Alliance for New Music-Theatre (ANMT) is delighted to announce it has been named Dupont Underground’s first Theatre-in-Residence. The residency coincides with the launch of its 2019-2020 season. It is the first time Alliance for New Music-Theatre will present a full season of programming. In addition to presenting diverse voices and socially challenging works, the partnership will also play a crucial role transforming Dupont Underground into the most unique, culturally inclusive performing space in the nation’s capital by bringing together local and international artists and building on the historical importance of Dupont Circle.
“We are thrilled to partner with Dupont Underground and co-create with its new team trans-disciplinary programming,” says Susan Galbraith, ANMT Artistic Director. “With their upcoming World Press Photo Exhibition, whose theme this year is ‘diplomacy,’ while we bring focus to the legacy of Václav Havel, it’s a natural and exciting affiliation. DU’s unique subterranean space in this historic district, offers our company the opportunity to realize our vision radically to re-imagine exciting productions and other immersive events. As someone whose family lived in the Dupont area since the mid-sixties, it is an honor and somewhat, I feel, a responsibility to tell the stories of this important nexus in the city, where so many gatherings and social and political movements got their momentum. From civil rights to immigration and the environment, this is a critical time for artists to weigh in and create catalytic experiences – changing the conversation through the arts.”
The season kicks off this Fall with a double bill of Václav Havel’s Protest and New Music-Theatre’s original Vaněk Unleashed. The production was invited by the Embassy of the Czech Republic to be part of this year’s Mutual Inspirations Festival, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution. Protest exposes a society that spies on its citizens and reveals the thin line between acquiescence and culpability, between comedy and creepy terror. Vaněk Unleashed, a musical fantasy composed by Maurice Saylor, is a tribute to Havel’s most beloved Vaněk character. Audiences will find Vaněk still struggling with issues of the slipperiness of identity as he careens imaginatively between prison and the more terrifying and absurd world outside. Written and directed by ANMT Artistic Director Susan Galbraith, the work sets Vaněk “unleashed” upon the world, taking its performance style from two of America’s most popular forms, the American musical and silent screen comedy. For bios on Artistic Members, go to https://www.newmusictheatre.org/alliance-artists.
The production will be part of a much larger series of inter-related cultural events, not only the World Press Photo Exhibition but the public debut of a video documentary by Havel’s personal videographer, Petr Jančárek, his photos and others from the Czech Embassy featuring Havel, Madeleine Albright and others who played key diplomatic roles as global diplomats. (Where are they now?) Czech artist Jan Kaláb will be creating a mural “in conversation” with the iconic graffiti art that is part of Dupont Underground’s signature vibe (October 21-23).
In Spring 2020, New Music-Theatre will produce The Dunbar Opera (April 2-12) by company composer, Steven M. Allen. The production will celebrate DC’s Dunbar High School’s 150th anniversary as the first high school for African-Americans in our nation, and aims to make good on ANMT’s commitment to use Dupont Underground to tell the stories of Washington’s history and vibrant culture. Greg Watkins will reprise the lead role written for him. Allen’s music was featured in the recent public television special about the poet.
Also in the season, the company will offer a program of two short Family Operas, being called “The Doggy Operas.” Pepito, by composer Nick Benavides with a libretto by Morella Martin Koch, was originally commissioned by Washington National Opera as part of its American Opera initiative “Twenty Minute Operas.” This delightful comic opera features a young professional couple and a large sloppy dog character, who has been rescued from across our southern border, and while the humans spar, Pepito sings “Te Quiero.” The importance of animal rescue, opening hearts to others who look and sound different, and the art of opera (often sung in an unfamiliar language) are all serious issues beneath the fun.
Georgia and Bo is a new commission by New Music-Theatre for company composer Dawn Avery. This is Avery’s second project with the company, having served as co-composer of Women of Troy: Voices from Afghanistan in The Afghan Women’s Project. It represents the first of several commissions, “Short Music-Theatre Gems” New Music-Theatre is developing in response to iconic paintings in its Dupont area neighbor, The Phillips Collection.
For more information, press passes or artist interviews, please contact Amy Killion at [email protected].