Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

SISTER'S FOLLIES Extends at Abrons Arts Center

Abrons Arts Center is pleased to announce the extension of 2015 MacArthur Fellow Basil Twist's Sisters' Follies: Between Two Worlds. Five performances have been added with the show now running through Nov 7. Commissioned for the 100th Anniversary of the Abrons' Playhouse, Sisters' Follies: Between Two Worlds is a spooktacular musical extravaganza direct from the unlimited imagination of Basil Twist and stars the legendary Downtown icons Joey Arias (Arias With A Twist, Lincoln Center's American Songbook) and Julie Atlas Muz (Beauty and the Beast). Celebrating the Playhouse's founders Alice and Irene Lewisohn, and their legacy of producing avant-garde performances and dance from 1915-28, the spectral sisters return to haunt the theater 100 years later. Writing about the show Ben Brantly declared, "In the best of all possible worlds (or two worlds), New York City would give Mr. Twist an unlimited budget to do up the town for Halloween in haute-scary chica."

In 1915, philanthropists and art lovers Alice and Irene Lewisohn founded the Neighborhood Playhouse, by 1920, it housed a professional company of actors and dancers. The playhouse quickly became famous for producing plays by experimental and innovative artists such as James Joyce and Sholem Asch. Since that time, some of the most iconoclastic and influential artists of the past 100 years-Martha Graham, Orson Welles Aaron Copland, John Cage, Alwin Nikolais, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Laurie Anderson, Lou Reed, and John Zorn-have trained, taught or performed within its walls.

Commissioned and presented by Abrons Arts Center, performances of Sisters' Follies: Between Two Worlds will take place October 15-November 7 (see above schedule) at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand St, Manhattan). Weekday tickets are $55; weekend tickets are $65 through Oct 31 and from Nov 1-7 tickets are $70 and can be purchased at or by calling 212.352.3101.

Basil Twist is an internationally celebrated director and puppeteer; Ben Brantley in The New York Times has called his work, "startling and immediate," that Twist's stage magic, "turns the ordinary into the sublime." The Los Angeles Times likened his stagecraft to "mind origami" and The Guardian described the visuals (which Twist helped create) at Kate Bush's 2014 show Before the Dawn as "astonishing." Twist, is a recipient of a 2015 MacArthur fellowship and he received news of the award while standing on the Abrons stage. About his work the foundation says, "Basil Twist is a puppeteer and theater artist whose experiments with the materials and techniques of puppetry explore the boundaries between the animate and inanimate, the abstract and the figurative."

Please watch this insightful and moving video produced by the MacArthur Foundation to learn more about Basil's work:

Sisters' Follies: Between Two Worlds features performances by Julie Atlas Muz, Joey Arias and Kate Brehm, Lute Breuer, Chris De Ville, Ben Elling, Jonothon Lyons, Katie Melby, David Ojala, Jessica Scott, Rachael Shane, Ashley Winkfield. It features lighting design by Poe Saegusa, costume design by Machine Dazzle, sound design by A-Key, projection design by Daniel Brodie and Gabriel Aronson and Thomas Wilfred's CLAVILUX Recreation by Joshua Light Show. Musical direction and arrangement is by Wayne Barker and will be performed live by Joshua Samuels, Art Bailey, Fred Rose and George Rush.

About the Artists

Basil Twist (Director and Designer): A native of San Francisco, Basil Twist is a third generation puppeteer now living in New York. He is the sole American to graduate from the École Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Basil's work was first spotlighted in New York by The Jim Henson International Festival of Puppetry with his award-winning The Araneidae Show. Coupled with the subsequent critically praised and multiple award-winning Symphonie Fantastique, Twist was revealed as a singular artist of unlimited imagination. Symphonie has since toured internationally and throughout the United States.

