Tony Torn to Join Cast of Untitled Theater Company #61's THE VELVET ORATORIO

Tony Torn (Karen Coonrad's The Tempest, Jay Scheib's The Disinherited, Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's on Broadway) joins the cast of The Velvet Oratorio, an original opera/theater piece commemorating the 25th anniversary of The Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia. The show will be presented in the grand ballroom at the current home of the Czech Center and the Czech Consulate: The Bohemian National Hall. The Velvet Oratorio is an evocative retelling of the Velvet Revolution through found text, choral music, and scenes inspired by Václav Havel's Van?k plays. Torn will be playing a secret service officer who interrogates Van?k but later disclaims his Communist past.

The piece is organized as a series of alternating scenes and choruses, the chorus representing the crowds in Prague during the events spanning November 17 1989 to January 1, 1990. The text for the oratorio is based partly upon recently released U.S. State Department documents and corresponding Czechoslovakian / Soviet documents and interviews with journalists, diplomats, and ordinary people who were in the streets of Prague during the revolution.

The Velvet Oratorio was original staged as a concert for New York Public Library for the Performing Arts' festival, Performing Revolution in Central and Eastern Europe. This will be a full staging of the piece. Reviewing the concert, Musical America said "The scenes are played for irony, contradiction and some bawdy humor, which lends sympathy and humanism to the political subject and the paranoid atmosphere that defined the era ... Henry Akona's cleverly dissonant, rhythmic music [is] deftly and tastefully orchestrated ... a tasteful and thought-provoking reminder of the rapid change brought to Central Europe in those heady and confusing days."

Tony Torn is an actor and director known for his extensive work with Reza Abdoh and Richard Foreman, and for being the founding director of Reverend Billy and The Church of Stop Shopping. Tony recently made his Broadway debut as Rusty Trawler in Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. Other recent credits include Ubu Sings Ubu at Abrons Art Center, Karen Coonrad's The Tempest at La MaMa, The Church of Warren Buffet with Toxic Dreams, in Vienna, Austria, and Jay Scheib's Platonov, or The Disinherited at the Kitchen. His short film The Left Handed Way won multiple awards at the 48 Hour Film Project, Asheville, his web series The Grand Inquisitor was featured by Adobe Software at the SXSW festival, and his feature film Lucky Days (co-directed withAngelica Page) won best feature at the Coney Island Film Festival. He manages Torn Page, a salon space and classroom in Chelsea honoring the legacy of his parents, Rip Torn and Geraldine Page.

Untitled Theater Company #61 (UTC61) is a Theater of Ideas: scientific, political, philosophical, and above all theatrical. UTC61 has been collaborating with the Czech theater community since it produced the 2006 Havel Festival, the first-ever presentation of Václav Havel's complete dramatic works. Since then, UTC61 has focused on many topics of Czech interest, the most recent being The Pig, or Václav Havel's Hunt for a Pig, Critic's Picks by both The New York Times and The Village Voice. Other recent projects include The Lathe of Heaven and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, both at the 3LD Art + Technology Center, and Iphigenia in Aulis and The God Projekt (associate producer), both at La MaMa.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride

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