Authors Margaret Booker (Director/Writer), Shem Guibbory (Musical Repertoire and Continuity) and Robert Schenkkan (Writer), based on a script by Rinde Eckert
Performers Seven artists on stage throughout the evening: four actors, three musicians.
Lead commissioning and development support was received from The Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Center (Italy), The Krannert Center, University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign, Harlem Stage (New York), as well as as well as additional development support from the ARGOSY Contemporary Music Fund, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and The Center for Art and Nature (Ferrara de Pallars, Spain). Work-in-progress performances took place at The Gatehouse, Harlem Stage and The Krannert Center, University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign.
The Work is a delightful, intimate piece, set in an otherworldly café in which a wide spectrum of music is played regularly. The proprietor of the café is the charismatic African-American performer Mr. C, whose hold on his beautiful and talented young daughter Mira threatens to keep her from exploring the wider world to which she is exposed musically each night on the café’s stage. During the course of the evening, the various relationships among family, staff and patrons develop, and out of those moments musical numbers evolve to further the action.
This intriguing blend of theatre and music capitalizes on the broad, boundary-free musical appetite of today’s listeners, and reflects the multi-ethnic complexity which makes up American art today. It explores the themes of family, love, and the need to risk living fully and it’s target audience age ranges from 8 to 80.
Trial audiences have enthusiastically embraced both the story and it’s wide spectrum of music – classical, jazz, folk, blues, American standard, and six new American music commissions from: Douglas J. Cuomo (American Avant Garde), John Jang (Chinese-American, Third-stream Jazz), Gabriela Frank (Peruvian-American descent, American Contemporary Classical), Simon Shaheen (Palestinian-American, Classical Arabic blended with Contemporary Jazz), Rudy Maya (aka Mayru, Latino-American Pop), Paul Moravec (Czech descent, American Contemporary Classical).