A.R.T. Ends World Premiere of FUTURITY: A MUSICAL BY THE LISPS
American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) ends performances of the world premiere production FUTURITY: A MUSICAL BY THE LISPS, with music and lyrics by César Alvarez with The Lisps; book by Molly Rice and César Alvarez; directed by Sarah Benson tonight, April 15, 2012, at the A.R.T.'s second space, OBERON, at 2 Arrow Street, Cambridge.
As the Civil War rages around him, the Union soldier Julian Munro dreams of bringing peace to the world and an end to human suffering. Under the guidance of Lord Byron's brilliant daughter, Ada Lovelace, Julian attempts to invent an omnipotent steam-powered brain designed to save humanity before it destroys itself. Featuring the indie-rock band, The Lisps, this quirky new musical melds science fiction, historical narrative, and the sounds of American folk music to explore Julian and Ada's epic fantasy of a utopian future.
The company includes César Alvarez as Julian Munro, Sammy Tunis as Ada Lovelace, Edwin Lee Gibson as the General, Anne Gottlieb as Lady Byron, Aaron Schroeder as the Sergeant, and Chelsey Donn as Vincent. The ensemble of soldiers, musicians, and scientists will be played by Eric Farber, Ben Simon, Lorenzo Wolff, and A.R.T. Institute actors Milia Ayache, Matthew Christian, Liza Dickinson, Teri Gamble, Rose Hogan, Carl James, Michael Kane, and Lindsey Liberatore. The production design is by Emily Orling, Set and Costume Design by David Israel Reynoso, Lighting Design by Austin R. Smith, Sound Design by Matt Tierney, Choreography by Annie-B Parson, and Music Direction by Debra Barsha.
César Alvarez is a New York-based composer, lyricist, performer, writer and saxophonist, founding member of The Lisps. He is also the co-founder and resident composer of LA-based dance company Contra-Tiempo. His recent composition credits include Damned Beautiful for Helix Dance (Edinburgh Fringe), 3 2's or AFAR by Mac Wellman (Dixon Place), Full Still Hungry for Contra-Tiempo (Ford Amphitheater). He was a 2004 Meet The Composer/Van Lier Fellow and attended Interlochen Arts Academy 1997-99. Alvarez holds a Bachelor of Music from Oberlin Conservatory and a Master of Fine Arts from Bard College.
Chelsey Donn participated in the FUTURITY Workshops (with Michael Cerveris) at Ars Nova, HERE, and Joe's Pub; appeared in When in Disgraceat Theatre at St. Clements; The Demon, AWhat? at Ensemble Studio Theater; and Sighting V at Union Square Theater. Regional credits include The Corn is Green and Mommy Says I'm Pretty on the Inside at the Williamstown Theater Festival; David and Lisa at Walnut Street Theater; andAccomplice: Hollywood (produced by Neil Patrick Harris). Films: Arthur, Loving Leah, Orenthal: The Musical. Television: "Onion News Network."
Eric Farber plays a soldier and is the drummer of the production, and the creator of the Steam Brain, a behemoth percussion contraption - integrated with his traditional drumset - comprising a vast network of hand-cranked,belt-driven, spring-loaded kinetic mechanisms, made from found relics of the industrial age, furnishing both a visual and sonic representation of the machine that creates peace. He participated in the FUTURITY Workshops at Ars Nova, The Rudyard Ripling, HERE, Joe's Pub, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, and Bard College. He is a member of The Lisps (Extropian), The Ladybug Transistor (Merge, Fortuna Pop!), The Fisherman Xylophonic Burlesque Orchestra (TikiJive). Farber holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from The New School University with a degree in Philosophy of Technology and Ontology.
As a writer and performer, over the past 30 years Edwin Lee Gibson has been involved with over 84 productions. He is a 2006 OBIE Award recipient and his play, Five 'Til received a National Endowment for the Arts Commission in 2009. Edwin is also a frequent guest lecturer/artist on "Theatre & Race" and "Acting." Edwin recently completely an academic work, titled Freedom Initiative, which utilizes the canon of August Wilson as a means for revisiting the American African experience in the United States.
Anne Gottlieb was recently seen in My Name is Asher Lev at Lyric Stage, In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Elliot Norton Award 2011) at SpeakEasy Stage Company, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire De Lune (Elliot Norton Award 2011 and IRNE Award 2011) at New Repertory Theatre, and The Goat at Gloucester Stage). Other productions include Betrayal, Crave, Not Enough Air, (Nora Theatre Company), and The Women at SpeakEasy Stage. Anne is the founder of FortyMagnolias Productions. She co-created and co-produced the world premiere of The Wresting Patient in collaboration with SpeakEasy Stage and Boston Playwright's Theatre and played the role of Etty Hillesum. Anne is a Resident Scholar in Collaborative Theatre at the Women's Studies Research Center at Brandeis and resides in Boston and New York.
