NEWS RELEASE: Pace Performing Arts Launches the New Works Initiative on April 27 with the AGEE/EVANS PROJECT

The New Works Initiative (NWI), a project of PACE PERFORMING ARTS, launches this weekend with a developmental workshop of THE AGEE/EVANS PROJECT featuring words by Molly Rice, music by Stephanie Johnstone and directed by Rachel Chavkin. Three performances will be held at Pace University’s Lower Manhattan Campus across from City Hall at 8:00pm on Friday/April 27, Saturday/April 28 and Sunday/April 29 in the Layton Student Union, B-Level (use the side entrance at 3 Spruce Street). (Left: Rachel Chavkin).

PACE PERFORMING ARTS Launches the New Works Initiative on April 27 with the AGEE/EVANS PROJECT

Be among the first to see the latest from Rachel Chavkin, Founding Artistic Director – The TEAM, 2011 – 2012 Drama League Award Nominee, Distinguished Production of a Musical for Mission Drift.

NEW YORK, NY, April 27, 2012 – The New Works Initiative (NWI), a project of PACE PERFORMING ARTS, launches this weekend with a developmental workshop of THE AGEE/EVANS PROJECT featuring words by Molly Rice, music by Stephanie Johnstone and directed by Rachel Chavkin. Three performances will be held at Pace University’s Lower Manhattan Campus across from City Hall at 8:00pm on Friday/April 27, Saturday/April 28 and Sunday/April 29 in the Layton Student Union, B-Level (use the side entrance at 3 Spruce Street).

Inspired by James Agee and Walker Evans’ now-classic 1936 work Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, The AGEE/EVANS PROJECT is a music-drenched chronicle of Agee and Evans’ descent into the nightmarish existence of three Alabama sharecropping families.  It explores Agee’s tendency to simultaneously grieve, fetishize, and exalt abject need; the seepage of Walker’s subjective vision into his seemingly objective images; and the deeply wounded relationship between America’s “haves” and “have-nots.”

Pace NWI is dedicated to the development and production of new original works for the American theatre and dance world. Pace Performing Arts aims to be a home where the American professional performance community can experiment with and develop exciting new professional work that incorporates theater, musical theater and dance students.

Each year through a national submission process, one NWI project is chosen for workshop development on Pace University campus.  The professional creative team of the selected project (one to four artists) is supported through artist fees, travel and accommodations (if necessary), dedicated rehearsal space(s), stage management support and an auditioned student cast.  In addition to receiving an “artist fee,” the principal artist of the team may be invited to teach as an adjunct instructor during the semester he/she is on campus developing the work.

“AGEE/EVANS” CREATIVE TEAM

Rachel Chavkin (Director) is the founder and artistic director of the TEAM (the Theater of the Emerging American Moment), a NYC-based theater company that creates new work to dissect and celebrate the experience of living in America today. With the TEAM, she has directed/co-authored Particularly in the Heartland, A Thousand Natural Shocks, Give Up! Start Over!, Howl, based on the poem by Allen Ginsberg, and Architecting, produced by the National Theater of Scotland.  Other directing work includes All the Great Books (Abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (Hangar Theater), Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya (Classic Stage Company), the NYC revival of Kurt Vonnegut’s Happy Birthday, Wanda June, and the upcoming Three Pianos at New York Theater Workshop. Rachel is an Artistic Associate at Classic Stage Company, a New Georges affiliated artist, a member of the Women’s Project Lab, and a Drama League alumnus. She teaches directing & performance at Playwrights Horizons Theater School within NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and performance at Pace University. She earned her BFA at NYU, and her MFA at Columbia University.

Molly Rice’s (Book Writer) works include Don’t Stop, Hiroshima 2010: The Apology Module, Watch, Texas Diner Diptych, and the original musicals Saint Enid and the Black Hand, The Mercury Sloop and Canary (music with Ray Rizzo). Her play The Saints Tour has been produced in Louisville, KY and NYC (starring Taylor Mac) in collaboration with Motherlodge Live Arts Exchange, the Salvation Army, HERE Arts Center, Cherry Lane Theater, Judson Church, and over 20 musicians and artists.  She is the book writer of FUTURITY, a musical by Brooklyn band The Lisps produced at American Repertory Theater and the Walker Center in 2012.  She teaches at Brown University and Marymount Manhattan College.

Stephanie Johnston’s (Composer) was selected as the youngest member of the New Dramatists’ Guild’s Composer/Librettist Studio in 2006.  Music theater works include: TULLY (IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER) (New York Musical Theater Festival 2007, for which she was awarded for Excellence in Music), THANKSGIVING!  A!  PAGEANT!  (AdNauseum Lyceum) and THE APOSTLE PROJECT (Theater Mitu/NYTW).  Future projects include “A Musical Fantasia On Piratical Themes” (in collaboration with Joshua William Gelb), a song cycle about the end of the world, and an opera for Heather Christian.

ABOUT DYSON COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCE’S PERFORMING ARTS PROGRAMS AT PACE UNIVERSITY:

Undergraduate: Dyson’s Performing Arts Department (PAD) offers Bachelor of Fine Arts Degrees in Acting and in Musical Theater and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Arts with specialized focuses in Acting, Directing, Commercial Dance or Design/Technical Theater. On average, there are 1,000 applicants for every 100 new openings each year. PAD presents over 50 performances every year. Performance spaces range from the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts, Schaeberle (black box) Theater, and Studio 501, home to many student-directed productions. http://www.pace.edu/dyson/academic-departments-and-programs/performing-arts

Graduate: The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University is the only MFA theater program officially sanctioned by The Actors Studio. The entire faculty is chosen and approved – and the curriculum is designed and supervised – by the leadership of The Actors Studio through its Curriculum Advisory Committee, including the Presidents of The Actors Studio, Ellen Burstyn, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino. All of the students — actors, directors, and playwrights – train side-by-side as actors. All students participate in the Craft Seminars known to the world as the Bravo Network television series, “Inside the Actors Studio,” hosted by James Lipton. Upon graduation students receive the title of Working Finalist at The Actors Studio and are invited to attend sessions of The Actors Studio for one year and audition for membership.  For further information about the program, go to www.pace.edu/actorsstudiomfa

About Pace University For over 100 years, Pace has produced thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

Media Contact: Cara Cea, ccea@pace.edu, 914-906-9680.

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