By Pat McAndrew, Editor-in-Chief, All About Solo
DonnaD Lipari (Playwright, Composer, Lyricist, Actress) is an accomplished singer/songwriter pianist, who has entertained in the NYC metro-area for 40 years, and a private voice teacher on Long Island for the past 25 years. One of her students recently starred on Broadway in “School of Rock,” another was on The Voice. Her CD of original songs, “A Woman’s Own,” is available on iTunes. DonnaD has written customized poems, songs, and parodies for many throughout the country using the name “Specialty Serenades.” She has written for Judith Ripka, Trish McEvoy, Adrienne Arpel to name a few…and even the National Bulldog Convention. Early on, DonnaD was a special education teacher on Long Island with a master’s in special education. She wrote an original children’s musical that was published and sold throughout the U.S. DonnaD also had her own cabaret show performing in several venues in Manhattan, her own jazz trio and was a featured singer with various club date orchestras. DonnaD is a well-known psychic medium giving private and group readings for more than 12 years. She was mentored for seven years by the famous British medium, Robert Brown, before beginning her own healing work here in the United States. All About Solo caught up with DonnaD below to hear about her solo show about her incredible life story.
Pat McAndrew: Your piece is heavily based on music. How did you discover theater and, more specifically, solo performance?
DonnaD Lipari: My father was a singer. In the 1940s, he was a lead vocalist with a big band in the metropolitan area. When I was a little girl, he started exposing me to all of his favorite solo artists. He would tell me who they were and talk about their phrasing…styles…etc. I always listened…
What inspired you to create your own solo piece?
I was told in my early 20’s by a very famous medium that I would one day write the story of my life. Being 20 years old, I said…what life? Now…40 years later…I was ready to document the amazing journey I have personally lived and to share that.
What an insight to what was coming! Why is “The Medium…” important for today’s audience?
I believe that mine is a very timely piece. People are being exposed to mediumship in many different ways. There are several shows on television featuring various mediums…books written…events happening all over involving mediums. I wanted to give others the insight into what it is like to have this healing gift.
What is your favorite part about performing this show?
It is truly a lifelong dream for me! My favorite part is sharing all of the music that I have written that has helped me to heal and learn to accept my gift.
What were some challenges that you faced in developing this piece
My piece is documenting 66 years of life!! What to put in…what to leave out…how to make it dramatic yet have comedic moments…lots of challenges but to NEVER GIVE UP is one of my lifelong mantras!
It’s safe to say you are inspiring many other solo performers! How does “The Medium…” speak to other work you have done?
I have always wanted to help others. My music has always been written to help me heal through difficult situations in my life. I knew a young man who committed suicide and was inspired to write a song and a show about teenage suicide entitled “Share Your Love.” Almost every song written has been inspired by an authentic life situation. I have also been a singing teacher for the past 25 years. When I lost my own voice in my early 20’s I was very distraught. At that time I made a pledge that if I ever regained my singing voice, I would teach others how to prevent that from happening to them. My show details much of that journey.
What do you hope the audience walks away with after seeing your show?
I hope others can understand all of the obstacles I had to face on my journey and how I overcame each and every single one – learning to love and accept myself along the way. I truly believe that if I can do it…so can you! I hope to convey that message LOUD AND CLEAR! As a song I’ve written states…”You’re Never Too Old To Make Your Dreams Come True!”
“The Medium…The Music…and ME!”
Written and Performed by DonnaD Lipari
Sept. 28 at 9pm, Sept. 29 at 4pm, Oct. 20 at 4pm, Oct. 28 at 7:30pm, Nov. 17 at 4pm
Director: Gary Gaccione
Consulting Editor & Script Supervisor: Dr. Sherry Radowitz
Technical Director: Darren Lipari
Production Assistant: Bruce Gotlieb
Photo credit: Daniel Kwak
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
Author: Pat McAndrew, Editor-in-Chief, All About Solo
Pat McAndrew is a NYC-based actor, writer, and consultant. As an actor, he has performed Off-Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, and in various locations throughout New York City, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. His one-man show, REEL, was performed in the 2017 United Solo Theatre Festival and featured in the new documentary, Electronic Crack. Using his background as an actor as his foundation, Pat consults with individuals and organizations on how to communicate effectively and build deep, meaningful relationships in the digital age. He is the Founder of The Low Tech Trek, an organization devoted to discovering a better balance between human interaction and how we use technology. He is a member of Village Playback Theatre, Endless River Arts, and Svaha Theatre Collective. Pat holds an MA in Theatre from Villanova University. Check out patmcandrew.com for more information.