Prototype: Opera/Theatre/Now Announces 2019 Lineup
PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now is pleased to announce programming for the seventh annual festival of fresh opera-theatre & music-theatre running January 5-13, 2019, featuring eight presentations that "shift the whole paradigm of what opera is and can be" (New York Observer).
Founding co-directors Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects) and Kim Whitener (of HERE), along with co-director Jecca Barry (of Beth Morrison Projects)-the PROTOTYPE Festival emphasizes the bold and prolific work coming from today's creative talents across the spectrum of gender, sexual orientation, and family background. Since its launch in 2013, PROTOTYPE has presented a phenomenal 39 new works in six seasons, propelling the industry forward as an industry disruptor and international influencer, while bringing to the fore the work of 26 female-identifying lead artists.
The 2019 Festival spotlights the imaginative and dramatic work of 22 lead artists, 11 of whom are women, exploring ideas of mental health, ethnicity, and motherhood, as well as concerns around the public justice system and immigration, via three world premieres, three New York premieres, and one work-in-progress.
Anchoring PROTOTYPE 2019 are two world premiere works: Cellist/composer Leah Coloff's ThisTree is a performed prose poem drawing together multiple media to form a deeply personal exploration of infertility and the end of a family tree, at HERE's Mainstage. Ellen Reid returns to the Festival with p r i s m, the NY premiere as part of a rolling world premiere with LA Opera, here co-presented with La MaMa. With libretto by Roxie Perkins, p r i s m follows a daughter's rise to consciousness via a disturbing relationship with her mother. p r i s m was commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and developed by BMP in collaboration with Arizona State University, Lyric Theater@ University of Illinois, and PROTOTYPE, and is directed by James Darrah.
Old Sound Room and The Windmill Factory's The Infinite Hotel brings together music by Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley, The Few Moments, and Firehorse with text and direction by Michael Joseph McQuilken. An unusual live experience inside a movie-making machine, each performance results in a unique film (co-presented with Irondale). Distinctive performer Joseph Keckler, known for his sharp wit and astounding vocal range, takes audiences on a late night "train ride" through cities around the world in Train With No Midnight, at HERE's Dorothy B. Williams Theatre, commissioned and developed by PROTOTYPE. Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance, co-presented with BRIC, plays with time and narrative in a bilingual opera about the infamous bandit-turned-hero of the Mexican Revolution. A number of talents from both sides of the border band together to tell the tale, including composer Graham Reynolds, librettists Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol of Mexico City, and GRAMMY Award-winning guitarist Adrian Quesada.
The 2019 Festival work-in-progress comes from composer-librettist Frances Pollock and co-librettist Tia Price. Stinney: An American Execution is based on the horrific true story of the innocent young black child, George Junius Stinney Jr., who was convicted and executed in the mid 1940s for rapes he did not commit (co-presented with French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and Harlem Stage). A panel conversation will take place at Harlem Stage on January 10.
On January 8 PROTOTYPE 2019 presents a one night only memorial tribute to Matt Marks featuring his music-theatre work The Little Death: Vol. 1. Net proceeds will be donated to the Matt Marks Impact Fund of Alarm Will Sound. Co-presented with Roulette.
Programming for PROTOTYPE: Out of Bounds, the Festival's series of short, free, site-specific works in public spaces, will be announced at a later date as will one remaining project. A special soirée with enticing guests is planned for January 9 at City Vineyard. For more information, visit www.prototypefestival.org.
2019 FESTIVAL PRESENTATIONS
p r i s m
Composer Ellen Reid
Librettist Roxie Perkins
Director James Darrah
Music Director Julian Wachner
Co-Presented with La MaMa
Co-Produced with Trinity Church Wall Street
Commissioned, developed, and produced by Beth Morrison Projects
Locked away in a sterile room, a sickly child Bibi and her doting mother Lumee are each other's sole protectors from the unknown. When a mysterious illness lurking outside their door leaves Bibi unable to walk, her youthful curiosity begins to simmer and a seductive external existence can no longer be ignored. Written by Ellen Reid and Roxie Perkins, p r i s m is a haunting, kaleidoscopic new work of opera-theatre that traverses the elasticity of memory after trauma. Composer Ellen Reid's music erupts with color, using choral and orchestral manipulation to deliver an eerily distinct sonic world.