Highlights of Twist's subsequent work have included Petrushka (commissioned by Lincoln Center) and Dogugaeshi (The Japan Society), "Behind the Lid" (Silver Whale Gallery) with the legendary Lee Nagrin and Arias with a Twist (HERE) co-created with nightlife icon Joey Arias. His productions have toured throughout the world. On Broadway he created and staged the puppetry in The Addams Family for which he won a Drama Desk Award and staged the puppetry for the beloved Pee-Wee Herman Show. In film most notably he collaborated with Alfonso Cuaron on The Prisoner of Azkaban. He made his debut at the Comedie Francaise as designer and co-director of A Streetcar named Desire with Lee Breuer. Basil's work is deeply musical in nature. He has conceived and directed two successful operas, Ottorini Respighi's La Bella Dormente Nel Bosco with the Gotham Chamber Opera at the Lincoln Center and Spoleto USA Festivals, and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel for the Houston and Atlanta Operas. Master peters Puppet Show with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He has adapted his Petrushka to concert hall staging with full orchestra for the Fort Worth and Phoenix Symphonies.

Additional collaborative work has included: In dance: The Winter's Tale and Cinderella with Christopher Wheeldon; Darkness and Light with Pilobolus; and Wonderboy with The Joe Goode Dance Company. In drama: Paula Vogel's play The Long Christmas Ride Home (including directing and designing the West Coast Premiere at The Magic Theatre); Red Beads, Peter and Wendy, puppetry for the Oskar Eustis-directed Hamlet for New York's Shakespeare in the Park and Des Macunuff's Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots at the La Jolla Playhouse

Twist has received an Obie, a Drama Desk Award, five UNIMA Awards, two Bessie Awards, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, a Henry Hewes Award, a Guggenheim, a USA Artists fellowship and was most recently awarded a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In 2012 Washington D.C. hosted a retrospective of his work, Twist Fest D.C. His site-specific Seafoam Sleepwalk was created for the La Jolla Playhouse's 2013 as a part of their WOW Festival. Twist currently serves as Artistic Director of HERE Art Center's Dream Music Puppetry Program and is the 2015 Mohr Visiting Artist at Stanford University.

Wayne Barker (Composer & Music Director) has been seen and heard at a piano on a number of Basil Twist occasions. Wayne received a Tony nomination and a Drama Desk award for Peter and the Starcatcher, his second score for Broadway. His Broadway debut, as both composer and performer, was with Dame Edna Everage in Back with a Vengeance, co-writing lyrics with Barry Humphries; together they also crafted Edna's rouser for the 2006 Commonwealth Games and her introspective solo for the 75th Royal Command Variety Performance. Wayne performed with Dame Edna 2000-2006, touring the USA and Canada.

He recently composed and performed the score for Beth Henley's new comedy Laugh at Studio Theatre. His other theater scores include the first production of the new Gurthrie theatre, The Great Gatsby; The Primrose Path for Roger Rees (Guthrie); Twelfth Night and The Three Musketeers at Seattle Rep. On television, his music is heard throughout A Little Curious (HBO Family). Wayne played five years with Chicago City Limits, the great NYC improvisational company. In 2014 he made his acting debut in the 2-character musical play Souvenir with Karen Murphy at Portland Stage.

Julie Atlas Muz (Performer), one of the most acclaimed and prolific conceptual performers and choreographers in New York, sucker punches the boundaries between performance art, dance and burlesque with dark, twisted, come-hither performances that have secured her place in the underworld of nightlife as well as the bastion of the art world. With her signature feminist glamour, Julie tells stories that are beautiful, political, and emotional, with a bold and theatrical irreverence all through the power of dance.

A Whitney Biennial Artist, A Valencia Biennial Artist, Ethyl Eichelberger Award Recipient, Lambent Fellow, and a Franklin Furnace Artist, Julie has also been deemed "Royalty of Burlesque" by the New York Times, wining both Miss Exotic World and Miss Coney Island 2006. Fraternizing with artists in Ho Chi Minh City, playing Vivienne Leigh as Blanche DuBois in North Carolina or touring France while dancing inside a giant balloon Julie has been named one of Time Out's most fashionable New Yorkers. In a first for contemporary Burlesque artists, Julie has franchised her award winning acts in Las Vegas (Absinthe and Zombie Burlesque), Dubai (The Act), France (Cabaret New Burlesque) and Australia (Absinthe).

