As part of its 40th Anniversary year, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) unveils the 2013 edition of the annual River To River Festival, Downtown’s completely free summer arts festival. This year’s edition takes place June 15–July 14 and presents a number of theater performances by notable companies and performers in both traditional and unexpected Downtown locations. Additionally, several theater artists will open up their studios to the public for special work-in-process showings of upcoming pieces, giving River To River audiences a unique glimpse at of their creative processes. Please see below for full information on all River To River theater events.
In addition to theater, River To River presents a diverse collection of music, dance, visual art, film and unique participatory experiences by both renowned and breakout artists (information available separately). The Festival seeks to encourage discovery and to engage, provoke and transform audiences, activating more than 25 indoor and outdoor locations from the Hudson River to the East River, from Governors Island to Chambers Street. For more than 100,000 attendees, River To River provides an intense and rewarding way to experience and discover Lower Manhattan’s waterfronts, parks, plazas and other hidden treasures.
“River To River is as much about the built environment and neighborhoods between the Hudson and East rivers as it is about the diverse range of cultural experiences offered,” says Sam Miller, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council President. “From large outdoor stages to storefronts, from university theaters to the intersection of Broad & Wall, River To River is often where you least expect it. This year, over 60 artists will respond to the iconic locations as well as timely social issues and ideas through their movement, projection, sculpture, writing and sound. Through River To River we encourage everyone to discover their own Lower Manhattan.”
The annual River To River Festival is produced by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) in partnership with Founding Partners Arts Brookfield, Battery Park City Authority, and South Street Seaport, as well as Pace University and other program partners. Leadership support for the 2013 Festival is provided by the Alliance for Downtown New York, American Express, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and HUD, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Westfield World Trade Center, and in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Lead Media support is provided by THIRTEEN, WNYC and WQXR. A complete list of supporters may be found below.
Artist & Curator Laurie Anderson
This year introduces a new feature to the Festival: a series of events guest-curated by a well-known figure with a singular voice and artistic perspective. Iconic composer/musician/ performance artist Laurie Anderson performs two consecutive evenings (June 18 & 19) at Rockefeller Park with hand-selected guest artists including Gerry Leonard, Doug Wieselman, Eyvind Kang and others to be announced, and then presents a curated series of projects on subsequent evenings. June 22 brings Andrew Schneider’s Tidal, a highly physical and technological multimedia theatrical experience.
“There’s almost nothing I love more than being outside on summer evenings and listening to music and watching films,” Anderson says. “As a guest curator of the River To River Festival, I have a chance to draw some of my favorite artists together and showcase their incredible creativity to festival-goers in unique outdoor sites in Lower Manhattan.”
Regarding her curatorial approach, Anderson notes, “I wanted to explore how artists use time in their work. Each guest artist in this series has a unique approach to time whether slowing it down, rolling it backwards, speeding it up, or pairing it with images in polyphonic ways. Perhaps, my real, and deeper motive is to create a floating atmosphere that extends the summer evening and makes it all the more dream-like and timeless.”
River To River 2013 Theater Highlights
River To River 2013 includes a number of theater premieres and re-imagined theatrical productions. As part of the citywide retrospective BLINK YOUR EYES: Sekou Sundiata Revisted, Rhodessa Jones premieres blessing the boats: the remix June 27–30, a joint commission by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) that enjoyed a public reading at The Apollo in April. This new production of playwright/musician/poet Sekou Sundiata’s seminal work blessing the boats will feature a trio of performers: Will Power, Carl Hancock and Mike Ladd. A pair of productions that enjoyed their premieres in traditional theaters will take place in a South Street Seaport storefront: Two-Headed Calf and new music ensemble Yarn/Wire’s re-imagined production of their acclaimed “chamber opera in two parts,” You, My Mother; and theater company 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s re-spin of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman entitled This Great Country. Writer/director JoAnne Akalaitis and theater company New York City Players will both offer rare work-in-process glimpses of their next productions: Bad News! and Isolde, respectively.
RIVER TO RIVER 2013 THEATER EVENTS:
Dates, times and locations subject to change—be sure to check www.RiverToRiverNYC.com for up-to-date information. Please note that all events are free, but due to limited capacity some require advance RSVPs. ALL RSVPs open on June 1.
