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.

Written, composed, and performed by James Harrison Monaco and Jerome Ellis. Directed by Andrew Scoville. Production Design by Marika Kent. Assistant Production Design by Elizabeth Stewart.

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

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 espresso 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 bound horses, the bell)

Piano Tales No. 8 - Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium (The bound horses, the espresso maker, the astrolabe)

Piano Tales No. 9 - Lincoln Center, Bruno Walter Auditorium (The incense-burning bowl, the dried rosemary, the astrolabe)

Piano Tales No. 10 - Lincoln Center, Samuels Teaching Studio (The incense-burning bowl, the obsidian arrowhead, the astrolabe)

Piano Tales No. 11 - South Bronx Prep (The espresso maker, the incense-burning bowl, the astrolabe)

Piano Tales No. 12 - Bouley Test Kitchen, January 23, 2018

Piano Tales Nos. 13-17: Upcoming performances for high school audiences at Lincoln Center in April 2018 (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