Abrons Arts Center to Welcome Julie Atlas Muz and Mat Fraser in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, 3/13-30

What do you get when a born freak, a former beauty queen, and an award-winning maverick director take on a classic romance? From March 13-31, Abrons Art Center will present Beauty and the Beast, starring Mat Fraser and Julie Atlas Muz, directed by Improbable's Phelim McDermott.

Fraser, the consistently inventive, provocative and entertaining British disabled actor/writer and Muz, the Downtown NYC performance legend and former Miss Coney Island, breath complexity and life into the eponymous characters, weaving an adult fairytale like no other.

Performances of Beauty and the Beast will take place March 13-30 at 8pm at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street). Tickets are $35 and can be purchased by calling 212.352.3101 or visiting www.abronsartscenter.org Critics are welcome as of March 14.

Following their 2010 performance of an earlier version of the work, Muz and Fraser were challenged by critics to go beyond the production they had developed. The duo teamed up with renowned director Phelim McDermott (Satyagraha, Shockheaded Peter) to completely re-imagine the piece and weave their own love story throughout the plot. Using inventive staging that blends song, dance, puppetry and shadow play in a multi-layered story, this production is a magical sexual journey into real and fabled romance between people and characters. Declared to be a work of "beautiful, beastly brilliance" by the Telegraph-one of seven 4-star reviews by the British press-Beauty and the Beast will re-kindle your lust for life and challenge you to think about who loves whom and why they do.

Access All Areas: Live Art and Disability (NYC edition)

Saturday March 29, 2014

This free, daylong event looks at some of the radical approaches to representations of disability being taken by contemporary performance artists, particularly in the UK. Offerings will include durational performances by Noemi Lakmaier and Martin O'Brien, a symposium exploring the cultural impact of disabled artists, screenings of key works from recent decades, and a library. Full program details to be announced. Curated by the Live Art Development Agency (London, UK) www.thisisliveart.co.uk, with the support of the British Council.

About the Artists:

Phelim McDermott is a founding member of Improbable. He has been directing and performing since 1984, when he co-founded dereck dereck Productions with Julia Bardsley. Directing includes Improbable Tales at Nottingham Playhouse, The Government Inspector for West Yorkshire Playhouse, A Midsummer Night's Dream for the English Shakespeare Company, and Shockhead Peter with Julian Crouch, a collaboration with The Tiger Lilies for Cultural Industry. He directed the West End show Alex by Charles Peattie and Russel Taylor at The Arts Theatre and Leicester Square Theatre.

Productions with Improbable include the multi award-winning 70 Hill Lane, Lifegame, Animo, Coma, Spirit, Sticky, Cinderella, The Hanging Man and Theatre of Blood, in collaboration with the National Theatre. He directed the acclaimed Philip Glass opera Satyagraha, in collaboration with the English National Opera and the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Julie Atlas Muz has become one of the most acclaimed and prolific conceptual performers and choreographers anywhere. Her come-hither performances that have secured her a vaunted place in opposite realms - the underworld and the establishment art world. Muz was named Lambent Fellow, Valencia Biennial Artist, Whitney Biennial Artist, and Artist-in-Residence from Chashama, Joyce Soho, Dixon Place and Movement Research. Since 2010 she has been touring large-scale theaters in France with the Cabaret New Burlesque as well as creating and starring in radical evening length productions in Spiegel tents around the globe.

Muz has created and toured The Freak and the Showgirl and Apocastrip WOW with her husband Mat Fraser. The show has been hailed as "gobsmacking" and has toured to shocked and delighted audiences in Australia, Holland, the UK and America. She has been featured in the Whitney Biennial and Valencia Biennial, received an Ethyl Eichelberger Award and a Lambent Fellow, and was a past Franklin Furnace artist. Muz proudly champions the tradition initiated by Lady Godiva in the 11th century of public female nudity as an act of political resistance. www.julieatlasmuz.com

Mat Fraser is one of the UK's best-known disabled performers and a multidisciplinary performing artist, actor, writer and musician who has played to a myriad of international audiences. Always interested in the relationship between disability and entertainment, his wit, subversive lack of political correctness, the sideshow style and his playful sexuality combine to make work that is new, challenging and funny. Fraser hosted the Opening Ceremony for the 2012 Paralympics, drummed with Coldplay in the closing ceremony and is a regular performer at The Box, The Slipper Room and Sideshows by the Seashore in Coney Island

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