P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
May 21, 2003
New Music Theater People Are Wrong at MASS MoCA on Saturday, June 21
(North Adams, Mass.) A chic New York City couple buys a rustic slice of paradise upstate only to find their landscape artist is a charismatic cult leader plotting to use their new home as the launch pad for his sixth-dimensional delusions. Put this tale to music and you've got, People Are Wrong!, coming to MASS MoCA Saturday, June 21, at 9 P.M. The show brings together some of the finest talents from the rock world and New York theater including Grammy-winner John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants, David Driver of Rent, Maggie Moore of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Obie Award-winning director David Herskovits. The Village Voice opined, "People is true musical theater, an exurban Oklahoma as much as an atheist Godspell, changing song forms to fit the story."
People Are Wrong! has been described as a kind of cartoonish, postmodern Jesus Christ Superstar, featuring a would-be savior hoisted on the petard of his own vanity and delusion. The couple (played by co-writer Julia Greenberg and Flansburgh) seek to bring their garden up to snuff in time for their impending nuptials. They enlist the aid of Xanthus (Driver), a local landscaper and weirdo who also happens to be the head of a new age gardening cult. After the homeowners cut down a maple tree in their yard that has deep spiritual significance for Xanthus, he plans a demented revenge.
NYCtheater.com says, "Most of the tunes hung onto this structure are awfully good. The Meeting Song in which a trio of Xanthus's disciples (Sean Altman, Connie Petruk and Tricia Scotti) explain their reasons for turning to cult spirituality (morbid obesity, crack whoredom and obsessive-compulsive disorder, respectively) commences the proceedings in hysterical fashion. But many of the best numbers belong to Xanthus, and Driver makes a prodigious amount of hay with the material. Sporting a ponytail (which gets its own number) and a ludicrous braid that dangles down to around his knees, Driver's Xanthus fancies himself such a big fish that he barely fits into the little pond that is his world; at one point he enters wearing a t-shirt bearing the image of his own face. He's a parody of a rock star, and this cheekiness extends to his wonderfully comic singing and his fiercely awkward dancing."
The show also stars Chris Anderson of Muckafurgason, backed up by the Loser's Lounge Band (Joe McGinty on keyboards, Jeremy Chatzky on bass, Clem Waldmann on drums, Kris Woolsey on guitar, and Jon Spurney on guitar). Newcomers Julia Greenberg and Robin Goldwasser wrote the songs. The Village Voice raved about them saying, "Greenberg sings Homeowner Terri with a rich sweet-n-sour alto, and Goldwasser is gloriously melancholic as spooky Joyce, manager of the Agway. As gardener Zanthus' disciples, Loungers smart-bomb every note. The band, directed by bassist Jeremy Chatzky, is as kinky as they wanna be."
When John Flansburgh moved to Brooklyn from Lincoln, Massachusetts he soon became a fixture on the Manhattan underground. Predating the Internet, he co-created Dial-a-Song where fans could call in and listen to a new song played on an answering machine. He and partner John Linnell followed their 1986 self-titled release They Might Be Giants with rapid succession releases including Don't Let's Start, Lincoln, They'll Need A Crane, Flood, Miscellaneous (a collection of B-sides their label released in response to their growing popularity), Apollo 18, I Palindrome I, Why Does The Sun Shine?, and Back to Skull. In addition to co-writing Malcolm in The Middle and Austin Powers themes, Flansburgh also co-created music for the Nightline Primetime: Brave New World series and the theme for The Daily Show. They Might Be Giants played MASS MoCA in May 2002.
David Driver was in the original Broadway company of Rent and has pursued a career on and off - and off-off-Broadway, as well as in clubs and cabarets, on his own or with his jazz-oriented Driver Quartet. He regularly makes appearances at the Losers Lounge tributes to various songwriting legends; his rendition of "All This Useless Beauty" at the recent Elvis Costello event was a showstopper. He also appears alongside Costello himself on chief Jazz Passenger Roy Nathanson's theatrical song cycle Fire At Keaton's Bar and Grill (Six Degrees Records).The Village Voice, said that Driver "has coined an oblique Downtown twist on saloon singing, devoid of melodrama, like Jerry Vale dreaming of Chet Baker."
Loser's Lounge, a motley assortment of downtown New York musicians gather once every few months at a Manhattan night club done up in chintzy cardboard decorations to replicate the feel of kids partying in a rec room while the parents are away for the weekend. The Lounge has been around since the summer of 1993, starting with informal shows at another club, the Pink Pony, where founders Nick Danger and Joe McGinty worked out their repressed childhood neuroses on Partridge Family songs and other assorted hits. In the past seven years, it's grown into a dime-store extravaganza, featuring dozens of guest vocalists, a permanent backing band, and sold-out shows every time they play.
In addition to directing Momba's Daughters which was a part of the Spoleto festival, David Herskovits also directed David Soldier's The Naked Revolution based on the work of visual artists Komar and Melamid, and recently The Sandman, an opera Herskovits also co-wrote. According to In Theater magazine, "If there's any justice in the theatrical world, one day soon this director will get a shot at a Broadway house andů Broadway history will be made."
People Are Wrong! is sponsored by The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA and the Valley Advocate.
Tickets for People Are Wrong! are $15 in advance or $18 day of show. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams. The Box Office is open from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. Wednesday through Monday until May 31. Starting June 1 they are open from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release