Marleena Barber returns to the Shannon Center with her one-woman cabaret show “Thank you for the Music!”
with Whittier College student Stephee Bonifacio opening the show!
About Thank You for the Music:
Marleena Barber’s one-woman cabaret show, “Thank You for the Music,” tells the story of her life growing up legally blind from a genetic condition called Albinism, and how music played a vital role in her journey to self-acceptance. The show is an inspiring piece that reaches out to all ages, encouraging audiences, through a variety of musical styles (Broadway, Disney, Jazz, Country, and Contemporary Pop), to live their dreams despite the challenges they face. Having been told she would not be a successful stage performer due to her appearance and visual challenges, Barber shares her personal story of overcoming adversity. A former music teacher for the blind, Barber also stresses the importance of encouraging youth to find the gifts that make them unique, so they may find confidence in who they are; not to be defined by their disability or challenges. The show features a touching duet between Barber and her father and special guests, Frequency A Cappella.
After its debut at the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, the show was featured at the 2010 International VSA festival–a festival on arts and disability–produced by the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., and since then, has served as a motivational speaking performance piece at various conferences and festivals throughout the country. In its 10-year anniversary, Barber has added a new segment to the show addressing her newest challenges of being a vision impaired mother.
Marleena will be joined by accompanist Edward Sywulka.
About Marleena Barber
Marleena Barber is an active performer, educator and disability advocate. She has performed in various local musical theater productions (the Witch in Into the Woods, Maggie in A Chorus Line, Percy in Spitfire Grill, Sally in Follies), and as a solo artist at festivals and concert venues throughout California (Orange County Fair, South Coast Plaza, Inland Empire Jazz Festival, Richard Nixon Library Sunday Concert Series). Barber has served as a keynote and motivational ambassador at various conferences across the country, and has also performed on Capitol Hill for Congress as part of National Arts Advocacy Day. Barber is the recipient of the Whittier College Outstanding Young Alumni Award (2011) and has returned to her alma matar to perform for events such as Club Cabaret at the Shannon Center, “Whittier Past, Present and Future” the Inaugural celebration of President Sharon Herzberger, John Greenleaf Whittier’s 200th Birthday, and the Shannon Center’s 20th Anniversary Celebration. She is married with two young daughters and resides in Anaheim, California. A former music teacher to blind and visually impaired youth, Marleena strives to be a role model of independence and determination, demonstrating to her students and audiences that with hard work dreams can come true. For more information about Marleena please visit: www.marleenabarber.com
Stephee Bonifacio is a singer-songwriter in her fourth year at Whittier College. She is a double major in Theatre Performance and English Creative Writing. Being named after Stevie Nicks, Stephee serendipitously began songwriting at age 8 and hasn’t stopped since. Stephee studied songwriting at Idyllwild Arts Academy and throughout high school years performed locally in her hometown of Palm Desert, CA. She continues to perform at open mics and small restaurants in Whittier and the greater Los Angeles area.