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Friday, 12 August 2011 11:26

ARIAS WITH A TWIST Sets Opening Night for Sep 18 at Abrons Arts Center








Abrons Arts Center and Barbara Busackino have set the opening night for the highly anticipated NYC return of Arias with a Twist for Sunday, September 18 at Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street).  The four-week limited engagement of this bigger-than-life cabinet of curiosities will begin on Wednesday, September 14 and play through Saturday, October 15.  Arias with a Twist was created by seductive songstress Joey Arias, who stars, and Basil Twist, who directs and designs. Tickets range from $25- $65 and are available online at, or by phoning (212) 352-3101 Abrons Arts Centeris located at 466 Grand Street, between Pitt Street and Bialystoker Street on New York City’s Lower East Side.

Arias with a Twist had its world premiere at HERE Arts Center on June 19, 2008 and played an 8-month, critically-acclaimed, extended, sold-out run.  Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote, "Eat your heart out, Madonna. The chanteuses who play Madison Square Garden and football stadiums have never experienced the imaginative heights of spectacle with which Basil Twist surrounds Joey Arias."  The show then played an international tour including stops in Los Angeles, Stockholm & Paris.

This updated version of the original deliriously madcap fantasy once again features the soaring song stylings of demented diva Joey Arias surrounded by an eye-popping theatrical extravaganza conjured by a team of puppeteers under the direction of Basil Twist.  Channeling lurid celluloid dreams, macabre nightmares and bizarre premonitions, the adventure begins with an alien abduction and concludes with a stupendous Busby Berkeley-esque finale.  Along the way, the throaty chanteuse belts out pop, rock and jazz standards – in addition to some original tunes by Alex Gifford – as Twist and company work their magic with vintage marionettes, anatomically correct puppets and fantastical scenic elements.

Arias with a Twist features costumes designed by renowned fashion and fragrance designer Thierry Manfred Mugler, andcostume execution by Manfred and Chris March of "Project Runway" fame.  The lighting design is by Ayumu “Poe” Saegusa, sound design is by Greg Duffin and projection design is byDaniel Brodie.  The production combines projected animation, exquisite puppetry and ingenious stagecraft for an exhilarating and unprecedented theatrical spectacle not to be missed.

The official opening night for the NYC return of hit sensation Arias with a Twist, created by Basil Twist and Joey Arias, is set for Sunday, September 18 at the Abrons Arts Center (466 Grand Street, between Pitt Street and Bialystoker Street).  The theatrical extravaganza returns to NYC for a limited four-week engagement from Wednesday, September 14 – Saturday, October 15. The performance schedule is as follows: Wednesday – Friday at 8pm; Saturday at 8pm and 10:30pm; Sunday at 7pm.  Tickets, ranging from $25- $65, are available online at, or by phoning (212) 352-3101.  For more information, please visit

BASIL TWIST (Puppeteer, Director, Designer)

Basil Twist is originally from San Francisco and is a third generation puppeteer who lives and works in New York City.  He is the sole American graduate of the Ecole Superieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionnette in Charleville-Mezieres, France, one of the world's premiere puppetry training programs.  Original creations include The Araneidae ShowSymphonie FantastiqueDogugaeshiBehind the Lid andArias with a Twist.  Collaborations include multiple productions with Mabou Mines, playwright Paula Vogel, in the dance world with Joe Goode Performance Group, Jane Comfort Company and Pilobolous Dance Company, on Broadway with The Addams Family Musical and The Pee Wee Herman Show, and on screen with the third Harry Potter film. He was recently the production designer of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Comedie Francaise in Paris.  He has conceived and directed two successful operas, Ottorini Respighi’s La Bella Dormente Nel Bosco with the Gotham Chamber Opera at the Lincoln Center and Spoleto USA festivals, and Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel for the Houston and Atlanta Operas.  He adapted his award-winning version of Stravinsky’s Petrushka to concert hall staging with full orchestra for the Fort Worth and Phoenix Symphonies, and  DeFalla’s El Retablo de Maese Pedro with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Twist’s work is deeply musical in nature and since 1998 he has continually expanded the realm of puppetry by creating, nurturing and touring new works that integrate live music.  His work has been seen throughout the United States, Canada, France, Germany, England, Argentina and Japan.  He teaches and lectures regularly on music and puppetry, abstraction and puppetry, and Japanese puppetry techniques and was recently a guest lecturer of the US State Department in Saint Petersburg and Moscow.  His work has been recognized with an OBIE Award, five UNIMA Awards for Excellence in Puppetry, two Bessie Awards, a New York Innovative Theatre Award, a Drama Desk Award, and a Henry Hewes Design Award, a USA artist fellowship and a Guggenheim fellowship.  Twist is the Director of the Dream Music Puppetry Program at the HERE Arts Center

