Denver-based Emmy Award winning composer Denise Gentilini and writing partner, internationally celebrated singer/songwriter Lisa Nemzo, bring their original production, I AM ALIVE to Los Angeles for an exclusive showing for one weekend only this September.
Gentilini, who is of Armenian descent, has assembled a largely non-Armenian cast to tell the story of the Armenian Genocide with a completely new focus; celebrating those who survived. Gentilini was inspired by the story of her own grandparents who survived the systematic killing of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman Empire in 1915.
Using her childhood memories of her grandparents as well as transcripts from interviews with them, Gentilini/Nemzo used direct excerpts from their firsthand accounts for some lyrics and dialogue in the musical. This personal connection has allowed them to craft a complex experience that explores the human side of a politically contentious topic alongside the love story that unfolds between two people in an unimaginable set of circumstances.
With the 100 year anniversary behind us, this production is meant to provide closure around the tragedy and provide a renewed focus on the human spirit.
I AM ALIVE is produced by Well Orchestrated Madness and directed by Christy Montour-Larson and will be shown only one weekend on the West Coast. Partner organizations include; Jewish World Watch, Mashdots College, United Armenian Council, ANCA-WR and AFFMA. Armenians of Colorado serve as the fiscal sponsor.
Denise Gentilini (Book, Music, Lyrics, Orchestrator, Producer and Music Director)
Specializing in film music, Denise is an Emmy® award winning composer with 30-years experience in music composition and production. After 20 years of performing and doing session work in her native Los Angeles, Denise moved to Colorado to continue her music career. Using her music as a tool for awareness, Denise has written songs for The Children’s Hospital, Colorado NSC Autism Department, (I Chose You), The Iliff School of Theology – Courage Award honoring Judy Shepard (Courage Said I Can, co-written with Mindy Sterling). With her partner, Lynette Prisner, their production company, Well-Orchestrated Madness produced the 2009 concert, We Are Voices – For A Future Without Genocide, using her original music to bring awareness to a subject close to her heart, genocide. Denise is the granddaughter of Armenian Genocide survivors, Kourken and Malvine Handjian, whose lives the musical, I AM ALIVE, is inspired by. Denise’s first Emmy® was received for her film score in her 2002 documentary about her grandparents, The Handjian Story: A Road Less Traveled. Incidentally, the Handjians were pillars of the community in Los Angeles and were members of Holy Martyrs church in Encino. Denise received her second Emmy® award for her film score in the documentary film, Conviction, telling the story of three Dominican nuns who devote their lives to peace. Denise has been writing with Lisa Nemzo for over two decades. I AM ALIVE is their first musical and they are very excited to bring this important history to the stage under the experienced direction of Christy Montour-Larson along with a cast of 21 talented actors from Denver, Colorado.