Aaron Schroeder's off-Broadway credits include El Gato con Botas (directed by Moisès Kaufman), New Victory Theatre; Dance Dance Revolution(Directed by Alex Timbers), The Ohio Theatre; FUTURITY workshops (with Michael Cerveris), HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, and Joe's Pub; From the Fire (Joseph Zito), Judson Church; Spellbound (Greeme), Ellen Stewart Theatre; Box Theory (Writer/Performer), Ars Nova; The Secret of Our Souls (Bal Shem Tov), Minetta Lane Theatre. International: Waxing West (Elvis), Dramalabbat, Stockholm; Hatful of Rain (Polo),Teatre Studio, Warsaw. Webseries: Next Time on Lonny (Garrett).
Sammy Tunis is a founding member of The Lisps, and has helped develop and has performed in FUTURITY Workshops at Ars Nova, The Rudyard Ripling, HERE, Joe's Pub, and The Zipper Factory. New York credits include Walking Down Broadway, The Mint Theater; People Like You, Theater for the NewCity; 1984, Godlight Theater; School for Salomés, CollapsableHole; A Nasty Story, Fine Feathered Friends; Please Let Me Love You, Dixon Place; The Ninja Cherry Orchard, The Brick Theater; Kuutnu and Waltz, Bring a Weasel and a Pint of Your Own Blood Festival. Tunis has recently been in workshops of Corina Copp's Tell No One, Kristen Kosmas' There There, Scott Adkins' Kioskers and Gary Winter's Daredevil.
Playwright Molly Rice's credits include The Saints Tour, at Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Canary, a Musical (with Ray Rizzo & Rachel Chavkin), developed by Rattlestick, Playwrights Horizons and NYTW; Safeword, commissioned and produced by NYU Tisch Graduate Acting; Don't Stop, Weston Award for Playwriting; Line, Women's International Playwriting Festival winner; The Mercury Sloop, a Musical (finalist, Princess Grace Award). Upcoming: The Agee/ Walker Project (with dir. Rachel Chavkin and composer Stephanie Johnstone),dev. by Montclair University New Works Initiative.
Sarah Benson directed the A.R.T.'s production of Ajax last season. She has been the Artistic Director of Soho Rep since 2007, where her credits include David Adjmi's Elective Affinities, (site-specific); Gregory Moss' Orange, Hat & Grace; Sarah Kane's Blasted, for which Benson received a Drama Desk nomination and OBIE award. Other credits include Polly Stenham's That Face (Manhattan Theatre Club) and Gregory Moss' House of Gold (Woolly Mammoth in Washington, DC). She has also worked on new plays at the O'Neill Playwrights Conference, New York Stage & Film, and New Dramatists. Upcoming: World premiere of Richard Maxwell's Samara. At Soho Rep, Benson has commissioned and produced work by artists including David Adjmi, Annie Baker, Dan LeFranc, Thomas Bradshaw, Cynthia Hopkins, Jomama Jones, Young Jean Lee, John Jesurun, Nature Theatre of Oklahoma and Anne Washburn. This work has been recognized with six OBIE awards, three Drama Desk nominations, and The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award. Benson moved to New York fromLondon on a Fulbright for Theatre Direction. She is editing the upcoming anthology: The Methuen Drama Book of New American Plays (summer 2012).
Annie-B Parson is co-artistic director of the OBIE and Bessie award winning company Big Dance Theater; their most recent work, Supernatural Wife, was commission by The Walker Art Center, The Anticodes Festival in France, and was seen at BAM and Le Theatre National Chaillot in Paris. Parson is currently choreographing David Byrne's Here Lies Love, Public Theater. Other recent work: Sarah Ruhl's Orlando, CSC; The Broken Heart, TFNA; Nico Muhly's opera Dark Sisters, David Byrne's world tour. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007 and a Lucille Lortel nomination in 2011.
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) is one of the country's most celebrated theaters and the winner of numerous awards, including the Tony Award, the Pulitzer Prize and Elliot Norton and I.R.N.E. Awards. In May of 2003 it was named one of the top three regional theaters in the country by Time magazine. The A.R.T. was founded by Robert Brustein in 1980, who served as Artistic Director until 2002, when he was succeeded by RoBert Woodruff. In 2008, Diane Paulus became the A.R.T.'s Artistic Director. During its 31-year history, the A.R.T. has welcomed many major American and international theater artists, presenting a diverserepertoire that includes premieres of American plays, bold reinterpretations of classical texts and provocative new music Theater Productions. The A.R.T. has performed throughout the U.S. and worldwide in 21 cities in 16 countries onfour continents. Since becoming Artistic Director, Diane Paulus has programmed innovative work that has enhanced theA.R.T.'s core mission to expand the boundaries of theater. Productions such as Sleep No More, The Donkey Show, Gatz, Porgy and Bess, Prometheus Bound and Death and the Powers: The Robots' Opera have immersed audiences in original theatrical experiences. The A.R.T.'s club theater, OBERON, which Paulus calls a "Second Stage for the 21st century," has become an incubator for local artists and has also attracted national attention for its groundbreaking model for programming. Through all of its work, the A.R.T. is committed to building a community of artists, technicians, educators, staff and audience, all of who are integral to the A.R.T.'s mission.