Spiritus/Virgil's Dance is Coming to Merrimack Repertory Theatre in May

See Spiritus/Virgil's Dance from May 8th through May 26th.

By: Apr. 17, 2024
Spiritus/Virgil's Dance is Coming to Merrimack Repertory Theatre in May
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After The Porch on Windy Hill plays its final tune, Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance will make its way to Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s Nancy L. Donahue Stage at Liberty Hall playing May 8th through May 26th. Written by and starring Dael Orlandersmith and directed by Neel Keller, Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance explores one person’s longing for meaning. Latin for breath, “Spiritus” is often used figuratively to mean spirit. In Orlandersmith’s solo piece, Spiritus/Virgil's Dance, the word takes on a metaphorical meaning for a soul on a quest. In conversation with Dante’s Divine Comedy, we meet Virgil in the middle of an ordinary life. With their father’s passing, Virgil reframes death and finds the extraordinary they’ve been searching for.
Originally commissioned by MRT, Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance was produced at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in July 2023 and at the Rattlestick Theatre in New York City this past February.  
Dael Orlandersmith is a Pulitzer Prize finalist and a Drama Desk Award nominee for Outstanding Actress in a play for Yellowman. Yellowman was commissioned by the McCarter Theatre where it premiered in co-production with the Wilma and Long Wharf. Additional works include The Blue Album, Stoop Stories, Bones, Black N’ Blue Boys/Broken Men, Forever, Until the Flood, Monster and more. Orlandersmith has also toured the US, Europe, and Australia with Nuyorican Poets Café (Real Live Poetry). She also is a recipient of the Helen Merrill Award for Emerging Playwrights, a Guggenheim and the 2005 PEN/Laura Pels Foundation Award for a playwright in mid-career, and a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant. Orlandersmith also attended Sundance Institute Theatre Lab for four summers. She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Foundation Playwrights Fellowship and an Obie Award for Beauty’s Daughter.

Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance played to critical acclaim at both CATF and Rattlestick. Writing for BroadwayWorld, Andrew White says, “Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance shines in its humanity.” Speaking of the lasting impact of the piece, Laura Collins-Hughes of the New York Times describes, “Spiritus stuck with me afterward.”
Additional credits for Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance include scenic design by Takeshi Kata, costume design by Kaye Voyce, lighting design by Mary Louise Geiger, original music and sound design by Lindsay Jones, and projection design by Nicholas Hussong.
Tickets for Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance are available now on mrt.org, as well as by contacting the Enterprise Bank Office at 978-654-4678 or box_office@mrt.org. Recurring discounts include the $5 first night, $10 Lowell night, educator, group, military discounts, and much more. For further information, visit www.mrt.org/discountsandevents or contact the Enterprise Bank Office.
Spiritus/Virgil’s Dance will be the final show of MRT’s groundbreaking 45th season. Following this production, MRT will host its first Summer Stage for Youth program from July 22 through August 11. Under the direction of Karen Oster, the Middlesex Community College (MCC) Chair of Performing Arts, students (ages 8-17) will embark on an immersive and collaborative theatre experience where they will rehearse, stage, and mount a full musical production with a cast of young performers with professional lights, sets, costumes—all in a few weeks. In its inaugural year, they will produce Disney’s Newsies Jr. at the Richard and Nancy Donahue Family Academic Arts Center Theatre. All spots in this program have been filled, however, there is a waitlist. To have your name placed on the waitlist, contact the Enterprise Bank Box Office via email at box_office@mrt.org or via telephone at 978-654-4678.


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