Compagnia de' Colombari's THE WORLD IS ROUND IS ROUND Premieres Tonight at The Mill

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Averill-Park-20010101

A playful, exuberant and musical adaptation of Gertrude Stein's existential, modernist children's book The World Is Round will be performed this summer at The Mill: Arts, Letters, and Numbers in Averill Park, New York (east of Albany).

THE WORLD IS ROUND IS ROUND IS ROUND is a music-theater piece chronicling the adventures of a girl named Rose in her quest to get "there"-to the top of a mountain. It is adapted and directed by Karin Coonrod with music by Gina Leishman, who Time Out New York called "one of New York's most versatile composers." The work will premiere in August 2013 at The Mill before traveling to New York and other cities.

Published in 1939, and written in France for "children and philosophers," The World Is Round will celebrate its 75th anniversary this October. HarperCollins plans to reissue it on October 29, 2013, replicating Clement Hurd's illustrations alongside Gertrude Stein's distinctive prose.

The production is hosted at a raw arts space called The Mill: Arts, Letters, and Numbers, recently opened by David Gersten, architect and visionary professor at Cooper Union. The Mill is "a space where a great diversity of telling and listening creates the alchemy of transforming how we experience today into how we will experience tomorrow."

Director Karin Coonrod, whose work has been hailed by the New York Times as "prodigiously inventive," founded the downtown theater company Arden Party, lauded for its inspired reimagining of classic plays. She won widespread acclaim for her epic production of Henry VI at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1996, and created More Or Less I Am, an original music-theater piece drawn from Walt Whitman's Song of Myself. In 2004 she founded Compagnia de' Colombari, which launched an annual theater festival in Orvieto, Italy, and brought a modern reimagining of the medieval mystery play to the streets of Orvieto and New York City.

The World Is Round struck Coonrod immediately for its humor, songs, and sly existential queries. It is dedicated to and partly inspired by a young French neighbor of Stein's named Rose. The heroine's tremendous courage and sense of self, as she journeys to the top of a mountain, takes us on her investigation of self-knowledge and self-belief that speaks to our time. It is, ultimately, the claim of our story, voice, and song-a deeply emotional encompassing of humanity from a remarkable and original female voice.

The play's music is written by composer, Gina Leishman, who has collaborated with Tony Kushner, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, and others. Cast members include Juliana Francis Kelly, April Sweeney, Julienne Kim, Dietrice Bolden, and Barrett Doss, who take turns playing Rose. The costumes are designed by Oana Botez and the sets by John Conklin, whose designs have been seen at the New York Shakespeare Festival and Metropolitan Opera. The lighting is designed by Brian Scott of Siti Company.

The production runs tonight, August 30 at 8:00PM, August 31 at 2:00PM (children's workshop with Gina Leishman), 4:00PM, & 8:00PM, and September 1 at 2:00PM (children's workshop with Gina Leishman), 4:00PM, & 8:00PM.

The $20 ticket price includes admission for children and students to the workshops available at select performances. Participants in the music workshops, held by composer Gina Leishman, will begin by exploring all manner of instruments and rhythms, culminating in the performance of a communally composed piece of music. After that, the students will learn the final musical number from THE WORLD IS ROUND IS ROUND IS ROUND in order to be ready to participate when it comes up in the production.

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