Ellen Foley biography

Sony/Columbia in Germany issued "The Very Best Of Ellen Foley" in 1992, a 19 track CD compilation with a good selection of album tracks and hit singles. It was distributed to most European countries, except UK.

[Ghostwriter VHS] In 1993 Ellen Foley portrayed a school principle in one episode of the PBS series "Ghostwriter", playing alongside Julia Stiles. It was also available to buy on VHS video (pictured left).

After Pandora's Box failed, Jim Steinman spent many years working on Meat Loaf's "Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell", the follow-up to the successful "Bat Out Of Hell". "Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell" was released in 1994 and it saw Meat Loaf coverering many songs first recorded by Steinman on the "Bad For Good" (Jim Steinman solo) and "Original Sin" (Pandora's Box) albums. The 1994 release was a big success, backed by a big promotional campaign.

Ellen didn't get her duet, but her fans were glad to have her back, even if she only contributed back-up vocal to one track, "Objects In The Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are". The US promotional CD-single came with four different edits of the song!

Ellen made a return to the stage in the off-broadway play "The Cincinnati Saint" which ran on the Jewish Repertory Theater in New York from 23 October to 14 November 1993. It had music by Raphael Crystal and lyrics by Richard Engquist, and was based on the play "36," by Norman Lessing.

During the 1994 Christmas season Ellen performed with her husband Derek Bernstein in "Mixed nuts roasting on an open fire", a La MaMa variety show created by Mary Fulham. The show also featured 5 Chinese Brothers (with Paul Foglino, later in Ellen Foley's band Dirty Old Men), Eva Mantell, Zora Rasmussen and Amy Sue Rosen.

In April 1997 Ellen joined York Theatre Company's off-Broadway production of "The Last Sweet Days" musical at St. Peter's Church. The musical comprised sections of two separate musicals by the team of lyricist Gretchen Cryer and composer Nancy Ford. The first act came from their 1970 Off-Broadway hit "The Last Sweet Days Of Isaac" while act two came from their Broadway musical "Shelter". A cast recording of the 1997 production was released in 2000 featuring Ellen with Willy Falk, Romain Fruge and Ellen Sowney. The CD was entitled "Shelter", but it also included selections from "The Last Sweet Days Of Isaac" act.

"Loungeville, Vol. I: Music To Watch Girls By" followed in November-December 1997. Ellen was joined by three other singers, Linda Hart, Jessica Molaskey and Richard Muenz for an evening of cocktail-lounge music at Rainbow & Stars in the Rockefeller Plaza. They played hits by Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, Ray Conniff and John Barry. Joe McGinty was the musical director.

Ellen landed a small part in the 1999 "Random Hearts" movie, starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas. It was directed by Sydney Pollack who also did "Tootsie". She also was in "The Mineola Twins" production at the Roundabout Theater in New York that year. Said Ellen: "Everybody affects you as you go on, some people more than others. I've worked with a lot of great musicians and directors. Last year I was in 'The Mineola Twins' at the Roundabout. Paula Vogel, the playwright, is a Pulitzer Prize winner. She has a great intellectual spark, and made us feel good about what we were doing."

During February - March 2000, Ellen was working on a pre-Broadway workshop of "Femme Fatale" with The Overture Theatre Company, a new Manhattan nonprofit devoted to developing new musicals. "Femme Fatale" was a musical by the authors of "Romance, Romance", Harve Brosten and Barry Harman and featured an all-women cast, with actresses playing the male and female roles. The workshop was open only for industry people interested in the show or the company.

[Hercules in High Suburbia] Jamie deRoy, host of the television series Jamie deRoy and Friends, invited Ellen Foley, Kathie Lee Gifford, Karen Mason, Liz Calloway and other cabaret singers to record 'Songs that take you back to your childhood' for volume 1 in her "The Child In Me" series of albums in 2000. Ellen recorded Cheryl Wheelers "Further & Further Away" for the album and she also guested on Jamie deRoy's TV show in October alongside Barbara Cook and Jim Caruso.

