Artist-in-Residence with The Stagenorth Groundlings

Artist-in-Residence Opportunity

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be calling the Stagenorth Theater, in Washburn, Wisconsin, my theatrical home away from home later this winter! I have the opportunity to serve as Artist-in-Residence with The Stagenorth Groundlings during February and March, for their production of Jesus Christ Superstar (JCSS), in which I’ll be performing the title role. With the support of The Stagenorth Groundlings, I’ll live and work for 5 weeks in the Chequamegon Bay area, rehearsing in the evenings, and engaged throughout the week in area schools working with drama clubs, show choirs, and theater departments.

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of driving over to Washburn and Bayfield to take part in the annual Holiday Show at Stagenorth, sharing the stage with both young and veteran performers of the area, as well as some special guests, including Wisconsin Public Radio legend John Munson. Upon my arrival, a warm, welcoming, and artisticly vibrant tone was set by Liz Woodworth, Artistic Advisor with the Groundlings, and also director of their upcoming production of JCSS. She gave me a tour of the theater, got me settled at the lovely Winfield Inn in Bayfield, and was just such a joy to spend time, laugh, and make music with over the weekend as I participated and performed in the Holiday Show over two nights. Aside from the enjoyment I got from singing The Christmas Song with Liz on the keys, as well as sharing a live-looping wintery improvisation with the audience, I love my time backstage with my fellow actors and musicans performing in the show, meeting board members of the Stagenorth Groundlings, and chatting with the wonderful patrons of the Chequamegon Bay theater community.

Huge thanks to Liz Woodworth and The Stagenorth Groundlings for the invitation and opportunity to serve as Artist-in-Residence this winter! I’m looking forward to sharing time, developing new artistic relationships, and further strengthening the artistic connection between our two theater communities on Lake Superior – the Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior, and the Chequamegon Bay.

-Adam Sippola

Stagenorth Theater Artist-in-Residence

Stagenorth Theater in Washburn, Wisconsin

Nine – Director’s Notes

Nine: The Musical

Nine – Director’s Notes

“The great secret of Nine is that it took 8 1/2 and became an essay on the power of women by answering the question, “What are women to men?” And Nine tells you: they are our mothers, our sisters, our teachers, our temptresses, our judges, our nurses, our wives, our mistresses, our muses.”” – Maury Yeston

“I’ve reached a point in my life where I don’t know which way to turn anymore.”

As I traverse midlife, the themes of personal and creative crisis and struggle that permeate Fellini’s masterpiece 8 ½, upon which Nine is based, are closely relatable. However, contrary to Guido, struggling to bring clarity to his vision, “I am ready”, and very pleased to present our production to you tonight.

 “I would like to have another me to travel along with myself.”

Our concept: Director and actor playing a director and actor, struggling to create and direct a film in which he’s also an actor. Stay with me now. The other actors are cast as characters in the movie in his mind, as well as the women who have informed and shaped his reality, many of whom are actors playing roles in his film – worlds within worlds here.

“I am about to enter a realm I have never dared enter before. Wish me luck!”

As I began this journey into the world(s) of Nine many months ago, I voluntarily entered a surreal, meta-theatrical experiment of life imitating art. But it wasn’t luck I needed. In this story of women in a man’s world, and a man in a world of women, what brought me through was the foresight to surround myself with the most talented, courageous, intelligent, strong, focused, and hard working group of women I could find, as well as one special boy.

To the cast – You are my heroes, you artists who give so much, taking emotional risks, opening your hearts to friends and strangers so that they might laugh, cry, cringe, reflect, love, and perhaps make a deeper human connection with themselves and their fellows. Thank you!

-Adam Sippola, Director

 

L5Y Video Trailer

The Last Five Years: L5Y Video Trailer

The Last Five Years – Music & Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Produced by The Duluth Playhouse in The Underground
January 28 – February 6 | Thursday – Saturday
All Shows @7:30pm in The Underground
506 W. Michigan Street, Duluth MN 55802
TICKETS: Online at http://duluthunderground.org, or call 218.733.7555

Starring Carolyn LePine & Adam Sippola
Directed by Adam Sippola
Music Direction by Patrick Colvin
Photography by Three Irish Girls Photography

The Last Five Years: Meet Cathy & Jamie

The Last Five Years: Meet Cathy & Jamie
Meet Cathy & Jamie

The Last Five Years
January 28 – February 6 | Thursday – Saturday
All Shows @7:30pm in The Underground
506 W. Michigan Street, Duluth MN 55802
TICKETS: Online at http://duluthunderground.org, or call 218.733.7555
#L5Y #JRB

Adam Sippola Musician Profile by Seth Langreck

Check out this musician profile put together by Seth Langreck leading up to the Duluth Homegrown Music Festival next week. Many thank to Seth for connecting with me for this interview, and for creating this interesting musician profile. My set for the 2015 Duluth Homegrown Music Festival will be next Tuesday, April 28th, 11pm, at Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar.

