ARS NOVA AND SOHO REP. PRESENT

The premiere of a new musical

FUTURITY

Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps

Lyrics & Book by César Alvarez

Directed by Sarah Benson

in association with Carole Shorenstein Hays

 

October 6 – November 22, 2015

 

ABOUT THE SHOW

Two people try to imagine their way out of impossible circumstances in FUTURITY — an avant-Americana musical by indie band The Lisps. Julian is a Civil War soldier dreaming of a technological utopia. Ada is a mathematical genius thousands of miles away. Together, they’re going to invent a machine to end one of the darkest periods in our history. An electrifying concert-story featuring an army of musicians.

 

 

FUTURITY-GIF 

ARS NOVA AND SOHO REP. PRESENT

The premiere of a new musical

FUTURITY

Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps

Lyrics & Book by César Alvarez

Directed by Sarah Benson

in association with Carole Shorenstein Hays

 

THE NEW YORK TIMES
CRITICS PICK

Some of the most lovely and inventive music you can hear on a New York stage right now… folk-inflected ballads and anthems that manage to sound both entirely contemporary and eerily of the past… How refreshing to meet a musical that has too much on its mind, rather than too little. [FUTURITY] can only help advance an art form that often seems unable to imagine itself a new future.” 
 

 

2016 Lucille Lortel Awards

Outstanding Musical
Nominations:
Outstanding Choreographer – David Neumann
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical – Sammy Tunis
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical – Karen Kandel
Outstanding Scenic Design – Emily Orling and Matt Saunders

 

The Drama League

Nominee: Outstanding Production of a Broadway Or Off-Broadway Musical
 

2016 Best New Musical Off-Broadway Alliance 

 

Drama Desk Awards

Nominee: Outstanding Set Design for a Musical – Emily Orling, Matt Saunders, Eric Farber
 

VILLAGE VOICE

FUTURITY commands you to drop your arms and raise your hands. A celebration of music’s transcendent powers. Don’t worry about why you’re getting uplifted, just surrender.”
 

AMERICAN THEATRE

“César Alverez is changing the American musical form, and the world”
 

THEATERMANIA

Positively gasp-worthy. Those who like their theater messy and beautiful are liable to fall in love with FUTURITY.”
 

CULTUREBOT

“FUTURITY is indelibly human-made; no musical-making machine could ever achieve such an imaginative and singular result.” 

ARS NOVA AND SOHO REP. PRESENT

The premiere of a new musical

FUTURITY

Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps

Lyrics & Book by César Alvarez

Directed by Sarah Benson

in association with Carole Shorenstein Hays

 

THE TEAM

Choreography DAVID NEUMANN 
Set Design EMILY ORLING & MATT SAUNDERS 
Percussion and Contraption Design ERIC FARBER 
Lighting Design YI ZHAO 
Costume Design EMILY ORLING 
Sound Design MATT TIERNEY 
Props Design NOAH MEASE 
Fight Choreography J. DAVID BRIMMER 
Music Director CÉSAR ALVAREZ 
Dramaturg JACKIE SIBBLIES DRURY 
Script Development & Additional Text MOLLY RICE 
Production Stage Manager TERRI K. KOHLER 

 

ABOUT THE CAST

CÉSAR ALVAREZ (Composer, Lyrics, Book, Music Director, Julian Munro) is a New York-based composer, lyricist and writer. His recent composition credits include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon (Soho Rep., TFANA; Drama Desk nomination); Washeteria (Soho Rep.); The Foundry Theatre’s Good Person of Szechwan (LaMaMa, Public Theater; Drama Desk nomination); Mac Wellman’s 3 2’s; or AFAR (Dixon Place) and Full Still Hungry for Contra-Tiempo (Ford Amphitheater, Dance Motion USA). In development: The Universe is a Small Hat, a multi-player participatory musical (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Civilians R&D Group, PRELUDE NYC, Babycastles); The Elementary Spacetime Show (Ars Nova Uncharted, EST/Sloan Commission, Polyphone) and Castro with Lucas Hnath (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor and Space at Ryder Farm). Alvarez is an Artist-in-Residence at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Artistic Director of Polyphone, a festival of the emerging musical at University of the Arts. MusicIsFreeNow.org