"Hercules in High Suburbia" (pictured right), a comic, rock-n-roll update of Euripides' tragedy Heracles, played at the New York International Fringe Festival in Aug 2005. It was written and directed by Mary Fulham, with original songs by Paul Foglino. The show was originally presented in New York last year at La MaMa during April-May. The cast included Ellen Foley, Postell Pringle, Hal Blankenship, Neal Young and Dana Vance.

2007 saw Ellen returning to her rock roots. First by guesting on the "Rejoice" album by the Sound Of Urchin, an alternative rock group from Brooklyn NY, then by performing club gigs in New York with her own band The Dirty Old Men. Ellen made it clear however, that "actually they're not particularly dirty or old". The band leader was Paul Foglino from 5 Chinese Brothers. He is also a respected playwright and composer. The other band members were Steve Antonakos (lead guitar, also from 5 Chinese Brothers), Ted Houghton (bass) and drummer Kevin Baier. The band came about after Ellen paid a visit to Paul Foglino and he suggested that they should write some songs together and do some shows. Ellen agreed and it didn't take Paul long to put together the band. He wrote some songs, the band worked up some her of her older material and then Ellen was ready for her comeback! They gigged almost every month throughout 2007. By the end of the year, Automatic Slim Simon had replaced Steve Antonakos on lead guitar and JC Chmiel became their new bass player.

The new line-up recorded some of Paul Foglino's songs in a NY studio in 2008, and a three track digital EP containing "Nobody Ever Died from Crying", "Madness" and "Any Fool Can See" was released on iTunes and other online vendors in November 2008.

[Ellen and Elliott Murphy] Ellen donated "Madness" to the 'Invisible Children' organisation in 2009, for use on the 15-song benefit album "Njagala Ennyimba - Songs For The Invisible Children", released by Indigo Planet Records. Ellen also performed at the release party in October 2009 at NYC's Canal Room. Through education and innovative economic opportunities, Invisible Children partners with affected communities, and strives to improve the quality of life for individuals living in conflict and post-conflict regions.

Also in June 2008, Ellen joined Elliott Murphy, Bob Neuwirth and Kit Hain at 'Song City' in Belgium, an international songwriters week. At the end of the week all participating songwriters featured at the Song City live concert. Ellen is pictured with Elliott Murphy, left.

On 22 July 2009 Ellen teamed up with The Bramblemen at Zeroville Studios in New York to contribute backing vocals to their cover version of R.Dean Taylor's 1970 hit "Indiana Wants Me".

Ellen Foley and "Mojo Myles" Mancuso (a gifted 13 year old performer / multi-instrumentalist) headlined "Retrofest 21" at NYC Triad Theatre on 10 September 2009, paying tribute to Woodstock's 40th anniversary to benefit the Max's Kansas City Foundation. The "Retrofest 21" event featured the music of the legendary Woodstock Music Festival and it also included David Bennett Cohen (Country Joe and the Fish) who appeared on the 1969 festival, Ira and Maxine Stone (Bert Sommer), Peter Sabatino (The Vagrants), plus David Amram and Helen Hooke (Deadly Nightshade). All artists were backed by a house band comprised of employees from A.S.C.A.P. and the local NYC music scene.

A 13 track Ellen Foley compilation album entitled "Hit Collection" was released by Sony in Holland in 2009. This was basically a shortened version of the 1992 album "The Very Best Of Ellen Foley".

An industry reading of the new musical "Slow Dance With a Hot Pick-Up" was presented in Manhattan in March 2011 at the Peter J. Sharpe Theater. The reading featured Ellen Foley, Ann Harada, Thursday Farrar, Robert Petkov, Michael Holland and Tom Riis Farrell. It was penned by John Pielmeier (Agnes of God and Boys of Winter) with a score by Emmy Winner Matty Selman.

To be continued.....