Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bushwick to Broadway: Help My Former Student Ernie Silva Get His Show to Broadway

Ernie it trying to get his show to Broadway and you can help.

I've written about Ernie, who was in my 4th grade class around 1982. Ernie's story it quite engaging. (I wonder if he knows what they've done to his alma mater, Murry Bergtraum?) I went to see Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame at least 3 times and Ernie always managed to work "Mr. Scott" into the dialogue. My claim to fame.

I should write more about that class and how I came to get it  --- a top class my principal was forced to give me due to contract rotation but she tried all sorts of tricks to deny me and I had to file a grievance. One argument I made at the time was that a teacher should experience kids who had a great chance at success at least sometimes in their careers -- too many of my former students had gone down to drug use, prison time, etc. And this class has given me a lot of nachus (that's a Jewish word, not nachos.)

See my piece on Maria, another member of my class who came to our film screening, the first time I had seen her in over 20 years (A Former Student Surprise Visit at GEM Film). Maria was a "can't miss" student who went to Stuyvesant but also had some trials and tribulations. So many lessons from kids in that class.
Maria at screening

This was clearly a golden class with many very smart kids and Ernie was one of them -- guaranteed to make it, right? Well, "Heavy...." tells us of his journey and trials that so many of even our top academic performers go through and reinforces the point we make when ed deformers claim the teacher is the most important element. Believe me, that class could have been taught by a monkey and the kids would have been successful.

One of the most riveting parts of Ernie's show is the stop and frisk segment when he was 12 years old. Quite pertinent with the current court case going on. The judge should see the show which Ernie is trying to bring to Broadway.

Here are my previous posts about Ernie:
Apr 18, 2010
So I watched my former 4th grade student Ernie Silva perform his powerful one-man show, "Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame," with a different eye. As his former teacher and a member of the education deform resistance ...
Apr 12, 2010
Actor, guitarist, stand-up and sketch comedian, USC graduate, Ernie Silva tells his story; sometimes fun, other times harsh but always universally human. Ernie Silva comes back home to New York City to tell the story of the trip ...
Jul 29, 2010

Bushwick to Broadway


    About Heavy:
    “Heavy Like the Weight of A Flame” is based on the true events, of R. Ernie Silva’s own life.

    The tale of a Brooklyn street kid desperate to escape the difficult environment beset by tragedy throughout his young life and spurred on by the fatal overdose of his older brother.

    Ernie finally found the courage to gather together his possessions and his beloved guitar, Savannah, and left the projects. Infused with the spirit of Jack Kerouac and an array influences like Jimi Hendrix, Ernie’s journey as a young man, became monumental in his development as an adult as he struggled to fight off all the demons he thought he left behind in the mean streets of Brooklyn, as he travels through the Heartland of America.  He is haunted by visions, voices and memories that torment him and force our protagonist to question, define, and redefined himself on his own terms as he finds his true path.

    Here is where you come in.
    To do this run we will need to raise a minimum of $53,000 which will go to various expenses --  the first payments will go to hiring a cutting edge publicity firm 3 months prior to the run. The research we've done shows that a quarter of a year is an ample enough timeframe for the firm to properly raise the type of profile that will create the firestorm not only needed for the opening, but to generate the heat needed to last through the duration of the run. Subsequently, the remaining funds will go to satisfying all the criteria set down by both The League of Off-Broadway Producers and those set down by the Theater Unions. There are very strict rules we will have to comply with regarding the hiring of technical crews, lighting designers, and stage managers the run will need. In addition, it will also fund the necessary street teams who will engage in a three-cycle street promotion campaign in tandem with the publicity agency.

    From Team Heavy: Help us on our Journey
    •    2006 -2009. “Heavy like the Weight of Flame” is conceived while Ernie is a student in USC’s first MFA program in twenty seven years. The amazing honor is capped off with him being awarded the only full scholarship given that year.
    •    Ernie is also the only Graduate student recipient of USC’s highly coveted “Norman Topping Scholarship” award for show of promise in his chosen field.
    •    Ernie receives the only Phi Kappa Phi student recognition award for “Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame.”
    •    Shortly after completion of his MFA in 2009, The Odyssey Theater, in Los Angeles, produces “Heavy Like the Weight Of A Flame.” It is the shows’ first professional production.  Tony Nominee Mary Joan Negro directs it.It runs for 9 weeks.
    •   In 2010 The LA Weekly nominates the show for best solo performance.
    •    2010-Present. La Mama New York’s historic theater of the Avant guard produces Heavy for two weeks.
    •    2010 from its successful run at La Mama “Heavy Like the Weight of Flame” becomes an official selection of the 2010 ONE FESTIVAL produced by Caicedo Productions and Teatro LATEA in NY.
    •    “Heavy Like the Weight of Flame” wins the 2010 ONE FESTIVAL and earns a  week-long run produced by Teatro LATEA in NY.
    •    The HOLA Award committee selects R. Ernie Silva in “Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame “as a recipient of the 2010 award for best solo performance.
    •    2011 Heavy is selected by Teatro LATEA to represent the work of the theater in an inaugural exchange program with the Greenwich Theatre in London.
    •    2011 The Greenwich Theatre is so impressed with the production they also sponsor a run of Heavy in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
    •    2012 The Contact Theater Manchester produces a week run of Heavy.
    •    2013 The MC Theater in Amsterdam produces Heavy.
    All that remains for Heavy is to have the kind of Legit Off-Broadway run that puts R. Ernie Silva on the radar of Broadway producers who need to know what the independent theaters and the rest of the world already knows…R. Ernie Silva’s Heavy Like the Weight of a Flame is sheer performance brilliance.
    “We most ask of theater: to remind of us our personal mythologies, to ask us to keep in mind that while the form of our struggles is particular, the essence -- that we all struggle and suffer or struggle and rise -- is a shared experience.”
                                                                                -The Huffington Post
    "Funny, Philosophical, Irreverent, Spiritual..."                                                                                                                                                   -Felipe Luciano
    “A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
    -        Joseph Campbell
    -        The hero of thousand faces 1949

    -- Thank you sooooo much for being involved with our cause! In this day and age where the internet connects people all over the world, it’s important that we as artists turn around and mix that with the zeitgeist of things like the Occupy Love movements and Occupy Wall Street and make this happen! It’s been proven to work, the fact is that when people join together to make things reality they happen these days. To date, who or what makes it to Off-Broadway/Broadway is determined by small groups of people, which resulted mostly in regurgitated themes and stories. However, there is definitely a lot of room for more decision makers! Help us bring a new energy of love and human understanding through fun, intelligent entertainment! Thank you sooo much for your help!

    To view a longer video presentation, a 3 minute show teaser, and for much more information on Ernie, the show, and the rest of the team involved please visit
    Next step Broadway! ;)

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