The Infinite Hotel
Written & Directed by Michael Joseph McQuilken
Music & Lyrics by Firehorse & The Few Moments
Select songs adapted from material written by Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley for this production
Co-Presented with Irondale
Co-Produced with Old Sound Room and The Windmill Factory
Rock music and Rube-Goldberg-cinematography collide in a cathartic and inventive music-theatre experience. The Infinite Hotel invites live audiences to become 'extras' and step inside an elaborate movie-making machine, producing a one-take feature film together every night. Refreshingly honest, the film's narrative follows five strangers unknowingly writing music together across space and time, and questions the nature of human interrelatedness, our appetite for visibility, and the creative ideas we accidentally share.
Featuring music and lyrics by Leah Siegel (Leisure Cruise/Firehorse) & The Few Moments; new arrangements of songs written by Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls) & Jason Webley for this production; rock concert moments by The Windmill Factory (NIN, Metric, Phantogram); and a powerhouse cast.
Written/Composed/Performed by Leah Coloff
Directed by Ellie Heyman
Produced by PROTOTYPE
Commissioned and developed by HERE through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP)
Dappled late-afternoon light bathes a clearing in the hand crafted forest. Cellist/singer Leah Coloff emerges, trailing a 25-foot cape of tattered denim. Tracing the secrets of her family history, Coloff glides between idyllic childhood memories, unanswered questions and her roller coaster ride of fertility treatments. ThisTree weaves autobiographical storytelling, Regular 8 home movies, and Coloff's signature blend of blues, rock and non-traditional cello playing, supported by an all female band, to investigate the vantage point of being the last branch on the family tree.
Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance
Composer Graham Reynolds
Librettist Lagartijas Tiradas Al Sol
Director Shawn Sides
Co-Presented with BRIC
Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance is a bilingual cross-border opera about the enigmatic general, legendary bandit, and hero of the Mexican Revolution. Through a non-linear collage of scenes from or inspired by the life of the complex, contradictory, and controversial leader, the piece provides a timely lens into the relationships and overlaps between the communities of Mexico, the United States, and the borderlands. Originally commissioned by Ballroom Marfa and co-commissioned by Fusebox Festival, this Creative Capital Award-winning project brings together an impressive array of artistic collaborators from both sides of the Rio Grande: Austin, TX-based composer Graham Reynolds, librettists Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol of Mexico City, director Shawn Sides of Rude Mechs, and an exceptional ensemble of two vocalists and six instrumentalists built around Grammy-winning producer-guitarist Adrian Quesada.
Train With No Midnight
Written/Composed/Performed by Joseph Keckler
@HERE Dorothy B. Williams Theatre
Commissioned, developed, and produced by PROTOTYPE
Co-Commissioned with Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Distinctive singer-songwriter Joseph Keckler and an intimate musical ensemble lead the audience through a series of vignettes, each like a stop on a late night train -- from Paris to Hamburg, Michigan to Times Square and the symbolic space of The Crossroads, a place of danger and possibility. The text "dances between comedy, commentary and communion," while the score features smoky pop songs, propulsive invocations, and leaps into the operatic realm.
Stinney: An American Execution
Composer Frances Pollock
Librettists Tia Price & Frances Pollock
Music Director Alexander Lloyd Blake
Co-Presented with French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and Harlem Stage
An involuntary symbol of sickening injustice, George Junius Stinney Jr. was executed at the age of 14. Having been wrongly accused and convicted of the brutal rape and murder of two white girls in Alcolu, SC, in 1944, George became the youngest person legally executed in 20th century America. Stinney tells the story of George, his family, his divided hometown, and the action and inaction that lead an innocent black child to the electric chair. A new opera with roots in gospel, blues, baptist hymn, Appalachian folk music and electronic techniques, Stinney spotlights the anger and agony of the entire populous of Alcolu, connecting the dots to our own socio-political climate in 2019 and the pervasive "fear of the other."
