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Review Roundup: Rock Musical WEIGHTLESS Opens Off-Broadway At WP Theater

This off-Broadway production follows the smash success of Weightless on screen, which was reconceived for film and livestreamed by WP in 2021.

Read reviews for the Off-Broadway stage premiere of The Kilbane's soaring and dynamic indie rock musical Weightless, opening tonight at WP Theater (2162 Broadway), for a limited engagement through October 16th, 2022.

This off-Broadway production follows the smash success of Weightless on screen, which was reconceived for film and livestreamed by WP in 2021. Featuring the propulsive and intimate musical storytelling of Bay Area indie rock band The Kilbanes - headlined by married songwriting and performing duo Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses - the production is directed by Tamilla Woodward (Assoc., Hadestown; WP's Where We Stand), and choreographed by nicHi douglas (Assoc., Girl From The North Country). Opening Night will take place on September 29, 2022.

Sisterhood. Love. Vengeance. Flight. Inspired by a tale from Ovid's Metamorphoses, Weightless tells the story of two deeply devoted sisters, Procne and Philomela. Separated by circumstance, they must travel across worlds-facing devastating sacrifice and divine intervention-in order to reunite. The Kilbanes' Weightless is a theatrical concept album driven by a deeply moving narrative, which weaves ancient myth with indie rock; the band and the cast are one and the same, blurring the line between actors and musicians, as well as between musical theater and rock concert.

Starring alongside Kilbane (Procne/Bass) and Moses (Keyboards/Chorus) in the Off-Broadway stage premiere of Weightless are Lila Blue (Philomela), Kofy Brown (Iris/Percussion), Dan Harris (Percussion), and Joshua Pollock (Tereus/Guitar), all of whom reprise their roles from the 2021 film version. Set Design is by Peiyi Wong (Broadbend, Arkansas), Costume Design is by Dina El-Aziz (The Vagrant Trilogy), Lighting Design is by Stacey Derosier (sandblasted, Fat Ham), Sound Design is by Joanna Lynn Staub (Hatef*ck; Assoc.: Angels in America), and Projection Design is by Johnny Moreno (For All The Women Who Thought They Were Mad, Paper Piece). The Production Stage Manager is Ralph Stan Lee. Weightless is produced with support from piece by piece productions.

The world premiere of Weightless was developed and produced by Z Space (Lisa Steindler, Executive Artistic Director) and piece by piece productions in March 2018 at Z Space in San Francisco. In 2019, it played at A.C.T. in San Francisco, and BRIC House in Brooklyn as part of The Public Theater's Under the Radar festival. Following the piece's extensive further development with director Tamilla Woodard, including at TheaterSquared as part of the Arkansas New Play Festival, WP Theater filmed the show at CalShakes, a spectacular outdoor amphitheater in the Bay Area, and streamed it online May-June of 2021. The Kilbanes' subsequent release of the Weightless album, can be heard on Spotify and other streaming services.

Photo credit: Joan Marcus

Thom Geier, The Wrap: Director Tamilla Woodard stages the show as a concert version of this concept album - think of an Off Broadway black-box version of an Encores! production - with Pollock doubling on guitar, Kilbane on bass and Brown on percussion. (Moses supplies keyboard and vocals, while Dan Harris is on the drum set.) Given how close Kilbane is to the score, and how strong she is as an instrumentalist, the simple staging really works - underscoring in some ways the mythic nature of the material in a way that a more literal approach to acting out the story might not.

Amanda Marie Miller, Theatrely: If you've ever wanted a Mumford & Sons album with a plot, or maybe a Brandi Carlile X Anaïs Mitchell collaboration, Weightless at WP Theater is for you. Led by the self-described "theatrical rock band" The Kilbanes (Kate Kilbane and Dan Moses), Weightless is enjyable, but disjointed at times. Sitting at just about 75 minutes, it's a stylized foray into rock, mythology, and sisterhood that can be light if you let it.

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