Category: Uncategorized


As a young person I viewed the 1930s through a mixed lens. I’d watch films and listen to music and think it was a time of top hats and tuxedos, Cole Porter’s witty lyrics and Fred and Ginger glamorously swirling across a ballroom. But there was another side to the thirties…the life of the everyman, captured here by Lewis Hine’s 1934 photo of unemployed men along NYC’s docks…in stark contrast to the jazz and cocktails of Porter’s thirties.

Hine’s photo is a reminder that life was hard throughout the land: Unemployment was rampant, the country suffered through an awful heat wave and the “Dust Bowl” drought strangled the mid-section of the country.

Interestingly, there was a lyricist who captured both sides of the thirties….Yip Harburg. He wrote a song of hope, “Over the Rainbow and the era’s song of angst, “Buddy, Can You Spare a Dime.”



I’ll never forget the moment I was standing in a Barnes and Noble bookstore, paging through “Naked City,” a book of photos taken by the famous NYC crime photographer Arthur Fellig, better known as Weegee. I turned a page…a number of firemen and a priest were standing over body bags. The fireman on the far right is my grandfather Charles F. Hale.

Historian Shelby Foote once said, “So you get that thing and you get the weather, you get the soil and you get the coloration of things; get the true feel of it.”

So I’ve often wondered…How do you get the true feel of those who came before you? How do you breathe of an ancestor’s space and time?

I’ve spent a lot of time retracing my NYC ancestor’s footsteps…where did they live, what streets did they walk on, what did they see and hear?

I wondered about the Weegee photo.  How could I determine when that photo was taken? What could I learn about the fire? It was dark so it occurred at night or in the early morning. The priest wore a heavy topcoat, which suggested it was wintertime. And since the fire claimed one or more lives, I surmised that the fire would have kept the company out of the house for at least an hour. I carefully examined the old journals I found at Engine Company 14’s basement, noting the fires that fit those parameters. I found eight.

I learned that The International Center of Photography was the largest repository of Weegee photos. I called the ICP and was directed to an archivist in charge of Weegee’s work. I started with the first fire on my list. It matched my criteria. The fire occurred during a cold-weather month, March; the call came into the firehouse during darkness, 4:51 AM; the company was out of quarters for two hours and twenty-four minutes, and Firefighter Hale was one of the firefighters who responded to the alarm.

I was lucky; the archivist found the photo in a moment. The photo was published in PM Magazine on March 8, 1942.

The next day I visited the New York Public Library’s microfilm room. I requested the specific date of the PM Magazine that I wanted. I found the photo and the story on page three of the March 8, 1942, edition.

A fire had ignited—it appeared someone had fallen asleep while smoking—and the building’s occupants fled in panic. A woman, however, holding one of her children, was trapped on an upper floor. She leaped from the building with her child in her arms. They were killed on impact.

I often sit and stare at the Weegee photo and imagine the events. The photo captures the hard times and sufferings of the poor, and the immediacy of life and death. I imagine the compassion the firefighters must have felt, their feelings of helplessness and despair as the woman prepared to leap from the window with her child in her arms. I think of the men running into burning buildings, coming to the aid of people they’d never met, risking their lives to help those in need.

I walked the street my grandfather did…I saw the building where the women and her child were killed and I listened to the music my grandfather might have heard when he returned to the firehouse, early that winter’s morning…perhaps the perfect title for the night’s events…Blues in the Night


On March 27, 7:30pm, at The Cell Theatre, The Manhattan Chamber Players and Seunghee Lee (Sunny) will be presenting a sampling of a number of the masterworks written for clarinet by Mozart, Brahms, and Weber. The first half of the program will feature the first movement of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet, a movement from Brahms Clarinet Quintet and the the last movement of the virtuosic Weber Clarinet Quintet.

The second half of the program will feature tango music, including the works of Piazzolla and JP Jofre. JP and Sunny will perform JP’s Double Concerto, a work that was  written for clarinet and bandoneon and demonstrates the evolution of clarinet music and the instrument’s versatility. The Double Concerto was premiered last  year by JP and Sunny during Sunny’s Carnegie Hall recital.  

For tickets, which are $20, and additional info click here

The cell is located at 338 West 23rd St in the Chelsea section of Manhattan. 



Please join us at the cell theatre on Friday, February 22nd, 7:30pm when clarinetist and international recording artist Seunghee Lee (Sunny) and I will be showcasing a number of fabulous artists in a preview of our upcoming 2019 concert series “Classically Exposed: From Carnegie Hall to The Cell.”( The doors and bar open at 6:45.)  

During the evening you will be able to sample the music of four of the upcoming shows and mingle with the performers after the event. This is a free event but you must reserve seats by contacting me at 

Tickets for each 2019 show are $20. A subscription for all seven shows is $100, which, I’m sure you’ll agree, considering the talent we’ve assembled, is a great bargain. (Ticket and subscription sales will begin shortly.) We will also be looking for people who would like to become executive producers or co-producers of the series or perhaps produce one of the shows. Our goal is simple: To present outstanding music at a great value and pay the artists commensurate with their talents. 

Program for February 22nd:

  • Grammy nominated Nicole Zuraitis and Clare Maloney will perform works from their show, “From Opera to Pop” 
  • Yuri Juarez and Renato Diz will perform works from their show, “From Classical to Jazz”
  • Empire Wild (2 cellos & percussion) will perform a sampling of cover songs, which they will be featuring in their show. (All of these artists mentioned in this post have appeared in my shows before except Empire Wild.  This phenomenal trio of Juilliard graduates teamed up in 2018 after discovering a shared interest in musical styles.  They bring their virtuosic technique to far reaching genres.)
  • Seunghee (Sunny) will perform a few works with Empire Wild, as well as music she will be playing with the Manhattan Chamber Players during her show. 


