The Coterie Presents a Reading of PRAIRIE DOGS 1/18

The Coterie, a downtown opera-theater company devoted to developing contemporary music theater works, will present a reading of the one-act comic opera PRAIRIE DOGS by Rachel Peters (Stretch (a fantasia)) and Royce Vavrek (Dog Days) on Monday, January 18th, at 7pm at A.R.T./New York (520 8th Avenue, New York City). Keith Chambers will serve as music director, with Emma Griffin (Stretch (a fantasia)) providing stage direction. Tony Award-winner Bruce Coughlin (The Light in the Piazza) will make a special appearance on the ukulele. The reading is made possible by a generous grant from the Anna Sosenko Assist Trust.

Admission is free, though space is limited. Reservations are encouraged by emailing

The cast includes Cyrilla Baer (The Adding Machine) as Mother, Eric S. Brenner (Chanticleer, Amnesia Wars) as Grandma/Grandpa, Andrew Nolen (Wooster Group's La Didone) as Father, David Korn (Alice Tully Hall, Aspen Opera Theater Center), Amanda Pabyan (Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, New York City Opera), Jendi Tarde (Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis).

PRAIRIE DOGS is the second in a triptych of operas that constitute The Wild Beast of the Bungalow. Inspired by the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington, Alberta, PRAIRIE DOGS finds our eleven-year-old Girl in a town overrun by prairie dogs. Her father has been shooting the strays on the property and cheating on his wife. The Girl solves both problems simultaneously: she divorces her real parents, becomes obsessed with taxidermy, and creates her own prairie dog family, only to find that they are not the affectionate substitutes she'd hoped they would be.

The Coterie, founded by artistic director Royce Vavrek and executive director Lauren Worsham, aims to nurture eclectic 21st century music theater by commissioning, developing, and offering full productions of contemporary work. The company launched with a concert at Joe's Pub in September 2009, presenting selections from operas-in-progress written by resident composers Rachel Peters, Jeff Myers, and David T. Little; work by composers Andrew Gerle (Meet John Doe), Matt Marks (The Little Death, Volume 1), Mark Baechle, and Cristian Amigo was also featured.

Rachel Peters (Composer) hails from St. Louis, Missouri. Work includes: the critically acclaimed Stretch (a fantasia) (Living Theatre, 2008) and Tiny Feats of Cowardice (New York Fringe Festival, Adirondack Theatre Festival) with Susan Bernfield; Only Children with Michael R. Jackson (NYU Mainstage, Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Dixon Place), Mermaid in the Jar and Prairie Dogs with Royce Vavrek, Food of Love (Spitfire Theatre), Dark Fancies (Scary Little Girls Productions), 365 Days/365 Plays (Salt Theater). Unrequited (Public Theater Shakespeare Lab), The Bacchae (Asolo Rep Conservatory), The 52nd Annual Davenport Family Clan X-mas Spectacular (Ars Nova), The Tale of the Good Whistleblower of Chaillot's Caucasian Mother and Her Other Children of a Lesser Marriage Chalk Circle (Antidepressant Festival/Theatre Askew) and Definite Possibilities with Stan Richardson; f2m with Michelle Elliott, and Public Domain. 2009 recipient, Anna Sosenko Assist Trust Award. Double B.A. summa cum laude, Brandeis University; MFA, NYU Musical Theatre Writing. Member of ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

Royce Vavrek (Artistic Director / Librettist) has written the libretti for David T. Little's Dog Days (Carnegie Hall), Kristin Hevner's Bully Pulpit (Metropolis Opera Project), Jeff Myers' The Hunger Art (American Lyric Theater; Center City Opera Theater), and Jay Anthony Gach's Nora at the Altar-Rail (A.L.T.). Upcoming projects include Vinkensport, or the Finch Opera with David T. Little (Bard College), a new song-score with composer Andrew Gerle for Black Snow (Columbia University), The Bear Dance with Nick Martin, the song-cycle 1882 with Mark Baechle, and a triptych of one-act operas with Rachel Peters entitled The Wild Beast of the Bungalow. As a filmmaker, he wrote and directed the films I Will Not Be Sad Anymore (QCFI No Sweat Filmmaking Competition Winner), From Sky and Soil (Corus Young Filmmakers Initiative), and Good Woman (a collaboration with fashion designer Marc Bouwer). Artistic Director of the new opera-theater company The Coterie, founded with soprano Lauren Worsham. B.F.A: Concordia University (Film Production/Creative Writing), Montreal; M.F.A: New York University (Musical Theater Writing).

Lauren Worsham (Executive Director) has appeared in New York as Cunegonde in New York City Opera's Candide and in Jerry Springer the Opera (Ensemble) at Carnegie Hall. She also performed the role of Olive in the first National tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Lauren has participated in workshops and readings of Picnic at Hanging Rock (Daniel Zaitchik) at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Mermaid in the Jar (Royce Vavrek/Rachel Peters) and The Chemist's Wife (Julianne Wick-Davis/Rachel Jett/Will Aronson) at Tisch, Le Fou (Bekah Brunstetter/Julia Meinwald/Robert Shapiro) at New Georges and Mirror, Mirror (Sarah Treem) at Playwrights Horizons. Her regional theatre credits include Into the Woods (Cinderella) directed by Moises Kaufman at Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Master Class (Sophie) at Paper Mill Playhouse, The Light in the Piazza (Clara) at Weston Playhouse, and The Fantasticks (Luisa) at Emelin Theatre. Lauren is the 2009 2nd place award winner of the Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya competition. She is also the co-founder and executive director of the downtown opera company, The Coterie. Lauren graduated cum laude from Yale University, with a B.A. in Spanish Literature.

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