What Audiences Say About 'No Strangers Here Today'

"A simple lantern lights the way back to a history where even the most basic human rights were in jeopardy. This is an American journey to a time when a few very brave souls reached out to save many from the tyranny of slavery. In doing so they built a legacy for the world today. This ensemble piece combines the dramatic spoken word with a live music score. The performers convey brilliantly the urgency and drama of this particular moment in history. It truly must be experienced!" ~ Richie Williamson, director WildKind Productions, NYC

"This show resounded long after I saw it! Every time we were brought back to the diary, I was propelled back in time...my knees were shaky, my breath was short....if there WERE "strangers (ie: slaves) today", would they make it on their dangerous trip north? Susan's great-great-grandmother was such a strong diarist, and the show gives her center stage. Loved David's and Susan's collaboration - music, atmosphere, words, movement - all giving us, the audience, a chance to be with them intimately, sharing their passion for this fascinating and frightening time." ~ Lanny Harrison, actress, theater director, dharma teacher, NYC

"The show was fantastic. Great music, great words, great performer. What else can a guy ask for on a night out?" ~ Rob Freedman, writer

"Just wanted to say again how profound the performance was yesterday. I’ve been thinking about it ever since…the concept of history and the way it is set aside in time of war and our current war. I hope the performance will get seen in many more places!" ~ Jennifer Essen, marketing director

"What an amazing show you put together. I especially love your portrait of your mom driving and the way you wove the diary segments with the historical text. David was amazing, and I loved the music." ~ Dmae Roberts, theatre artist and radio documentary writer/producer

"I was blown away, Susan. Thank you and Mr. Cherry ever so much for an incredible evening. I felt humbled, excited, energized, and saddened all in one sitting." ~ Kaye Exo, educator and writer

"Susan Banyas is the rarest of performers, an artist who radiates honesty and conviction. In her moving ' 'No Strangers Here Today,' she tells us, with movement and music, the mostly-true, though partly-imagined story of her great-great-grandmother's role in the abolitionist movement and the Underground Railroad - a history she's pieced together from her Quaker ancestor's diary and family and local histories. It's relevance today is not lost on us. And Banyas is the most captivating of story-tellers." ~ Alan Brown, author/director, NYC (author, 'Audrey Hepburn's Neck' and director, 'Book of Love' and 'Superheroes')

"People who say the work told me that they could not stop thinking about it, that it changed how they thought about both past and present racism in this country." ~ Louise Steinman, curator of the award winning ALOUD literary/performance series at the LA Central Library, commissioning partner of No Strangers

"The piece is a moving tribute to the nobility and courage of ordinary people and of the power of memory to inform understanding in current generations… Her creative, intelligent multi-disciplinary approach to her work results in innovative artistic forms, takes the participant, reader, or theater patron down new paths of discovery and understanding." ~ Dr. Lois Bronfman, professor of political science

"I really, really loved the way this piece allowed you to weave small, personal moments with the epic story of abolition. Bravissimo!" ~ Liz Copeland, middle school teacher

"The performance was so great! It combined all the things I love the most -- genealogy, dusty archival materials, history of the Civil War, African-American history, storytelling, music -- mesmerizing. I hope you take it to schools across the US. It gives a voice and face to these subjects that I don’t think other media does." ~ Cathie Blosser, nurse

"Thank you for putting your ideas and talent out there where I get to delight in them. I could have watched you trace that corn silk with your hand all night!" ~ Anita Slattery, theatre artist