Alicia Jo Rabins To Premiere A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF at Joe's Pub, 10/8
On November 8th, renowned singer-songwriter, composer, musician and poet Alicia Jo Rabins, whose "gorgeous vocals" have been hailed by The New York Times, will debut her brand new, full-length performative song cycle A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF at Joe's Pub in New York City. The controversial piece explores the spiritual implications of the financial collapse through the story of Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, attempting to uncover hidden meanings in this contemporary tragedy. A second performance follows on November 15th.
Singing and playing violin through a range of effects pedals and backed by a trio of acclaimed Brooklyn musicians-cellist/music director Colette Alexander (Jens Lekman, Josh Groban, Angelique Kidjo), percussionist David Freeman and guitarist Lily Maase-Rabins draws inspiration from Laurie Anderson to create a lyrical investigation of her unlikely subject, a musical meditation on the intersection of mysticism and finance. A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF interweaves religious texts about money with interviews Rabins conducted over the course of two years, the subjects of which include an FBI agent on the case, Madoff victims and a Buddhist monk (among others).
Inspired by personal finance blogs, kabbalistic numerology and the Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead, which can also be recited for those who have been excommunicated), Rabins explores connections between Madoff's individual crimes and their larger communal and cultural impacts. Ordinary-seeming actions come to reveal truths about the deeper significance of Madoff's deception and the surprising interconnectedness of humans to one another. "Everyone likes to think of Madoff as a monster, an aberration-but are we really so different?" Rabins asks. "Markets go up, markets go down. But Madoff's returns went up, more or less. In a straight line. For forty years. Who wouldn't want that kind of security-no downturns, just growth? No failure, no loss, no death. It's beautiful. But it's impossible."
Alicia Jo Rabins is a Brooklyn-based composer, performer and poet. She is the creator of GIRLS IN TROUBLE, an art-pop song cycle in the voices of obscure women from the Torah, which has been performed at the New York Public Library, the Great Synagogue of Stockholm and rock clubs across the U.S. and Europe. Rabins tours internationally with GIRLS IN TROUBLE and has released two critically acclaimed albums on JDub Records. For eight years she was the fiddler in pioneering klezmer-punk band Golem, and she has toured Central America and Kuwait as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Boston Review, 6x6, and anthologies from NYU Press and Knopf.
Jessi D. Hill is a NYC-based theater director and Associate Artistic Director of terraNOVA Collective. Jessi's recent and upcoming play development projects include work at New York Theatre Workshop, Primary Stages, The New Group, Culture Project, New Dramatists, The Lark, The Playwrights Realm, New Georges, The Women's Project, Youngblood and others. She has been Staff Repertory Director for The Acting Company, a Director-in-Residence at Ensemble Studio Theatre and a guest director in professional training programs at Fordham University, Long Island University, Powerhouse/NY Stage & Film, NYU/Strasberg Institute of Theatre and Film, NYU/Playwrights Horizons, Hunter College and others. Jessi is a recipient of the Denham Fellowship from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, a 2010-2012 member of the Women's Project Lab, an Affiliated Artist at New Georges and a Finalist for the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors. MFA Directing: Yale School of Drama. Member SDC.
A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF is written and performed by Alicia Jo Rabins; directed and developed by Jessi D. Hill; musical direction by Colette Alexander; lighting design by Jon Harper; movement direction by Malinda Ray Allen; design by Corrie Beth Hogg; co-produced by Mud/Bone Collective. Mud/Bone Collective and this co-production are made possible in part by public funds from New York State Council on the Arts and New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. A KADDISH FOR BERNIE MADOFF is supported by a grant from the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, a partnership of Avoda Arts, JDub Records, and the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and made possible with major funding from UJA-Federation of New York, as well as support from LABA: The National Laboratory for New Jewish Culture at the 14th Street Y and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council through a real estate donation from Savanna.