“Evocative and exciting … a musical voice that commands attention” – Martin Denton, NYTheatre.com
“Mr. Ashkenasi’s music [has] dimensionality and touches of poignancy” – Jeremy Eichler, New York Times
“His ideas are fresh, and they are labors of love. Danny Ashkenasi is someone to keep your eyes on.” – Matrell Wood, Art is Alive Magazine
Danny Ashkenasi has been acting professionally since the age of ten and composing musical works that have been publicly produced since the age of fourteen. In pursuing these arts, he has also developed his expertise as a writer, singer, director, producer and teaching artist. In recent years he has focused on creating and performing musical works that highlight the American experience, by adapting American literary masters and focusing on pertinent American historical and social themes.
Danny just directed this second short film “The Pit and the Pendulum – a musicabre“, for which he also composed the score, wrote the screenplay, produced, and played the lead role(s). His first short film, “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre“, another Poe adaptation for which he wrote the screenplay, produced, directed and performed the role of the narrator, so far has won over 65 film festival awards.
Recent musical writing projects include “Speakeasy – John and Jane’s Adventures in the Wonderland” which delves into the little known Queer culture of Prohibition era New York City in fantastical Carrollesque fashion; and “Feedstore Quartet” (Book and co-lyricist: Jack Hilton Cunningham) set in 1950’s Mississippi, which was selected for a Dircetor’s Choice Award by Mainstreet Musicals. Danny adapted over 60 Langston Hughes’ poems in a full length musical revue called “I Too Sing America – The Blues According to Langston Hughes“, which was performed at the Harlem Renaissance Festival at the Metropolitan Playhouse, New York. Danny performed in his musical adaptation of Herman Melville’s “Cock-a-Doodle-Doo!” at the Metropolitan Playhouse and FringeNYC. He also performed in “beTwixt, beTween & beTWAIN“, a Mark Twain Musical Comedy he wrote and composed, which had runs at the Metropolitan Playhouse and The Producer’s Club in NYC and also had a special performance at the Westport Library in CN.
Danny Ashkenasi is an American citizen who was born and raised in Berlin, Germany. Consequently he also acts and has musical compositions produced in that country, including the musical “Wir Pfeifen auf den Gurkenkoenig” (text: Peter Lund), which had a long run in Berlin, “Once Upon A Frog /Es war einmal ein Frosch”, which was performed in English in Berlin, and recently enjoyed its German language premiere (translated by Danny Ashkenasi) at the Wetzlarer Festpiele; and “Hexen” (text: P. Lund), which has enjoyed dozens of productions throughout Germany, three alone in Berlin, including at the Deutsche Oper; it was also produced in Austria and Finland (The English adaptation “Witches“, translated by Danny Ashkenasi, has been performed twice in New York.). He is the only composer twice invited as a finalist to the Hamburg Musical Festival.
Other US works includes “The Song of Job 9:11” (Text: D. Ashkenasi), first performed in concert in New York 4 months after 9/11 and numerous times since then, and also produced theatrically at the FringeNYC Festival; and the chamber opera “Jenseits” (Text: Helga Krauss), produced as “Beyond” at the Village Temple and at the FringeNYC Festival, both directed by Mr. Ashkenasi. His musicalisation (or “musicabre”) of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart“, was premiered (accompanied/surrounded by three cellos) at the Metropolitan Playhouse’s Poe festival, and again performed at the FringeNYC Festival, where it won the FringeNYC award for “Outstanding Music and Lyrics”; it was also produced by the TrypTych Concert and Opera in Toronto. Other musical works produced in New York include “When Thou, My Music, Music Play’st” (Text: W. Shakespeare, adapted from his Sonnets), “Lucky Hans” (Text: Margie Duffield) and “Les Artistes” (Text: Greg Steinbrunar). He has also composed several one-act musicals for the Berkshire Ensemble for Theatre Arts and the International Schools Theatre Association England Summer Program. Chamber music compositions of his include Evocations I – XXVIII for Viola and Piano, Aphorisms for Mezzo Soprano and Trumpet, and the Spree Forest Suite for Flute and Harp, which was recorded by the Duo Elysee.
Additional acting credits include Off- and Off-Off Broadway, regional theater and tours, and theater, TV and film in Germany.
Danny is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
Go here for Notes on Myself, a short post on Danny Ashkenasi’s thoughts on being a composer.