JOEY ARIAS (Performer)

A fixture of New York City's vibrant downtown performance scene for 30-plus years, Joey Arias is a bona fide NYC icon.  From his early days at Fiorrucci and performing with his close friend Klaus Nomi, Arias has been an enigmatic figure.  From outrageous performances at Club 57, Jackie 60 and Squeezebox to the now-legendary nights at Bar d'O where he held court with Raven-O and Sherry Vine, Arias distinguished himself with scandalous wit, sleek style and an extraordinary voice evocative of Lady Day yet uniquely his own.  It was no surprise when Arias was tapped by Cirque du Soleil to originate the role of the emcee in their Las Vegas spectacular Zumanity, for which he co-wrote 3 songs.  After 6 years in that role, Arias returned to New York where he became star and co-creator of Arias With a Twist with master puppeteer Basil Twist.  The show was a critical and commercial hit and extended repeatedly for a total of 6 months at HERE Arts Center.  Arias With a Twist has been subsequently presented in Los Angeles and Paris and spawned a "docu-fantasy" film of the same name, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and had itʼs US premiere at the TriBeca Film Festival earlier this year.  Arias has performed worldwide at venues including Carnegie Hall, The Freedom Theatre in London and on a transatlantic world tour into the cabaret clubs of Paris, Tokyo, Germany, Finland, Estonia, Canada and England.  On film, he has appeared in Mondo New YorkBig Top Pee WeeElvira, Mistress of the DarkWigstock – The MovieFlawless and To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar.  Television credits include the infamous Saturday Night Live episode with David Bowie and Klaus Nomi, Ann Magnusonʼs Vandemonium (Cinemax), Elviraʼs MTV Halloween Special, HBOʼs Dragtime, HBOʼs Real Sex and Gayer Than Gay on VH1, along with numerous appearances on a wide variety of talk shows and programs. Additionally, Arias has produced several of his own recordings including Arias on HolidayStrange FruitJazzo LozoGod Shave the Queen and live recordings of StarLust in Berlin, Arias with a Twist and Bar DʼO in New York.  Arias is currently working with longtime collaborator and director Manfred Thierry Mugler on a unique project for early 2012. 

MANFRED THIERRY MUGLER (Costume Designer and Artistic Advisor)

“A director of the extraordinary,” he also directs short films, advertising films and video clips. He regularly designs costumes for musical comedies, concerts, operas and the theatre (including Macbeth for the Comédie Française). He has worked with such artists as Robert Altman and George Michael (he directed the video for Michael's “Too Funky” in 1992). He also directed the first advertising film for one of his fragrances: Alien.  A polyvalent artist, he collaborated with the Cirque du Soleil in 2002, a group which performs all over the world. He offered up his phantasmagorical imagination in “Zumanity”, an “Adults-only” production which ran for several years at the New York Hotel in Las Vegas. He directed "Extravaganza”, one of the scenes of Zumanity, but also created all the costumes and the identity of the characters in the show. With this “erotic cabaret”, Thierry Mugler brought the circus into a new era.  In 2009, Thierry Mugler worked as artistic advisor to the American star Beyoncé. He created the costumes for her “I Am…” world tour and gave his artistic vision to the staging, lighting, the decorations and the choreography.