New Ballroom Culture Inspired CATS Part Of Perelman Performing Arts Center Inaugural Season

New York

Omari Wiles, Arturo Lyons, Bill Rauch, and Zhailon Levingston | Photo: Matthew Murphy

Jordanna Brody
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June 14, 2023 1:08 PM

Mike Bloomberg, Chair of the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC) board of directors, joined Executive Director Khady Kamara and Artistic Director Bill Rauch to announce the span of inaugural programs at the new performing arts center at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. PAC NYC is a dynamic new home for the arts, serving audiences and the creative sector through flexible venues enabling the facility to embrace wide-ranging artistic programs. The inaugural year will feature commissions, world premieres, co-productions, and collaborative work across theater, dance, music, opera, film and more. The vision for PAC NYC began when then Mayor Mike Bloomberg and his team worked to ensure the plan for rebuilding the World Trade Center site included a performing arts center.

Bloomberg said, “The opening of Perelman Performing Arts Center is going to add light and hope to the World Trade Center site in a manner that respects its role as a place for reflection. PAC NYC’s impact will extend far beyond downtown, as we know the impact of the power of the arts – bringing energy and excitement to bolster neighborhoods, spur investment and build a stronger city. I congratulate Khady Kamara, Bill Rauch, and their entire team for developing such a meaningful, multifaceted artistic program to welcome everyone in this city and beyond. There will be something for everyone at PAC NYC.”

The inaugural year programming will feature commissions, world premieres, partnerships, festivals and co-productions. The artistic programs will range from World Premieres of Laurence Fishburne’s one-man tour-de-force play Like They Do in The Movies, to a fabulous reimagining of CATS set in the competitions of New York City’s Ballroom culture, to new multi-disciplinary work Watch Night from the acclaimed artistic team of Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones, poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph, composer Tamar-kali, and dramaturg Lauren Whitehead.

PAC NYC will open its doors with Refuge: A Concert Series to Welcome the World – a five-evening event featuring a vibrant mix of acclaimed musicians from around the globe curated around the theme of refuge.  All concerts will be Pay-What-You-Wish.

  • NYC Tapestry: Home as Refuge - Sept. 19 – artists who have come from other parts of the world to make New York their home, including Laurie Anderson, Raven Chacon, Natalie Diaz, and thingNY, Angélique Kidjo, Michael Mwenso, Mwenso and the Shakes, Emel, Wang Guowei, and Forro in the Dark.
  • Devotion: Faith as Refuge - Sept. 20 – artists who use music to express their spiritual traditions, including The Klezmatics, Tanya Tagaq, ÌFÉ, Damien Sneed and Chorale Le Chateau, Innov Gnawa, Arun Ramamurthy & Trina Basu ft. Samarth Nagakar, and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street.
  • Playing it Forward: School as Refuge - Sept. 21 – artists who are educating the next generation, including David Broza, Common, Arturo O’Farrill & The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, and Mahani Teave.
  • Relatively Speaking: Family as Refuge - Sept. 22 – artists for whom making music is a family affair, including Martha Redbone, Amal Murkus and Firas Zreik, the HawtPlates, Fanoos Ensemble, and Villalobos Brothers.
  • Childhood Songs: Memory as Refuge - Sept. 23 – artists sharing stories and musical traditions from their childhoods, including Michelle Zauner, Shoshana Bean, Alphabet Rockers, Daniel Gortler, Trinity Youth Chorus, and Abigail Washburn.

Additional details on PAC NYC’s opening programs, including free community open houses, will be announced soon.

Watch Night (Nov. 3-18, 2023) – This newly commissioned World Premiere is a genre-defying exploration of justice and forgiveness that fuses melodies rooted in spirituals, percussive breath, and fiery opera with the urgency of slam poetry.

Artists:  Bill T. Jones, co-conceiver, director and choreographer, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, co-conceiver, and librettist, Tamar-kali, composer, and Lauren Whitehead, dramaturg

Number Our Days (April 12-14, 2024) – A multi-media oratorio based on Jamie Livingston’s “Photo of the Day” series, which explores our era’s strange alchemy of technology, memory, and community.

Artists:  Luna Pearl Woolf, composer, David Van Taylor, conceiver and librettist, Kamna Gupta, conductor, and Ty Defoe, director

An American Soldier (May 12-19, 2024) – A new opera based on the powerful true story of U.S. Private Danny Chen will receive its New York Premiere.

Artists:  Huang Ruo, composer, David Henry Hwang, librettist, Carolyn Kuan, conductor, and Chay Yew, director

Cats (June - July 2024) – The season ends with a fabulous reimagining of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s beloved musical, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, re-envisioned within the dance-rich setting of Ballroom culture, that roared out of New York City over 50 years ago and still rages on runways around the world.

Artists:  Zhailon Levingston and Bill Rauch, directors, Arturo Lyons and Omari Wiles, choreographers, Josephine Kearns, dramaturg and gender consultant

The Following Evening (Feb. 1-18, 2024) – An intimate portrait of a couple creating what may be their final performance together after a lifetime at the heart of the experimental theater scene. A unique collaboration between two theater-making couples a generation apart.

Artists:  Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet of Talking Band, Abigail Browde, and Michael Silverstone of 600 Highwaymen

Between Two Knees (Feb. 3-24, 2024) – The Indigenous sketch comedy group The 1491s (Reservation Dogs) presents the outrageously funny play which spans 90 years in the life of a fictional Native American family.

Artists:  The 1491s, writers and Eric Ting, director

Good Medicine (Feb. 9, 2024) – An all-Native stand-up evening event featuring Indigenous comedians from across the country, curated & hosted by Jackie Keliiaa.

Like They Do in The Movies (Mar. 10-31, 2024) – A World Premiere of the one-man tour-de-force written and performed by the Tony & Emmy Award winning artist Laurence Fishburne.

Artists: Laurence Fishburne, writer and performer and Leonard Foglia, director

In addition to the Refuge concert series, music programming will include a recital by Easter Island’s pioneering pianist Mahani Teave (Sept. 28) and an intimate “Evening with Brian Stokes Mitchell” (Oct. 5).

2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition (Oct. 14 & 15, 2023) – The most prestigious competition of its kind is moving from Washington, D.C., to New York City, presented in association with PAC NYC.

Circle Songs: A Holiday Concert Series (Dec. 20-23, 2023) – A four-evening concert series lighting up the shortest days of the year with an opportunity to see world-class artists in a uniquely intimate in-the-round setting.

Anthony Roth Costanzo & Friends (Dec. 20)

Toshi Reagon (Dec. 21),

Time For Three (Dec. 22)

Orfeh and Andy Karl (Dec. 23)

For more information, click here.

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Jordanna Brody

Originally from South Florida, Jordanna Brody graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Theatre Education and Performance in 2019. Her experience teaching, performing, directing, and working behind the scenes informs her perspective on theatre in every way. She is passionate about uplifting marginalized voices and innovative theatrical experiences.

New York
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