(NORTH ADAMS, Mass.) – Obie Award-winning writer Kirsten Childs’ “Buffalo Bella: An American Tall Tale,” a musical exploring the African-American experience in the Old West, is one of three new musical theater projects that will be presented in Club B10 at MASS MoCA on Saturday, November 14, at 8pm, as part of the annual Sundance Institute Theatre Lab residency gathering top-tier dramatic artists and including work-in-progress performances for audiences. This year’s participants tackle themes from the underbelly of American life, exploring race, love and politics.
Also being shown are parts of “Clandestino,” by Cory Hinkle, Victoria Stewart, Jeremy Wilhelm, and David Wilhelm, a dramatic investigation of immigration reform, small-town politics, and religious fundamentalism within the context of the 2008 ICE raid of Agriprocessors, Inc., a Kosher slaughterhouse in Postville, Iowa, and an untitled new musical by Tony Award-winning composer-lyricist Adam Guettel and Obie Award-winning bookwriter Craig Lucas (“The Light in the Piazza”) based on a 1958 teleplay about a love affair between two average Americans, torpedoed by alcoholism.
In “Buffalo Bella: An American Tall Tale,” Isabella (“Bella”) Patterson boards a train west to reunite with her Buffalo soldier sweetheart, and encounters the most colorful and lively characters ever to roam the Western plains. Directed by Robert O’Hara and musical director Darryl G. Ivey.
“Clandestino” uses the real-life events of the largest immigration raid in U.S history and incorporates a live score that draws on Jewish traditions, Guatemalan folk music, and a few local news theme songs. At MASS MoCA, the team works to generate a musical score.
The Theatre Program has been a core component of Sundance Institute since Robert Redford founded the Institute in 1981. The Theatre Program identifies and assists emerging theatre artists, contributes to the creative growth of established artists, and encourages and supports the development of new work for the stage.
Under the guidance of Artistic Director Philip Himberg and Producing Director Christopher Hibma, the Theatre Program is one of the leading play development programs in the United States. Titles such as Appropriate, Fun Home, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Circle Mirror Transformation, An Iliad, The Lily’s Revenge, The Good Negro, The Light in the Piazza, Passing Strange, Stuck Elevator, Spring Awakening, The Laramie Project, and I Am My Own Wife have gone from Theatre Program Labs to production from coast to coast and internationally, garnering multiple Pulitzers, Tonys, OBIEs, and other recognition.
The Theatre Program’s International Initiative currently offers Labs, cross-cultural exchange, mentorship and exposure to artists primarily from the Middle East and North Africa and continuing support for artists in six East African countries. The Theatre Program’s newest initiatives are the Theatre Directors Retreat in Arles France and the Writers Playwrights Studio at Flying Point.
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Fun Home.
MASS MoCA is one of the world’s liveliest (and largest) centers for making and enjoying today’s most important art, music, dance, theater, film, and video. Hundreds of works of visual and performing art have been created on its 19th-century factory campus during fabrication and rehearsal residencies, making MASS MoCA among the most productive sites in the country for the creation and presentation of new art. More platform than box, MASS MoCA strives to bring to its audiences art experiences that are fresh, engaging, and transformative.
MASS MoCA’s galleries are open 11am to 5pm every day except Tuesdays, through spring 2016. The Hall Art Foundation’s Anselm Kiefer exhibition is open seasonally, through November 30, weather permitting. Gallery admission is $18 for adults, $16 for veterans and seniors, $12 for students, $8 for children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under. Members are admitted free year-round. For additional information, call 413.662.2111 x1 or visit MASS MoCA.