KST Blog

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: KST Presents: Or Forever Hold Your Peace, from Big Storm Performance Company

EAST LIBERTY, PA — Kelly Strayhorn Theater is pleased to announce Or Forever Hold Your Peace, a 75 minute theater experience from Big Storm Performance Company. Based on the real-life experiences of the creators, this show explores the B plots, uncomfortable interactions, and opportunities for personal discovery that occur at weddings.

Or Forever Hold Your Peace takes place at a Pennsylvania wedding in the late 2010s, where the sister of the bride is about to snap, the only guest who believes in love is a wedding crasher, the 13-year-old ring bearer has a secret mission, and everyone needs a change. Big Storm co-founder and artistic director José Pérez IV developed the show with co-founder and Team Health Specialist Taylor Couch. Both Couch and Pérez IV have built long standing relationships with Kelly Strayhorn Theater as teachers at The Alloy School. There, Couch teaches Creative Play, a “Parent & Me” style dance class for children six years old and younger, and Pérez IV is teacher emeritus of Capoeira, a dancelike martial art originating in Brazil. As one might expect from two dance teachers, movement and music are key elements in Or Forever Hold Your Peace.

“I like the phrase ‘musical without singing’ because it describes how significant a role the dances play in this show,” says Couch. “If we called Or Forever ‘a play with dancing,’ it’s easier to imagine maybe one or two dance numbers that mesh into the play instead of the very musical-like spectacle that dance is in this piece.” In an interview with Pittsburgh City Paper’s Tia Bailey, Pérez adds, “You’ve probably not seen a show like this before. It’s very modern, physical, fun… We say ‘theater experience’ because, with a lot of the things we make, it’s not really accurate to just say, ‘It’s a play.’ We don’t feel bound to strictly traditional modes of performance, and that leads us to experiment with where we perform, how we interact with the audience, and the types of performance we combine in one show.”

It’s by design that Big Storm productions like Or Forever Hold Your Peace defy categorization. The company was created as a response to an industry that often alienates and excludes, and their philosophy focuses on mental health, accessibility, and passing on what the company refers to as “The Groove.” To quote their mission statement, “The Groove is our name for the good feeling you get when you’re jamming to music — that enlivening ‘under your skin’ feeling of rhythm and movement, and we aim to spread it with everything we do. From our mindful rehearsal and performance processes to our aim to create works that connect with as many people as possible, regardless of their previous arts experience, Big Storm brings joy.”

Join KST and BIG STORM for Or Forever Hold Your Peace on Friday & Saturday, May 19 – 20* and Wednesday – Saturday, May 24 – 27 at 8:00pm at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Ave. *Post Performance Discussion to be held on Saturday, May 20. Tickets are Pay What Moves You: $10 – $25.


Taylor W Couch (she/her) is an Early Childhood Teaching Artist, Pittsburgh native, and Co-Founding Director of Big Storm Performance Company. When not performing with Big Storm or teaching with organizations such as Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Education and The Alloy School, Taylor enjoys working as a stylist for her mental health and sustainability-focused company Style For Good PGH, listening to records, and enjoying the wonderful restaurants around Pittsburgh

E Forney (she/they) works in higher education administration, organizes with leftists, and dabbles in many other things. When she is not at rehearsal, Forney is recording with her podcast co-hosts for One More Thing, coordinating events for Puzzled Pint, playing video games, or dabbling in some new hobby (right now it’s rug tufting). Forney has worked as support or tech for multiple Big Storm productions (“Quest”, “Portals on Penn”, “Say That to My Face”, “Dance Show: A Dance Show”) and looks forward to more!

Phillip Fry (he/him) graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017 with a BS in Mathematics and a Minor in Theater Performance. When not rehearsing, Phil enjoys playing video games, reading, discovering new breweries in the area, and visiting with his family. His previous works include, Stage: Portals on Penn, Say That to My Face (Big Storm PC); Film: Tributaries (Crazy Pants Productions); Voice Over: No Exit, Cave of the Green Light (Play on Words Podcast). Phil would like to thank his fiancée, mom, dad, brother, and sister for pushing him to keep doing theater and to his cats that keep them company during the down time.

