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'Cats' revival among inaugural season at PAC NYC

The new performance venue, formally known as the Perelman Performing Arts Center, is located at the World Trade Center complex and will open in September.

Gillian Russo
Gillian Russo

The new performance space PAC NYC has announced its inaugural slate of artistic programming. Titled in full the Perelman Center for the Performing Arts, the venue will open its doors in September within the World Trade Center complex.

The venue will host a diverse variety of live performances including musicals, operas, plays, concerts, comedy shows, dance performances, and more. One notable highlight of the season is a revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber's groundbreaking dance musical Cats in summer 2024. This reimagined production is set amid New York ballroom culture, a dance pageant movement pioneered by the African American and Latino LGBT community in the late 20th century.

Other season highlights include the world premiere of Like They Do in The Movies, a one-man show by Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor Laurence Fishburne, and the New York premiere of An American Soldier, a new opera co-written by Tony Award winner David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly).

Additionally, PAC NYC will host a speaker series featuring celebrities including Kerry Washington, Jada Pinkett Smith, and more.

Read on to discover the full slate of PAC NYC performances taking place between September 2023 and July 2024.

Refuge: A Concert Series to Welcome the World and other concerts

This five-night concert series from September 19-23 will mark the grand opening of PAC NYC, and all five events will be pay-what-you-wish. The central theme of all the concerts is refuge, and they will feature a variety of musicians from around the world.

Additional concert programming includes a recital by Easter Island pianist Mahani Teave (September 28), an evening with Tony-winning performer Brian Stokes Mitchell (October 5), and Circle Songs: A Holiday Concert Series from December 20-23. A different artist or group will perform each night, and they are, in order: Anthony Roth Costanzo & Friends, Toshi Reagon, Time For Three, and Broadway performers and real-life spouses Orfeh and Andy Karl.

Musical theatre and opera

Below is the full list of PAC NYC's musical theatre and opera programming.

  • Watch Night (November 3-18): This world-premiere event explores justice and forgiveness through spirituals, percussive breath, fiery opera, and slam poetry. Tony Award winner Bill T. Jones co-conceives, directs, and choreographs. The creative team also includes co-conceiver and book writer Marc Bamuthi Joseph, composer Tamar-kali, and dramaturg Lauren Whitehead.
  • Number Our Days (April 12-14): This multimedia oratorio is based on Jamie Livingston’s “Photo of the Day” series about technology, memory, and community. The creative team includes composer Luna Pearl Woolf, conceiver and librettist David Van Taylor, conductor Kamna Gupta, and director Ty Defoe.
  • An American Soldier (May 12-19): This new opera by composer Huang Ruo and Tony Award-winning librettist David Henry Hwang is based on the true story of U.S. Private Danny Chen. Chay Yew directs and Carolyn Kuan conducts its New York premiere.
  • Cats (June - July 2024): The season ends with a reimagined revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s modern classic dance musical. This production takes place within the dance-rich setting of New York ballroom culture. Zhailon Levingston and Bill Rauch co-direct, Arturo Lyons and Omari Wiles co-choreograph, and Josephine Kearns is the dramaturg and gender consultant.

Plays and comedy shows

Here are the non-musical plays and comedy shows going up at PAC this season.

  • The Following Evening (February 1-18, 2024): Two theatremaking couples from different generations depict couples creating what may be their last performance together after a lifetime in experimental theatre groups. Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet of Talking Band, and Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone of 600 Highwaymen, will perform.
  • Between Two Knees (February 3-24): The Indigenous sketch comedy group The 1491s (featured in Reservation Dogs) presents this play spanning 90 years in the life of a fictional Native American family. Eric Ting (The Far Country) directs.
  • Good Medicine (February 9): This all-Native stand-up showcase features Indigenous comedians from across the country and is curated and hosted by Jackie Keliiaa.
  • Like They Do in The Movies (March 10-31): Tony and Emmy winner Laurence Fishburne presents the world premiere of his own one-man show. Leonard Foglia directs.

Dance

Discover all the dance programming taking place at PAC NYC this season.

  • Is It Thursday Yet? (December 8-23): Jenn Freeman created and performs this dance work, which also features live music and home video footage, about her neurodivergent journey. Tony Award winner Sonya Tayeh (Moulin Rouge! The Musical) is the co-creator, co-choreographer, and director, and Holland Andrews is the composer and a performer.
  • March by Big Dance Theater (December 10-16): This three-part contemporary dance program explores the human desire to move together in time. Tendayi Kuumba and Annie-B Parson of David Byrne's American Utopia are co-choreographers along with Donna Uchizono.
  • Motion/Matter: Street Dance Festival (January 5-14): This festival celebrates street dance movements from New York City and around the world with DJs, dance battles, and concert dance premieres.

Conversations at PAC NYC

The venue will present the speaker series Conversations at PAC NYC with famous celebrities, artists, and more. Participating artists include Kerry Washington on September 26, Jada Pinkett Smith on October 16, and Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush on November 13.

A one-night event in the series, Conversations at PAC NYC: American Prophet, will also take place in spring 2024, with director and writer Charles Randolph-Wright and Grammy Award-winning composer, lyricist, and writer Marcus Hummon performing material from their new musical American Prophet: Frederick Douglass In His Own Words. They will also host a conversation with two direct descendants of abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

More speakers for the Conversations at PAC NYC series are to be announced.

Photo credit: Omari Wiles, Arturo Lyons, Bill Rauch, and Zhailon Levingston. (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

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