ANDREW R. BUTLER (Sergeant) is a member of Ars Nova’s Uncharted music/theater writers’ group, where he is composing music and lyrics for Finn the Fearless with playwright Andrew Farmer. He is a founding member of experimental theater company harunalee, currently in residence at Brooklyn Arts Exchange. Recent stage credits: César Alvarez’s The Universe Is A Small Hat (Babycastles); War Lesbian (Dixon Place); Comfort Dogs (JACK); Political Subversives (Joe’s Pub, Ars Nova) and Wolfert (Dixon Place). BFA: NYU, Experimental Theatre Wing.  andrewrbutler.com

FRED EPSTEIN (Soldier) is a bassist, singer, arranger and producer.  After earning a BM in jazz performance from Manhattan School of Music, he travelled nationally and internationally as a member of various groups including The Defibulators (Brooklyn based country band), IONIA (New York City based post rock outfit) and Marble Collegiate Gospel Choir.   Freddy is currently finishing up the first release for his forthcoming hip hop collective, Blood & Sand and is also a founding partner of El Original, NYC’s newest and largest Tex Mex restaurant (ElOriginalTxMx.com).  He lives with his wife, Desiree De Cahlo, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and is honored to be making his theater debut with Futurity.

ERIC FARBER (Soldier, Percussion and Contraption Design) is a percussionist, kinetic sculptor and sound artist based in Brooklyn, NY, and has been a member of The Lisps since 2007. Eric’s percussion contraptions and performance were featured in The Foundry Theatre’s production of Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan (Public Theater, LaMaMa; Drama Desk Nomination for Outstanding Music), and in iterations of Futurity dating back to 2008 (MASS MoCA, Walker Art Center, A.R.T.). Eric recently toured with Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music and is a member of the band The Ladybug Transistor (Merge Records). Eric is currently designing interactive kinetic percussion for César Alvarez’s new participatory theater piece The Universe is a Small Hat, as well as working on Alvarez’s cosmic vaudevillian game show musical Elementary Spacetime Show. Eric is earning his MFA at Bard College and holds a BA from The New School. See more of Eric’s work at Kineticontology.com.

EAMON GOODMAN (Soldier) was born in Brooklyn at 3am on July 5, 1992, as fireworks could still be heard from July 4th celebrations. The whistling sounds planted in him an urge to play wind instruments, beginning with the train whistle as an infant, and later recorder, flute and bass clarinet. He has since explored more distant members of the wind family such as ‘steel guitar’ and ‘acting’. He graduated from Bard College with a BA in Music in 2015.

KAREN KANDEL (The General) is a member of Mabou Mines. Recent theater credits include: Love in the Wars (Bard SummerScape); NY premiere of Caryl Churchill’s Love and Information (NYTW); Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas (NYTW), and Lee Breuer’s La Divina Caricatura (LaMaMa). Awards: Peter and Wendy (OBIE, Herald Angel, Dramalogue, Craig Noel, Connecticut Critics Circle); Carl Hancock Rux’s Talk (Ensemble OBIE) and Mabou Mines’ Lear (OBIE). Karen is a United States Artists Fellow.

KRISTINE HARUNA LEE (Soldier) is a playwright/director/performer and is a founding member of harunalee theater company, currently in residence at BAX. Selected credits: Noir (Vassar Powerhouse Season); A Beautiful Day in November on the Banks of the Greatest of the Great Lakes (City Center, 2015 OBIE winner); The Lily’s Revenge (HERE Arts Center, 2010 OBIE winner); and the EP release of Another World with Antony and the Johnsons. Upcoming projects include How to Get Into Buildings (New Georges), Untitled Field Theory with Andrew Schneider, and Dog Gone Day with harunalee. She is a recipient of the New Dramatists Van Lier Fellowship. BFA NYU Tisch and MFA Brooklyn College for playwriting with Mac Wellman. HarunaLee.com

MIA PIXLEY (Soldier) is a cellist, singer, songwriter and member of the all female, Brooklyn-based vaudeville cabaret trio The Debutante Hour. The Debutante Hour has performed throughout Europe and the United States, with New York performances at The Bell House, Joe’s Pub, Galapagos Art Space, and Barbes. A native Austinite, Mia began studying classical cello at the age of four through the University of Texas at Austin String Project. In college, Mia performed with the Columbia University chamber music program and studied cello under Wendy Sutter. While living in London, Mia was a member of the London-based indie-folk band Laetoli Steps. Mia was also the principal musician for the soundtrack to the original motion picture American Bomber. When in Brooklyn, Mia regularly performs in the monthly music-based book club, The Bushwick Bookclub. Mia holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from CUNY Graduate Center and is interested in the performing arts as therapeutic interventions for children with severe trauma histories. She currently lives with her husband, Kevin Shaw, in Oakland, CA.

