Playwright Steven Sater and pop music sensation Duncan Sheik seem to enjoy working together. Last year, the two collaborated on Umbrage at Off-Off-Broadway's HERE. The play was written by Sater, and Sheik contributing music to the show.
Since then, the duo have teamed on a CD, "Phantom Moon," to be released on Nonesuch Records Oct. 3. The acoustic album features all original songs, music by Shiek, lyrics by Sater.
Both Sater and Sheik are Buddhists. They struck up a friendship during chanting sessions. Sater eventually mentioned that a play of his, Umbrage, was scheduled to open at HERE. Sheik expressed an interest.
Umbrage tells of an unlikely friendship between Ulysses, a reclusive factory worker trying to come to terms with his ravaged life, and Smith, a young, would-be musician. Sheik was intrigued by the musical aspect of the work and asked to read the play. Soon Sater and Sheik were collaborating on music for the piece.
Singer-songwriter Sheik burst onto the music scene a couple years back with the single "Barely Breathing." He recently released his second album. Sater's Umbrage won the Steppenwolf New Play Prize. His Asylum was recently presented by Naked Angels. Other plays include Carbondale Dreams and Perfect for You Doll.
--By Robert Simonson