The Coterie, a new downtown company devoted to developing contemporary music theater works, will launch with a concert at Joe's Pub on September 21st, 2009 at 9:30pm. Chuck Cooper (Tony Award winner for The Life), Theresa McCarthy (Floyd Collins, Titanic), Morgan James (Bernstein's Mass at Carnegie Hall, The Addams Family), David Adam Moore (Candide at La Scala, Soldier Songs), Amy Justman (Company), Cyrilla Baer (The Adding Machine), Andrew Nolen (The Wooster Group's La Didone), and Christopher Burchett (Jenufa at Glimmerglass) will interpret the music of composers-in-residence David T. Little (Soldier Songs), Jeff Myers (The Hunger Art), and Rachel Peters (Stretch [a fantasia]) and librettist Royce Vavrek. The evening will also feature songs by Vavrek with composers Cristian Amigo, Mark Baechle, Andrew Gerle (Meet John Doe), and Matt Marks (The Little Death).
The Coterie, founded by Royce Vavrek and Lauren Worsham, aims to nurture eclectic 21st century music theater by commissioning, developing, and offering full productions of contemporary work. The evening will highlight material from three operas-in-progress with libretti by Royce Vavrek: arias from David T. Little's Dog Days (described as "melodic and shapely" by The New York Times following its May 2009 presentation as part of Dawn Upshaw and Osvaldo Golijov's Young Artists Concert at Carnegie Hall), which investigates the psychology of a working class American family against the backdrop of a not-so-distant-future wartime; world premiere selections from Prairie Dogs, the second in a triptych of short operas by Rachel Peters featuring a child whose fantasies spiral out of control in her bungalow bedroom; and scenes from Maren of Vardø, an unlikely love story between a twelve year-old girl and Satan in the bitter cold of Norway's northernmost municipality, by Jeff Myers.
Steven Malone will serve as the event's musical director and pianist. He will be joined onstage by guitarist James Moore, violinist Yuki Numata, and cellist Kevin McFarland.
Royce Vavrek (Artistic Director/Librettist) is a multi-disciplinary narrative artist originally from Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. Scenes from his opera Dog Days (with composer David T. Little) were presented at Carnegie Hall this past May as part of Osvaldo Golijov and Dawn Upshaw's Young Artists Concert; a new aria from the work was premiered at Galapagos Arts Space as part of American Opera Projects' "Opera Grows in Brooklyn". As a Resident Artist with American Lyric Theater, Vavrek wrote the libretti for Nora at the Altar-Rail and The Hunger Art, both presented by ALT at Peter Norton Symphony Space. Film credits include writing/directing "From Sky and Soil" (CORUS Young Filmmakers Initiative), "I Will Not Be Sad Anymore" (QCFI No Sweat competition winner) and "Pig and Bear" (Frigid Fest NY). Graduate of Concordia University's Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and New York University's Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program. Upcoming: Four Beauties (with Jay Anthony Gach), The Bear Dance (with Nick Martin).
Lauren Worsham (Executive Director) is an actor and singer. She is currently performing the role of Cinderella in the Moises Kaufman directed production of Into the Woods at Kansas City Repertory Theater. She has appeared in New York as Cunegonde in New York City Opera's Candide and in Jerry Springer: The Opera (Ensemble) at Carnegie Hall. She also performed the role of Olive in the first National tour of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Lauren has participated in workshops and readings of Picnic at Hanging Rock at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, Mermaid in the Jar and The Chemist's Wife at Tisch, Le Fou at New Georges and Mirror, Mirror at Playwrights Horizons. Her regional theatre credits include Master Class (Sophie) at Paper Mill Playhouse, The Light in the Piazza (Clara) at Weston Playhouse, and The Fantasticks (Luisa) at Emelin Theatre. Lauren is the 2009 2nd place award winner of the Kurt Weill Foundation's Lotte Lenya competition. She graduated cum laude from Yale University, with a B.A. in Spanish Literature.