PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now announced their full programming for the seventh annual festival of fresh opera-theatre & music-theatre, running January 5-13, 2019 and featuring ten presentations that “shift the whole paradigm of what opera is and can be” (New York Observer).
Founded by co-directors Kristin Marting (of HERE), Beth Morrison (of Beth Morrison Projects) and Kim Whitener (of HERE), and led by them along with co-director Jecca Barry (of Beth Morrison Projects), the PROTOTYPE Festival emphasizes the bold and prolific work coming from today’s creative talents across the spectrum of gender, age, sexual orientation, and ethnic background. Since its launch in 2013, PROTOTYPE has presented a phenomenal 39 new works in six seasons, propelling the industry forward as an industry disruptor and international influencer, while bringing to the fore the work of 26 female-identifying lead artists.
The 2019 Festival spotlights the imaginative and dramatic work of 31 lead artists, 16 of whom are women, exploring ideas of mental health, ethnicity, and motherhood, as well as concerns around the public justice system and immigration, via four world premieres, a U.S. premiere, two New York premieres, a one-night-only presentation, and two works-in-progress.
Ellen Reid’s p r i s m is the culmination of a breakout year for the composer whose had major works performed at LA Chamber Orchestra (LACO), LA Philharmonic, and LA Master Chorale (a commission also featured in this year’s PROTOTYPE Festival) in just one year’s time. p r i s m receives its NY premiere as part of a rolling world premiere with LA Opera, here co-presented with La MaMa and featuring the Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street and NOVUS NY. With libretto by Roxie Perkins, p r i s m follows a daughter’s rise to consciousness via a perplexing relationship with her mother. p r i s m was commissioned by Beth Morrison Projects and developed by BMP in collaboration with Arizona State University, Lyric Theater@ University of Illinois, and PROTOTYPE, and is directed by James Darrah.
The Festival brings the U.S. premiere of Philip Venables’ bombshell opera, 4.48 Psychosis, based on the final work of British playwright Sarah Kane. Hot off a sold-out Royal Opera House production in London, the piece explores the search for love and identity amid the turmoil and confusion of mental illness. Co-presented with Baruch Performing Arts Center.
Cellist/composer Leah Coloff’s ThisTree is a performed prose poem drawing together multiple media to form a deeply personal exploration of infertility and the end of a family tree, presented as a world premiere music-theatre production at HERE’s Mainstage.
Old Sound Room and The Windmill Factory’s The Infinite Hotel brings together writer and director Michael Joseph McQuilken with music and lyrics by Firehorse & The Few Moments and select songs adapted from material written by Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley for this world premiere music-theatre production. A cathartic live experience inside a movie-making machine, each performance results in a unique film featuring the audience as extras. Co-presented with Irondale.
Distinctive performer Joseph Keckler, known for his sharp wit and rich vocal range, takes audiences on a world premiere music-theatre late night “train ride” through cities around the world in Train With No Midnight, at HERE’s Dorothy B. Williams Theatre, commissioned and developed by PROTOTYPE. Pancho Villa From A Safe Distance, co-presented with BRIC, plays with time and narrative in the New York premiere of a bilingual opera about the infamous bandit-turned-hero of the Mexican Revolution. A number of talents from both sides of the border band together to tell the tale, including composer Graham Reynolds, librettists Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol of Mexico City, and GRAMMY Award-winning guitarist Adrian Quesada.
The first of the two 2019 Festival works-in-progress comes from composerlibrettist Frances Pollock and co-librettist Tia Price. Stinney: An American Execution is based on the horrific true story of the innocent young black child, George Junius Stinney Jr., who was convicted and executed in the mid 1940s for rapes he did not commit (co-presented with French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) and Harlem Stage). A panel conversation will take place at Harlem Stage on January 10. Also in progress is composer Andrea Clearfield and librettists Jean-Claude van Itallie and Lois Walden’s Mila, Great Sorcerer, an exploration of the folk hero, singer, and spiritual teacher, Milarepa, directed by Kevin Newbury.
The Festival honors one of its own with the one night only memorial tribute to Matt Marks featuring his music-theatre work The Little Death: Vol. 1. Net proceeds will be donated to the Matt Marks Impact Fund of Alarm Will Sound. Co-presented with Roulette.
PROTOTYPE partners once again with Trinity Church Wall Street to present a premiere program featuring a choral commission each from leading composers Ellen Reid and David T. Little. Reid’s dreams of the new world with libretto by Sarah LaBrie, receives its East Coast premiere while David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s Am I Born receives its world premiere on the Festival in an SATB version.
The third season of PROTOTYPE’s Out of Bounds series, which brings free, sitespecific work to New York’s public spaces, is curated a second time by Raul Zbengheci. For 2019 the series is presented in partnership with Times Square Arts and features Caroline Shaw’s joyous and playful Pulitzer Prize-winning (2013) work, Partita for 8 Voices, performed by Roomful of Teeth, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble of which Shaw is a member. These amplified performances are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations necessary.