NO HOPE Productions began, for all practical purposes, in July of 2002 with the first reading of seedling project DOSE! written by founders Tim Aumiller and Scott Schneider. The event drew friends and colleagues who were treated to the first incarnation of the musical that would define much of their early collaborative efforts. After they received an official rejection letter from the New York International Fringe Festival (the first of many), they determined they would mount their own production. With this decision, NO HOPE Productions was conceived.
The pair sought help from longtime friends Angela Meyer and Reilly Sanborn and approached their colleagues John Ort and Liz Huber of Working for Tips Productions to help them in their endeavor. Once the team was assembled, they set out to raise funds beginning with a cabaret at the Duplex on May 5, 2003. The show, Clusterf*ck, debuted several songs from the upcoming musical but also showcased Schneider and Aumiller’s penchant for writing a wide variety of tunes including pop, folk/country and Gershwin-inspired “standards.” Co-Producer John Ort mounted a second fundraising event at Johns’ Pizza Times Square where more than a hundred attended. DOSE! opened at the edgy East Village Kraine Theatre in September of 2003 for a ten-night showcase production. Although the reviews were less than enthusiastic, with comments like “an Andy Warhol movie with music,” ultimately the audience response and increasing crowds extended the run for two nights to accommodate demand. No longer only friends and colleagues, the audience had expanded to friends of friends and others who had simply heard tell of the simple yet emotional dark comedy known as DOSE! Soon after they decided to mount a second night of new music, this time leaving selections from DOSE! behind.
In May of 2004, they debuted eight new songs at their second cabaret also at The Duplex –aptly titled Clusterf*ck II. They continued their annual showcases with Mischief for two nights in June of 2005 and Bloom in June of 2006. The latter was most memorable for debuting several new songs from a new musical idea of the same name they had been pursuing. Completed in 2007, they continue to explore the idea of adapting Bloom into a screenplay.
In the summer of 2007, NO HOPE produced Ken Ferrigni’s angel/buddy in the New York International Fringe Festival. Featuring future collaborator Aaron Kliner, the production was directed by Tim and marked James McNeel’s first foray as NO HOPE Resident Producer.
On the fifth year anniversary of their first cabaret, they held a lengthy retrospective of their first five years of songwriting, called The Road to Nowhere, tongue firmly in cheek. The following two years they continued their annual tradition with Still In Love and Breaking the Habit, which premiered the short piece “Leonard” from the work in progress, Hello My Name Is Billy. The enthusiastic response to this new work drove them to complete the piece and present it for one night in December of 2009. After a swift rewrite, they ran the show for six weeks at The Duplex Cabaret Theatre and The Slipper Room in the Spring of 2010. The show was a Backstage “Critic’s Pick” –hailed as a “rocking new musical.”
Meanwhile, NO HOPE developed their New York International Fringe partnership with two original pieces by Tim. The first was Flight that featured original music by Scott and was written for longtime collaborator Brandy Burre, marking her Fringe debut, and earned costar Todd Lawson an Outstanding Actor nod from Talkin’ Broadway. The following year it was Over and Over featuring Tanner Cohen and Andy Ridings. One of the first six shows of the Festival to sell out, Over and Over was invited to be part of the Fringe Encore Series in September of 2010.
Shortly after presenting their 8th concert, Swimming Upstream, in December at the Duplex, Tim and Scott immediately began planning their follow-up project. More than eight years after their initial rejection, NO HOPE proudly presented its 4th production (and first musical) in the 2011 New York International Fringe Festival with the next iteration of Hello, My Name Is Billy. The NO HOPE team, along with producer Dana Viltz won the venue lottery, playing five shows at the village hot spot Le Poisson Rouge where more positive reviews drew terrific crowds –and more people witnessed this production of their irreverent musical than all of their previous work combined. It also won Casey McClellan a Best Actor Award.
The following spring saw their 9th evening of music, Ready For The Change. Heavily focused on new material, the show debuted seven new songs as well as welcoming several new voices. In December, Thomas Honeck from the Duplex invited NO HOPE to present two songs from the show at the 2012 Duplex Gala – the crowd pleasing “Fools Like You” performed by Brandy Burre and the title track delivered in an emotional performance by Shanna Sharp.
In June of 2013, NO HOPE presented a sold out one-night-only concert event at Joe’s Pub at the Public Theatre. PULLING THE PLUG: a decade of NO HOPE featured performers from nearly every project of their first ten years, and also welcomed celebrated downtown performance artist Justin Vivian Bond as a special guest. An encore performance was presented at the Duplex on September 7, 2013. Later that summer, and a decade after their initial Fringe rejection, NO HOPE produced their 5th Fringe offering, Luke Nicholas. The critically acclaimed production was perhaps best summed up by Time Out, who wrote, “Come for the nudity, stay for the emotional and structural striptease.”
Finally forging ahead with a story that had inspired them since the late 90’s, NO HOPE joined forces with the brilliant Bizzy Coy to complete the team and a draft of Teach Me To Sing for an informal October reading. Based loosely on the story of Mary-Kay Latourneau, the musical focuses on the forbidden relationship between an award winning choir teacher and her talented young student. Spring of 2014 introduced NO HOPE to The New York Theatre Barn, where they presented selections from Teach Me To Sing, at the May installment of NYTB’s New Works Series. In December, they were part of the New York Theatre Barn’s end of year celebration with the Teach Me To Sing selection, “Feel Like Home,” performed by Kathleen Monteleone and Giuseppe Bausillio. That same year, NO HOPE returned to Joe’s Pub to produce the special evening SIREN / Kings. These unique bands each featured a longtime NO HOPE collaborator, Shanna Sharp and Robert Maril, respectively.
NO HOPE began 2015 with a party at midtown lounge Therapy, celebrating the release of The NO HOPE Songbook, Volume 1. It was a packed house with special performances by longtime friends and collaborators including SIREN. In May, NO HOPE presented their 11th evening of new work at the cell in Chelsea. Sweet Baby Jesus and the True Orphan Tragedies included a handful of new songs, selections from their musical Teach Me To Sing, and two new short works Maybe Tomorrow and Miss Teentucky U.S.A., both based on actual events.