Live & In Color Closes Out Fall Retreat With New Work PRESENT PERFECT
On September 22nd and 23rd, Live & In Color (L&IC) will be presenting Present Perfect, its final new work of the fall 2018 season. Present Perfect, a musical with book and lyrics written by Nancy Nachama Cheser and music by Jaime Lozano, tells the story of a group of immigrants who meet in an adult english class in New York City.
"This season has been the most exciting yet," said Devanand Janki, director of Present Perfectand Artistic Director of L&IC. "This year's musical Present Perfect, which deals with current issues of immigration, has made for a lively season as we continue growing and expanding in our transition to 501c3 independence."
Last season, L&IC's production of Pangaea went on to have a workshop production at Marymount Manhattan College, and Little Girl Blue is currently slated for a production at George Street Playhouse in January and then a run Off-Broadway next fall.
Janki spoke to how Present Perfect has captured the zeitgeist of our political moment. "This piece is so current. It's all about immigrants trying to make it, survive, and care for their families. It's written in a charming and funny way," Janki said. "I'm so incredibly proud of the work and the level at which everyone is working. It's astounding the dedication of the cast and writers to tell their stories. The sense collaboration has created a space that has allowed for this piece to really take shape."
Present Perfect marks L&IC's fourth fall retreat located at the historic Bingham Camp in Salem, Connecticut.
Dev is a New York-based director and choreographer who grew up spending summers at the Bingham Camp. His career spans all facets of the performing arts - theatre, opera, ballet and corporate entertainment. He began as a performer, appearing in numerous productions including Broadway's Miss Saigon, Cats,The King & I, and Side Show. For the past 15 years, he has been a freelance director, working regionally and in New York on over 50 shows including Aladdin, Junie B. Jones, Man of La Mancha, Rent, The Full Monty, and Off-Broadway's Zanna Don't for which he won the Lucille Lortel Award. His passion has always been creating new work for the stage. He is excited that The Bingham Camp, which inspired so much of his own creativity, is now a home for other theatre professionals.
Born in Monterrey Mexico, Lozano is an accomplished musician, vocal coach, composer, arranger, orchestrator, musical producer and musical theatre director considered by Hamilton's Lin-Manuel Miranda as the "next big thing" on Broadway. He is a teacher and activist for the New York City based not-for-profit organization R.Evolución Latina. Lozano is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, BMI and GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY voting member.
Cheser attended the University of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, and Massachusetts College of Art, and now is an educator as well as a practicing artist. She is currently a professor at Hodges University, Naples, FL, and her creativity informs her teaching, and the teaching influences her artwork. Present Perfect grew from her experiences with a multicultural class of immigrants learning English. As with her previous political graphic work, she uses her art, be it visual, musical, or literary, to tell a story that she feels needs to be told.
"Playwriting can feel like an isolated experience, so to be brought into a community where everyone is working to take the piece to the next level is incredibly rewarding. You end up with an exchange of ideas and a dedicated period of time to build on them," said Cheser of her time at L&IC. "Dev has been available almost 24/7 to answer questions and provide insight. The support of the L&IC team has really gotten the snowball rolling in the creative process. It has been amazing to have dedicated time with my wonderful collaborator, Jaime, and having the opportunity to work with Dev and his exciting vision."
"The work is very personal for me and very timely for the country," Cheser continued, reflecting on the new work. "Being an English teacher who works with immigrants, I am privileged to know their struggles and triumphs first hand. Their resilience and the contributions that they make have been an incredible example for me in my life and I want to share their stories."
Lozano discussed his perspective on the show. "As an immigrant myself I feel strongly connected to this piece," he said. "I'm putting into it all my heart and everything I am as an artist, as a Latino, as Mexicano, and as a father. This story is about people trying to find their home. Trying to connect and create community. Chasing their dreams. Risking everything they had back home in order to find a new one."
Live & In Color develops new work for the stage that promotes and celebrates diversity. Emphasizing non-traditional casting, multi-ethnic participants, and bold theatricality, they offer unique development opportunities for new plays and musicals that encourage dialogue amongartists from a variety of cultures.