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World Premiere of SONGS ABOUT TRAINS to be Presented in April

The production runs April 5 – 23, 2022 at New Ohio Theatre with an opening set for April 10.

World Premiere of SONGS ABOUT TRAINS to be Presented in April

Working Theater, Radical Evolution, and New Ohio Theatre will present the world premiere of Songs About Trains, a musical exploration of the many cultural communities that built the U.S. rail system. This theatrical concert dives headfirst into conversations on immigration, labor, and Manifest Destiny. Created by a multicultural cohort of artists, Songs About Trains questions the complexity of progress while celebrating the diverse communities instrumental in creating the United States as we know it today. The production runs April 5 - 23, 2022 at New Ohio Theatre with an opening set for April 10.

Through a collection of 21 folk songs from various cultures and imagined letters from those whose stories have been lost to history, Songs About Trains highlights how this pivotal moment in U.S. history helped forge a global superpower, generated unbelievable wealth to a select few, and did so at the expense of thousands of lives, all while inspiring one of the deepest canons of music ever made in this country. This theatrical concert questions the complexity of progress while celebrating the Chinese immigrant, Irish immigrant, Mexican American, African American, Appalachian, and Navajo communities instrumental in creating the United States as we know it today.

Songs About Trains is created by Radical Evolution and directed by Rebecca Martínez and Taylor Reynolds. The creative team includes music director and arranger Julián Mesri, choreographer Joya Powell, and artistic producer Meropi Peponides. The lead author is Beto O'Byrne with additional contributions by Eugenie Chan, Reginald Edmund, Rebecca Martínez, and Jay B Muskett.

Working Theater's Producing Artistic Director Laura Carbonell Monarque commented, "We couldn't be more excited to bring our audiences this new theatrical experience from Radical Evolution that imagines the untold histories of the workers who labored to build the incredible piece of infrastructure that is the US rail system. I so look forward to the opportunities for conversation around who embodies the labor we too often take for granted, how we value work and workers, and the origins of some beloved songs about labor.

Meropi Peponides and Beto O'Byrne of Radical Evolution commented, "We created Songs About Trains in response to the xenophobia and historical revisionism of the past half decade. We wanted to highlight the personal stories of the many cultural groups that built this country and celebrate them with the same songs the workers on the railroads may have sung. After more than five years of dreaming up the work, we could not be more thrilled to be sharing the rich multicultural canon of railroad music we've come to know and love, and to uplift the workers' stories who had such a profound impact on history."

New Ohio Theatre's Robert Lyons commented, "We've been supporting the development of Songs About Trains since Radical Evolution joined our Archive Residency program in 2019. This is vital, urgent, and joyful theatre. Coproducing it with Working Theatre is an exciting example of small companies pooling resources in support of exciting artists. We can't wait for people to see this!"

The cast for Songs About Trains includes C.K. Edwards, Christian A. Guerrero, Cedric Lamar, Julián Mesri, Beto O'Byrne, Sara Ornelas, Jessica Ranville, and Xiaoqing Zhang.

The additional creative team includes scenic designer Peiyi Wong, costume designer Lux Haac, lighting designer María-Cristina Fusté, sound design by Margaret Montagna, production manager Drew Francis, production stage manager Megan Schwarz Dickert, and assistant stage manager Diane Healy.

Twenty-one performances of Songs About Trains will run April 5-23, 2022 at the New Ohio Theatre, located at 154 Christopher Street in Manhattan. The performance schedule is Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7pm with additional 3pm shows on Saturdays, Sundays, and on April 20. Critics are welcome as of April 7 for an official opening on Sunday, April 10. Tickets can be purchased at https://theworkingtheater.org/ and are available on a sliding scale with a suggested price of $30. Standard ticketing fees apply. New Ohio Theatre is accessible from the #1 train to Christopher St. or A, B, C, D, E, F or M train to West 4th St.

Proof of full vaccination for all artists, staff, and audience members is required. Masks and/or CDC-recommended face coverings are also required for audiences and employees inside the theater at all times. These policies are subject to change depending on local conditions and federal, state, and local guidelines. For more information, please visit https://newohiotheatre.org/uncategorized/covid-19-protocols/.

Songs About Trains is an Archive Residency premiere in partnership with IRT Theatre.



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