Blows Against the Empire:A Space Rock Musical

The Creative Team


Composer/Lyricist – Paul Kantner

1Paul Kantner (1941-2016) was a singer, songwriter and guitarist who rose to fame in the 1960s as co-founder of the band Jefferson Airplane and continued the group through various successor incarnations of Jefferson Starship.
After founding the band with Marty Balin, Kantner and the Jefferson Airplane became the first San Francisco rock band to sign a recording contract with a major label. In 1967, the band had two Top-10 hits with “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.” Jefferson Airplane disbanded in 1972, leaving in its wake a canon of rock classics that defines the 1960s.
Paul Kantner’s 1970 Blows Against the Empire solo/collaboration was the prototype for Kantner's next band, Jefferson Starship, which he formed in 1974. Joined by Balin, Grace Slick, lead guitarist Craig Chaquico, bassist Pete Sears and drummer John Barbata, the first incarnation of Jefferson Starship reigned as one of the most artistically and commercially successful rock groups of the 1970s and 1980s.
Jefferson Starship's initial release, Dragonfly, spawned the rock radio staples “Ride the Tiger” and “Caroline,” both penned by Kantner. The band's breakthrough album came a year later with Red Octopus, which featured the hit single “Miracles” and catapulted the group to the top of Billboard's album chart four separate times in 1975. The band's subsequent releases -- Spitfire (1976), Earth (1978), Freedom at Point Zero (1979) Winds of Change (1981) and Nuclear Furniture (1983) --generated the hits “With Your Love,” “Count on Me,” “Runaway” and “Jane.” In 1983, Kantner released his second solo album, Planet Earth Rock & Roll Orchestra, another sci-fi epic.
In 1984, Kantner departed from Jefferson Starship, to work on his own projects. Kantner rejoined with Balin in 1985 to form the KBC Band, which produced the 1987 self-titled album and the Kantner  hit “America.” In 1987, Kantner embarked on a fact-finding tour of Nicaragua and the Sandinista government. Upon his return to the U.S., he published his journals of the trip in Paul Kantner's Nicaragua Diary. In 1989, Kantner briefly reunited with Jefferson Airplane, a much anticipated project that resulted in an album, Jefferson Airplane, and a summer tour.
In 1991, Kantner was back on the road with a stripped down, acoustic ensemble called Paul Kantner’s Wooden Ships, a trio that included Aguilar and Gorman from the KBC Band. In addition to his classic songs, Kantner and his group performed new material which received resounding praise. The success of this project prompted Kantner to reinvent his electric band, and Jefferson Starship took off once again. Shortly after the band's rebirth, Marty Balin rejoined Jefferson Starship, ending a 15-year hiatus from the group. With their latest female vocalist Cathy Richardson and Kantner's son Alexander Kantner on bass, Jefferson Starship released their first studio album in a decade titled Jefferson's Tree of Liberty in September 2008. The album was a return to Kantner's musical roots featuring covers of 1950s and 60s protest songs.



Producer – Alan Levy

Alan Levy has produced over 150 theatre productions at professional, regional and educational theatres across the country during 30 years of arts management experience.  He is the founder and former Artistic Director of Hartford Children’s Theatre, which was awarded the Winifred Ward Award in 1995. 

Levy’s work has appeared on the stages of the Kennedy Center for the Arts (Washington, DC), Act One Theatre (New Haven, CT), ISPS (Trinidad + Tobago), University of Massachusetts (Amherst, MA) and Hartford Children’s Theatre (Hartford, CT).  He is an avid supporter of the new work of living playwrights and has served as a reader, adjudicator, and director for the AATE New Plays Project, the IUPUI National Playwriting Competition and the Kennedy Center’s New/Visions/New Voices Festival.

Amongst his numerous credits, Levy presented the premieres of The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers by Max Bush, Selkie by Laurie Brooks Gollobin and From Every Mountainside also by Bush.




7000 Gypsies Productions, Mamsfield Center CT 06250