Upcoming Productions

The Grieving Project Musical

The Grieving Project Musical

Proof of Concept

Excited to announce that along with our primary collaborator, Artist in Residence and Playwright Lisa Sniderman, Open Circle Theatre just completed a two-week artist residency at a performance space in Baltimore, Maryland in 2024 to produce a “Proof of Concept” of The Grieving Project musical! Here are the Highlights!

-Accessible Live/Virtual Theatre

Brings Live Accessible, Immersive Theatrical Experiences to Those Who Can’t Attend Live Theater

-Comparable Live/Virtual Experiences

Features Innovative, Accessible Tech to Create Comparable Live/Virtual Theatrical Experiences


Stage and Film Selected Scenes from The Grieving Project

-Baltimore, Maryland Feb-Mar 2024

The Voxel – Baltimore, Maryland February 26th – March 11th, 2024

Story and Synopsis

THE GRIEVING PROJECT is a multi-media spoken word musical about finding your voice and an exploration of acceptance, grieving and thriving for people with challenging mobility, immunity, and mental health realities. It is the story of four disabled artists with acquired onset illnesses, who find their voices and thrive while navigating mental health, relationships, and grieving their transformations, loss of identities, and their illnesses. Told in 14 stages of grieving and thriving with spoken word and music, it asks: “How can we live fully and thrive if we don’t grieve?” It integrates a unique concept: the lead characters only speak during songs until each “finds her/his voice” and sings. It uses a distinct story structure and concept of 14 stages of grieving and thriving to explore characters’ different grief experiences and mental states. The story moves between the present-using a Zoom show as a structural device for lead characters to connect-and the past-through flashbacks.

While the whole world deals with the outbreak of a global pandemic in 2020, Lis, a disabled artist who’s struggled with her own rare chronic illness for twelve years, is stuck in San Francisco: getting blood infusions, with a chronic disease, at home, unable to write new music, and now with a pandemic… She desperately needs inspiration to write music again and yearns for her art-her life-to have meaning, purpose, and to be validated and thrive, while homebound. Devoid of inspiration to write a song for an arts competition, The Grieving Project, Lis meets three other finalists on a Zoom show: thriving artists Danica, Charli, and Brandon, each battling a different physical or mental illness and disability, sending her on an unexpected spiritual quest to find her voice and accept herself. And all must discover what grieving and thriving even mean while struggling with chronic illness, and what happens when we don’t. See: https://thegrievingproject.com/musical)

Concept, Book and Lyrics by Lisa Sniderman
Music by Lisa Sniderman, Stewart St John and Michael Plahuta, Angelo Bundini
Based on “The Grieving Project” 2020 (a spoken word, musical audiobook)
By Lisa Sniderman/Aoede and Angelo “Scrote” Bundini.
Copyright © 2024

About the Creative Team

Lisa Sniderman – Concept – Book – Lyrics – Music
Lisa Sniderman recording the grieving project

Lisa Sniderman is a multi-award-winning artist and playwright known by her artist name, Aoede. As a disabled artist, Sniderman creates-and often centers characters with illnesses-to express, foster healing, elevate, empower and advocate for people with chronic illnesses and disabilities. She’s been honored with 100+ awards and accolades for songwriting, albums, films, stage plays, spoken word, books, all while battling a rare, disabling autoimmune disease for almost 16 years: Dermatomyositis as well as primary immune deficiency (CVID). Says Sniderman, “Music and art are my lifelines; I just cannot stop creating.”
She kept so busy creating, Sniderman admits she forgot to grieve her illness. She has also been homebound many years, missing live theater, and had a vision of bringing live theater to those like her through filmed stage performances, which sparked the creation and release of her ninth studio album, “The Grieving Project,” a hybrid stage musical intended to bring live, accessible, immersive theatrical experiences to chronically ill and disabled communities. This musical is based on “The Grieving Project” 2020 (a spoken word, musical audiobook) by Lisa Sniderman/Aoede and Angelo “Scrote” Bundini. https://thegrievingproject.com/about-lis-aoede/

Suzanne Richard – Director
Suzanne Richard Artistic Director

Suzanne Richard is co-founder and Artistic Director of Open Circle Theatre, Washington, D.C.’s first professional theatre promoting careers in the arts for people with disabilities-formed in 2003 by a group of people with and without disabilities. OCT produces high-quality, inventive theatre productions, and many critically acclaimed shows, that provide opportunities for professional theatre artists with and without disabilities. Mixing arts with advocacy, Ms. Richard has worked on and served in various local, national, and international accessibility and disabilities-related councils and committees;  authored chapters in a number of books on arts and disabilities, and has been presenting workshops and residencies in local school systems as well as around the country. She currently works as a professional actress in Washington, D.C. area, has performed in more than 30 productions, and even toured as a dancer. http://opencircletheatre.org/artistic-director/

The Open Circle Theater logo, shaped like a crescent moon.
Jessica Wallach – Accessibility Director

Jessica Jessica Skintges Wallach, a disabled artist, is a Washington, DC-based accessibility consultant and photographer. Jessica has been working in accessibility for 40 years. She has a Master’s degree from Cornell University in City and Regional Planning where she first started asking: “Who are we making space accessible to?” She worked at the Department of Justice focusing on housing accessibility. Jessica currently tours nationally as a speaker and consults on how to make performing arts events accessible. She has worked in/and or exhibited art at renowned spaces including The Kennedy Center,
Woolly Mammoth Theatre, Capital One Hall, Open Circle Theatre, and Mass General Hospital. https://www.thebodyisgood.com/about/

Stewart St John & Michael Plahuta – Music – Lyrics

Stewart St John and Michael Plahuta are the American/Australian composing and songwriting/producing team “St John & Plahuta”, composers for film, television, video games, musicals and podcasts. Most recently they’ve composed 14 pop songs for St John’s live-action musical feature film in development with Oscar®-nominated producer Marc Platt (Wicked, Legally Blonde) and his company Marc Platt Productions. The team also composed and produced 20 original songs based on St John’s Tara Tremendous musical, performed by Micky Dolenz, Annie Golden (Hair: The Musical), Mary Stout (Beauty & The Beast), MiMi Ryder (Matilda: The Musical) and other stars of Broadway, directed by St John in NYC. The duo have several original musicals for stage, animation and live-action currently in development. Stewart and Michael are also two of the co-founders of Wonkybot Entertainment, an award-winning production company and sound house creating original IP for kids and family. For Lisa Sniderman’s The Grieving Project they composed, co-composed, produced, arranged and wrote additional lyrics for the songs featured in the proof-of-concept live performance. https://www.stjohnplahutamusic.com/

Angelo Bundini – Music

Angelo “Scrote” Bundini has worked as a musician and/or record producer with Grammy and Oscar winning artists (e.g., Sting, Seal, Todd Rundgren). He creates & produces shows & tours including the world renowned concert series Celebrating David Bowie with superstar performers and has composed, performed, mixed, and/or produced music for award winning independent & feature films as well as network TV. Scrote has produced and/or collaborated with Aoede on many of her award-winning albums (Affair with the Muse (2011), Skeletons of the Muse (2012), Is Love A Fairy Tale? (2012), What Are Dreams Made Of? (2013) Do You Believe In Magic? (2015), The Grieving Project (2020), Imaginarium (2021)). https://celebratingdavidbowie.com/