Pre-Fringe Profile: The Twelfth Musa

SHOW TITLE: The Twelfth Musa
PRODUCER: Elisa Korenne
HAILING FROM: Minnesota
SHOW DESCRIPTION: A one woman story and song concert about oddballs in American history with a few Greek gods thrown into the mix.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: You had me at “Greek gods.” You had me more when you started tossing them into American history. The contrast of the exotic and the familiar is compelling stuff for me.

Just who do you think you are, anyway?
I’m a singer-songwriter and writer, who just happened to decide to write a one-woman show. Here’s a bio that will tell you more about me:

A former international development professional and consultant, Elisa Korentayer is a singer-songwriter, writer, composer, recording artist, and performer. Elisa’s performing experience spans pop-rock and funk-rock bands, an Israeli blues band, a cappella singing groups, theater, and, most recently, the pop-rock-folk troubadour tradition. Elisa’s writing experience includes songs about Minnesotan oddballs, international technology policy analysis for the World Economic Forum, a regular column for her local newspaper The New York Mills Herald and a one-woman play.

After receiving her BA in History from Yale University, with a specialty in cultural overlap, Elisa took a break from her childhood passion for the performing arts while she earned a master’s degree in international development from the London School of Economics, co-founded the groundbreaking international technology nonprofit Geekcorps, and created an innovative policy consulting firm. Reconnecting with her first love­, music­, Elisa took the stagename Elisa Korenne and dedicated herself to writing, recording, and performing.

After cutting her teeth in the high-caliber New York City music scene, the preeminent independent music retailer CD Baby hailed Elisa as “one of the best we’ve ever heard” and Singer & Musician magazine said she “belongs on anyone’s must-play list.” Elisa’s debut album, Favorite, was selected as one of the Top 50 Indie Releases of 2005 by Singer & Musician magazine. Elisa’s music has been heard on ABC’s All My Children, HBO’s The Best Sex, VH1’s Sweet 16, MTV’s Made and college radio stations across the U.S.

Elisa’s music, lyrics, prose, and playwriting have been honored by grants from the Jerome Foundation, the Ucross Foundation, the Hedgebrook Foundation, the New York Mills Cultural Center, the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission, Lakes Regional Arts Center, the McKnight Foundation and the Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow. Elisa has performed internationally and won accolades from national song contests. She is always writing new songs and stories for the Ordinarily Unsung Project (OUP), her collection of original songs about members of the fringe in American history. Songs from the OUP have already been incorporated into a one-woman theatrical show, a song and story concert on Minnesotans in history, and an interactive educational workshop. After moving to rural Minnesota, Elisa began to write a regular column on her urban-to-rural transition for the New York Mills Herald.

Elisa continues to write songs and prose from her drafty Southern-style plantation house surrounded by oaks on six acres in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. She travels to Fargo and Minneapolis regularly to shop.

So what’s the big idea?

It all started when I wrote two songs about oddballs in American history—a Montana madam who committed suicide and a sideshow performer who eats lightbulbs. People liked the songs, and I liked to write them, so I started writing more songs about more oddballs, including Dr. Bronner (of Dr. Bronner’s Soap Company), Princess Spotted Elk, a native American vaudeville dancer, and others. Soon enough, I realized that I wanted to put them all together in a one-woman show, and The Tenth Muse was born. I created an overarching concept about the tenth daughter of Zeus who wanted to become a Muse like her nine sisters. In the process she has to inspire a human (me) to create art (songs about oddballs).

How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?

The concept for the songs came about because I was so fascinated with these odd and wonderful characters who actually lived and existed, but weren’t talked about. I have no idea where the concept for the Wannabe Muse came from.

Why should I care?

The show will be full of songs and humor and stories that you never knew you wanted to hear. The audience will also get to sing along. And who doesn’t want to sing along? (Okay, maybe you don’t, but hopefully I’ll make you want to!)

Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.

A Wannabe Muse
Inspires Oddball Art in Song.
Come and sing along!

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