World Premieres, US Premieres and US Debuts Highlight Festival Entertainment

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Original text by Kia Corthron, Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux, and Regina TaylorScenic & Costume Design by James Schuette
Lighting by Brian Scott
Sound design by Andrew Cotton and Christian Frederickson
Choreography by Barney O’Hanlon
“Steel Hammer” Julia Wolfe and SITI Company Bang on a Can All-Stars. Photo by Richard Termine

By Karen Isaacs

 Music, Theater, Dance – innovative, new, thought provoking – are the lynchpins of the International Festival of Arts & Idea that runs all around New Haven and some suburban locations from Friday, June 10 to Saturday, June 25. The line-up includes two world premieres and eight US premieres including works commissioned or co-commissioned by the Festival. It will also introduce audiences to some making their first visits to the U.S.

The opening weekend starts off with a theatrical event, and two headliner concerts on the New Haven Green.  From Scotland comes the American premiere of Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour. The musical – with music from Handel, Back and 70s classic rock — is about a group of Catholic school girls on, as the brochure says, “the cusp of change.” The show started at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and is heading for London’s west end.  It’s at the Yale Rep and runs through Saturday, June 25. Among those involved in the creation of the work is the writer of Billy Eliot and the musical director of Once. It’s not recommended for teens under 15.

George Clinton, the Godfather of Funk takes the mainstage on the Green with Parliament Funkadelic on Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m. He is known for twisting soul music into funk using driving bass and jazz like rhythms. While Clinton has performed in the area before, this time it is free.

The first weekend concludes with a Sunday evening concert by Lila Downs on the Green. The multiple Grammy winner and her band takes traditional Mexican music and infuses Latin-American hip-hop, jazz, blues and klezmer influences.

MacArthur Fellow and choreographer Kyle Abraham and his company presents Abraham.In.Motion with live music composed by Grammy-winner Robert Glasper. Glasper reimagines several works by Max Roach. The performances are Tuesday, June 14 to Thursday, June 16 at Yale’s University Theater.

Page12 The Bookbinder; Trick of the Light Theatre; Philip Merry Axolotl Photography; International Festival of Arts & Ideas 2016_edited
The Bookbinder. Photo by Phillip Merry/ Axoloti Photography

Another multiple Grammy winner, Marie Schneider and her orchestra will perform the work co-commissioned by the Festival on Wednesdat June 15 at the Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall. Her work is described as blurring the lines between big-band jazz, poetry and chamber music.

Beginning Thursdat, June 16 and running until Saturday, June 18 is Steel Hammer. This is the newest collaboration between Pulitzer Prize winning composer Julia Wolfe, the multiple Obie award winning SITI company and the New York ensemble Bang on Can All-Stars. Steel Hammer explores the legend of John Henry, an African-American hero and folk legend as “a steel driving railroad man.” The work combines music, the spoken word, movement, dance and percussion.

The Bookbinder, an American premiere from the New Zealand based Trick of Light Theatre is described as tell a story of mystery, magic and mayhem. It concerns a young man who goes to work for a bookbinder and the books come to life. Teens and older children might enjoy this production that include puppetry, music, paper art and more. It’s at the Yale Center for British Art from Friday, June 17 to Sunday, June 19.

Another American premier is the intriguing sound The Money that will be performed at the Quinnipack Club from Saturday, June 18 to Saturday, June 25. The brochure describes this Kaleider Production as “the clock is ticking as players come together around a table to decide how to spend a pot of money.” You can choose to participate or observe.

The Green will feature 47Soul and M.A.K.U Soundsystem on Saturday, June 18. 47 Soul is making its US premier; they are from the Middle East. M.A.K.U Soundsystem is described as a NYC immigrant band with roots in Columbia.

Three hot Polish jazz groups are making their American debuts with The Bang on a Can All-Stars on Sunday, June 19 at Yale’s University Theater. The jazz groups: Marcin Wasilewski Trio, Obara International Quartet and Piotr Damasiewica Quintet perform at 1 p.m. with the Bang on the Can All-Stars at 3:15. Tickets are available for either performance or a package.

Red Baraat hits the Green stage on Sunday, June 19. This group should appeal to all ages with its performance of North Indian, funk, go-go, Latin and jazz rhythms.

Another event that will appeal to families is Air Play, which is described as a comic adventure on an epic scale. It features flying umbrella, larger-than-life balloons, kites and what is billed as the largest snow globe you’ve ever scene. It is at Yale’s University Theater from Tuesday, June 21 to Saturday, June 25.

The Yale School of Drama is collaborating with Dmitry Krymov Lab for the world premiere of Square Root of “Three Sisters.”  It’s described as a remix of Chekhovian themes and is the first English language production. It’s at the Iseman Theater from Tuesday, June 21 to Saturday, June 25.

Another world premier which is co-commissioned by the Festival is Some of a Thousand Words developed by two top-notch dancers that come from different aspects of the art. Wendy Whelan, former principal dancer from the New York City Ballet has worked with choreographer Brian Brooks to create a series of solos and duets. Brooklyn Rider’s musical stylings are an important component.  It’s at the Shubert Theater on Thursday and Friday, June 23 and 24.

The Festival concludes with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra under maestro William Boughton performing alongside Cirque Mechanics. It’s free at 7 p.m. on the Green on Saturday, June 25. It promises to wrap up the festival with a dazzling display of music, acrobats, cyclists and one-of-a-kind machines.

For information and tickets visit

This content is courtesy of Shore Publications and

Page17 Air Play; Florence Montmare; International Festival of Arts & Ideas 2016_edited
Air Play. Photo by Florence Montmare.

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