Lumberyard Announces Summer Season
LUMBERYARD Center for Film and Performing Arts's summer 2019 season will bring some of New York City's most exciting artists to the organization's state-of-the-art Hudson Valley facility, built just 101 miles from Manhattan to provide a crucial lifeline for the performing arts ecosystem. New American work and the institutions built to present it in NYC are more technologically advanced than ever before; however, there is a critical gap in the system, as artists can no longer transition from studio to theater with only a few days of technical rehearsal, and NYC presenters can't afford to close their doors for extended technical rehearsals.
The City, long a cultural hotbed, is rapidly becoming too expensive as a place for art-making. LUMBERYARD, which opened in response, is the only facility in the U.S. that can recreate any NYC stage's technical design, and its residency program is designed to advance the final stages of production. This summer, luminaries including Ephrat Asherie Dance; 600 HIGHWAYMEN; Machine Dazzle; Elevator Repair Service, directed by John Collins; The TEAM, directed by 2019 Tony Award nominee Rachel Chavkin (Hadestown); and Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company will come to LUMBERYARD for the organization's signature "Tech Week" residency program. All residencies culminate in work-in-progress showings allowing Hudson Valley audiences to experience the projects before their premieres. Today LUMBERYARD also announced a pre-season performance by the New York City Gay Men's Chorus, on July 6.
"We are thrilled to welcome this truly stellar lineup of New York artists and companies to LUMBERYARD, and to provide them with the space, staff, and time to incorporate all design elements before their premieres. The fact that these are some of the City's most exciting and accomplished makers of contemporary performance is evidence that the support LUMBERYARD provides is in high demand-even at top of the field," said Adrienne Willis, Executive and Artistic Director of LUMBERYARD. "We can't wait to have them in the Hudson Valley, where the region will be the first to experience their newest work."
LUMBERYARD supports New York City artists through the costliest period in the development of new productions-the integration of the final technical and design elements. The organization thereby addresses two urgent resource problems facing the performing arts: the tendency for new works to premiere before they've been fully developed, hindering the long-term prospects of the artists and institutions who make them, and engaging audiences less than they should; and the increasing scarcity of affordable workspace, forcing even New York City's most celebrated theater- and dance-makers to leave. To date, LUMBERYARD's technical residency program has strengthened the NYC premieres of over 80 productions.
The summer season kicks off with a work-in-progress showing of Ephrat Asherie Dance's UnderScored (Working Title), on July 13. The company, led by lauded New York City-based b-girl, dancer, and choreographer Ephrat "Bounce" Asherie, winner of a 2016 Bessie Award Winner for Innovative Achievement in Dance, has presented work at The Apollo Theater, Columbia College, Dixon Place, FiraTarrega, Guggenheim Works & Process, Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, La MaMa, River to River Festival, New York Live Arts, Summerstage and The Yard, among others. UnderScored (Working Title), which the company will develop at LUMBERYARD (July 8-14), is a dance-theater piece created and performed by members of the company, with special guest artists from New York City's underground dance scene. Inspired by the inter-generational memories of club dancers, the work explores the ever-changing physical landscape of New York City's underground dance community. It will premiere at Works & Process at the Guggenheim in 2020.
For a decade now, the OBIE Award-winning 600 HIGHWAYMEN, led by theater artists Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone, have been "the standard-bearers of contemporary theater-making" (Le Monde). They will work at LUMBERYARD (July 15-21) on Manmade Earth, created with eight young adults (all residents of the city of Buffalo, NY, and all born in different cities around the globe). Combining 600 HIGHWAYMEN's arresting, theatrical style with a large-scale physical installation built live and in collaboration with the audience, Manmade Earthintimately investigates permanence, stability, bravery, and endurance. The company will give work-in-progress performances at LUMBERYARD on July 20 & 21.
In a recent profile of the maximalist multi-disciplinary artist Machine Dazzle-who is perhaps best known for his instrumental role in the creation of Taylor Mac's A 24-Decade History of Popular Music-Hilton Als wrote in The New Yorker, "Costume designers generally work within a realistic tradition. But the only script that the theatrical genius Machine Dazzle follows is an emotional one." In his time at LUMBERYARD (July 22-28, with work-in-progress performances on July 27 & 28), the artist will develop Treasure, a work-in-progress in which distant dreams come full circle. Undressing layers of his past to make sense of the present, the performance features stories told and stitched together through song. On the occasion of New York Fashion Week, Machine Dazzle will perform Treasure in a made-to-measure form at the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theater at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The work is commissioned by Works & Process at the Guggenheim with support from Pomegranate Arts.
In February, the experimental theater company Elevator Repair Service (ERS) remounted Gatz, their word-for-word performance of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby-which Ben Brantley of The New York Times has called "the most remarkable achievement in theater not only of this year, but also of this decade"-at NYU Skirball Centerto immense acclaim. They come to LUMBERYARD for a residency July 29-August 11 to develop a new work directed by ERS Artistic Director John Collins. In Catskill, ERS will experiment with what makes the form of live performance work and what makes it feel truthful and transcendent. "We're doing that by looking at what it means to lie to your audience," says Collins. "When does the audience trust the actors to be truthful? When does the audience trust the actors to deliver pure fiction? What happens when we blur that line?" ERS is currently creating a series of experiments for an intimate theatrical space that they hope will do just that. They do so mindful of the fact that the truth has become dangerously slippery in this political age. Public work-in-progress showings will take place at LUMBERYARD on August 10 & 11.
The TEAM will spend their time at LUMBERYARD (August 12-18) developing Reconstruction (Still Working but the Devil Might Be Inside),a new dance-theater work, helmed by Tony-nominated director Rachel Chavkin (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), about reconstructing ourselves personally and nationally in the harsh light of America's white supremacist past and present. The work wrestles with Gone with the Wind as a Confederate monument and delves into race, representation, white feminism, and capitalism's role in maintaining the system. The project features a team of 21 collaborators ranging in age from 26 to 95: Brenda Abbandondolo, Jessica Almasy, Denée Benton, Jhanaë Bonnick, Frank Boyd, Vinie Burrows, Rachel Chavkin, André De Shields, Jerome Ellis, Jill Frutkin, Amber Gray, Jeremy O. Harris, Matt Hubbs, Modesto "Flako" Jimenez, Libby King, Ian Lassiter, Zhailon Levingston, Jake Margolin, James Monaco, Kristen Sieh, and Nick Vaughan. Together they will imagine how we move forward as individuals and as a country. Work-in-progress showings of Reconstruction (Still Working but the Devil Might Be Inside) will take place at LUMBERYARD August 17 & 18.
Bill T. Jones is one of this country's most renowned choreographers, having earned accolades including the National Medal of Arts, a MacArthur Genius Award, Kennedy Center Honors, and multiple Tony Awards. For over 36 years, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Company has revolutionized modern dance while exploring issues of identity through social commentary. In Jones's newest work in development, On the Water, he examines group identity and its relationship to aloneness. It features spoken word and music performed live by the Company, and its staging will blur the boundary between audience and sculpted dancer, intensifying the theme of belonging versus isolation. Jones will develop On the Water at LUMBERYARD August 19 - September 1, with work-in-progress performances on August 31 & September 1.
Tickets for the work-in-progress showings that culminate the residencies start at $25 and can be purchased at www.lumberyard.org.