Darkness and Starlight: A Nerdy Music Night for Charity
Right now, on the streets of your city, people are standing up and fighting against injustice. They are the frontline warriors, the Paladins and Fighters standing in the face of terrible odds. And we want to be the Bards to support them. Darkness and Starlight: A Nerdy Music Night for Charity is a night of fantastic, nerdy, music to raise money for the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. We’re putting together some of our favorite bands in the world to entertain you for a night, and in return, all we ask is you donate your money to help the people who really need it. Hosted by the Dragon Theater in Redwood City, California, the live-streamed event takes place on August 29th at 3 pm PDT, hosted on Twitch TV (https://www.twitch.tv/dragontheatre). You can reserve a virtual ticket free of charge at our box office.
HOST: ALIZA PEARL
Aliza Pearl is an improviser, actress, writer, Trekkie, RPG player, host, and content creator originally from Newark, NJ. Of African-American, Puerto Rican, and Afro-Caribbean heritage, Aliza explores identity and split cultural ties through scifi, comedy and genre storytelling. Having gotten her start in musical theater, she regularly performs narrative improv with Ripley Improv, improvised Star Trek group “The Improvised Generation,” and all-black female group Essence Improv. On-screen acting credits include: Showtime’s House of Lies, Days of Our Lives, byuTV’s Show Offs! indie feature films Something is Killing Tate (Starz), Faith Based, Everything Before Us, Newly Single, and Darkness Falls, plus various short films (Beached with Nic Collins, The End with Matthew Philip Smith) and viral videos with YouTube giants WongFu Productions, Black and Sexy TV, and Comediva’s popular webseries “BAMF Girls Club.” Her latest film project was acting in and associate producing a completely improvised anthology series with Ripley Improv, “As We Go Along.”
She has hosted for Nerdist, Geek & Sundry, and Pop Culture Hero Coalition (Chase Masterson’s anti-bullying nonprofit). She was a host and RPG performer in a “Carnival Row” docuseries “Into Carnival Row” and its accompanying RPG tabletop game, “The Heist on the Row”, all in partnership with Nerdist, Legendary TV, and Amazon. Aliza developed and is a cast member on the live tabletop RPG show “Blood of the Void” on QueueTimes (an all-Klingon campaign on Twitch); previous RPG shows include “Callisto 6” “Shield of Tomorrow” and “Overlight” (as Gamemaster) on Geek & Sundry, and “Rat Queens” on Hyper RPG. She’s appeared on panels at Star Trek Las Vegas (STLV), San Diego Comic Con, Los Angeles Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Con, Virtual Trek Con, the Klingon Day of Honor, and Geek Girl Con in Seattle. Aliza has written for Nerdist News, Nerdist Presents sketches, and music parodies including “Team Nerdist Hitman,” “Young King – Black Panther Jaden Smith Parody” (1.5 million views), and “Darth Vader Teaches Branding”; she wrote and starred in the comedy sketches “When Your Co-Worker Gets Back From Wakanda” and “Pizzazz: Where’s My Movie?”
MUSICAL ACT: The Doubleclicks
The Doubleclicks are a folk-pop music duo made up of siblings Laser and Aubrey. The siblings perform songs that are geeky, snarky, sweet, and uplifting, on their cello, ukulele and meowing cat keyboard. The latest Doubleclicks album, “The Book Was Better” has songs about cats, video games, gender identity, and trying to get away from the Internet. The Doubleclicks songs are for everybody, and tend to be appreciated by nerds, queer folks, kids and rad folks who helped fund the production of their new album on Kickstarter, and have made four of their previous albums Billboard-charting successes. They’ve released more than 70 music videos on YouTube.com/thedoubleclicks, where they have 16,000 subscribers and 3 million views.
The Doubleclicks have been played on NPR shows like All Things Acoustic, and featured on BoingBoing, io9, Bustle, Jezebel, and the Upworthy. The Doubleclicks have opened for nerd stars like Jonathan Coulton and Patrick Rothfuss. They’ve performed at dozens of conventions, libraries, colleges, comedy clubs and game stores around the US, Australia and Canada, including SF Sketchfest, PAX, and JoCoCruise.
MUSICAL ACT: The Improvised Generation: Song Squadron
A subset of long-running LA Star Trek improv group The Improvised Generation, Song Squadron is a group of singer-improvisers making up Star Trek stories through song! This musical troupe brings all the humor and Trekkie-ness of The Improvised Generation— but every monologue is a song, and even the most hardened Starfleet Admiral or newest silicon-based life form has something to sing about.
MUSICAL ACT: The Library Bards
The Library Bards have become a staple in the new Comic and Pop Culture Convention scene. Traveling the United States, the dynamic performances of Bonnie Gordon (ABC’s The Quest, voice of R. Mika in Street Fighter V), and Xander Jeanneret (TBS’ King of the Nerds; voice of the Announcer in Divekick) bring life to the main stages of Cosplay Contests, Panels, and Concert performances.
MUSICAL ACT: “Darkness and Starlight” The Complete Final Fantasy Opera
One of the most seminal, important, and moving pieces of video game music is “Maria and Draco,” the Opera that plays part of the way through Final Fantasy 6. Also known as “The Dream Oath” and “Darkness and Starlight,” this complete Opera was composed by Nobuo Uematsu with lyrics by Yoshinori Kitase, and captured the hearts of gamers everywhere with the incredible story of star crossed lovers, Maria and Draco, and the battle to find each other across a war-torn country. For Darkness and Starlight the entire opera will be performed by world class opera singers Kelli Butler (The Opera Geek), Joshua Blue, and Patrick McNally.
