With expanded spectacle and new scenes in tow, Arias With a Twist returns to New York after a critically acclaimed eight-month run at HERE Arts Center in 2008 and an international tour. The five-week engagement began Sept. 14 and will continue through Oct. 16.
The madcap production, which has been expanded since its premiere, also features encounters with poisonous snakes and a Busby Berkeley sequence. Songs included are "Kashmir," "Jungle of Eden," "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," "Within You Without You," "I'll Take it to My Baby," "All By Myself," "Lately," "You've Changed," "Twisted" and "Ooh, What a Feelin.'"
Here's how the creators bill the piece: "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."
Credited with turning drag into high art, Joey Arias returned to New York in Arias with a Twist following an extended run headlining the Las Vegas production of Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity. His solo evening Joey Arias: Live at Town Hall! debuted at Town Hall last April.
An award-winning puppeteer, Twist conjured the creatures of Broadway's The Addams Family and The Pee-wee Herman Show. His productions also include Peter and Wendy, Symphonie Fantastique and Petrushka. Twist also directed the production with costume concepts by Manfred Thierry Mugler, costume execution by Chris March, musical arrangements by Elliot Douglass and Jean-Francois Houle, musical production by Jean-Francois Houle, sound design by Greg Duffin, lighting design by Ayumu "poe" Saegusa and video design by Daniel Brodie. Alex Gifford penned original songs ("Lately" and "The Jungle of Eden").
Arias With a Twist also spawned a documentary, "Arias With a Twist: The Docufantasy," and a soundtrack preserving Arias' Billie Holiday-inspired vocals. The soundtrack for Arias with a Twist was recorded during a live performance and is available by visiting AriaswithaTwist.
For tickets visit AbronsArtsCenter or phone (212) 352-3101. The Abrons Arts Center is located within the Henry Street Settlement at 466 Grand Street.