Since appearing in 2010 in the Cannes-award winning film by actor/director Mathieu Amalric, Tournee, Julie has spent the majority of her months touring Opera Houses with Cabaret New Burlesque in Europe. She also appeared in EXPOSED, the infamous NYC art documentary. 2014 saw Julie receive two fantastic acting reviews in the New York Times for radically different roles, Beauty opposite Mat Fraser's Beast directed by Phelim McDermott and Ma Ubu opposite Tony Torn's Pa Ubu.

Julie proudly champions the tradition of naked ladies in public spaces as acts of political resistance initiated in the 11th century by Lady Godiva. Please visit for more information. Please note this website has not been updated in quite some time.

Joey Arias (Performer): A fixture of New York City's vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is a bona fide NYC icon. In 2012 he appeared in a headlining solo concert at Central Park SummerStage and played the Southbank Centre in London as part of the Antony Hagerty-curated Meltodwn Festival. Then in October Z Chromosome, a short film starring Arias and directed by Manfred (Thierry) Mugler opened the 18th Annual Festival Chéries-Chéris in Paris. Spring 2013 sees Joey Arias in Residence at Joe's Pub over 4 Sundays and on tour in the Western United States beginning with a Valentines Day concert at the world-famous Castro Theatre. Arias lived and worked with legendary musician Klaus Nomi until Nomi's death in 1983. However, he has long since stepped out of Nomi's shadow to gain fame in his own right as a performance artist, cabaret singer and drag artist.

From outrageous performances at seminal New York nightclubs Jackie 60 and Squeezebox to the now-legendary nights at Bar d'O where he held court with Raven-O and Sherry Vine, Arias has distinguished himself with scandalous wit, sleek style and an extraordinary voice... evocative of Lady Day yet uniquely his own. It was no surprise when Arias was tapped by Cirque du Soleil to originate the role of the emcee in their Las Vegas spectacular Zumanity, for which he co-wrote 3 songs. After 6 years in that role, Arias returned to New York where he became star and co-creator of Arias With a Twist with master puppeteer Basil Twist. The show was a critical and commercial hit and extended repeatedly for a total of 8 months at HERE Arts Center. The show has been subsequently presented in Los Angeles, Washington DC and Paris and returned to New York for another critically acclaimed, encore 8-week run at Abrons Arts Center in Fall 2011. The "Arias With A Twist" docu-fantasy premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and had it's US premiere at the 2011 TriBeca Film Festival.

In 2010 Arias returned to New York City with his first full-length concerts in over a decade. Joey Arias in Concert - featuring new jazz luminary Ben Allison and a band comprised of some of NYC's best musicians - played to sold-out houses for two weeks at Abrons Arts Center. A scaled down version of the show opened the Spiegeltent at Bard SummerScape in 2011. Arias has performed worldwide at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Freedom Theatre in London and on a transatlantic world tour into the cabaret clubs of Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada and England. On film, he has appeared in Mondo New York, Big Top Pee Wee, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Wigstock - The Movie, Flawless and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Television credits include the infamous Saturday Night Live episode with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi, Ann Magnuson's Vandemonium (Cinemax), Elvira's MTV Halloween Special, HBOs Dragtime, along with numerous appearances on a wide variety of talk shows and programs. Additionally, Arias has produced several of his own recordings including Arias on Holiday, Strange Fruit, Jazzo Lozo, God Shave the Queen and live recordings of StarLust in Berlin, Arias with a Twist and Bar D'o in New York.

Featured This Week on Stage Door

Shoutouts, Classes, and More from Your Favorite Broadway Stars

Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You