Encores! Off-Center 2018 season revealed
Songs for a New World, Gone Missing & Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope will be presented at New York City Center in summer 2018.
Encores! Off-Center Co-Artistic Directors Anne Kauffman and Jeanine Tesori have now revealed details for the Encores! Off-Center 2018 season, which will begin with a production of Tony Award winner Jason Robert Brown's first musical Songs for a New World from June 27 to 30 on New York City Center's Mainstage and conclude with Micki Grant and Vinnette Carroll's Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope from July 25 to 28, 2018.
The centrepiece of the season will be a special two-night-only tribute to the late composer and Off-Center artistic director Michael Friedman, whose life was tragically cut short in the summer of 2017. Gone Missing (which features a score by Mr. Friedman) will be staged on July 11 and 12, 2018.
Anne Kauffman released a statement, saying: “We wanted to celebrate the profound vision of our friend and colleague Michael Friedman, who is sorely missed. Represented by this 2003 work with The Civilians, we’re certain that Michael’s voice will continue to break open what musical theater can be and inspire audiences and artists for decades to come.”
Jeanine Tesori added: “This season is about the New World—songs of the moment of decision, loss and love, and the raising of the voice for change. It’s about three composer/lyricists—Jason Robert Brown, Michael Friedman, and Micki Grant—whose work shines a light on the fleeting moments of life, looking back at who we were, and forward to who we hope to become.”
Songs for a New World was created by Jason Robert Brown, in collaboration with Daisy Prince, in 1995 as "a collection of powerful songs examining life, love, and the choices ordinary people make when faced with extraordinary moments. From the deck of a 1492 Spanish sailing ship to the ledge of a Fifth Avenue high-rise, each character faces the new world which follows the unique challenge they encounter."
Gone Missing emerged in 2003, as New York City theater company The Civilians interviewed real people about the physical objects they’d lost in real life—keys, a sapphire ring, a Gucci pump. The resulting wry and whimsical docu-musical was written and directed by Steven Cosson (featuring a fresh and breezy score by Michael Friedman) and presents a very personal account of how we deal with loss in our lives.
Finally, Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope is a 1971 work, originally conceived and directed by Vinnette Carroll, featuring music and lyrics by Micki Grant. The pair had frequently collaborated, staging a total of nine musicals for Urban Arts Corps. This radical offering is described as "a celebration of African-American culture and community, presenting the issues of race politics in America through a lively mix of song and dance with a score that includes gospel, jazz, soul, calypso and rock." Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope won a Grammy Award for "Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album" and earned four Tony Award nominations, including "Best Musical".
Founded in 2013, Encores! Off-Center's mission is to present Off-Broadway musicals that pushed creative boundaries when they were originally produced. Filtered through the lens of today’s artists, these shows are presented not as historical documents but as living, vital revivals that speak to audiences both old and new.