Frances McDormand and Suzzy Roche to Perform at Shaker Museum Gala

Frances McDormand

(NEW LEBANON, N.Y.) –  Frances McDormand and Suzzy Roche, members of the experimental theater collective The Wooster Group, will perform at the Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon gala on Saturday, August 19.

McDormand ?and Roche, along with director Kate Valk, will present an excerpt from? Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation, a performance based on the record album of the same name recorded by the Sisters of the Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Shaker Community in 1976.

Early Shaker Spirituals: A Record Album Interpretation ?premiered at The Performing Garage in New York City in 2014. The New York Times?called the performance “profoundly affecting…. a kind of phantasmal possession of the present by the past or, if you prefer, the eternal.”

“I’m especially pleased to honor these exceptional women in this centennial year of women’s suffrage in New York State,” said Lacy Schutz, the museum’s executive director. “The Shakers placed equality at the heart of their theology and of all the Shakers’ progressive values, it is gender equality especially that Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon will be celebrating and exploring during this summer season.”

Frances McDormand is the recipient of an Academy Award for Best Actress (Fargo), a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play (Good People), and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress (Olive Kittredge).

Suzzy Roche is a musician and actress who made ten albums as a member of The Roches as well as several solo albums.

Kate Valk is a founding member of The Wooster Group, which has been creating experimental theater for more than 40 years.

Suzzy Roche (photo Andrew Cohen)

McDormand said, “I am deeply committed to supporting the memory of Shaker belief, crafts, and archives. The performance piece that we, The Wooster Group, have been performing for the past three years has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my professional life.”

McDormand cited the dictum of Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers: “Do all your work as if you had a thousand years to live and as you would if you knew you must die tomorrow,” and said, “This is how I approach my work, especially with The Wooster Group. And, I dare say, our company all shares this belief of Mother Ann’s.”

The benefit will be held on the grounds of the North Family historic site at Mount Lebanon Shaker Village next to the iconic Great Stone Barn, originally constructed in 1859, in New Lebanon, N.Y. A cocktail reception will be held inside the vault of the Barn, followed by dinner catered by The Farmer’s Wife of Ancramdale, and a live auction. Individual tickets will go on sale after May 1; various levels of sponsorship are available for purchase now by visiting Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon.

Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon stewards the historic site in New Lebanon, New York, which is open from June to October and offers tours, exhibitions, and public programs. The museum also has a campus in Old Chatham, New York, open year-round by appointment, where the administrative offices, collections, library, and archives are housed. The museum’s collection of over 56,000 Shaker items is the most comprehensive collection of its kind in the world. Visit Shaker Museum | Mount Lebanon for more information.





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