KAMALA SANKARAM (Soldier) Called “an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes” (Wall Street Journal), Kamala Sankaram performs new opera and musical theater. She is the frontwoman for the Bollywood surf-noir band Bombay Rickey. Recent projects: Masterpieces (Antonin Dvorak Theatre, Czechoslovakia); Thumbprint (Prototype Festival, NY) and Trillium J (Roulette, NY). Awards and grants as a composer include: Opera America Discovery Grant; Jonathan Larson Award; NEA ArtWorks; MAP Fund. Residencies: HERE; MacDowell Colony; Watermill Center; American Lyric Theater. KamalaSankaram.com

JESSIE SHELTON (Soldier, Dance Captain) Jessie is a multidisciplinary artist and actor based in NYC. Off-Broadway: Patrick Barlow’s A Christmas Carol (Dir. Joe Calarco). NY: Servant of Two Masters (Sonnet Repertory Theatre/Dir. Nicolas Minas); Salome (JACK/Dir. Lileana Blain Cruz) and The Power of Emotion (Under the Radar Incoming/Dir. Katherine Brook). In her spare time she is working on a musical and is in a band (!) with collaborator Julia Ross. Education: CMU/MATS/RITL. Thanks to M&P for the music, Maya for the love and support and César for asking me to join this musical army.

DARIUS SMITH (Soldier) Music Director credits include Off-Broadway: Three Little Birds. Regional: Choir Boy (Marin Theatre Company, San Francisco, CA); Crowns (upcoming at Skylight Music Theatre Milwaukee, WI). DC area: Soon; Dreamgirls (Associate MD – Signature Theatre); Choir Boy; Carrie: The Musical (Studio Theatre); The Producers; Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Once On This Island (Olney Theatre Center). Composer/Lyricist credits include: The Snowy Day (Helen Hayes nomination for Best TYA Production); U.G.L.Y. (Kennedy Center Page-to-Stage); Songs in the Key of Chocolate (54 Below, Signature Theatre Summer Cabaret Series). Awards: Signature Theatre’s 2015 Young Artist Citation; Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Competition (2015 Finalist). Many thanks to César, Ars Nova and Soho Rep. DariusSmithMusic.com

STORM THOMAS (Soldier) is a playwright, performance artist, puppeteer, educator and award-winning poet. Storm was a featured poet on the season three premiere of Lexus Verses and Flow. Storm performed in and associate directed César Alvarez’s The Universe is a Small Hat, and recently was a resident artist with Marisa Clementi at Dartmouth College’s Vox Festival. Storm is also developing a solo show Sybil: The Musical, and has an MFA in Theatre from Sarah Lawrence College.

SAMMY TUNIS (Ada Lovelace) is a founding member of The Lisps. She was most recently in Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan (LaMaMa, Public Theater), for which The Lisps composed and performed the music (Drama Desk nomination) and Gary Winter’s Daredevil at the Brick Theater. She has played Ada Lovelace in every version of Futurity, from a workshop at the Rudyard Kipling Bar in Louisville, Kentucky, to The Walker Art Center, Joe’s Pub, MASS MoCA and American Repertory Theater (A.R.T). Other favorite shows include: Walking Down Broadway (The Mint Theater); 1984 (Godlight Theatre); Git Along Li’l Doggies (Laboratory Theater), and Waltz (Bring a Weasel and a Pint of Your Own Blood Festival). Tunis has recently been in workshops of Kristen Kosmas’ There There (Invisible Dog); Corina Copp’s The Whole Tragedy of the Inability to Love Part 2: IQ 172 (Little Theatre) and Mia Rovegno’s Nothin’s Gonna Change My World. Sammy is also the singer and percussionist of her band, The Point (xothepoint.com).

 

ABOUT THE TEAM

CÉSAR ALVAREZ is a New York-based composer, lyricist and writer.  His recent composition credits include Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon (Soho Rep., TFANA; Drama Desk nomination); Washeteria (Soho Rep.); The Foundry Theatre’s Good Person of Szechwan (LaMaMa, Public Theater; Drama Desk nomination); Mac Wellman’s 3 2’s; or AFAR (Dixon Place); and Full Still Hungry for Contra-Tiempo (Ford Amphitheater, Dance Motion USA). In development: The Universe is a Small Hat, a multi-player participatory musical (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor, Civilians R&D Group, PRELUDE NYC, Babycastles), The Elementary Spacetime Show (Ars Nova Uncharted, EST/Sloan Commission, Polyphone) and Castro with Lucas Hnath (Berkeley Rep Ground Floor and Space at Ryder Farm). Alvarez is an Artist-in-Residence at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and the Artistic Director of Polyphone, a festival of the emerging musical at UArts. 

