Tracey Yarad Brings Her Musical Memoir of Heartbreak to NYC Stage in July

What do you do when your husband and musical partner of many years runs off with your teenage goddaughter? You write a boatload of wonderful songs, dye your wedding dress black and make it into a dynamic, emotional rollercoaster of a musical stage show. That’s how the soulful Australian-born, New York-based singer-songwriter-pianist Tracey Yarad coped with heartbreak by crafting an emotionally raw and sometimes even humorous blend of memoir and song entitled All These Pretty Things

New Yorkers will get a chance to experience this unique fusion of song and monologue when it comes to the 59E59 Theater in New York City, July 13, 14 and 16.  Yarad’s Big Apple run is a part of 59E59’s East to Edinburgh 2024, a showcase of 16 shows, including Yarad’s, which will be heading to the famed Edinburgh Fringe Fest in August 2024.

This confessional and cathartic one-woman show is a classic illustration of when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.  A phoenix rising from the ashes story, it takes the audience from the fallout of a devastating divorce in Australia, following her husband’s affair with their goddaughter, to an inspiring new life and musical career in New York City. Tracey Yarad plays both the damsel in distress and the heroine who saves the day in this dramatic sound play.

“I started writing these songs to keep myself from going insane,” explains Yarad. “I didn’t realize that it would ever be recorded or performed. It was just my healing process. But the audience reactions so far have shown me it’s something that touches and helps other people to move through their struggles and challenges too.”

Yarad’s sprawling All These Pretty Things began life as an album. It features contributions from some of New York’s finest jazz musicians including guitarist Luca Benedetti (Jim Campilongo), bassist Tony Scherr (Norah Jones, Bill Frisell), violinist Zach Brock (Snarky Puppy, Stanley Clarke), drummer Josh Dion (Chuck Loeb, Bob James) and organist Jon Cowherd (Brian Blade Fellowship, Joni Mitchell). An accompanying illustrated book will be available for purchase at the show and online at her Yarad’s website. Acclaimed jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux has called All These Pretty Things “an emotional roller coaster ride from thoughtful resignation to heartbreak, rage, acceptance and back again. I like it when I hear her roar!” labels it “a beautiful alchemy, breathtakingly honest and gorgeously sung songs on the themes of loss and abandonment and the restorative power of music and love.”

Tracey developed this evocative portrayal of one woman’s capacity to come back stronger than ever with the help of her co-writer and director, the acclaimed jazz songstress Tessa Souter.  The work also serves as Souter’s directorial debut. Yarad names “heart-on-sleeve” songwriters like Laura Nyro, Rickie Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt as some of her primary influences for the piece. Her music reflects her diverse experience as a performer – from classical pianist to singing German lieder, from leading a jazz fusion trio to fronting funk bands. All these stylistic variants blend to create Yarad’s singular style.

All These Pretty Things showcases Yarad’s strength as an instrumentalist and vocalist.  With only a piano and her powerful voice, she communicates a wide range of human emotions, ones that come with the burgeoning of new love through to its inevitable and uniquely tragic unraveling to her rebirth as both a woman and an artist.  Her musical and lyrical acumen are showcased in the spoken word passages which are the connective tissue to the musical pieces.  They are a testament to another of her unique talent as a dramatist.

Yarad’s musical life has been varied and globe-trotting. A pianist and singer-songwriter with jazz sensibilities, her career has taken her from touring her native Australia with her original music and having a Top 40 single in the 1990s, to a seven-year residency singing in 5-star hotels in Japan, to running her own music school for 18 years in the Blue Mountains of Australia and, finally, to New York City.

Since relocating to the Big Apple in 2017, she has added jazz photographer to her list of professional accomplishments, specializing in portraits of leading names in jazz. Her work has appeared in Downbeat, Guitar Player and Drum Scene magazines to name a few.

New York serves as an inspiring backdrop that has greatly fueled Tracey’s creative musical spirit. In the relatively short time since moving here, Tracey has produced two original music projects—one with her all-female group featuring Claudia Acuña, Jennifer Vincent, Elsa Nilsson and Rosa Avila and this one-woman version of All These Pretty Things.  Another musical memoir, Lost in Translation, featured stories and songs from her days as a hotel singer in Japan and was performed with virtuoso jazz pianist Jim Ridl.

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