Jesus Christ Superstar Review Excerpt

Hosanna

Adam Sippola as Jesus in the Duluth Playhouse production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

An excerpt from the review, by Lawrance Bernabo, published in the Duluth News Tribune :

“I never thought that Rice and Webber’s stated intention of humanizing Jesus automatically translated into making Jesus human rather that divine, but clearly the show privileges Judas as the main character. This time around, however, Jesus takes it back in the endgame, in no small part due to Sippola, who frankly cuts a more charismatic figure as Jesus than most singers I have seen play the role. His “Poor Jerusalem” rejoinder to Simon is one of the show’s most powerful moments, as are his “Gethsemane” and the “Crucifixion” scene. Sippola’s ability to sing in character and establish a rapport with others on stage has always been one of his strong suits and if Danner suddenly clicked her heels three times and said this was no longer a musical, he would still make an effective Jesus.”

Read the full review here: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/ae/reviews/3724730-theater-review-superstar-cast-makes-songs-their-own

EMPTY PLACES Music Video

EMPTY PLACES Music Video, featuring Amber Burns. Music & Lyrics by Adam Sippola. Choreography & Dancing by Amber Burns. Filmed & Edited by Adam Sippola. EMPTY PLACES is a single from the new album, RISING POINT, available now at http://adamsippola.com/music. Also available on itunes, cdbaby, bandcamp, and locally in downtown Duluth at Electric Fetus.

Rising Point Review

Rising Point Album CoverSippola uses talent, creative energy to great effect in ‘Rising Point’

By Tony Bennett, for the Duluth News Tribune
Thursday, January 22, 2015

It’s tough to distinguish yourself as a musician. Use a guitar, and you’re speaking the same language that so many before you have spoken. Play a drum, and it’s hard not to play it in a way that is reminiscent of legions of others who have put stick to head.

On the other hand, you can do something radically different to really stand out. There are people who start bands with homemade robots. There are people who dress in black cloaks like druids. There are people who play four-string guitars tuned to top-secret exotic tunings. Anything to set a musician apart visually or sonically, it’s been attempted.

Which brings us to Adam Sippola, who is known locally for playing the didgeridoo. That’s not all he does, but it’s something he does that no one else really attempts. So, in listening to Sippola’s new solo album, “Rising Point,” it’s hard to not be listening for that instrument’s deep drone. And it’s there. It’s actually the first thing you hear on the album, on the track “Overture.” The sonorous instrument’s plane-flying-by sound is the basis of the opener, which Sippola adorns with layered vocal tracks and church organ sounds.

In this his first gambit, Sippola makes clear he’s not here to sing a pop song that uses traditional pop vocabulary or instrumentation. He’s going for something that’s more evocative of non-Western music, something more chant-based. The words are there, but they’re obscured, cast in shadow.

The second track gets much more direct and fast. In “Let’s Start a Revolution,” Sippola repeatedly and melismatically sings a capella. It’s here that Sippola’s background as a stage actor and singer comes to the fore — there’s a quality in this song’s opening moments that is doubtlessly informed by his ability to inhabit different characters, a quality that feels dramatic and pointed in a way that lots of singers who don’t just sing have. It’s a self-awareness, an intent.

The song itself loops that key lyric, eventually turning it into a group-vocal stomp-gospel thing that leads into a lush, meticulously arranged bridge of overdubbed Sippolas. It’s actually quite a feat, and one that not many in the local area could pull off. Truly remarkable.

Same with the Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan-styled vocals of the track “Daybreak,” which again finds Sippola — a Western person singing non-Western styles — trying on some throat-singing for size. He layers his vocals beautifully, building mood and emotional content step by step.

But one has to wonder what the sounds he’s making are. They sound like language. They tonally have the character and sound of something recalling African folk music, and yet Sippola isn’t of that culture or background. So is he trying on a specific style and using the actual language of that style, or is there an appropriation that’s happening? Or is Sippola, a talented actor and singer, doing a bit of role-inhabiting? The lyric book for the album lists no words for this track.

As with “Revolution,” which finds Sippola repeatedly calling for revolution while also suggesting that humans “teach our kids to learn war no more,” there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance at work. In “Daybreak,” he sings what sounds like the music of another era or culture, and it may even be an impression or a pidgin version of actual languages that Sippola doesn’t speak.

