Neil Klein – Lyricist-Composer, Librettist

Neil is a graduate of Syracuse University, where he studied at the School of Visual and Performing Arts. Klein first started writing songs and performing in bands as a teen. During the 1980s and 90s, he played Metro New York clubs as the lead member of bands such as Dogma Eye, Sunspots and True Faux. Klein’s varied musical influences include Queen, early Genesis, Klaatu, classic American musical theatre, Tin Pan Alley and The Beatles. Holding On is Klein’s first musical work for the theater, to be followed by Welcome to the Monkey House, an exploration of madness and social injustice. Neil Klein lives in Westchester County with wife Susanne and sons Joshua and Jeremy. The lyricist-composer is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.


Jay Blotcher – Librettist

Jay became friends and roommates with Neil Klein in freshman year at Syracuse University. Their first collaboration was a 1979 song called “Flunk Out,” with Blotcher providing lyrics and Klein the music. It would be 28 years before their next project, the musical Holding On. A veteran journalist, Blotcher has written for The New York Times, Backstage and The Advocate. His nonfiction pieces appear in eight anthologies. He was co-director of the documentary “Heroes,” about Eagle Scout James Dale’s landmark court case. Blotcher appears in the 2011 documentary “Vito,” which premiered at the New York Film Festival. Blotcher lives in the Mid-Hudson Valley of New York with husband Brook Garrett and Scout the Wonder Dog. The librettist is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.


Jamal Joseph
Jamal Joseph – Director

Jamal is a U.S. Writer, Director, Producer, Poet, and Activist. Jamal was one of the Panther 21 and incarcerated for his active participation in the Black Panther Party. He is a full professor at Columbia University School of the Arts and former chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Film Division. Jamal is also the artistic director of the New Heritage Theatre Group in Harlem, as well as the co-founder and artistic director of IMPACT Theatre, a Harlem-based youth theatre company. He has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, BET’s American Gangster and on Tupac Shakur’s “The Rose That Grew From Concrete” Volumes 1 & 2. He is the author of the interactive biography on Tupac Shakur, Tupac Shakur Legacy (Simon & Schuster). He has also written the script for a Broadway musical based on the life of Tupac Shakur. In 2015 Jamal Joseph produced the film Chapter & Verse starring New Heritage Theatre Group’s Artist in Residence Daniel Beaty. Joseph was nominated for a 2008 Academy Award in the Best Song category for his contributions to the song “Raise It Up”, performed by IMPACT Repertory Theatre and Jamia Nash in the 2007 film August Rush. His memoir Panther Baby was published in February 2012 by Algonquin Books.




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