2014-15 New Victory LabWorks Welcomes 10 New Projects from Taylor Mac, The Civilians and More
The New Victory Theater, New York City's premier theater for kids and families, announces the 2014-15 New Victory LabWorks new work development residencies. Now in its second year, the New Victory LabWorks Artist Residency Program provides rehearsal space, support and feedback for select New York artists of all disciplines who desire to create original high-quality productions for young audiences.
This year, The New Victory Theater will host the initial development of ten new works from the following New York-based artists and companies:
- Taylor Mac
The Fre, commissioned by Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis
The Abominables, commissioned by Children's Theatre Company of Minneapolis
The Pirate Princess, in association with American Repertory Theater A.R.T./MXAT Institute
The Rise and Fall of the Trilobite Kingdom
A Christmas Carol
- Dead Puppet Society
Laser Beak Man
- Full Circle Souljahs
Outside the Bachx
- The Acrobuffos
- Spellbound Theater
Ears, Nose and Tail
The multitalented Taylor Mac (Hir, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, The Lily's Revenge), whose recent performance credits include Good Person of Szechwan (Public Theater 2013) and The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville (Classic Stage Company 2013), will develop The Fre, a queer love story for multigenerational audiences. Set in a mud pit, The Fre will mix rhyming couplets and "Old Comedy" forms with the language of modern teenagers in a wildly theatrical, funny and unexpected experience that questions the accepted notions of what it means to behave "correctly" -- morally, sexually and intellectually.
Rink rats and hockey moms are the subject of The Abominables, the newest investigative theater work from The Civilians (The Great Immensity, Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, Paris Commune, In the Footprint: The Battle Over Atlantic Yards). This original new musical explores the hilariously high-stakes world of youth hockey with a book by Steven Cosson and music by Michael Friedman. The company's work has been produced at BAM Next Wave, Playwrights Horizons, The Public Theater and Vineyard Theatre in New York, and nationally at Center Theatre Group, A.R.T., La Jolla Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, HBO's US Comedy Festival, Woolly Mammoth, and Actors Theatre of Louisville, among others.
Following the success of The Light Princess (A.R.T./MXAT Institute 2013), which will make its Off-Broadway debut at The New Victory Theater in spring of 2015, Lila Rose Kaplan (Wildflower, Second Stage; Biography of a Constellation, 2010 National Science Playwriting Award from the Kennedy Center) and Mike Pettry (2012 ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Lyric Award winner and a 2007 Jonathan Larson Award winner) will create a new family musical based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Commissioned by American Repertory Theater Institute, The Pirate Princess reimagines Orsino as a pirate king and Viola as his first mate.
Since 2003, CollaborationTown (Family Play (1979 to Present), The Deepest Play Ever: The Catharsis of Pathos, The Play About My Dad, The Momentum) has created ensemble-driven theater that challenges artists to step outside their traditional roles to create devised work. Most recently, CollaborationTown was one of two inaugural recipients of the Archive Alliance Residency Program at The New Ohio and IRT Theaters, and have also performed at 59E59, LaMaMa e.t.c., The Living Theater and at numerous FringeNYC festivals. In The Rise and Fall of the Trilobite Kingdom [working title], this troupe led by Lee Sunday Evans, Boo Killebrew, Geoffrey Decas O'Donnell, Jordan Seavey and TJ Witham will imagine the epic coming of age story of a young trilobite (the species that dominated the oceans hundreds of millions of years ago) through music, puppetry and a biting sense of humor.
Splitting their time between Queensland, Australia, and New York, the production house and design collective known as Dead Puppet Society creates puppet-based visual theater that unites an old world aesthetic with cutting-edge technical elements. Recently in residence at St. Ann's Warehouse as part of Labapalooza's Puppet Lab (The Wider Earth), Dead Puppet Society has presented work with the Brisbane Powerhouse (Argus 2013), La Boite Theatre Company (The Harbinger 2011 and 2012), Metro Arts (The Timely Death of Victor Blott 2010) and Brisbane Festival and Adelaide Fringe (little grey wolf 2009 and 2010). The company will develop Laser Beak Man, a bright, fast-paced new visual theater piece about a super hero with a literal interpretation of language, based on the drawings of internationally renowned Australian visual artist Tim Sharp.
As the founder and co-artistic director of Strangemen and Co., James Ortiz was recently lauded for the creation, direction, puppetry design and lead performance of The Woodsman (59E59 2014). Ortiz has worked with Glass Bandit Theater Company (The Little Mermaid) and Studio42 (Miss Lilly Gets Boned), and has performed in Puss in Boots, El Gato con Botas (New Vic 2010, Tectonic Theatre Co.); Rhinoceros (UglyRhino Theatre); Wanda's Monster (The Vineyard's Dimson Theatre 2013); and The Boogyman Thumbs A1-A (FringeNYC). With a cast of no more than seven, Ortiz will adapt A Christmas Carol using live music and full-scale puppetry to make the moral ghost story of Dicken's tale more immediate, a little scary and incredibly human.