Yang Zhen Lee (They/Them) is a comics and tattoo artist who likes to dabble in many things. Zhen was in Teresa Martuccio’s Pink Potatoes, and in some City of Play events such as “Emotional Landscapes,” “Intimate Subjects,” and “Fantastic Adventure: Greenfield Bridge.” When not rehearsing, Zhen likes playing games, moving through the world in new ways, petting animals, and seeing what art peeps have been making. Zhen says “Thank you to the fun and warmhearted folks of Big Storm for being absolute sweeties. Thank you Forrest for helping me go through lines many many times.”​

Jess Malandro (she/her) currently works at the University of Pittsburgh’s Big Idea Center as manager for student programs. When she isn’t working at Pitt, Stick City Brewing Company, or rehearsing with Big Storm, you can find her reading and/or furiously snuggling her two cats (Dae and Bucky). Over the past few years, Jess has performed with Big Storm in productions such as Say That To My Face and Portals on Penn. She would like to thank her fiancé, Phil Fry, for getting her to rehearsals on time and being a major support system over the past couple of months. Lastly, she would like to thank José and Taylor for being so awesome throughout this process (and every other time, really).

José Pérez IV (he/him) Julio/Dance Core, Dance Captain, Choreography, Playwright – is a fight choreographer and theater maker. Artistic Director of Big Storm Performance Company. MFA in Performance Pedagogy from the University of Pittsburgh, BFA in Drama from NYU’s Experimental Theatre Wing. When not making new theater, he likes to read in cafes and wave at dogs. José’s original work has been seen in New York City venues, on the hills of the Smoky Mountains, and in a moving car.

Olivia Devorah Tucker (they/them) is a transfemme Jewish demonologist with an affinity for vibrant theater and baking thematically-shaped challah. Professionally, Olivia serves as Program Coordinator for SVARA: A Traditionally Radical Yeshiva (founders of Queer Talmud Camp), where they study as a teacher-in-training. Olivia Devorah has variously performed, puppeteered, sang, danced, devised, and dramaturged for FOLKLAB’s QUEER (2018), Moriah Ella Mason’s Queer Jewish: Dancing In Diaspora (2019), Teresa Martuccio’s Pink Potatoes (2019) and Gunner LaBuff’s Hatena, A Guinea Pig Play (2019) at the Glitterbox. Olivia sends thanks to friends, family, the Highland Park pool, and the Phantom of the Attic comic book store for getting them through the tough times!

Matt Vitullo (he/him) is thrilled to be in yet another Big Storm production! Matt graduated from the University of Pittsburgh for theater and has been performing in the city ever since. Previous roles include Benvolio in Romeo & Juliet (Pittsburgh Classic Players), a tea shop fighter in Portals on Penn (Big Storm), and a lovesick bard in Quest (Big Storm). When not performing, Matt can be found playing Dungeons & Dragons, gaming, reading, writing, or spending time with friends (as safely as possible, of course). “Thank you to Big Storm, especially José and Taylor, for making so much cool art that I get to participate in, and to my incredible friends who always give me support and lend me an ear while I talk about this show endlessly. Thank you!! :^)

Ariel / (they/them) is an interdisciplinary performance artist dancing onto the scene from underground art spaces in Pittsburgh, New York, Shanghai, the Bay, and Hong Kong. With roots in butoh, martial arts, and street dance, they are thrilled to be performing with Big Storm for their funky and athletic choreography. Notable venues where they have performed and displayed works include SPACE Gallery, The Space Upstairs, GPAC Center, Baryshnikov Dance Center, Alloy Studios, New Hazlett Theatre, and Associated Artists of Pittsburgh. They are concurrently making films as part of the Spring 23′ cohort in the Digital Documentary Filmmaking Fellowship at the Warhol Academy.

