Chapman and Sirna-Frest are a composing duo that write original song cycles using found text. Currently they are working on Untitled Sacks Project a synth&strings symphonic experience based on the works of the late great neuroscientist Oliver Sacks.
Welcome to the Gun Show: A Chekhovian Song Cycle which premiered at Ars Nova as part of Ant Fest 2017 and part of the Exponential Festival at the Slipper Room In January 2018. They created IceBand for Target Margin's Iceman Commeth Labs at Here Arts Center where they took the text for Act One O'Neill's famous bar play and turned it into a glam rock show filled with power ballads and whiskey shots! The New York Times called it "sonically gorgeous"
"Composers Julia Sirna-Frest and Shane Chapman lit up the Slipper Room in Welcome to the Gun Show, an hour-long set of original songs with lyrics exclusively from Chekhov’s writings. Before diving in, Sirna-Frest explained the concept behind the set and invited the packed crowd to “sit back and enjoy the melancholy.” Melancholy was certainly to be had, with most of the many-membered band dressed in mourning-for-my-life black, playing songs focused on unrequited love, getting old, and wanting to go to Moscow. But a whole lot of fun was to be had, too. Sirna-Frest provided vodka and sno balls between songs, and listening to the songs themselves became something of a game of trying to figure out which plays the lines might have come from. But Welcome to the Gun Show is for theater-lovers and music-lovers alike. It was easy to move from Chekhovian connection to enjoyment of the songs in their own right. Lyrics like “I’ve been out of my mind / and I close my eyes / and beg for you to stay” held up completely on their own–especially as played by such a talented array of performers (and dressed and lit by the always talented Ásta Bennie Hostetter and Kate McGee). Welcome to the Gun Show was a very clever concept with a very savvy execution. Here’s to seeing what classic plays Sirna-Frest and Chapman use for song lyrics next."-Contemporary Performance
"Julia Sirna-Frest’s sonically gorgeous Act I, in which each song (composed by Shane Chapman and Ms. Sirna-Frest) is named for at least one of the play’s characters"-New York Times
"With glam makeup and undeniable skills...fourteen original songs from Chapman and Sirna-Frest,
Make this Act I, in my opinion, better than the rest Of traditional interpretations, even the “best.”"-Huffington Post
Photographer: Kevin Frest