Written, composed, and performed by James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis. Directed by Andrew Scoville. Production Design by Marika Kent. Originally produced by La MaMa.

La Mama, November 2016 // Joe's Pub, October 2017 // Lincoln Center Education, Nov 2017 and April 2018

Piano Tales is James and Jerome's ongoing celebration of storytelling, music, and the freedom that comes from not having a plan.

An old woman on her death bed asks two musician-storytellers to tell her a few tales in her final hour. The audience chooses which three tales will be told (out of a possible 10) that performance and in what order, by selecting objects from a trunk. Then James and Jerome tell those tales in a different way than they ever have before, discovering a totally new show right along with the audience.

Piano Tales No. 1 - La MaMa (Stories chosen: The old key, the box of coins, the iron ring)

Piano Tales No. 2 - La MaMa (The epresso maker, the notebook & quill, the slipper)

Piano Tales No. 3 - La MaMa (The photo of an Ottoman servant, the old key, the coconut)

Piano Tales No. 4 - La MaMa (The espresso maker, the iron ring, the slipper)

Piano Tales No. 5 - Private holiday party in the East Village (The box of coins, the old key, the espresso maker)

Piano Tales No. 6 - Lincoln Center, The Clark Theater (The obsidian arrowhead, the espresso maker, the astrolabe)

Piano Tales No. 7 - Joe's Pub at The Public Theater (The box of Chinese cigarettes, the collection of horses, the bell)

Piano Tales Nos. 8-17 - Upcoming performances for high school audiences at Lincoln Center throughout the 2017-2018 season (stories chosen: ??????)

Forthcoming Piano Tales performances to be announced soon, AND available for you to make happen in your space of any kind with a piano (really, just email us).


"Telling stories can be a tricky act, especially more literary ones, as they can fall into the trap where the words just don’t sound as nice spoken aloud as they would sitting on a page to be read. Luckily, the duo James Harrison Monaco & Jerome Ellis (or more simply, James & Jerome) manages to escape this trap entirely. Their tales run the gamut, going from from more casual quips to poetic poignance in a matter of minutes and transforming a simple stage into space for transformation using only words and music."

~ Cassidy Dawn Graves, Bedford & Bowery

photos by Marcus Middleton and Theo Cote