Festival d'Avignon Director Olivier Py to Make Rare U.S. Appearance as 'Miss Knife' at BAM

Festival d'Avignon Director Olivier Py to Make Rare U.S. Appearance as 'Miss Knife' at BAM

Festival d'Avignon director Olivier Py makes rare US cabaret appearance as Miss Knife at BAM Fisher (Fishman Space), 321 Ashland Pl, Sep 20-23 at 7:30pm. Tickets: $25.

By day, one of the most respected stage directors, actors, writers, and impresarios in Europe; by night, a cabaret chanteuse expunging life's pain and love's agony-this unusual artistic double identity comes together when the director of Festival d'Avignon Olivier Py makes a rare US stage appearance in Olivier Py Sings Les Premiers Adieux de Miss Knife.

Since "she" first morphed into fully-bejeweled and boa-feathered glory in 1996, Miss Knife has become Py's alter ego, allowing him to disregard gender conventions and express another side of himself. Working with long-time collaborator Stéphane Leach, Py pens a set of brand-new songs about love and desire for this BAM engagement.

Every night one guest artist-Joey Arias (Sep 20), Angélique Kidjo (Sep 21), Ute Lemper (Sep 22), and Jo Lampert (Sep 23)-joins Miss Knife's soirée, delivering a cocktail mix of genres, genders, nationalities, and stories.

Featuring music by Stéphane Leach, texts by Olivier Py, and costume design by Pierre-André Weitz.

For ticket information, call BAM Ticket Services at 718.636.4100, or visit BAM.org.

Special Event:
Talk: Performing Gender
With Olivier Py and Peggy Shaw
Moderated by Daniel Alexander Jones
Presented at the Brooklyn Book Festival
Sep 17 at 4pm
Brooklyn Book Festival (Free and open to the public)


Author, director, and actor Olivier Py was born in 1965. After studying at the National Superior School of Theatre Arts and Techniques (ENSATT), he entered the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art Paris in 1987 while also studying theology. His first play, Oranges and Nails, starring Didier Lafaye, was produced in 1988, the year he also founded his own company. In 1995 he made a big splash at the Festival d'Avignon when he performed The Servant, an endless story on a 24-hour cycle. In 1998, Py was appointed as the director of the Orle?ans National Drama Centre. From 2007 to 2011 he was the head of the The?a?tre National de l'Ode?on. He was appointed as the director of Festival d'Avignon in September 2013. His previous appearance at BAM was as director of Requiem for Srebrenica in the 2000 Next Wave Festival.

The pianist, choir director, and composer Ste?phane Leach has devoted himself to the composition of incidental music and has worked with singers and actors for more than 15 years. He has set to music the stage works of Olivier Py at the The?a?tre National de l'Ode?on, such as Orestie by Aeschylus, for which he received the Prize of the Association of Critics in 2008 for the best composition of incidental music. He also composed the music of Soulier de Satin by Paul Claudel and Les Vainqueurs which were performed at the Festival d'Avignon, the Festival of Edinburgh, at the The?a?tre du Rond-Point in Paris, and at the The?a?tre de l'Ode?on.

A fixture of vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is a bona fide New York City icon. He has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Freedom Theatre in London, and on a world tour into the cabaret clubs of Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada, and England. On film and TV, he has appeared in Mondo New York, Big Top Pee Wee, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the Saturday Night Live episode with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi, Elvira's MTV Halloween Special, HBOs Dragtime, among others. Arias has produced several of his own recordings including Arias on Holiday, Strange Fruit, Jazzo Lozo, StarLust in Berlin, Arias with a Twist and Bar D'o in New York.

Three-time Grammy Award winner Ange?lique Kidjo is one of the greatest artists in international music today, a creative force with 13 albums to her name. Time magazine called her "Africa's premier diva." The BBC included her in its list of the continent's 50 most iconic figures, and in 2011 The Guardian listed her as one of the Top 100 Most Inspiring Women in the World. Forbes magazine has ranked Kidjo as the first woman on their list of the Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa. Kidjo's music cross-pollinates the West African traditions of her childhood in Benin with elements of American R&B, funk, and jazz, as well as influences from Europe and Latin America.

Ute Lemper's career is vast and varied. She has made her mark on the stage, in films, in concert, and as a unique recording artist of more than 30 CDs over 30 years. She has been universally praised for her interpretations of the Berlin cabaret songs, the works of Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht, and the chansons of Marlene Dietrich, Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Le?o Ferre?, Jacques Pre?vert, Nino Rota, Astor Piazzolla, and also her own compositions. She is equally renowned for her performances in musicals and plays on Broadway, in Paris, Berlin, and London's West End. Lemper was born in Mu?nster, Germany and completed her studies at the Dance Academy in Cologne and the Max Reinhardt Seminary Drama School in Vienna.

Jo Lampert is a Brooklyn-based performer, producer, and DJ who most recently headlined Joan of Arc: Into the Fire (David Byrne, Alex Timbers) at The Public Theater. She has toured with the band tUnE-yArDs. Lampert has appeared in Jo Lampert in the Lounge-a solo cabaret at Ars Nova; Rimbaud in New York at BAM (2016 Winter/Spring); New York Animals directed by Eric Tucker at Bedlam; Iphigenia in Aulis directed by Rachel Chavkin at CSC; Dance, Dance Revolution directed by Alex Timbers; The LaMaMa Cantata written by Liz Swados, performed in Tokyo; Marie Antoinette at A.R.T and Yale Rep; Prometheus Bound at A.R.T.; and The Last Goodbye at Williamstown. Lampert is a Civilians Associate Artist, and received a B.F.A. from NYU Tisch.

BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, BAM Rose Cinemas, and BAMcafe? are located in the Peter Jay Sharp building at 30 Lafayette Avenue (between St Felix Street and Ashland Place) in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn. BAM Harvey Theater is located two blocks from the main building at 651 Fulton Street (between Ashland and Rockwell Places). Both locations house Greenlight Bookstore at BAM kiosks. BAM Fisher, located at 321 Ashland Place, is the newest addition to the BAM campus and houses the Judith and Alan Fishman Space and Rita K. Hillman Studio. BAM Rose Cinemas is Brooklyn's only movie house dedicated to first-run independent and foreign film and repertory programming. BAMcafe, operated by Great Performances, offers a dinner menu prior to BAM Howard Gilman Opera House evening performances. Limited commercial parking lots are located near BAM. Visit BAM.org for information.

Photo Credit: Eric Deniset

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