of all levels to fully explore their creative selves. It is designed to provide support, embrace diversity, and offer eye-opening new ways of becoming a more well-rounded musician. With classes and workshops spanning all aspects of vocal performance, Singnasium will utilize the best possible teaching artists and support personnel that the New York arts community has to offer, as well as providing outreach to the next generation of artists.

I’m very excited about the outreach portion of Singnasium. We will be sending our Singnasium students into grade schools and high schools to perform and do workshops, and to let young people know that the arts are a viable option for their future.

One of Lennie’s The Arrangement Experience groups

CS: What sort of classes do you expect to offer?

LW: Everything from musical theater, cabaret performance, jazz, recording, songwriting, and even drag. 🙂

CS: Which teachers have you lined up?

LW: I have spoken to a few amazing teachers who have been very successful in their fields.

CS: Will the classes be open to anyone?

LW: Everyone is welcome! We will have tracks for different levels, so people will have the best opportunity to grow.

CS: Will you limit the class size?

LW: Class sizes will be small and manageable.

CS: Are you working with anyone?

LW: I am so lucky to be working with three wonderfully supportive, passionate, and smart partners: Kim Grogg, John Koprowski, and Lynly Forrest.

CS: When will you start offering classes?

LW: We are aiming for fall of 2017, which most likely means spring of 2018 LOL.

CS: Are you looking for a location to house Singnasium?

LW: We are! We are currently looking at locations in the theater district.

CS: You’ve scheduled a fundraiser at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. Who is scheduled to perform?

LW: We’re calling the show An Old-Fashioned Barn Raising and it will be held Tuesday, May 16 at 7 pm at the Laurie Beechman Theatre. I will be hosting and the performers are Amorika Amoroso, Frank Dain, Meg Flather, Lynly Forrest, Julie Gold, Kim Grogg, Tanya Holt, John Koprowski, Sally Mayes, Sidney Myer, Phyllis Pastore, Melissa Robinette, Lynda Rodolitz, Jim Speake, Kim Sutton, Those Girls, Amy Wolk, and Kristine Zbornik. The Singnasium Orchestra is Steven Ray Watkins (piano), Don Kelly (drums), and Matt Sharfglass (bass).

Laurie Beechman Theatre
in the West Bank Café
407 W. 42nd St., NYC (at 9th Avenue)
Tickets: $25; $20 food/beverage minimum
Tickets may be purchased at www.singnasium.com.

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Category: Cabaret Features, New York City, New York City Cabaret Features, Regional

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  1. Singnasium Barn Raiser | Cabaret Scenes | May 18, 2017
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