THIRD RAIL PROJECTS
Open Rehearsals: Jun 16–22, 6:30–8:30pm
Brookfield Place Plaza, 220 Vesey Street
Performances: Jun 23–26 at 12pm & 1pm (15 min.), Jun 27 at 1pm & 7pm (60 min.)
Brookfield Place Plaza, 220 Vesey Street
Performances: Jul 1 & 2 at 12:30pm (60 min.)
One New York Plaza
Commissioned by Arts Brookfield
Created by Bessie Award-winning Third Rail Projects, Roadside Attraction is a new work housed in and around a 1977 Coleman pop-up camper that has been retrofitted to become a stage and setting for a new dance-theater performance incorporating the intimate, quirky, stunning and startling choreographic sensibility that is the hallmark of Third Rail’s work.
Jun 17 at 6:30pm
Poets House, 10 River Terrace
Co-presented with Poets House
Acclaimed American theater director JoAnne Akalaitis welcomes audiences into her creative process with this staged reading of her newest piece Bad News!. Stitching together messenger speeches from classic plays, Akalaitis and her guest performers explore the role these deliverers of information have played in the evolution of the dramatic moment.
THE LANGUAGE OF THE FUTURE
Jun 18 & 19 at 7pm
Co-presented by LMCC and Battery Park City Authority
One of America’s most renowned—and daring—creative pioneers, Laurie Anderson joins guest writers and musicians on stage for two singular events exploring themes of transportation, politics, money and love:
Jun 18 at 7pm: STORIES
Laurie Anderson with Gerry Leonard (guitar), Doug Wieselman (horns) and Eyvind Kang (viola), with more guests to be announced.
Jun 19 at 7pm: SONGS
Laurie Anderson with Richard Devine (electronics), Doug Wieselman (horns), Eyvind Kang (viola), Jacob Garchik (horns) and Yuka Honda (keyboards), with more guests to be announced.
Jun 22 at 9pm
East River Esplanade, Pier 15
Presented by LMCC as part of R2R’s Laurie Anderson-curated track
Curated by Laurie Anderson
A palindromic live multimedia performance. After the sun sets to the west, the East River becomes the backdrop and the stage for this highly physical and technological live-art experiment in time travel. Cameras, projectors, microphones and underwater camera housings turn the viewer’s perception of time backwards in a city that is uncompromisingly charging forward. May not be suitable for audiences under 18.
SEKOU SUNDIATA / RHODESSA JONES
BLESSING THE BOATS: THE REMIX
Jun 27–29 at 8pm, Jun 30 at 3pm
Tribeca Performing Arts Center, Theater Two, 199 Chambers Street
Co-commissioned by LMCC and BMCC, presented as part of BLINK YOUR EYES: Sekou Sundiata Revisited
blessing the boats: the remix is a powerful re-imagining of Sekou Sundiata’s seminal play. Director Rhodessa Jones revisits Sundiata’s story of life-threatening illness and miraculous recovery in a “remix” that encompasses language, music and visual projections representing healing and hope. Featuring Mike Ladd, Carl Hancock Rux and Will Power.
blessing the boats: the remix is presented as part of BLINK YOUR EYES: Sekou Sundiata Revisited, a New York City-wide retrospective produced by MAPP International Productions.
NEW YORK CITY PLAYERS
Jun 30 3pm, RSVP Required
One Liberty Plaza
Presented as part of LMCC’s Open Studios
New York City Players open their studio for an in-process showing of their new piece, Isolde. This new play written and directed by Richard Maxwell is the story of Isolde, a successful actress suddenly unable to retain her lines. To occupy Isolde, her husband plans to build her a dream house, but she falls in love with the house’s architect. Isolde is a production of Theater Basel, Basel, Switzerland.
TWO-HEADED CALF AND YARN/WIRE
YOU, MY MOTHER: A CHAMBER OPERA IN TWO PARTS
Jun 30 at 3pm & 8:30pm
Jul 2 at 8:30pm
Jul 3 at 3pm
South Street Seaport, Pier 17 Storefront
You, My Mother: a chamber opera in two parts is an elusive investigation into the ever-shifting relationships between mothers and their adult children. Created by two dynamic composer/playwright teams and under the direction of Brooke O’Harra, this play comes to life as performed by a quartet of singer/performers and the new music ensemble Yarn/Wire. Originally presented by La MaMa, E.T.C. in 2012.
