New music-theater works by writer-composers (Dr.) Rick Burkhardt and (Dr.) Gelsey Bell, written specifically for thingNY’s unique blend of chamber music, theatre and improvisation. Two tabletop works from Burkhardt (including the newly commissioned PASSOVER) and new scenes from Bell’s Rolodex explore the vocalizing instrumentalist in disjointed modes of storytelling.
Commissioned by thingNY, PASSOVER is a performance-ritual for six singing/speaking performers, seated at a dinner table on which there lies a double bass. Each performer relates the story of a friend's escape: from a bad marriage, from an unfair situation at work, from a run-in with a traffic cop, from an ethically compromising opportunity, from an awkward family dinner. Ultimately, it becomes clear that all of these friends form one collective identity.
thingNY's own Gelsey Bell will lead the ensemble in four new solo songs from her evolving game-piece opera Rolodex (“B – Bureaucrat,” “L – Lover,” “P – Politician,” “T – Trophy,” and “V – Visitor”). Praised by the New York Times as "imaginative," with work that is "uncomfortably powerful," "virtuosic," and "haunting," Bell draws on techniques across music and theatre to create a disjointed storytelling with a score in the form of a rolodex.
Also on the program, Burkhardt's award-winning table-top music-theater piece The Great Hymn of Thanksgiving, for three speaking percussionists. Time Out New York declared that Hymn "has taught us to listen to the conversation in several keys, and the virtuosic performers play them all—the troubling bassline of violence, the abrasive tenor of self-righteousness, and, every now and then, the clear, bright treble of a really funny joke."
Rick Burkhardt - PASSOVER (Part One) Gelsey Bell -Four Songs from Rolodex Rick Burkhardt - The Great Hymn of Thanksgiving
Gelsey "fully functioning" Bell, percussion and voice John "murch" Murchinson, bass and voice Sarah "muscles" Haines, violin and voice Paul "has now changed a diaper" Pinto, percussion and voice Erin "pecs all day, every day" Rogers, percussion, saxophone and voice Dave "rude-dude" Ruder, clarinet and voice