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Remote Theater to Livestream Concert Performance of THE FOURTH MESSENGER in March

Remote Theater to Livestream Concert Performance of THE FOURTH MESSENGER in March

Loosely inspired by the Buddha legend, The Fourth Messenger imagines a modern-day "awakened one," a world-famous spiritual teacher named Mama Sid.

Remote Theater, an award-winning online theater company born of the pandemic, will livestream a concert performance of THE FOURTH MESSENGER-a contemporary Western re-imagining of the Buddha legend featuring a flawed, female Buddha figure-which will take place at The Ark in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on Saturday, March 18 at 1 pm.

THE FOURTH MESSENGER was developed in the Bay Area with support from Playwrights Foundation and TheatreWorks, and had its world premiere at Berkeley's Ashby Stage. It features book and lyrics by award-winning playwright Tanya Shaffer and music and additional lyrics by Indie darling Vienna Teng. Co-directed by Remote co-founders Giovanni René Rodriguez and Tanya Shaffer, music directed by Rebecca Biber. The event will be co-produced by Off-Leash Arts, a media production company based in Ann Arbor, owned and operated by Shaffer.

To register FREE for the livestream, go to Donations will be requested in a follow-up message. For the in-person event in Ann Arbor, tickets are $20/$10 students and can be purchased at or by calling 734-763-8587. This event is a benefit for The Ark.

The Ancient Roots of Modern "Mindfulness"

"The contemporary 'mindfulness' rooted in ancient Buddhist philosophy. The Fourth Messenger reframes the stories and core principles of that tradition in a contemporary context."

"Presenting The Fourth Messenger marks an important turn for us as a company," said Rodriguez. "It's the first time we are producing art that can be experienced either in-person or online, an important milestone as we continue our journey to make theater more accessible and affordable. The contemporary 'mindfulness' movement, which has grown exponentially in recent years, is rooted in ancient Buddhist philosophy. The Fourth Messenger reframes the stories and core principles of that tradition in a contemporary context. It explores themes of acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion that feel urgently needed in our increasingly fractured and unsettled world."

About The Fourth Messenger

What if the Buddha were a woman, living in our times? Loosely inspired by the Buddha legend, The Fourth Messenger imagines a modern-day "awakened one," a world-famous spiritual teacher named Mama Sid. When Raina, a young woman on a mission to reveal Mama Sid's hidden past, arrives at her meditation center, Sid's carefully constructed world starts to fall apart. At once epic and intimate, comic and profound, The Fourth Messenger explores what it means to be both enlightened and human.

Internationally renowned five-time Independent Music Award-winning recording artist Vienna Teng's layered harmonies and intricate, haunting melodies bring the piece vividly to life, adding depth and resonance that linger long after the lights come up.

Hailed as "an absolute delight" by the San Francisco Chronicle when it premiered at the Ashby Stage in Berkeley in 2013, The Fourth Messenger enjoyed a sold-out run and across-the-board critical acclaim. KQED-FM, the nation's largest NPR affiliate, placed it on its year-end Top Ten list, dubbing it "a satisfying and remarkably entertaining new musical that takes on spiritual life with wit and emotional resonance." The Huffington Post proclaimed it "hugely ambitious and refreshingly original," Stage and Cinema called it "masterful and compelling," and Theater Dogs-which also named it a year-end Top Tenner-called it "a triumph."

It went on to productions in Taiwan and at the New York Musical Festival, where Time Out New York, Playbill, and SpoiledNYC all chose it as one of the don't-miss shows of the 2017 festival.

Times Square Chronicles' Suzanna Bowling got to the heart of the story when she wrote, "This show helped heal a piece of me ... [It shows] the power of our fragility and of our strength ... We need more shows like this to heal our world." This tale of transgressions and redemption shines a light toward reconciliation in these divisive times.

Prior to its Berkeley premiere, the musical had developmental support from Playwrights Foundation, TheatreWorks and Stanford University.

Learn more and listen to selected tracks at

About Remote Theater

Born during the pandemic, with an eye trained on the future, Remote Theater is a collective of artists exploring the boundaries of live online performance, what we call "live cinema." We're committed to developing and reimagining great dramatic works and finding global audiences for them. Artists we have worked with include Obie-award winning playwright Naomi Wallace, writer/librettist/TV producer Billy Aronson (the originator of the concept for RENT), and playwrights Eugenie Chan, Anthony Clarvoe, Anita Gonzalez, Lynne Kaufman, Ellen McLaughlin, Tanya Shaffer, Herbert Siguenza, Michael Gene Sullivan, and Caridad Svich. In 2021, Remote was honored by the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle (BATCC) for "its distinguished work online while live theater was closed during the pandemic."

Remote is the beneficiary of a Facebook Small Business Grant. Past and current partners include Cal Shakes, Magic Theater, The Marsh, Actors Reading Collective (ARC), and Playwrights Foundation (for their support of our premiere reading of Tanya Shaffer's Manatee on Mars). We're a fiscally sponsored organization; all donations are tax-deductible. To learn more, please go to


WHAT: Remote Theater & Off-Leash Arts present

A Concert Performance of THE FOURTH MESSENGER

An Original Musical by Tanya Shaffer and Vienna Teng

To benefit The Ark

WHERE: Livestreamed from The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, MI

WHEN: Saturday, March 18, at 1 pm




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