July 10–13 at 8pm
South Street Seaport, storefront end of Pier 17
This Great Country is 600 HIGHWAYMEN’s re-spin of Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama Death of a Salesman. In an everyday, vacant space near Wall Street, 17 individuals come together to breathe new life into Miller’s epic portrait of self-worth amid shifting economics and fading dreams.
Jul 13–14, 2–6pm
Building 110: LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island
Presented by LMCC as part of Open Studios
Writer, director, designer Andrew Ondrejcak invites you to view an open rehearsal of his new adaptation of influential Swedish playwright August Strindberg’s A Dream Play. The piece investigates and explores what happens when the divine visits and interacts with everyday humans in ordinary and unremarkable circumstances.
ABOUT RIVER TO RIVER
River To River was founded in 2002 by American Express, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Downtown Alliance, Arts Brookfield, Battery Park City Authority, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and South Street Seaport in an effort to showcase Lower Manhattan as a hot-bed of cultural activity and a key destination for experiencing New York City’s wealth and diversity of history, commerce, and art. In 2011, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council became the lead producer of the Festival.
Over the last 11 years, River To River has become an essential component of Lower Manhattan’s vibrant culture. Together, Festival partners are working to foster conversations about sustainable art, communities, and environments, showcasing New York City, and in particular Lower Manhattan, as creative, green, and global, with shows and events that speak to the diverse cultures and tastes of audiences from across the region.
The 12th annual River To River Festival offers audience members cultural experiences in unexpected spaces. These experiences, created by contemporary artists working in a variety of disciplines, will respond to the architecture of some of the City’s most iconic locations and hidden gems, as well as timely social issues and interests. Audiences are encouraged to investigate and discover new artists and art-forms, new perspectives, and life off the grid in Lower Manhattan. www.RiverToRiverNYC.com
ABOUT THE PARTNERS
LOWER MANHATTAN CULTURAL COUNCIL (LMCC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has been a leading voice for arts and culture since 1973 dedicated to presenting cultural experiences Downtown, making Manhattan a thriving center of arts activity with relevance to the arts community worldwide, and working in partnership to improve the quality of life for the New York City’s artists, workers, residents, and visitors. http://lmcc.net
ARTS BROOKFIELD,a free, year-round, privately funded performing and visual arts program, has presented more than 5,000 dance, music, theater, visual art and film events to more than 5 million people in New York, Toronto, Los Angeles, Houston, Denver and Perth, Australia.
BATTERY PARK CITY AUTHORITY is a New York State public benefit corporation whose mission is to create and maintain a balanced community of commercial, residential, retail, and park space within its designated 92 acre site in Lower Manhattan.
PACE UNIVERSITY is located one block east of City Hall and immediately adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge. The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts regularly hosts academic and community events in addition to its yearly schedule of cultural activities.
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT continues to anchor the east side of Lower Manhattan with dynamic entertainment and this year you will ‘See Change’ before your eyes as new activities are revealed within the 12 block Seaport district and along the east river esplanade.
Leadership Support provided by: American Express, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Downtown Alliance, The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, and HUD, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Westfield World Trade Center, and in part by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Lead Media Partners: THIRTEEN, WNYC and WQXR.
Major Support provided by: Borough of Manhattan Community College, Conrad New York, Goldman Sachs, and The Howard Hughes Corporation, as well as CBRE, Century 21 Department Store, The Moody's Foundation, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Friends of the Festival: New York Marriott Downtown, NYC&Co, Savanna, SPUN, Union Square Events, Gild Hall, Smyth TriBeCa, TheaterMania, and TKTS Seaport.
Additional support for River To River projects is provided by The Battery Conservancy, Ford Foundation, Mertz Gilmore Foundation, and The Trust for Governors Island. The River To River Festival is also supported by public funds from NYC Council Member Margaret Chin, NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, and Office of Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer.
With support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, LMCC is also working with our partners toward three primary goals: achieving operational sustainability, developing a framework for sustainable event management for the River To River Festival, and positively influencing public practice in the arts.