Arthur Yorinks' AMERICAN SONG Series to Play The Flea, 10/15-12/17
The Flea Theater in association with Four Arts Media will present a groundbreaking new dramatic series comprised of original plays for radio and mobile media. Each of the 13 one-hour-long episodes will explore American life decade by decade from the early 20th century to the present. Says series creator, Arthur Yorinks, "Each stand-alone play will be modern, edgy, raw and compelling."
American Song takes its name from the way the narrative of each episode in the series is inspired by a quintessential American song from the decade in which it is set. The songs, freshly interpreted, are performed at the beginning and end of the episodes by some of the best contemporary musical artists of our time. This series will feature vocalists such as Rosanne Cash and Catherine Russell along with actors Sigourney Weaver, Frances McDormand, Joan Allen, Linus Roache, Adam Driver, Danny Burstein, Rebecca Luker, Jay O. Sanders, Maryanne Plunkett, Peter Gerety, Linda Powell, Reg E Cathey and others.
Each episode will have a one night only public performance at The Flea Theater. The first four performances will take place on October 15, November 5, November 26, and December 17. In 2013 SiriusXM Satellite Radio, WGBH and partner Public Radio International will record and broadcast this series nationally to an audience of nearly 75 million.
American Song has been created and developed by Mr. Yorinks in association with Bruce Fagin, senior executive producer, and Flea Theater artistic director, Jim Simpson, who is co-directing the series.
Arthur Yorinks (American Song Creator, Writer, Co-Director, Executive Producer) – has written and directed for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio and is the author of over thirty acclaimed and award-winning books. His numerous accolades for his work for children include the prestigious Caldecott award. After veering off his path of becoming a classical pianist in his teens (studying under Juilliard professor Robert Bedford), Mr. Yorinks has spent nearly four decades working in the performing arts, writing and directing numerous original plays including So, Sue Me, which premiered at The Kennedy Center, and recently the multimedia audio work, The Invisible Man which premiered at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York. In opera, Mr. Yorinks was Philip Glass’s librettist for his operas The Juniper Tree and The Fall of the House of Usher, which have been performed worldwide. Mr. Yorinks’s work in dance includes collaborations with companies such as The Hartford Ballet and Pilobolus (where he helped create the full-length dance/theater piece, A Selection). In his varied and wide-ranging career, Yorinks’s work brought him into collaborations with celebrated artists including Andre Serban, Bill Irwin, Richard Foreman, Maurice Sendak, Robert Redford and legendary filmmaker Michael Powell, among many others. Compelled by the use of sound in the theater Mr. Yorinks has, for twenty years, experimented with the relationship between audio and live performance. Twelve years ago he formalized that passion into a company devoted to exploring, evolving, and redefining audio theater. Since then, Mr. Yorinks has written and directed over forty original audio plays performed in seasons at The Kennedy Center, The Henry Street Playhouse (Abrons Arts Center), The Jacob Burns Film Center, The New Victory Theater as well as New York Public Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York, where he originated their theater initiative A New Theater of Sound. He has directed the radio works of Tom Stoppard, adapted Garson Kanin’s stage works for radio, adapted numerous literary works for theatrical audio including Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Gogol’s The Portrait as well as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol which was broadcast for several years on Barnes & Noble’s website and was newly recorded and broadcast by WNYC Radio starring F. Murray Abraham. Mr. Yorinks latest work for radio was his original radio play adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. The play, starring Phylicia Rashad and Roslyn Ruff, was performed live in New York City and was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Mr. Yorinks directed the radio broadcast which premiered on September 14, 2012 on WNYC Radio. Philip Glass has recently called Yorinks, “a great librettist” and their opera, Usher, will begin the 2013 Season at Chicago Opera Theater. Mr. Yorinks’s audio theater work has been broadcast nationwide on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and on WNYC radio.
Bruce Fagin (American Song Senior Executive Producer) – has provided strategic counsel to numerous cultural and educational organizations including Carnegie Hall, National Geographic Television & Film Company, Jewish Repertory Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, City University of New York, and New York Pubic Radio. Mr. Fagin specializes in building synergies between cultural and business partners in the areas of funding, joint ventures, branded entertainment, program design and branding. He has worked closely with leading companies like American Express, AT&T, Verizon, Starbucks, General Motors, NBC, JetBlue, NYSE/Euronext and others on cause-related cultural initiatives. Highlights of Mr. Fagin’s career include co-founding the 14th Street DanceCenter, a pioneer for fifteen years in presenting emerging artists to new audiences. From 1998-2000, he served as Deputy Director for the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, where he led negotiations with the Port Authority of NY & NJ and Visa to underwrite a free arts festival on the plaza of the World Trade Center. The festival, Evening Stars, was in its third year on September 11, 2001. In 2002, Mr. Fagin helped found the annual River To River Festival in Lower Manhattan, which, in its inaugural season, became the largest sponsor-supported free summer entertainment festival in the U.S. with over a million audience members. Earlier in his career, Mr. Fagin was an editor and publisher for McGraw-Hill. Over a career spanning several decades, he has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars while providing strategic insight and program design in support of a wide range of business and cultural initiatives.
Four Arts Media, a New York City Production Company, was founded by Arthur Yorinks, creator of American Song, and Bruce Fagin, senior executive producer of American Song, to generate a range of entertainment across the multiple platforms of stage, film, broadcast, and publishing. American Song, the company's initial project, is part of an effort to build a new audio theater tradition for the mobile media age. Also in development are a theater piece for a major national museum and a comedy series created specifically for cell phones and mobile media.
The Flea Theater, under Artistic Director Jim Simpson and Producing Director Carol Ostrow, is one of New York's leading off-off-Broadway companies. Winner of a Special Drama Desk Award for outstanding achievement, Obie Awards and an Otto for political theater, The Flea has presented over 100 plays and numerous dance and live music performances since its inception in 1996. Past productions include the premieres of Anne Nelson’s The Guys; six plays by A.R. Gurney (Post Mortem, O Jerusalem, Screenplay, Mrs. Farnsworth, A Light Lunch and Office Hours); Mac Wellman’s Cellophane and Two September; Roger Rosenblatt's Ashley Montana Goes Ashore... and The Oldsmobiles; Elizabeth Swados’ JABU and Kaspar Hauser; Karen Finley's Return of the Chocolate Smeared Woman; Adam Rapp’s Bingo with the Indians; Will Eno’s Oh, The Humanity and other exclamations; Dawn by Thomas Bradshaw; Love/Stories (or But You Will Get Used to it) by Itamar Moses, The Great Recession, Jonathan Reynolds' Girls in Trouble, Bathsheba Doran's Parents' Evening, Looking at Christmas by Steven Banks, the Drama Desk nominated She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen, and the Drama Desk nominated These Seven Sicknesses by Sean Graney.
Performances are October 15, November 5, November 26, and December 17 at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $100 per episode. Rush tickets at the door are $20 and limited to availability. The Flea is located at 41 White Street between Church and Broadway, three blocks south of Canal, close to the A/C/E, N/R/Q, J/M/Z and the #1 and #6 subway lines. Tickets can be purchased by calling 212-352-3101 or online at www.theflea.org.