THE LISPS formed in the South Bronx in 2005 as a collaboration between composer César Alvarez and actress/singer Sammy Tunis. Percussionist and kinetic sculptor Eric Farber joined in 2007. Since then they have released four albums and played hundreds of shows around the country. They created music for The Foundry Theatre’s Drama Desk-nominated Good Person of Szechwan, directed by Lear deBessonet at La MaMa and the Public Theater. The Lisps’ music has also been on Shameless (Showtime) and in the 2015 documentary A Woman Like Me, directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti (SXSW Jury Award). The Lisps’ albums include The Vain, The Modest and The Dead (2006); Country Doctor Museum (2008); Are We at the Movies? (2011); and Futurity (2012). 

SARAH BENSON (Director) has been the Artistic Director of Soho Rep. since 2007. For Soho Rep., she has directed Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s An Octoroon; Lucas Hnath’s A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney; David Adjmi’s site-specific Elective Affinities, with Zoe Caldwell; Sarah Kane’s Blasted (OBIE Award, Drama Desk nomination); and Gregory Moss’ Orange, Hat & Grace. She also directed Futurity at A.R.T. & Walker Arts Center, Gregory Moss’ House of Gold (Woolly Mammoth) and Sophocles’ Ajax (A.R.T.). Upcoming projects include Richard Maxwell’s Samara

 

ABOUT THE LISPS

THE LISPS formed in the South Bronx in 2005 as a collaboration between composer César Alvarez and actress/singer Sammy Tunis. Percussionist and kinetic sculptor Eric Farber joined in 2007. Since then they have released four albums and played hundreds of shows around the country. They created music for The Foundry Theatre’s Drama Desk-nominated Good Person of Szechwan, directed by Lear deBessonet at La MaMa and the Public Theater. The Lisps’ music has also been on Shameless (Showtime) and in the 2015 documentary A Woman Like Me, directed by Alex Sichel and Elizabeth Giamatti (SXSW Jury Award). The Lisps’ albums include The Vain, The Modest and The Dead (2006); Country Doctor Museum (2008); Are We at the Movies? (2011); and Futurity (2012).  

 

ABOUT SOHO REP.

Founded in 1975, and in its theater on Walker Street since 1991, Soho Rep. has built an outstanding reputation for being at the forefront of new and innovative theater, serving as a vital center for contemporary theatre artists. 

Soho Rep. is dedicated to cultivating and producing visionary, uncompromising, and exuberant new plays, performing to one of the youngest adult audiences in New York City, with over half aged 18-40. 

Critics continue to herald Soho Rep. as a go-to theatre destination for new and original works. New York Magazine has said, “this indispensable theater offers more excitement per chair than any space in town,” Time Out New York says, “Soho Rep is the best theater in NYC,” and The New York Times declares Soho Rep. to be “a first-class downtown company” and said, “The downtown powerhouse…regularly outclasses the work done on many of the city’s larger stages.” In 2013, Time Out New York declared Soho Rep. as the “Best Downtown Theater Institution.” 

In 2014, Soho Rep. was honored with a Drama Desk Award for Sustained Achievement. Over the last decade, Soho Rep. productions have garnered 18 OBIE Awards; nine Drama Desk nominations, two Kesselring Awards, The New York Times Outstanding Playwriting Award for Dan LeFranc’s Sixty Miles To Silverlake and, a special citation in The New York Drama Critics’ Circle’s 2012-13 awards. In recent years, Soho Rep. has presented plays by established and emerging theatre artists such as David Adjmi, Annie Baker, Lucas Hnath, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Kane, Daniel Alexander Jones, debbie tucker green, Young Jean Lee, Nature Theater of Oklahoma and Jackie Sibblies Drury.

ARS NOVA AND SOHO REP. PRESENT

The premiere of a new musical

FUTURITY

Music by César Alvarez with The Lisps

Lyrics & Book by César Alvarez

Directed by Sarah Benson

in association with Carole Shorenstein Hays

 

PICS & VID

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