Spectacular Falls: A Slippery Solo Musical is a humorous, edgy, moving, and somewhat slippery musical exploration of how we all fall, how the world can fall apart, and how we rise up again, even if, ultimately, we’re all “just a banana peel away.” Written and performed by a one-legged Award-winning artist who knows a lot about the subject.
The show premiered in September, 2019 at Theatre Row, 42nd Street, NYC as part of the United Solo Theatre Festival. It was supposed to then go to San Francisco and London in 2020, but alas, came Covid-19 with other plans. Fortunately, more bookings arrived almost immediately for 2022, to continue its "solo flight."
In 2015 I fell and broke my hand in front of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Living with only 2 working limbs for 12 weeks got me thinking of all the ways I have fallen in my life, all the uses of the word fall, and how that word applies to the bigger picture beyond myself, in nature, humanity, politics, and more. I saw this in songs I’d already written, as well as those that began to write me, right up to the last one, which woke me at 6:35am saying “take this down.” What these songs taught me is that there’s no such thing as an ordinary fall. There are only Spectacular Falls, because each fall has a Gift inside of it. To hop across 8th Ave, choreograph a dance on one leg, compose a song with only my left hand. In the roller coaster of life, that Gift is what helps us rise up again. Just like the worst of times brings out the best in us - and brings us together in wonderful ways. Little did I know in 2019 how important that Gift would prove to be only months later in a Pandemic.
Reviews and Quotes
"17 songs with a bit of banter here and there, run the gamut from dry humor to nostalgia to…well, let’s just say, she doesn’t leave an emotion unturned and that’s a most amazing and inspirational thing. Her velvety voice is effective whether she’s warning us how life is full of pitfalls and pratfalls in the song “Just a Banana Peel Away” or recalling a breathless moment on her lips in 'Kiss on Cornelia Street.' Still, part of the power she brings to the theatre is her determined work and depth of understanding when it comes to shining a light on disabled individuals in the performing arts. And her outreach is reflected in her audiences who celebrate themselves in her vision. (She also happens to be National Chair of Performers with Disabilities.) Which is one of the reasons she was joined onstage by her sister, Rev Rachel Hollander, an expert—and divinely animated—signer for the deaf.... Considering the uniqueness of this performance, you do not want to miss a chance to see it.
City Guide Review by Griffin Miller:
"Her facility at songwriting is amazing! Seventeen songs! How many did she leave in the trunk?? She sings beautifully, clearly, and with an intent to communicate — that full-on, outward projection of energy — and she achieves that connection. That she played all that music, too, is…well, it’s just amazing that she created and realized SO MUCH. It was a WONDERFUL show. We left the theater very happy for the performance and the music and the life lessons in SPECTACULAR FALLS."
Jeff Spurgeon, WQXR NYC Classical Morning Host
"The show for me operated at two (or more) levels. One, the purely great theatrical aspect—watching her elicit tears, laughs, and gasps and awe. That alone would have been gift enough. But there’s the deeper level, the way she's taken her experiences and transformed them into something inspirational and meaningful to her audience. She sparked an internal conversation about the tricks of life—some devastating, some fortuitous---that completely change our trajectories. With incredible honesty and courage, she used her history and pain and humor to enlighten and inspire."
Julie Salamon, NY Times Best-Selling Author
"Her work, as always, is driven by heart and truth. She is such a generous presence."
Lynn Thomson, Dramaturg of RENT
"Spectacular Falls is a moving personal portrait of love, laughter, pain, joy, wisdom and hope through the lens of the indomitable spirit and voice of Anita Hollander!"
Christine Bruno, Diversity Casting Consultant
"As a performer and writer, she gave us so much humor, story, surprises and love. The section starting with Tree in Louisiana, Cornelia Street and Love Is Love had me crying."
Claudine Jellison, Cabaret Performer & Writer
"Beyond awesome--this is the first time ever heard her sing, let alone compose an opera and perform it for our minds, hearts, and delight--she deserves all the awards and then some!"
Eve Packer, poet & author
"Absolutely spectacular tonight! I loved her songs ...so moving and funny and totally authentic. Everyone should see her inspiring work!"
Polly Adams, Actress
"She is a FORCE!"
Steve Silverstein, Music Director