The Robert John Cook Blues Ensemble

musical direction by Ian Herman
vocal direction by Shellen Lubin

Click on the Gigs link at left to catch the next RJCBE show, and click on Songs to hear the Blues!

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[Robert John Cook]
Robert John Cook

Photography by Dean Ballan

[Ian Herman]
Ian Herman

Photography by Genevieve Rafter Keddy

Ian Herman began his musical career studying classical piano. At the age of thirteen he was a guest soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. After attending Manhattan School Of Music, Ian began working with performers including Jane Olivor, Donna McKechnie, Anita Morris, Judy Kaye, Tom Andersen, Karen Mason, Sharon McNight, Marilyn Sokol, Angela LaGreca, Carole Demas, and Joy Behar in nightclubs in New York and around the country. In 1999 he received the Backstage Bistro Award for best Musical Director. He was a pianist and vocal coach at the Broadway revival of Grease, working with guest stars such as Al Jarreau, Jon Secada, Sheena Easton, Chubby Checker, and Darlene Love. His other Broadway credits include Jelly’s Last Jam, The Who’s Tommy,Song And Dance, and Swing, for which he wrote vocal and dance arrangements. Recently Ian conducted the Broadway show Laughing Room Only with Jackie Mason and was also the Musical Director for Dorian Gray at the New York Musical Theatre Festival and The York Theatre. He is currently preparing for a solo concert of his original music.

[Rod Caccavale]
Rod Caccavale

Photography by Dean Ballan

[Robert Carmosino]
Robert Carmosino

Photography by Kyra Kverno

[Bob Dee]
Bob Dee

Photography by Dean Ballan

[Cynthia Enfield]
Cynthia Enfield

Recently returned from national and international tours of Mikel Rouse’s critically acclaimed The End of Cinematics and Dennis Cleveland. She also performed with Mikel at the prestigious Massey Hall in Toronto’s Canadian Songbook last summer. Off-Broadway includes: Shellen Lubin’s Coffee Once a Year at the Harold Clurman Theater (OOBR finalist); Joey Guastella’s So the Farmer Said…(MCC); Ophelia in Hamlet (CSR); The Witch in Into the Woods and Desdemona (NPTC). Developmental pieces include The Good Steno by award-winning playwright Leah Kornfeld Friedman (directed by and starring Emmy nominated Paul Ben-Victor); Bounty of Lace (starring Susan Merson) and Leon’s Dictionary (starring Julie Garfield and Joel Friedman). As a SAFD certified Actor/Combatant her work includes Duelists, The Forgotten Champions and Shakespeare En Garde. Films: Wanda’s Visit (Joe Murphy, dir) and Underdog Entertainment’s Sociopath written and directed by Daniel Azarian.

[Jermaine Hardy]
Jermaine Hardy

Photography by Kyra Kverno

[Mary Noecker]
Mary Noecker

Photography by Dean Ballan

[David Patterson]
David Patterson

Photography by Anna Dedushkina

Winner of a Gibson Les Paul BFG Guitar at the April 13th, OWS 2007 Jammy Awards as "Best Guitar Player". I've been in New York for seven years now, playing with some of the most wonderful musicians I've ever met. and have been blessed to be a composer for theater and film in New York and Atlanta, namely: Bravo’s “The It Factor”, PBS P.O.V. “The Band”, and have written music for performances in New York City at P.S. 122, Saint Anne’s Warehouse, Here, Mabou Mines and La Mama Etc for Cathy Shaw, Sam Hack and Ed Woodham.

Tiffany Ente

Photography by Dean Ballan

Shellen Lubin

Shellen has been onstage—as both a singer/songwriter and an actor—for years, both in and out of New York City. She and her songs have been featured on radio (Woody’s Children on WQXR-FM, a one-hour special on WBAI-FM, and various shows on WABC, WOR, and WEVD-FM), cable television, and in Milos Forman’s first American film, Taking Off. Mother/Child, her one-woman musical, was called by WBAI-FM: “a dynamite show about the joys, agonies, conflicts, and concerns of combining new parenthood, person-hood, and artist-hood.” Other performing credits include stage, screen (including principal roles in the films Green Card and Taking Off), and television.

Shellen has directed numerous plays, musicals, and cabaret acts in productions, workshops, and readings, most recently On the Line at 78th STREET THEATRE LAB (including the writings of Leah Kornfeld Friedman, Maxine Kern, Elsa Okon Rael, Marilyn Rockafellow, and Dana Zeller-Alexis); staged readings of Susan Merson's Bounty of Lace for Judith Shakespeare Company's Resurgence Festival and Stephanie Satie's Leon's Dictionary at 78th STREET THEATRE LAB; Tony Schatz and Steven Chera at the Metropolitan Room; and My Brave Face co-created with Robert John Cook and performed at a number of venues around town by Robert John Cook, Cynthia Enfield, and Matthew Gandolfo. She is currently Assistant Director to Richard Jay-Alexander for the new cabaret act of Tony Fusco (defense lawyer and owner of the famed Jilly’s) and Vocal Director and Arranger for the Robert John Cook Blues Ensemble.

Shellen’s play, Imperfect Flowers, played to rave reviews in Omaha, Nebraska, as part of SNAP!Fest (“a night when acting and lights and music and a glorious script all come together into something bordering on magic,” - Omaha World-Herald.) The first act of the play, a one-act entitled Antithesis, also received raves in L.A. when it played at the West Coast Ensemble. Other plays and musicals have been performed in productions and staged readings at the Public Theatre, Henry Street Settlement, Manhattan Class Company, and many other venues.

As a vocal and acting coach, she teaches professionals for stage, screen, and recordings, and has taught and performed at a number of colleges and professional and private schools, most notably Bennington College, her alma mater, where she was a guest artist in the Black Music Division for Bill Dixon. She has coached actors in starring roles in theatre and television, and a number of boys for the role of Gavroche in Les Miserables on Broadway and on tour. As a teaching artist, she has not only developed and taught programs for schools, but worked as a consultant and professional developer for a number of institutions, including Teachers College, Marymount College, Lincoln Center Institute, and Nashville Institute for the Arts. She is currently an Adjunct Professor at Marymount Manhattan College teaching Elements of Music.

Her philosophical musings on artistry as a means of understanding ourselves and living more deeply, truly, and meaningfully have been read by thousands in seven cover pieces for Backstage, the Performing Arts Weekly. She also writes a weekly piece called the “Monday Morning Quote” which goes out on the internet first thing each Monday to an ever-increasing list of subscribers and is read by many others at and

Shellen is a member of most writers’ and performers’ unions and served as Co-President of the New York Coalition of Professional Women in the Arts and Media with Elsa Rael, her longtime collaborator and friend.