Premiere of Swados' New Atonement Oratorio Will Benefit ASTEP, Oct. 1 | Playbill

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News Premiere of Swados' New Atonement Oratorio Will Benefit ASTEP, Oct. 1 Tony Award-nominated composer Elizabeth Swados' Atonement: An Oratorio will have its world premiere at 7:30 PM Oct. 1 at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan.

Known for her edgy political theatrical pieces like Broadway's Runaways and Doonesbury, "acclaimed Jewish artist Elizabeth Swados takes a step back from satire" for this new "a concert with liturgical underpinnings," as she calls it. Swados sees it as "an interfaith Yom Kippur offering."

The performance is free. A collection will be taken for the non-denominational charity Artists Striving to End Poverty (ASTEP). Visit for more information about ASTEP.

"I felt that Yom Kippur is a beautiful opportunity to reexamine, rethink and renew our relationship with the state of this world and with each other," Swados stated. "I wanted to devote a single piece to examining the horrors that our world is now facing, as well as the destitution of many of its citizens. I thought that it would be appropriate to take one hour to identify with the starvation and terror that is going on around us and to look into ourselves and recognize our own complicity, active or passive, in this chaos."

The new piece's premiere will be 7:30 PM Oct. 1 at Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine at 1047 Amsterdam Ave at 112th Street, followed by performances Oct. 14 (7:30 PM) at St. Marks Church in the Bowery at 131 E. 10th Street at Second Avenue; and Oct. 27 (8 PM) at The Jewish Community Center in Manhattan, 334 Amsterdam Ave at 76th Street.

In 1978 Swados was nominated for Tony Awards — for the musical Runaways — in the following categories: Best Book of a Musical, Best Choreography, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Original Score. For more information about her current work, visit

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