Culture Project Presents 'And God Created Great Whales,' Beginning 2/7

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Now considered a prominent venue for award winning theatre, Culture Project had its humble beginnings in a former piano manufacturing factory on East 91st Street. It then moved to a lumberyard at 45 Bleecker Street which it converted into a two-theater performing arts center with Bombitty of Errors and And God Created Great Whales as its initial attractions. Now Culture Project has officially returned to 45 Bleecker making it its permanent home, and will present And God Created Great Whales, the innovative piece that launched the Culture Project into prominence over a decade ago.

And God Created Great Whales is a haunting musical adventure that delves into the psyche of a composer who is trying to create an opera based on Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Desperately fighting against a disease that is eating away at his mind, he must rely on a tape recorder to remind him of yesterday’s instructions to himself. Rinde Eckert displays his full creative force in this frenzied, funny, romantic, and moving play.

Conceived by Rinde Eckert, And God Created Great Whales garnered the attention of critics and audiences alike when it premiered at Dance Theatre Workshop in early 2000. The New York Times hailed the piece as “total magic,” while Billboard called it “one of the most strikingly original works to be seen in New York.” After receiving an Obie Award and a Drama Desk nomination, the show was remounted at the 45 Bleecker Street Theatre and produced by Culture Project. And God Created Whales has been seen across the country, including at MassMoCa, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art in Oregon, and Baltimore’s Center Stage. Now, under the original director David Schweizer, and performed by Nora Cole and Rinde Eckert, And God Created Whales returns to its origins to thrill New York audiences once more.

Rinde Eckert (Composer, Writer, Sound Designer, Nathan) and his work have been produced off-Broadway and at major venues and festivals throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Off-Broadway: ORPHEUS X (Theatre for a New Audience), HORIZON (New York Theatre Workshop – Lucille Lortel Award, Drama Desk nominations), AND GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES (The Foundry Theatre - Obie Award for Best Performance, Drama Desk nomination for Unique Theatrical Experience), AN IDIOT DIVINE (The Culture Project), ROMEO SIERRA TANGO (New York Shakespeare Festival). Regional theater: HIGHWAY ULYSSES (Eliot Norton Award) and ORPHEUS X (2007 Finalist for Pulitzer Prize in Drama - both American Repertory Theatre commissions), RAVENSHEAD (Berkeley Repertory Theater). Touring: HORIZON, AN IDIOT DIVINE, THE GARDENING OF THOMAS D. Collaborations: SLOW FIRE, Pioneer, Power Failure, SOUND STAGE, (Paul Dresher, Music), SLIDE, RAVENSHEAD, DREAM HOUSE (Steve Mackey, Music), SANDHILLS REUNION (Jerry Granelli, Music), WOMAN, WINDOW, SQUARE (The Margaret Jenkins Dance Company - Isadora Duncan Award). Radio Shows: Shoot the Moving Things and Four Songs Lost in a Wall. Rinde Eckert has been honored to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Marc Blitzstein Award, and the Alpert Award in the Arts for Theatre.

Nora Cole (Olivia) also originated the role of The Bride in Rinde Eckert’s Highway Ulysses at A.R.T. Outstanding credits include work with George C. Wolfe in Caroline or Change(Royal National Theatre), Jelly’s Last Jam (opposite Gregory Hines/National Tour opposite Maurice Hines), and On the Town. Regional Theatre: Fences (GEVA), Doubt(Milwaukee Rep), Jacques Brel is Alive and Well(Santa Fe Stages - David Schweizer, Dir.), THE COLORED MUSEUM (Hartford Stage), THE GOOD TIMES ARE KILLING ME (Second Stage), JOE TURNER'S COME AND GONE (Studio Arena), AVENUE X and Coretta Scott King in I HAVE A DREAM. Solo shows: VOICES OF THE SPIRITS IN MY SOUL and OLIVIA'S OPUS, a multi-media ode to adolescence. For 15+ years a company member of Vinnette Carroll's Urban Arts Corp (NYC) and repertory company (Ft. Lauderdale). Outstanding performances included MEDEA (title role), YOUR ARMS TOO SHORT TO BOX WITH GOD (Singing Mary - Broadway, National and European productions), and WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER I'LL SKATE (Kennedy Center). Ms. Cole is an adjunct director and acting coach at Eastern Connecticut State University, and a graduate of the Goodman School of Drama at the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received the Women in Music Award from Actors Theatre of Louisville, a Spencer Cherashore Fund Individual Artist Grant and is an alumna of the Hedgebrook Women Writers Retreat.

David Schweizer (Director) is pleased to have directed AND GOD CREATED GREAT WHALES in all of its incarnations since its premiere with the Foundry Theater. His highly rewarding collaboration with Rinde Eckert also includes the award-winning production of HORIZON off-Broadway (New York Theater Workshop) and on tour. He has been directing new theater, performance and opera work for nearly forty years both nationally and internationally, from his controversial New York debut with Shakespeare's TROILUS AND CRESSIDA to Richard Rodney Bennett's opera THE MINES OF SULPHUR (New York City Opera) - both at Lincoln Center. His work with experimental theater companies includes THEATRE X (A History of Sexuality) Mabou Mines (Greg Mehrten's It's A Man's World) and his own MODERN ARTISTS COMPANY (Plato's Symposium). He has directed work for solo theater artists Mike Albo, Sandra Tsing Loh, Marga Gomez, John Fleck, Marc Wolf and Ann Magnuson; world premiere stagings for playwrights Charles Mee Jr, Michael Weller, Melanie Marnich, Austin Pendleton, Marlane Meyer, Sam Shepard, Albert Innauratto, Len Jenkin, Michael Sargent, Han Ong, Ronald Tavel, William Hamilton, and many others. He recently staged his own adaptation of Ibsen's PEER GYNT at Kansas City Rep and La Jolla Playhouse, Sheridan's THE RIVALS at Center Stage Baltimore, and Verdi's MACBETTO at Boston Lyric Opera. Upcoming, in New York, the world premiere of Tennessee Williams' last full-length play, IN MASKS OUTRAGEOUS AND AUSTERE.

Culture Project is dedicated to addressing critical human rights issues by shining an artistic spotlight on injustice. Founded by Allan Buchman in 1996, Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones’ Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright’s My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer’s Betrayed, and Temple University’s acclaimed production of In Conflict. Culture Project also produced Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum, a groundbreaking concert at the United Nations to commemorate the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Most recently, Culture Project presented MoLoRa at the Ailey Citigroup Theater and James X, directed by Gabriel Byrne. In 2012, Culture Project celebrates its return to the theaters at 45 Bleecker Street. For further information, please visit CultureProject.org.

All performances are $55 except previews which are $35. Evening performances will be at 8pm and Sunday matinees are at 3pm. Tickets will be sold online via cultureproject.org and by phone by calling Ovation at 866.811.4111

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