SONG OF MYSELF Brought To Life In Neighborhoods Throughout NY 5/5-14

Walt Whitman's masterpiece "Song of Myself" will be brought to life in neighborhoods throughout his beloved New York in a stirring music-theater adaptation making its world debut this spring.

From May 5-14, Compagnia de' Colombari will present MORE OR LESS I AM in venues ranging from the poet's Long Island birthplace to Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park. The play is conceived and directed by company founder Karin Coonrod, with music by members of the genre-defying string ensemble Brooklyn Rider. Reflecting Whitman's celebration of American diversity as encapsulated in New York City, an international mix of actors, musicians, and children will speak and sing Whitman's words. Members of the audience will also be invited to play a role.

The roving play will meet its audience at diverse locations such as Brooklyn's Fort Greene Park, Harlem's Wadleigh School, and the World Financial Center in downtown Manhattan. The tour will kick off with a benefit performance at Bargemusic, a chamber-music hall set in a renovated barge moored beneath the Brooklyn Bridge. The show will close with a performance at Joe's Pub, one of New York City's most celebrated venues for live music and performance.

Coonrod, whose work has been hailed by the New York Times as "prodigiously inventive," was the founding director of downtown theater company Arden Party, which was lauded for its inspired reimagining of classic plays. She won widespread acclaim for her epic production of Henry VI at the Joseph Papp Public Theater in 1996. In 2003 she co-founded Compagnia de' Colombari, bringing a modern reimagining of the medieval mystery play to the streets of Orvieto, Italy and New York City.

"Whitman intended ‘Song of Myself' to inspire unity by celebrating America at a time when the country was deeply divided, and today the poem is more relevant than ever," said Coonrod. "With MORE OR LESS I AM, we will rekindle that celebratory spirit at street level in the city whose diversity Whitman saw as quintessentially American."

The play's music is composed by Colin and Eric Jacobson, co-founders of Brooklyn Rider, and Kyle Sanna and Alex Sopp. Cast members include Obie award-winner Michael Potts, Jorge Rubio, Michael Rogers, Elliot Villar, and Sarah Heltzel.

"More Or Less I Am" performance schedule
5 May Wednesday 8PM: Bargemusic, Fulton Ferry Landing BENEFIT LAUNCH $40
6 May Thursday 7PM: Ft. Green Park (Brooklyn) FREE
7 May Friday 8PM: Winter Garden World Financial Center (Manhattan) FREE
8 May Saturday 7PM: Walt Whitman Birthplace Huntington (Long Island) FREE
10 May Monday 11 AM: The Wadleigh School 114th St/Fred Douglass Blvd. FREE
11 May Tuesday 7 PM: The Old Stone House (Brooklyn) FREE
12 May Wednesday 7 PM: Marcus Garvey Park (Harlem) FREE
13 May Thursday 7 PM: Grant's Tomb (Harlem) FREE
14 May Friday 7 PM: Joe's Pub (downtown Manhattan) $15

About Compagnia de' Colombari
Compagnia de' Colombari is an international collaborative of performing artists born in Orvieto, Italy, and based in New York City. Colombari is dedicated to new and old works from diverse traditions and cultures, creating spectacles for the public free of charge. The Company is named after the colombari-dovecotes-etched high into the cliff on which Orvieto is poised. The dovecotes, networked one to another against the brutal elements, demonstrate a synergy between the individual and the collective. Colombari plays at the intersection and clash of cultures celebrating the intrinsic kinship of humankind alongside its extraordinary diversity. Generating theater for a new century, Colombari believes that every place is a space for the sacred architecture of theater experience, which ignites performer and audience.

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