Full Circle Souljahs (Hip Hop to the Head, InnaViews), founded by BESSIE Award-winning choreographer Kwikstep and established as a nonprofit by artistic directors/choreographers Kwikstep and Rokafella, boasts a unique blend of theater and hip hop street expression, mixing beatbox and turntablism with urban sounds and moves from the entire hip hop catalogue. The company performed Soular Power'd at The New Victory Theater in 2002 and returns this summer to participate in the theater's inaugural Victory Dance program. For LabWorks, Full Circle will work on Outside the Bachx, which will feature the music of Johann Sebastian Bach in a performance that blends the musical styling of a beatboxer and a live concert pianist with hip hop, street dance and ballet. Outside the Bachx will premiere at the Kennedy Center in 2015.
Known for their innovative WATERBOMBS! street show to fans around the globe, clowning duo Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone of The Acrobuffos (Big Apple Circus's Legendarium 2012) hilariously mix non-verbal comedy with fast-paced circus and flying props. With an uncanny ability to attract huge audiences and elicit raucous audience responses, The Acrobuffos have performed in over 18 countries at street festivals, circuses and theaters. In Air Play, the duo partners with director West Hyler (Big Apple Circus) and famed air sculptor Daniel Wurtzel, whose "Magic Carpet" went viral with over 1.8 million views, to experiment with fans, physics and flotsam in a comedic and touching struggle between humans and a wind with a will of its own.
Elska, a fictional character, is a modern pioneer who discovers a newly-formed Arctic island off the coast of Iceland where she chooses to live with a small cast of animals and original characters. After her debut album Middle of Nowhere, which won a Parents' Choice and a National Parenting Publications Award in 2012, Elska went on tour with a concert experience that featured a mix of character acting, storytelling and music. As the show continued to tour, the creative team behind Elska realized that this character and her fictional world are more suitable for a theatrical setting. Actor/singer/artist Shelley Wollert and collaborators Allen Farmelo and Lucas Segall will use their time with LabWorks to fully realize Elska's world and develop the character's first theater production.
Brooklyn-based Spellbound Theater will develop Ears, Nose and Tail, a new, original work with interactive projection, real-time animation and shadow puppetry by artists Lauren Jost and Christine Dehne, for kids ages five and younger. Spellbound will follow the story of Dog as he wonders about the different things he could do if we were something other than a dog. In making the familiar captivating, Spellbound Theater creates intimate, multi-sensory experiences for young audiences rooted in themes of exploration, discovery and the naming of the world around us.
Situated in the state-of-the-art New 42nd Street Studios, New Victory LabWorks artists receive time, space and resources, giving them the freedom to experiment, play and test ideas in the creation of new work. Residency artists also receive the artistic feedback and support of The New Victory Theater's artistic programming staff. Each residency is tailored to the specific needs and creative processes of the individual companies and may include presentations or open rehearsals for invited New Victory Members, which will provide the artists with an opportunity to interact with kid and family audiences.
About New Victory LabWorks - Established to foster the development of innovative work for family audiences and to advocate for the importance of quality performing arts for young people, New Victory LabWorks is designed to embrace artists, educators, producers, presenters and others in the field through the development of new work, professional development and advocacy. Led by New Victory Director of Artistic Programming Mary Rose Lloyd and her team, LabWorks offers opportunities for exchange with national and international artists and promotes the importance of quality performing arts and arts engagement for young audiences.
About The New Victory Theater -- The New Victory Theater introduces extraordinary performing artists from around the world to extraordinary audiences in New York City, bringing kids to the arts and arts to kids. Created in 1995 for young New Yorkers, their families and schoolmates, The New Victory Theater presents a diverse season of international companies at low ticket prices year after year. Through the theater's award-winning education programs, The New Victory continues to provide access to schools and communities of New York City who seek to experience and engage with the work on our stages, often for the very first time. The Off-Broadway theater's contributions to the cultural landscape of the city were celebrated by the prestigious New York critics' organization, The Drama Desk, which presented The New Victory Theater with a 2012 Special Award for "providing enchanting, sophisticated children's theater that appeals to the child in all of us, and for nurturing a love of theater in young people."
About The New 42nd Street - Building on the foundation of seven historic theaters, The New 42nd Street leads the dynamic evolution of the reinvented 42nd Street, cultivating a unique New York City cultural and entertainment destination through its three projects: The New Victory Theater, a performing arts theater devoted to kids and families; the New 42nd Street Studios, a state-of-the-art, 10-story performing arts complex for rehearsal, performance and arts administration; and The Duke on 42nd Street, an intimate black-box theater. An independent, nonprofit organization, The New 42nd Street is committed to the transformational power of the arts.