Queen of Hearts

Created and performed by Noelle McMurtry and Emma Tattenbaum-Fine, Queen of Hearts combines autobiographical storytelling and American musical theatre songs to explore what it means to love and be loved in return.

Description

Inspired by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “Love Is Not All,” Queen of Hearts is an evening of cabaret theatre that explores the many stages of romance: an initial self-questioning, a longing for human connection, the spark of deeper feelings, the pain of unrequited desire, the contentment in being loved, the rupture of a bond, and the ultimate decision to move forward wiser, but scarred.

Through storytelling and song, we explore age-old questions about love. Will I ever feel deeply loved? Am I worth loving “forever”? And when love finds me, will I be able to offer it in return?

Love is Not All (Sonnet XXX)

Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath,
Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
Yet many a man is making friends with death
Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
It well may be that in a difficult hour,
Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
Or nagged by want past resolution’s power,
I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
Or trade the memory of this night for food.
It well may be. I do not think I would.

Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Love is Not All” (Sonnet XXX),” from Collected Poems
Copyright 1931, 1934, 1939, © 1958 by Edna St. Vincent Millay and Norma Millay Ellis

Edna St. Vincent Millay reads “Love Is Not All”

Performance History

Queen of Hearts premiered at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre (NYC) in 2016 and was later workshopped at The Pleiades Project Launch Event. Awarded a Career Development Grant from Peabody Institute in 2017 to expand its theatrical scope, Emma and Noelle collaborated with visual artist Andrea Kleinbussink for their performance at Stillpointe Theatre (Baltimore). In 2018, Noelle and Emma performed Queen of Hearts at Areté Venue and Gallery through Inception to Exhibition (NYC).


Program Selections

STORIES

Bozrah Fairytale

Abyss

A Million Miles Away

An Arts Education

In His Own Words

The Declawed Cat

Wedding Revelers

Brian Williams

First Kiss



All stories included in Queen of Hearts were written and performed by Emma Tattenbaum-Fine.

SONGS

“Who Am I?,” from Leonard Bernstein’s Peter Pan

“The Right Guy For Me,” from Kurt Weill’s You and Me

“I Wish It So,” from Marc Blitztein’s Juno

“Love for Sale,” from Cole Porter’s The New Yorkers

“Making Love Alone” by Marilyn Miller & Cheryl Hardwich

“I’ll Follow My Secret Heart,” from Noël Coward’s Conversation Piece

Alphabet City Cycle by Georgia Stitt & Marcy Heisler

“I Loved,” from Jovannest & Rauber’s Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living In Paris

“To Oakland, With Love” by Jeanna Phillips

“Lightning Strikes” by Jeanna Phillips & Alex Thrailkill

All music included in Queen of Hearts was performed with an ASCAP Concert & Recital License Agreement.

Photo: Elizabeth Van Os

Collaborator Spotlight

Emma is a comedic actor and writer. She played Logainne in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at ACT of CT (Broadway World Nomination for “Best Ensemble”) and she returned there to do Godspell in winter of 2020, with Stephen Schwartz revising his classic for this revamped production. Emma appears in Netflix’s Explained. She’s been a joke writer for NYTW gala hosts, Broadway’s Jeremy O. Harris & Heidi Schreck and has hosted HQ Trivia live in front of millions of players internationally. She’s written several full-length scripts, and sketch and stand-up comedy for truTV, Comedy Central and Refinery29.

Emma’s upcoming book, Trash Mermaid — Essays, Stories, Recollections, Rants, and Ramblings that Came to Me by the Jersey Sea is available soon for purchase on Kindle and in print. For more of Emma’s writing, subscribe to her Substack.

Listen to examples of Emma’s storytelling here and in the Multimedia section below. Also, don’t forget to check out her audio album of stories, Commuter’s Companion, now streaming on Spotify!


Multimedia

“Sunday Light,” from Georgia Stitt’s Alphabet City Cycle
Marla by Emma Tattenbaum-Fine
Insouciant by Emma Tattenbaum-Fine
“La Diva de l’Empire” by Erik Satie
“Der genügsame Liebhaber,” from Arnold Schoenberg’s Brettl Lieder
“Almost Everything I Need,” from Georgia Stitt’s Alphabet City Cycle
“Tell Me The Truth About Love,” from Benjamin Britten’s Cabaret Songs
“Es regnet” by Kurt Weill
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u002du002drCul26CkE
Climbing the Wall by Emma Tattenbaum-Fine
“The Wanting of You,” from Georgia Stitt’s Alphabet City Cycle
“Je te veux” by Erik Satie
“I’m A Stranger Here Myself,” from Kurt Weill’s One Touch of Venus
The Inner Voices of Women in a Lingerie Store by Emma Tattenbaum-Fine

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