As a child from a military family, Kelli Butler (The Opera Geek) was raised in a multitude of locales, including Germany and the Eastern US, where her love of opera blossomed at an early age. Since attending the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, training with Renata Scotto, and apprenticing with Bel Canto at Caramoor, Kelli has become a familiar face in New York’s opera scene and beyond!
She performs regularly across the tri-state area and across the country, while continuing her studies with Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Shirley Love and the acclaimed Canadian soprano Susan Eichhorn Young. She currently reside in New York with my husband Justin and our highly illogical pets, Bones & Scotty. They are working their way to a full bridge crew.
She have always been a bit of a nerd, and have been drawn to playing video games, tabletop roleplaying games like Dungeons & Dragons, and reading fantasy and science fiction. Blending her passions together, Kelli created an online persona and brand known as The Opera Geek. With it, she spreads bardic inspiration through my social media platforms to try to be a supportive voice for others in the gaming and artistic communities.
She is an active member of the streaming community, appearing regularly on Twitch playing Dungeons & Dragons and Tabletop RPGs, as well as streaming videogame playthroughs. Kelli also create content under the #OperaGeek brand! Click here to find out more about #OperaGeek and my growing community!
British-American tenor, and inaugural recipient of the James McCracken and Sandra Warfield Opera Prize, Joshua Blue launches the 2019-20 season by performing Beethoven’s Symphony #9 accompanied by the National Symphony Orchestra for the Opening Festival of The REACH at the Kennedy Center. Opera engagements this season feature role debuts as Tamino in the Maurice Sendak production of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with Washington National Opera, Alfred in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and Don Ottavio in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Berkshire Opera Festival. Additional performances at Washington National Opera include singing the role of Man 1 in the D.C premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue directed by the work’s librettist Tazewell Thompson and Philistine Messenger in Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah conducted by John Fiore. Concerts this season will be marked with a return to Carnegie Hall to join Musica Sacra for Handel’s Messiah, his first performances in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the Florida Orchestra, and the premiere of a fascinating new program called Tain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do: Songs from Gay Harlem with the New York Festival of Song with pianist Steven Blier.
Last season Mr. Blue made debuts at the Kennedy Center as Alfredo in Verdi’s La Traviata with Washington National Opera and with the National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Gianandrea Noseda for Act I of Puccini’s La bohème in concert. He joined Wolf Trap Opera to sing the role of Harlekin in Ullmann’s Der Kaiser von Atlantis under conductor Geoffrey McDonald and traveled to Japan to cover the role of Monsieur Triquet in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin conducted by Fabio Luisi and directed by Peter McClintock at the Seiji Ozawa Matsumoto Festival. Mr. Blue was tenor soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with the Oratorio Society of New York at Carnegie Hall and the Cleveland Chamber Orchestra under conductor James Gaffigan. Mr. Blue also sang the American premiere of the rarely heard Franz Liszt opera Sardanapalo at the Library of Congress. Additional roles with Washington National Opera included Monsieur Triquet in Eugene Onegin; Hippo/Holy Man/Dog/Water Seller in Tesori’s The Lion, The Unicorn, and Me; and David in Benavides’s Pepito as part of the American Opera Initiative Festival.
Mr. Blue’s previous seasons have included his debut at Carnegie Hall in Handel’s Messiah with the Oratorio Society of New York; performances in Moravec’s Sanctuary Road at Merkin Concert Hall with New York Festival of Song; the American premiere of Philip Glass’s The Trial at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis; and performing the roles of Scaramuccio in Ariadne auf Naxos by Richard Strauss with Austin Opera and Nemorino in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with the Music Academy of the West.
Mr. Blue was a semi-finalist of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and sang on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in April of 2018. He has also received the Ellen Lopin Blair award for 1st place in the 2017 Oratorio Society of New York solo competition and was noted as an Emerging Artist in the 2017 Opera Index Competition in New York City. Mr. Blue earned his bachelor’s degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and graduated from The Juilliard School with a master’s degree, studying voice with Dr. Robert C. White, Jr. In 2018, Mr. Blue was an Apprentice Singer with Santa Fe Opera’s summer festival. He is currently in his second year as a Cafritz Young Artist with the Washington National Opera.
With a voice described as “robust” and “standout” by the Denver Post and with a “lively” stage presence reviewed by Opera News, Patrick McNally has a varied operatic repertoire, from Gianni Schicchi to John in Summer and Smoke. Drawing from his extensive performance experience, Patrick is equally at home on the opera, musical theater and recital stage.
Making several house debuts in the 2015-2016 season, Patrick has been seen in the roles of Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte and the Baritone in Hydrogen Jukebox with Nashville Opera, The Young Soldier in Falling Angel and Freud in Sabina Spielrein with The Center for Contemporary Opera, Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor with New York Opera Exchange, and Robert in Iolanta with New Opera NYC.
Mr. McNally has performed at houses across the United States as well as internationally. Recent highlights include appearances at Des Moines Metro Opera, Central City Opera, Sarasota Opera, Opera North, Dayton Opera, Tri-Cities Opera, Opera Louisiane, Bronx Opera, Hubbard Hall Opera, Opera New Jersey, and Die Eutiner Festspiele. He has also been a winner of multiple awards including the Richard F. Gold Career Grant from the Shoshana Foundation.