Skylight Music Theatre Presents EL CIMARRON, Now thru 1/12
Skylight Music Theatre announces the details of the first Studio show under new Artistic Director, Viswa Subbaraman. Hans Werner Henze's thought-provoking El Cimarrón will run today, January 3 through January 12 in the Studio Theatre at the Broadway Theatre Center (158 N. Broadway, Milwaukee WI).
Subtitled "Biography of the Runaway Slave Esteban Montejo," it is a work that continues this season's conversation about freedom and revolution. "Slavery is a very difficult aspect of humanity, but it is an undeniable part of human history. Although this is challenging show, both musically and because of its subject matter, I am excited to start a conversation with the Milwaukee community and explore the messages of this powerful work," says Subbaraman. To start that dialogue, the theatre will offer pre and post-show talks at every performance.
El Cimarrón is a chamber music theatre work that is unlike anything Skylight has performed in the Studio Theatre. It fills a gap in the spectrum of music theatre that is rarely explored - one where the instrumental performers are equal to the vocal performer, as opposed to mere accompanists.
In this show, the instrumental roles are so critical that the composer, Hans Werner Henze, described the work as a recital for four musicians. The performers - a baritone vocalist, a flutist, a guitarist and a percussionist - all intertwine in a colorful dialogue creating an emotionally charged conversation that is both dramatic and powerful.
Playing the role of El Cimarrón, the slave, is bass- baritone singer Eric McKeever. Mr. McKeever performed the role of Don Pizarro in Skylight's season opening production of Fidelio.
Set design for El Cimarrón has been masterfully imagined and created by Lisa Anne Schlenker. The set is also an integral part of this production, adding to the intensity of the story a secondary character.
El Cimarrón is a powerful work that has left audiences forever changed. "It is a story of loneliness and revolution, a true story of a real hero. A story of an intelligent man who surpasses major difficulties, establishes a profound connection with nature, and, although he becomes seemingly free, he is surrounded by many threats; a man of solitude who fights to the end for collective freedom," says Director Eugenia Arsenis.