The musical, written by the graphic novelist Ben Katchor and composer Mark Mulcahy, is a "multi-media 'chamber rock opera' about the pleasures and perils of bibliomania," according to press notes. Katchor created the projections and wrote the text and will direct, while Mulcahy wrote the music and will play the role of Abe Rosenbach.
The musical chronicles the life of the brothers Abe and Philip Rosenbach, who were the famed dealers of rare books and antique artifacts. The piece was commissioned by the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia, a research center that holds the brothers' personal collections of rare books and manuscripts. The brothers' collection ranges from James Joyce's "Ulysses" to John Tenniel's original illustrations for "Alice in Wonderland."
Katchor is currently a Fellow of the Library's Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, where he is working on a graphic novel set in and around the NYPL. He is a graphic novelist whose books include "Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer: Stories"; "The Jew of New York"; and "The Beauty Supply District." His picture-stories and drawings appear in the Forward, Metropolis magazine, and The New Yorker, and his current weekly strip, "Shoehorn Technique," appears in the Forward and The Chicago Reader. He has created several music-theatre productions, including The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island.
Mulcahy is a composer and singer-songwriter who has recorded several albums with Loose Records, including "In Pursuit of Your Happiness" and "Smile Sunset." He also composed Katchor's musical The Slug-Bearers of Kayrol Island.
The Rosenbach Company will be presented in the Celeste Bartos Forum in the NYPL's branch at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. Tickets are available through www.smarttix.com or (212) 868-4444.