Realistically, one’s enjoyment of “Rising Point” may depend on perspective. There are no doubt those who might listen to the album and hear someone doing stylistic trying-on of hats and wonder who the real Adam Sippola is. Others will hear the tremendous vocal talent, marvel at the looped arrangements and bask in the reverb-drenched production. Your mileage may vary, but there’s no doubt Sippola is talented in a way that sets him apart from just about everyone else around.

There’s a track on this album called “How Do You Know” that is based around a scratchy percussion loop and some fantastic cello (also played by Sippola), and it’s less evocative of other styles than much of the rest of the LP. A good move for Sippola on future releases may be to try and find himself and his identity in less genre-locked songs like this, to use his voice and his unique musical sensibilities not as costumes, but as ways to communicate his essential Adam-ness. For now, though, here’s a guy with tons of talent and lots of creative energy using his stage-honed skills to great effect. And playing a mean didge.

New Music Video & Rising Point on the Radio!

New Music Video!

I got together with some great human beings on Sunday evening to create a music video for my recently released single, How Do You Know. And here it is! My Rising Point album release is coming up this weekend, and I put this music video together in anticipation of Saturday night’s multimedia concert event at Sacred Heart Music Center.

Thank you Nicole, Andy, Moira, Gabe, Kate, Jerry, and Leah, for bringing your authentic selves to the shoot, and to Zeitgeist Arts for use of the theater to film.

Rising Point on the Radio!

This afternoon, Wednesday, January 21st, I’ll be heading over to KUMD (103.3 FM) to sit down with DJ-E at 5pm to talk about Rising Point, and listen to a couple of tracks from the new album. KUMD offers a live stream in the upper right corner of their homepage. And on Thursday night, I’ll be a guest on the Walt Dizzo Show on KUWS (91.3 FM) at around 10pm. Tune in! And don’t forget to find your way to the Rising Point album release concert this Saturday night, 8pm, at Sacred Heart Music Center!

Lead single “How Do You Know” released ahead of “Rising Point”

Rising Point Album CoverToday I’m releasing a lead single, How Do You Know in advance of my forthcoming album, Rising Point, due out January 24th. How Do You Know is a live looping, experimental rock song, driven by the cello on top of a found-sound rhythmic foundation created from recordings of my kitchen appliances, all supporting my voice and words.

I’m excited to share How Do You Know with you a bit early – one moment in the midst of Rising Point, my live looping concept album of vocally diverse songs spanning alternative, experimental rock, pop, world, and folk, and exploring themes of war, search, purpose, potential, and justice.

Lyrics:

How do you know?
Does anybody really know?
When will I see?

You look like me

Where are you from?
Do you believe in life to come?
Can it be true?

I look like you

*********

The entire album, Rising Point, will be available at my website, http://adamsippola.com, as well as on cdbaby, itunes, amazon, and locally at The Electric Fetus in Duluth, after the January 24th album release concert to take place at Sacred Heart Music Center. Buy advanced tickets here.

Enjoy, and thanks for listening!

-Adam

Painting of Adam Sippola by Moira Villiard!

Check out this painting of Adam Sippola by Moira Villiard, which will be used as album art for “Rising Point”, coming to you January 24th! I love Moira’s work, and am so happy with this painting, and that she’ll be showcasing more of her work at the album release concert at the end of January. Visit her artist page, Arte de Moira! Thanks also to Rajiv Vaidyanathan for snapping some photos of the painting for me to work with.

Painting of Adam Sippola by Moira Villiard

 

Duluth, MN Location Trailer!

I had a great time working with Miles, Tom, Troy, Riki, and the rest of the crew a few months back, filming this location trailer. Tom & Miles – fantastic job filming and editing! You really showcased the beauty of Duluth well. Thanks to the Minnesota Film & TV Board for the opportunity. Great to see the finished product. Film Duluth!

Duluth, MN Location Trailer

And the title is…

Group Sing at Sacred Heart!

Kickstarter backers prepare to sing in the chorus for the song “Revolution”.

I’ve been working hard the last month on the album, and I’m so happy with the progress and the way these songs are sounding! I’m on schedule and on track with my budget, and the album release concert is scheduled at Sacred Heart Music Center for Saturday, January 24th, 2015. I’ll be sending out the event details shortly.

Last night we recorded the beautiful sounding Flegemaker Organ at Sacred Heart to layer with the didgeridoo on a couple of tracks, and the several collaborations over the last month have been so enjoyable, and are really going to add to the album! One Sunday, all of the Kickstarter backers were invited to Sacred Heart to sing in the chorus for the song “Revolution”, and they sounded awesome! And the following week, I was so fortunate to be joined in the studio by Rachael Kilgour, John Sippola, and Gudrun Witrak for the song “Walking Trees”.