The Little Death: Vol. 1
One Night Only Tribute to Matt Marks
Composer & Librettist Matt Marks
Starring Mellissa Hughes & Ted Hearne
Co-Presented by PROTOTYPE and Roulette
Net proceeds will be donated to the Matt Marks Impact Fund of Alarm Will Sound
In May 2018 the contemporary music community of New York City lost one of its shining stars and most beloved members, composer Matt Marks. In 2017, PROTOTYPE premiered Matt's opera (with librettist and director Paul Peers), Mata Hari, to great success. As we all wrestle with this seismic loss, PROTOTYPE pays tribute to Matt by showcasing his first music-theatre composition, The Little Death: Volume 1, in which he originated the male lead. The Little Death: Volume 1 fuses bombastic electro-pop hooks, frenetically chopped break beats, hypnotic lyrics, and apocalyptic Christian imagery.
PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now launched in January 2013, unleashing a powerful wave of opera- and music-theatre from a new generation of composers and librettists. Across its first six seasons, PROTOTYPE produced and presented a total of 200 performances of 39 presentations, and shared the work of more than 600 local, national, and International Artists. Now in its seventh season, PROTOTYPE, as Opera News proclaimed, "has become a major leader in opera theatre for the twenty-first century."
Founded by Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects), and Kim Whitener (of HERE), and now produced and led by them along with new co-director Jecca Barry (of Beth Morrison Projects), PROTOTYPE supports and spotlights a diverse range of culturally and socially engaged work from intrepid creators across ethnicity and gender. Half of PROTOTYPE's lead artists to date have been women, and the Festival has presented work from Armenian-American, Belgian, Chinese, Dutch, Egyptian-American, Indian-American, Iranian-American, Irish, Kazakh, Korean-American, Lithuanian, Mexican, Russian, Slovenian, Swedish and Ukrainian lead artists.
Since 2006, Beth Morrison Projects (BMP) has been a tastemaker at the forefront of musical and theatrical innovation by supporting living composers and their collaborators during the creation of groundbreaking new works in opera, opera-theatre, and vocal-theatre. BMP encourages risk-taking in all its artists, resulting in provocative works that represent a dynamic and lasting legacy for a new American canon. BMP has increased the number of productions per season and has, during the last five years alone, produced works in 43 venues in 22 cities around the world. BMP's commitment to cutting edge musical expression has created "its own genre" (Opera News) of originality. In 2013, Beth Morrison Projects and HERE Arts Center co-founded the PROTOTYPE Festival, which showcases contemporary opera-theatre and music-theatre projects over ten days each January. The New Yorker recently wrote that the festival is "Essential to the evolution of American Opera," and the New York Times called the festival "Bracingly innovative... a point of reference." The 2014 bi-coastal expansion to Los Angeles sprang from growing partnerships with institutions such as LA Opera, the LA Phil, Ford Theatres, and RVCC. BMP is a National Sawdust Artist in Residence. www.bethmorrisonprojects.org.
Beth Morrison Projects is led by Creative Producer Beth Morrison, an opera and theatre producer, singer, and voice teacher with bachelor and master of music degrees and a master of fine arts in theatre management/producing from the Yale School of Drama, as well as many years of experience in the development of new opera and theatre works. She first cultivated her extensive experience in arts administration at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute where she served as administrative director for four years. Beth served a founding tenure as the Producer for the Yale Institute for Music Theatre from 2009-2011, as well as Producer for New York City Opera's VOX: Contemporary American Opera Lab from 2010-2011. Beth is an in-demand speaker at national and international industry conferences, a frequent judge for international opera and music-theatre festivals and competitions, and a guest lecturer at conservatories and universities around the country. Beth Morrison Projects is the realization of Beth's vision, which stems from a deep commitment to nurturing composers and other artists and fostering the development of new opera and other new music-theatre works. BMP has established itself as a composers' producer and The New York Times said, "The production of new [opera] works in the city still falls mostly to the tireless Beth Morrison and her Beth Morrison Projects."
