Photo Flash: Inside LETTERS TO THE PRESIDENT, A New Multi-Composer Song Cycle
Since George Washington took office in 1783, writing letters to the President has provided citizens of all ages, races, political parties, and backgrounds an outlet to express their most personal concerns, hopes, and dreams. Letters to the President reimagines this archival canon of letters as a multi-composer song cycle, with each song inspired by an individual letter in the archive. Featuring historical letters from the National Archives and spanning topics including, Western expansion, World Wars I and II, space exploration, and the Civil Right Movement, Letters to the President offers a powerful look at American dream, setting the White House's most memorable mail to song.
Letters to the President was presented in concert, on Monday, April 8, 2019 at 7pm in the historic Great Hall at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. The evening featured the composers' songs performed by a Broadway cast alongside readings of the letters that inspired them.
Letters to the President features songs by Anna K. Jacobs, Ben Wexler, Dawn Avery, Elliah Heifetz, Emily Gardner Xu Hall, The Lobbyists, Madeline Myers, Mark Sonnenblick, Naomi Matlow & Teresa Lotz, Nick Blaemire, Preston Max Allen, Rona Siddiqui, Ronvé O'Daniel & Jevares Myrick, Simone Allen, Will Van Dyke & Jeff Talbot, Alexander Sage Oyen, and Zack Zadek.
The April 8th concert at the Great Hall at Cooper Union featured a cast of Zoe Jensen (We Are the Tigers), Whitney Bashor (Bridges of Madison County, Superhero), Oyoyo Joi (Book of Mormon), Matt Rodin (The Red Carpet Challenge, BROdway), Andrew Chappelle (Hamilton) and Orville Mendoza (Pacific Overtures, The Heart of Rock & Roll).
The evening's guest letter readers were MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell, ACLU National Legal Director David Cole, a! ctress Piper Perabo, investigative journalist Suki Kim, The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of the American Indian's Mandy Van Heuvelen, producer Rob Long, and renowned presidential historian David Eisenbach, Ph.D.
Letters to the President was conceived by director Michael Bello (We Are The Tigers, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) and dramaturg Jessica Kahkoska (Agent 355, Discount Ghost Stories), with the letters curated by Kahkoska. Music direction by Patrick Sulken (Pretty Woman: The Musical), co-produced by Sara DeViney and Tim Marback, with casting by Kate Lumpkin Casting. Stage Management by Helen Irene Muller. The evening also featured projections designed by Julie Boor.
Photo Credit: Marget Long
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