Charlie Left is a nonbinary screenwriter, competing slam poet, and performing artist in Pittsburgh, PA. Their work has appeared in Pretty Owl Poetry, Medium, and elsewhere. They’re in the Pittsburgh Prison Book Project’s leadership group, a volunteer non-profit organization based in Pittsburgh that sends reading and educational materials to prisoners across PA. They formerly curated and emceed The Bantha Readings in Pittsburgh, a series dedicated to showcasing local writers. Their work, best described as creative nonfiction with a surrealist twist, focuses on the role of gender and masculinity in our everyday lives. Find them online @charlie_left or charlieleft074@gmail.com

Jade Young (they/she) is a trans/non-binary dancer, singer, actor and writer. They have been training in dance since the age of three years old. They are a dancer in the styles of jazz, tap, hip hop techniques, jazz funk and contemporary dance. They graduated in 2021 from Full Sail University with a certificate in Creative Writing. Most recently Jade has done stand-in/photo double work for actress Andra Day in the Lee Daniels directed film “The Deliverance” and acted in City Theatre’s 2022 Young Playwright’s Festival. When Jade isn’t dancing or performing she is studying piano and voice under the amazing Cathie Crocker, plays their Taylor acoustic guitar and enjoys spending time with their family and orange tabby cat Simba. “Thank you to the cast members and team of Big Storm. It’s been an absolute joy working with all of you. Thank you to my Mom, my brother Mason and best friend Rebekah Davis for your love and support”. Follow them on Instagram @jadenjewel13.

Lucy Jaffar (she/her) is a dancer and arts administrator from San Francisco. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a BS in psychology and a BA in dance and has had the opportunity to dance and train with amazing organizations including San Francisco Ballet, Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, ODC, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and DancEsteem San Francisco. Lucy can normally be found adventuring in nature, playing guitar, or spending quality time with her family, friends, and two boxer dogs. She would like to thank Dylon for being the best support system to her through everything.

Sarah Hoy (she/they) is a current student at Point Park University studying Theatre Arts with a minor in musical theatre! They are very excited to be doing their first show with Big Storm Performance Company and have loved the process with this amazing group. Previous works include Coping with COPA (flash dancer), Men On Boats (swing/Mr. Asa), and the RLM One Act Festival. She’d like to thank her friends and family and amazing coworkers for supporting her in all the work! @sarahhoyarts


By only presenting original works, Big Storm Performance Company creates and performs only what they connect with and makes them feel The Groove through highly physical, movement based pieces. Big Storm loves incorporating safe, responsible moments of interaction as well as pieces that pull from multiple stage combat, dance, and theater disciplines to deepen the experience without jeopardy.
This desire to provide meaningful, positive experiences stems from Big Storm’s founding drive to create a company that meets performers and audience members where they are. In an industry that often alienates and excludes, Big Storm offers a space where all are welcome, and those who want to participate can. Along with our sustainable processes, Big Storm is a zero judgment, body positive zone that elevates the strengths of each of our performers and knows that movers come in all shapes, sizes, and with all kinds of needs. Rather than force our performers to fit into a mode and model, we embrace the outside lives and struggles of everyone who works with us and reward honest communication with change.


Named after 20th century entertainment legends Gene Kelly and Billy Strayhorn, both natives of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is reflective of the passion that its founders had for the arts. Today, Kelly Strayhorn Theater carries on the legacy of its founders by fostering bold and innovative artistry with a global perspective. KST celebrates diversity in voice, thought, and expression, and upholds a firm commitment to inclusion. Furthermore, KST provides a safe and welcome space for dialogue and artistic expression for all who enter.

Kelly Strayhorn Theater has a dynamic footprint in Pittsburgh, with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after the founding of the theater, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community.