Futurity Sci-Fi Civil War Musical, with The Lisps, Opens Tonight | Playbill

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News Futurity Sci-Fi Civil War Musical, with The Lisps, Opens Tonight The Off-Broadway company Soho Rep, which had a hit with An Octoroon last year, opens its 2015-16 season Oct. 20 with the science-fiction Civil War musical Futurity, by the composer of Octoroon, featuring The Lisps.
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Written by César Alvarez in collaboration with the Brooklyn-based indie rock band The Lisps, Futurity is co-produced with the Ars Nova company. Soho Rep. artistic director Sarah Benson directs the production, which is presented in association with commercial producer Carole Shorenstein Hays through Nov. 8. Previews began Oct. 8.

Production notes describe the "avant-Americana musical" thus: "In Futurity, two people try to imagine their way out of impossible circumstances. Julian is a Civil War soldier dreaming of a technological utopia. Ada is a mathematical genius thousands of miles away. Together, they're going to invent a machine to end one of the darkest periods in our history."

Futurity has been in active development since 2010 when it was presented in an Ars Nova workshop with Michael Cerveris. Cerveris also appeared in a concert version of the show with The Lisps at Joe's Pub in 2011. The show was developed further in a successful 2012 production at American Repertory Theatre.

The upcoming Soho Rep and Ars Nova production features Alvarez, along with Andrew R. Butler, Fred Epstein, Eric Farber, Eamon Goodman, Karen Evans Kandel, Kristine Haruna Lee, Jessie Shelton, Kamala Sankaram, Darius Smith, Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, Storm Thomas and Sammy Tunis.

The creative team includes Emily Orling and Matt Saunders (set design), Emily Orling (costume design), Yi Zhao (lighting design), Matt Tierney (sound design), Noah Mease (props design), Eric Farber (percussion & contraption design), J. David Brimmer (fight choreography), David Neumann (choreography) and Terri Kohler (production stage manager). Also planned for Soho Rep's season:

Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (April 5 – May 8, 2016) The U.S. premiere of U.K. playwright Alice Birch's play about "how we talk to, and about, each other." Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz.

Write with Us (Feb. 6-14, 2016) Free writing workshops led by nine Soho Rep.-produced playwrights, including César Alvarez, Annie Baker, Jackie Sibblies Drury, Lucas Hnath, Daniel Alexander Jones, Gregory S. Moss, Anne Washburn and more.

Benson previously said, “I couldn’t be more excited to be sharing these new works and Write with Us with our audiences this coming season. César & Alice are each making their debuts as lead artists at Soho Rep. Both take on thorny ideas that relate to us here and now using very innovative form, and most importantly both are artists that share an interest in challenging their own assumptions and so ask the same of us. I hope the result will be thrilling civic theater.” In conjunction with the fall 2015 performances of Futurity, Soho Rep’s FEED Humanities program will present a series of post-show discussions with experts from various fields. On October 17, award-winning author and renowned international relations scholar Joshua S. Goldstein will explore how peacekeeping is working and what we can learn from the decline of armed conflict around the world. On October 24, Alvarez and Tony Award-winner Lisa Kron (Fun Home) will talk about dreaming up and putting together boundary-pushing new musicals. And on November 17, the Lisps’ drummer and Percussion and Contraption Designer, Eric Farber, will give a “touch tour” of a large-scale instrument that is featured prominently in Futurity. All events are free and take place at The Connelly Theater immediately after matinee performances.

Soho Rep is located at 46 Walker Street. Visit sohorep.org.

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