I’m getting really excited to shift gears into concert mode once the recording and mixing wrap up shortly, and am please to announce the title of the album… RISING POINT.

Walking Trees

Gudrun Witrak, Rachael Kilgour, Adam Sippola, and John Sippola record vocals for the song “Walking Trees”.

More updates about the album and concert coming soon…

-Adam

 

Cast list announced for Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar, produced by The Duluth Playhouse, and directed by Dorothy Danner, runs April 16 – May 3, 2015.

JCSCAST:

Jesus: Adam Sippola
Judas: Jayson Speters
Pontious Pilate: Cal Metts
King Herod: Jeffrey Madison
Mary Magdeline: Sara Wabrowetz
Caiphus: Gabe Mayfield
Annas: David Greenberg
Simon/Peter: Pascal Pastrana

Male Ensemble
Drew Autio
Jesse Davis
Scott Hebert
Kyle McMillan
Nathan Payne
Matthew Smith
Neil Vaidyanathan
Rajiv Vaidyanathan
Matias Valero
Kevin Walsh
Paul Waterman

Female Ensemble
Erin Blazevic
Carrie Boberg
Bailey Boots
Joanne Cobar
Maggy Emery
Rebekeh Meyer
Katie Rose Parbst
Angela Shields

We Did It!

MANY MANY THANKS to everyone that contributed, weather financially or otherwise, to my Kickstarter project, which successfully funded late last night!! The show of support from friends, family, organizations, venues, and strangers has been tremendous!

Over the last 40 days, I’ve worked as hard as I have on many theatrical productions I’ve been a part of, rehearsing, writing, performing, and annoying the heck out of all of you on social media 😉 Thanks for coming out to hear me play, and for putting up with my barrage of memes, messages and announcements.

NOW, I’m so excited to get into the recording studio, beginning this Sunday, to record an album that’s been forming over the last couple of years! Thanks again for the support friends!

Carrying Songs

Yesterday, I wrote down a list of songs for my upcoming live looping album. I’ve been carrying these songs – often born out of improvisation, some which I’ve been playing and fine tuning for a couple of years… others just recently emerging – carrying them with me from performance to performance, like I carry my bag of cables, mics, pedals and papers. I wrote them down, an asterisk here, a question mark there, names of possible collaborators in the margins, and I got really excited!

By the time this 40 day Kickstarter (http://kck.st/1DxSAb3) is done next Tuesday, November 4th at 11:59pm, I will have performed 9 shows and concerts in 40 days, including 8 Live Looping performances and 1 choir concert, spent around 40 hours rehearsing, another dozen or so hours working on promotional materials, including press releases, posters, emails, updates, and video editing, all while working my day job and being a husband and parent. It’s been an incredibly full, and very productive month.

And in the midst of it all, to see and feel the huge show of support from friends, family, strangers, and community, both financially and socially, has been absolutely wonderful, and I’m so thankful! Thank you all who have contributed and supported me in this endeavor one way or another!

I can’t wait to get into the studio, where I can focus my energy and attention to translating this list of songs into the creation of an album as a unique musical experience for you, as well as a chapter marker in my creative journey. My project is nearing the first stretch goal, with a couple of other goals on the horizon. So, if you’ve been thinking about checking out my project, but have been waiting until near the end, now’s the time: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred

Tonight, I hope you’ll join myself and Rachael Kilgour for a concert at the Teatro Zuccone at 7:30pm: Adam Sippola & Rachael Kilgour at Teatro Zuccone. And next Saturday, I’ll be singing with the Twin Ports Choral Project at Mitchell Auditorium at 7:30pm to round out my 40 days of live performances: Heaven and Earth. I hope to see you, so I can sing you some of these songs I’ve been carrying with me.

Initial Goal Acheived!

Initial Kickstarter Goal Acheived! Thanks to everyone for all of the support so far! 12 more days to get in on this project! Check out my updated goals here – https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred

Initial Goal Acheived

Photo Shoot in Nicole’s Italian Beach Studio

My first animated GIF

Nicole and I having a little fun on the beach in Positano, Italy. I was channeling my inner model.
Adam-looped-GIF

$500 Bonus Pledge

Kickstarter Bonus Pledge

If I reach my Kickstarter Project goal of $4000 by next Saturday, October 25th, one of the project backers has pledged to give an additional $500! So please, if you’re considering giving to the project, this week is the best time to do so. The extra $500 would be a great boost towards my extended budget goal, which would enable me to do even more with the project!

Visit my Kickstarter Project here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adamsippola/adam-sippola-creates-live-looping-album-at-sacred

$500 Bonus Kickstarter Pledge