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New Dance-Theater Work 'THE BENCH' Will Feature SHUFFLE ALONG's Darius de Haas and More

Titus Theatricals, in association with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, has announced the upcoming industry showcase presentations of the thrilling new work, The Bench - Journey into Love, during the 2017 APAP Conference.

Choreographed by Kiesha Lalama (one of Dance Magazine's "Top 25 to Watch") and featuring Darius de Haas (Shuffle Along) and Nikki Kimbrough (A Night with Janis Joplin), The Bench - Journey into Love will have two presentations on Saturday, January 7 at 12pm & 6pm at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center (MMAC), located at 248 West 60th Street (between 10th and 11th Avenues).

The work features original music by Doug Oberhamer & David Lalama, lyrics by Christopher Dimond & Joel Mason, orchestrations, arrangements and music direction by Doug Oberhamer.

Additionally, APAP has chosen The Bench - Journey into Love to participate in its exclusive "Up Next! Artist Pitch Session" on Friday, January 6. For more information or to request a ticket, email

The Bench - Journey into Love is a whimsical love story told through the influential lens of Fate (de Haas) and Destiny (Kimbrough), who unite the charming Antonio and the beautiful Eva through magical serendipity. Emotions run wild as the young couple experience life's delights and obstacles. This impassioned and passionate theatrical experience weaves together innovative story-driven dance and a gripping jazz musical score to create a timeless tale of love and family.


Kiesha Lalama (Creator, Director and Choreographer) has created more than 50 works to date. She choreographed the feature films The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sorority Row, the hit television documentary "Broadway or Bust" (PBS) and newly released television series "Outsiders" (WGN). Theatrical credits include National High School Musical Theater Awards (Broadway), All Shook Up (North Shore Music Theatre), Jesus Christ Superstar (Kansas City Starlight Theatre), Into the Woods (Arsht Performing Arts Center) and Judge Jackie Justice, Ruthless! The Musical, and A Grand Night for Singing (Pittsburgh CLO). Concert dance highlights include Shed (DCDC), Alegria (Giordano Dance Chicago), and Torque (August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble). Lalama has choreographed works for diverse companies such as Ballet Arkansas, Dance Kaleidoscope, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, TEDx, and the Youth American Grand Prix. In addition to being one of Dance Magazine's "25 to Watch," Lalama was awarded a Leo's Award for choreography at the Jazz Dance World Congress. Lalama graduated with an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and has her BA in Dance from Point Park University.

Doug Oberhamer (Co-Composer, Orchestrations, Arrangements and Music Direction). Credits range from Broadway and Off Broadway to National and International Tours. Oberhamer also works as a Composer, Arranger, Orchestrator, Music Producer, and Vocal Coach in New York and abroad. Original featured cast member and Associate Conductor/AMD of the Broadway Musical: Swing! Music Directing/Supervising Credits include: Swing!, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Saturday Night Fever, We Will Rock You, Crazy for You, The Man of La Mancha, Frankenstein and Nunsense, among others. Doug is the Music Supervisor and Vocal Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Productions, and he can be heard as the featured trumpet soloist on the Sony Classics Grammy nominated recording of Swing!, as well as MCA Records Vanessa Daou "Slow to Burn" and is collaborating with Nile Rodgers on DoubleTime. He was nominated for a Jefferson Award for his work on Swing! in Chicago and won a Bistro Award for excellence in Musical Direction and Arranging and Orchestrating for Little Death.

David Lalama (Co-Composer) is a professor of music at Hofstra University and on the Manhattan School of Music faculty. He received his doctorate in music composition from New York University and is active as a clinician and performer throughout the United States. Dr. Lalama has performed and recorded with Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis, and numerous other jazz artists and continues actively to compose, arrange, and perform in the New York City metropolitan area. He is the director of the new Long Island Jazz Orchestra and has been featured in Hofstra University's Frank Sinatra Conference as a performer and conductor along with numerous jazz education programs for Carnegie Hall (JazzEd) and Friends Of The Arts (JazzLink). His most recent CD as a member of the Joe Ascione Trio, Post No Bills, is on the Arbors Record Label. He has also been a featured guest on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz series on National Public Radio. Along with performing, Dr. Lalama has also published big band jazz arrangements and articles about MIDI techniques and software. He has received composition grants from the Society of Composers, Meet-the- Composers, New York State Council of the Arts, and several American universities and has recently been cited in The Biographical Encyclopedia of Jazz, published by Oxford University Press in 1999.

Christopher Dimond (Co-Lyricist) received the 2013 Fred Ebb Award, a 2010 Jonathan Larson Grant and are the first recipients of the Lorenz Hart Award. His musicals include The Noteworthy Life of Howard Barnes (developed at the O'Neill Music Theater Conference and the Village Theater), Orphie & The Book of Heroes (The Kennedy Center), Judge Jackie Justice (Pittsburgh CLO), Dani Girl (Exit, Pursued by a Bear; licensed by Samuel French) and Golden Gate (Williamstown Theatre Festival), among others. Chris is a member of the Dramatists Guild and ASCAP, and are proud alumni of Carnegie Mellon University. He was a Dramatists Guild Fellow, received a fellowship at the O'Neill National Music Theater Conference, and attended the Johnny Mercer Songwriting workshop.

Joel Mason (Co-Lyricist) was born in Orangeburg, South Carolina in 1960. After a tour of duty in the United States Navy, spent in South East Asia, he returned home and studied acting at the University of South Carolina. He finished his BFA eight years later at the University of Rhode Island. Joel moved around the United States for several years as an actor, dancer and theatrical fight choreographer before starting his graduate studies in Interdisciplinary Theater at Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Titus Theatricals (Producer) is a commercial theatre producing entity with a focus on creating and developing new dynamic works within the performing arts to entertain, to stimulate, and to promote change within communities around the world.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company (Artistic Director, Debbie Blunden-Diggs; Executive Director, Ro Nita Hawes-Saunders) is a culturally diverse contemporary dance company committed to reaching the broadest audience through exceptional performance and arts-integrated education.

The Bench - Journey into Love, a new theatrical dance experience, will be presented as a showcase during the 2017 APAP Conference, on Saturday, January 7 at 12pm and 6pm at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center (MMAC) 248 West 60th Street (Between 10th and 11th Avenues). Additionally, APAP has chosen The Bench - Journey into Love to participate in its exclusive "Up Next! Artist Pitch Session" on Friday, January 6. For more information or to request a ticket, email

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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