Philly Live Arts announces 2010 line-up

The 14th annual Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, which runs from September 3 – 182010, will showcase 18 cutting-edge programs featuring over 35 original dance, theater, and music works by acclaimed U.S. artists from Philadelphia and New York, along with internationally recognized artists from France, China, and Ireland. With 12 World and 2 U.S. premieres and a long-term commitment to the development of new work, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival serves as a platform for both world renowned and newly emerging contemporary artists. Each year, the Festival presents innovative and highly interdisciplinary performing arts events, offering a snapshot of trends at the forefront of the international performing arts scene.

Tickets will go on sale beginning mid-May at A full schedule as well as tickets for the Philly Fringe, the unfiltered Festival, where new and established artists of all disciplines produce their own work, will be available in July.

“The 2010 Live Arts Festival line-up features a broad spectrum of contemporary movement, experimental theater and music, and boundary-breaking performing arts,” says Producing Artistic Director Nick Stuccio. “The centerpiece event of this year’s Festival will be the exquisite DANCE, created by three titans of contemporary art – Lucinda ChildsPhilip Glass, and Sol Lewitt. It will be a rare privilege to see the piece remounted under Childs’s own direction. We’re also stepping up our music programming with the presentation of the avant-garde Bang on a Can Marathon – an all-day marathon performance of adventurous music by composers both world-famous and obscure, performed by a line-up of over 12 ensembles. We’re beyond excited to bring these two cutting edge works to Philadelphia stages and to present over 35 original contemporary performing arts programs this year.”

Full line-up after the jump.

The 2010 Live Arts Festival brings world-class contemporary dance to Philadelphia while continuing to cultivate the work of the region’s top choreographers.  Visiting artists include the celebrated New York-based choreographer Lucinda Childs, who will present the Philadelphia premiere of her rarely performed signature work DANCE. This seminal collaboration is an exploration of human motion, musical movement, and harmony, featuring a new company of dancers seamlessly interacting with Sol LeWitt‘s film of the original cast and backed by a powerful score by Philip Glass. Originally created in 1979, the remounted performance offers a fascinating view of a pinnacle in interdisciplinary contemporary art making, generating a dialogue about postmodern dance and aesthetics 30 years ago and today.

French choreographer Jérôme Bel (The show must go on and Pichet Klunchun and Myself, ‘08) returns to the Festival with the U.S. premiere of Cédric Andrieux, a solo for the eponymous dancer Cédric Andrieux. The touching and humorous examination of the life of a dancer follows Andrieux, as he narrates and dances his way through the course of his career in this unusual performance featuring excerpts from work by Merce CunninghamTrisha BrownPhilippe Tréhet, and Bel.
The Festival continues to expand and enhance its mission to support the development of new work by local artists. With a focus on Philadelphia-based talent, the 2010 Festival will feature premieres by Marianela BoánNichole Canuso Dance Company, and Brian Sanders, along with a showcase of eight emerging choreographers.

With Decadere (“to decay” in Latin), Philadelphia-based, Cuban choreographer Marianela Boán (Voyeur, ‘07) offers a clash of music, language, humor, and violence across cultures and in a world of decline. The performance follows Boan’s “Contaminated Dance” style which radically merges different forms of art with dance performance. This U.S. premiere follows a successful international tour to the Dominican Republic and Bogotá, Colombia.

The World premiere of TAKES by Nichole Canuso Dance Company (The A.W.A.R.D. Show!, ’09 and Wandering Alice, ’08) is a genre-bending exploration of dance, installation, and cinema with performances by Canuso and collaborator Dito Van Reigersberg (of Pig Iron Theatre Company), film by Lars Jan, and music by Mike Kiley.

The visually captivating and physically daring Brian Sanders’ JUNK (Urban Scuba, ’09) will present Sanctuary, a new work exploring ritual and mistaken assumptions, performed along a 120 foot long wall with wild illusion and intense movement.

The emerging artist showcase 8 will present eight rising contemporary choreographers from the Philadelphia region who have been commissioned by the Festival to create eight major new works, performed over the course of several days. The artists are Meg FoleyEun Jung Choi-GonzalezJaamil KosokoMegan MazarickShavon NorrisOlive PrinceJumatatu Poe, and Daniele Strawmyre.


The Live Arts Festival ventures into its first large-scale music presentation with the highly anticipated Bang on a Can Marathon which will feature a collision of musical styles in a marathon performance by more than 12 ensembles from New York and Philadelphia. Bang on a Can’s performances have garnered much critical acclaim. “Imagine Lollapalooza advised by the ghost of John Cage,” says Vanity Fair. As artistically inclusive as it is audience-friendly, Bang on a Can’s annual 12-hour marathon has become one of the most diverse, open and exciting music events in the world.

“The explosion of creativity and the astounding artistic renaissance in Philadelphia has been something we’ve admired from afar for years,” says Bang on a Can Artistic Director Julia Wolfe, a Philadelphia native. “We’re big fans of Nick Stuccio and Live-Arts/Fringe. With our curatorship and Nick’s knack for exciting presentations, we want to help make Philadelphia the newest frontier for Bang on a Can’s aesthetic.”

Award-winning singer/songwriter/playwright Mark Stewart, better known by his stage name Stew, and his acclaimed band The Negro Problem, will perform a special one-night-only engagement during the Festival. Stew is the creator of the Obie-, Drama Desk- and Tony Award-winning Broadway rock musical Passing Strange, with lyrics and book by Stew and music and orchestrations by Stew and Heidi Rodewald. The highly praised musical was brought to a nationwide audience in the 2009 Spike Lee-directed film of the same name. Stew and The Negro Problem will perform pieces from Passing Strange and Stew’s upcoming new work, Brooklyn Suite which will premiere at BAM’s 2010 Next Wave Festival.