Reserve your seats now. I hope to see you there.

Charles R. Hale



Shows that were written and created by Charles R. Hale:

“New York City: A Shining Mosaic”

Charles R. Hale Presents: “A Musical History of the Lower East Side”

“Jazz in the City”

“Crossing Boroughs” at The Museum of the City of New York

Charles R. Hale and David Goldman: “New York/A Musical Memoir”

“From Carnegie Hall to the Cell Theatre”

“Crossing Boroughs” A Charles R. Hale Production




From top left: Miho Hazama, Nicole Zuraitis, Sunny Lee, Charles R. Hale. From bottom left: David S. Goldman and Yuri Juarez

Charles R. Hale Productions’ series “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song.” was both an exciting and succesful experience. Each of the seven shows filled The Cell theatre and consistently offered superior performances to appreciative audiences.

This year’s series, “Thoroughly New York” is set and our performers and I are looking forward to rewarding our audience with another great season of top-notch entertainment, in a great setting–The Cell–at a very reasonable price. The “New York” performers are Seunghee Lee, Yuri Juarez and the Afroperuano Group, Miho Hazama and m_unit, the Nicole Zuraitis Quartet and David S. Goldman and Charles R. Hale.

Clarinetist Seunghee Lee/”Sunny” is a multi-faceted musician, international recording artist, and musical entrepreneur, Seunghee brings a vivacious energy, an exquisite elegance and extraordinary precision to all her endeavors.  Of Sunny, said, “Now here is a talent… who has as warm, silvery, and woody a tone as anyone could imagine with fast and keen finger work to match… amazing expressive capabilities… positively lovely” May 16, 7:30pm. Tickets are on sale now at $25 if purchased in advance– click here.  Tickets are $30 at the door. 

Yuri Juarez has performed in a number of shows written by Charles R. Hale, including, “The Musical History of the Lower East,”” New York: A Shining Mosaic” and Yuri appeared with his Afroperuano band in last year’s series “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song.” Yuri and his band are proof that the music of Peru is fast occupying a prominent part of the world stage. If you haven’t heard these musicians perform you are in for a great treat. Yuri and the members of his band are internationally acclaimed and their shows are nothing short of fabulous. June 13, 7:30pm

Tokyo born composer Miho Hazama, one of New York’s most astounding young talents, will be performing with her signature ensemble “m_unit.” Lauded in Downbeat as one of “25 for the Future,” Miho is quickly establishing herself as a force of nature on the world’s stage. Her masterful understanding of harmony and orchestration combined with a who’s who of musicians results in riveting performances to packed adoring audiences at venues such as the Jazz Standard, Blue Note NYC and Tokyo, Dizzy’s Club Coca-cola, the Jazz Gallery and wowed the crowd at The Cell last year, as part of CRH Pro’s series “New Yorkers: Together in Story and Song.” July 12, 8:00pm

Audiences worldwide have been enchanted by the seismic talent of inspired jazz vocalist, keyboard player and songwriter Nicole Zuraitis who blends bountiful songwriting skills, an effervescent presence and dazzling vocals in a consummate package that has thrilled audiences. Nicole is the 2016 New York City Songwriting Competition Coffee Music Project Winner, 2015 second runner-up in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition and the 2014 Herb Albert ASCAP Young Composer Awards Winner. Nicole has headlined the Blue Note (NYC) and maintains residencies at the 55 Bar (every second Thursday of the month), Rockwood Music Hall (with the Dan Pugach Nonet), and Redeye Grill. August 14, 7:30pm

David S. Goldman is a world-traveled singer-songwriter who performs in many genres, including blues, folk, pop-jazz, and the romance and other foreign languages. He has appeared at Tarrytown Music Hall, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Irvington Town Hall Theatre, etc. and recently did a reading of his original work at Deepak Chopra’s CD and book release.  Charles R. Hale has written a number of  “New York” centric shows that blend imagery and performance art to create uniquely New York experiences. His historically-themed shows, including “Crossing Boroughs” which was recently performed at the Museum of the City of New York, incorporate story, music, imagery and dance.  David and Charles share a great love for the family “characters” who came before them and the New York neighborhoods they inhabited. Using music and story, a central part of each of their lives, Charles and David re-create the stories of their family’s lives, some sad, some uproarious. November 19, 7:30

A very big thank you to our Executive Producers, Chris Grygon and Michael Fletcher, Gail and Joe McElligott, John Moran, Tom Myles and Lisa Sullivan for once again making another great series possible.

Tickets in advance of each show are $25. CLICK HERE for Seunghee Lee’s show. Ticket links for the remainders of the shows will be added shortly. A subscription to all five performances is $90, which is a 28% discount CLICK HERE





Charles R. Hale Productions Presents:

“Thoroughly New York”

Executive Producers:

  • Chris Gyrgon and Michael Fletcher
  • Gail and Joseph McElligott
  • John Moran
  • Thomas Myles
  • Lisa Sullivan


Seunghee Lee


2018 Season/ Five Shows

  • May 16: Seunghee Lee/Clarinet
  • June 13: Yuri Juarez and the Afroperuano Group
  • July 12: Miho Hazama and the “m_unit”
  • August 14: Nicole Zuraitis Quartet
  • November 19: David Goldman and Charles R. Hale/Story and Music



Single Ticket: Per show at the door $25
Subscription: All season access to five shows, $90

For details, contact Charles R. Hale.



The following are some of the past shows from Charles R. Hale Productions:

[catlist name= “CRH Pro Shows”]


Follow by Email
Visit Us
Follow Me