Jecca Barry joined Beth Morrison Projects as General Manager in February 2013 and has served as Executive Director since 2017. In addition, she was recently named a Co-Director of the PROTOTYPE Festival. Jecca began her career as a performer of avant-garde flute music, before transitioning into finance and arts administration. Prior to joining BMP, she was a Business Manager at Spielman Koenigsberg & Parker where she handled the daily financial needs of high net worth clients, and Financial Administrator for the women's rights non-profits Huairou Commission/ GROOTS International. Jecca worked with several arts organizations while living in Paris, France (2002-03, 2006-08), including touring multidisciplinary performance works to London, Amsterdam, and New York. Jecca has served as producer for the physical-theatre work The Object Lesson since 2014, touring it domestically and internationally to venues in Edinburgh, New York, Los Angeles, and Australia among others, and developed the work HOME, by artist Geoff Sobelle, which premiered in 2017. Jecca received a B.A.(Mus) in Flute Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England, and an M.M. in Flute Performance from New York University.
Since 1993, HERE has been one of New York's most prolific producing and presenting organizations, and today stands at the forefront of the city's presenters of new hybrid art. HERE supports multidisciplinary work that does not fit into a conventional programming agenda. HERE's aesthetic represents the independent, the innovative, and the experimental. HERE has developed such acclaimed works as Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues; Basil Twist's Symphonie Fantastique; Young Jean Lee's Songs of The Dragons Flying To Heaven; Trey Lyford & Geoff Sobelle's all wear bowlers; and Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge. As the ultimate in hybrid forms, music-theatre and opera-theatre premieres developed and produced at HERE include Kamala Sankaram's first opera Miranda, Yoav Gal's Mosheh, Christina Campanella and Stephanie Fleischman's Red Fly/Blue Bottle, Nick Brooke's Border Towns, and Paul Pinto's Thomas Paine in Violence. HERE has garnered 16 OBIE awards, 2 OBIE grants for artistic achievement, the 2015 Ellen Stewart Award from New York Innovative Theatre Awards, a 2006 Edwin Booth Award ("for Outstanding Contribution to NY Theatre") from the CUNY Graduate Center, five Drama Desk nominations, two Berrilla Kerr Awards, four NY Innovative Theatre Awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. The New York Times has called HERE "one of the most unusual arts spaces in New York and possibly the model for the cutting-edge arts spaces of tomorrow." www.here.org.
Kristin Marting is HERE's Founding Artistic Director and a director of hybrid work based in NYC. As Artistic Director of HERE, she cultivates artists and programs all events for two performance spaces for an annual audience of 30,000. She co-created and co-curates HARP, HERE's Artist Residency Program. She has constructed 29 works for the stage (9 original hybrid works, 6 opera-theatre and music-theatre works, 9 adaptations of novels & short stories and 5 classic plays) and most recently premiered Assembled Identity at HERE and Silent Voices in BAM's Opera House with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus (featured in Prototype 2017). Other recent projects include IDIOT with Robert Lyons; Bombay Rickey, an opera cabaret on Yma Sumac in Prototype 2016; Trade Practices, an immersive theatrical experience on value, Lush Valley, an immersive work on citizenship and civic responsibility, and James Scruggs's solo eight channel video work Disposable Men. She also directed Sounding and Dead Tech (collaborative works adapted from Ibsen), both of which received prestigious MAP Fund awards. She was recently named a nytheatre.com Person of the Decade for outstanding contribution, a Leader to Watch by Art Table and honored with a BAX10 Award.
Kim Whitener is HERE's Executive Director, co-curating and co-producing all of HERE's activities. Since early 2007 under her leadership, HERE's programming has grown exponentially, and several major initiatives have launched, including the PROTOTYPE festival and MADE HERE, an online video documentary series about New York performing artists. Ms. Whitener is also an independent creative producer with her own company, KiWi Productions, and over the years has worked with a diverse range of US artists, both companies and individuals, in the contemporary theatre, opera- and music-theatre, dance-theatre, and multi-media worlds to develop and produce new projects, working with co-producers worldwide. Her clients have included The Builders Association, Martha Clarke, Big Dance Theater, and 33 Fainting Spells, among others. Ms. Whitener was consulting producer on Logic of the Birds, artist Shirin Neshat's live performance featuring singer Sussan Deyhim (Lincoln Center Festival, Walker Art Center, Artangel London) in 2001. She also was co-producer of Zero Church, a multi-artist concert/performance event by Suzzy and Maggie Roche, at St. Ann's Warehouse in April 2002. Previously she was Managing Director of the ensemble theater company The Wooster Group, and worked with both the American Music Theater Festival in Philadelphia and the Boston Music Theatre Project at Suffolk University in Boston.