The Festival, in a co-presentation with Eastern State Penitentiary, will feature a concert by jazz composer and pianist Vijay Iyer at Eastern State Penitentiary, where Iyer will play within the art installation Release, for which he created the music. Curated by Julie CourtneyRelease is a collaboration between Iyer and filmmaker Bill Morrison who turned newly found archival footage of the 1930 release of the notorious criminal Al Capone into a 12-minute film. As a separate event, Morrison’s lauded film Decasia will be screened at the Penitentiary during the Live Arts Festival. Vijay Iyer’s most recent album Historicity was named #1 Jazz Album of 2009 in the New York Times, NPR, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the Village Voice Annual Critics Poll, while Bill Morrison’s films and videos have been screened in theaters, museums, and concert halls worldwide.


2010 marks another important year for innovative contemporary theater at the Live Arts Festival. Actors, musicians, puppeteers, and video artists are collaborating across disciplines to create some of their most imaginative and provocative work to-date.
Festival veterans New Paradise Laboratories (FATEBOOK, ’09 and BATCH, ‘07) join forces with the New York-based Riot Group (Hearts of Man, ‘07) for the U.S. premiere of FREEDOM CLUB, a theatrical performance examining separatist cults and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The production features a combined cast of NPL company members McKenna KerriganJeb Kreager and Mary McCool, with Riot Group regulars Drew FriedmanPaul SchnabelStephanie Viola, and playwrightAdriano Shaplin.

For the first time in Pig Iron Theatre Company’s (Welcome to Yuba City, ’09 and Isabella, ’07) history, the company will present a production geared towards audiences of all ages with the World premiere of Cankerblossom, a dark fairytale for kids aged 9 to 90. Directed by Pig Iron’s Dan Rothenberg in collaboration with West Philly-based cardboard artist and puppeteer Beth Nixon, the imaginative theatrical adventure explores the world of fairytales with humor, darkness, and wonder. The Obie Award-winning Philadelphia-based company has been praised by The New York Times as, “One of the few groups successfully taking theater in new directions.”

The Festival will see three modern interpretations of literary touchstones by Ernest Hemingway, Samuel Beckett, and William Shakespeare. The internationally recognized New York-based theater troupe Elevator Repair Service returns to the Festival with Ernest Hemingway’s acclaimed classic novel The Sun Also Rises in a striking, highly-anticipated U.S. premiere. The company’s ambitious Gatz, an enactment of The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s American masterpiece, hit the Live Arts stage in 2007 and was hailed by The New York Times as, “One of the most exciting and improbable accomplishments in theater in recent years.”
The work of Samuel Beckett, the Nobel Prize-winning Irish avant-garde writer and dramatist widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, will be performed by Irish-born actor and foremost Beckett interpreter Conor Lovett in the Philadelphia premiere of First Love. Lovett will offer a devastatingly funny, tragic, and vicious solo performance of Beckett’s early novella.

In Romeo and Juliet, the Obie Award-winning Nature Theater of Oklahoma presents an ingenious and hilarious exploration of skewed memory. The New York-based theater company attempts to retell Romeo and Juliet, one of Shakespeare’s most produced plays, using the collected recollections of regular people in a production that goes wildly off course from the original version of the play.

Philadelphia-based theater artist Charlotte Ford (Welcome to Yuba City, ’09; Flesh and Blood and Fish and Fowl, ’08) presents the World premiere of CHICKEN, an absurdist three-person clown play that meets a culture of fear head on.

Simultaneously a foreign film, theatrical play, epic history, and telenovela, Lucidity Suitcase Intercontinental (Flamingo Winnebago, ‘07 and Philly Fringe’s Microworlds Part #1, ‘09) presents the visually stunning one-man tour-de-force ¡El Conquistador!. Conceived and performed by Thaddeus Phillips in collaboration with Colombia’s leading TV actor and director, Victor Mallarino, this vivid picture of contemporary Latin America was created on location in Bogotá, Colombia and centers around Polonio, a peasant who flees his war-ravaged village to become a soap opera star.

The Festival welcomes Danny Yung, China’s pre-eminent experimental theater artist, who will present a series of three lectures about the experiences of Chinese artists visiting the West. Mixing conversation, live demonstration, and video, Yung will reflect on the significant Chinese opera artists who have paid visits to the West, how these visits influence the development of the performing arts, and how it inspired his own recent theater works.


The Festival will offer numerous opportunities for audiences to learn more about the artists’ work through post-show discussions with the artists and the Festival Plusprogram, which will host a series of panel discussions about contemporary performing arts.

FEASTIVAL, the organization’s inaugural benefit will be held on Wednesday, September 15, 2010 at the Festival Hub (SW Corner of 5th and Fairmount Streets). The gala will feature Live Arts Festival performances, a silent and live auction, and a feast of culinary samplings from more than thirty the city’s top chefs and restaurants, including FEASTIVAL co-hosts Audrey Claire TaichmanMichael Solomonov, and Stephen Starr. All FEASTIVAL proceeds will benefit the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival & Philly Fringe.

Each night of the Festival will end at The Festival Bar, a unique experiential venue which premiered at the 2008 Festival. Against a backdrop of artist installations, The Festival Bar serves as a versatile after-hours space for Festival goers to interact with artists, socialize with one another, grab a cocktail and enjoy delicious food, music and more at the end of each Festival day.

A full schedule of additional festival events, performance dates, times, and locations will be announced soon.

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