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Brooklyn Academy of Music Plans a New York-Focused Season

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There will be dances exploring Black love and relationships, theater works highlighting the impact of technology on daily life and an appearance by the filmmaker Spike Lee.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music will focus its coming season on the artists of New York City, the organization announced on Friday, as it seeks to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a season to celebrate artists who give New York City a sense of possibility, a sense of wonder, a sense of effervescence, a glow, a bit of magic,” the academy’s artistic director, David Binder, said in an interview. He said the academy wanted to create a season to mark New York’s recovery from the pandemic, which brought many of the city’s cultural institutions to a standstill for more than 18 months.

The season, which runs November to March, is the academy’s first since the start of the pandemic. As the organization tries to lure audiences back to its stages and recover millions in ticket revenue lost during the pandemic, it will feature a mix of familiar hits and new works.

Dance will be front and center, starting in November with the world premiere of “The Mood Room,” a Big Dance Theater production, conceived, directed and choreographed by Annie-B Parson. The show, which takes place in Los Angeles in 1980, mixes dance, theater and spoken opera to explore the effects of Reaganism.

The dance lineup also includes Reggie Wilson’s “Power” in January, and the New York premiere of Kyle Abraham’s “An Untitled Love,” in February. The work, set to neo-soul music, is described as an “exaltation of Black love and unity.”

Also in February comes Pam Tanowitz’s acclaimed “Four Quartets,” a staging of T.S. Eliot’s poems. When it had its premiere at Bard College’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, in 2018, Alastair Macaulay, writing in The New York Times, called it “the greatest creation of dance theater so far this century.”

In March, the Mark Morris Dance Group will perform Morris’s classic “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” (1988), set to Handel’s oratorio.

There will be theater and cabaret offerings as well. In March, SITI Company, the noted experimental New York theater company, will stage “The Medium,” a minimalist meditation on the role of technology in society.

The cabaret performers Justin Vivian Bond and Kenny Mellman will star as their alter egos Kiki and Herb in a new holiday special, titled “SLEIGH,” which will premiere after Thanksgiving.

In December, Lee will appear alongside his brother for a conversation about the filmmaker’s new book, “SPIKE,” a visual look at his career.

With coronavirus cases still high, it remains to be seen whether audiences will turn out at prepandemic levels, but Binder said he believed many people were clamoring for live performances. The academy’s brief fall season, which opened in September, has attracted several sold-out crowds, he said.

“It seems New Yorkers are really hungry to get back into the theater,” Binder said. “I feel very optimistic and excited.”


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