P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2006
June 8, 2006
Ben Katchor and Mark Mulcahy Return to MASS MoCA with New Music Theater
(North Adams, Mass.) Co-creators of The Slugbearers of Kayrol Island cartoonist and MacArthur Award-winner Ben Katchor and musician Mark Mulcahy (of Miracle Legion) return to MASS MoCA on Saturday, July 8, at 8 P.M. with their latest creation, The Rosenbach Company. The piece features libretto and sets (projected drawings and animation) by Katchor and music by Mulcahy. Variety.com said, "A sung-through biodrama? A chamber rock opera? A meeting of the museum establishment with the music underground? It is thrilling, charming, and altogether a knockout. Katchor's pictures have such witty power that the slideshow alone probably would satisfy. [Mulcahy's] haunting music is sometimes quiet and aching in unresolved melodies; other times, the driving beat is grinning and vivid."
The Rosenbach Company is loosely based on the real-life story of brothers Abe and Phil Rosenbach, whose emporium and rare book business became the basis for Philadelphia's actual Rosenbach Museum and Library. Set in the "City of Brotherly Love" the story unfolds revealing a relationship even tenser than Jacob and Esau's. The nexus between death and collecting is a recurring theme as Abe builds his collection by feeding on the tragedies of others, singing, "I most keenly feel alive when I'm at an auction." Mortality and consumption recur when the audience learns that antique children's books are rarities because babies typically teethe on and ingest the tiny volumes. Phil sires a son he refuses to recognize and Abe flatly refuses to reproduce citing children's tendency to destroy what he loves most: "Fewer children, more books: the equation may seem unkind."
Mulcahy himself plays bookish Abe, and Ryan Mercy the foppish Phil. Kate Geissier portrays multiple roles serving alternately as narrator, the boys' mother, and their fleeting love interests. Mulcahy's score is performed live by instruments ranging from electric guitar to cello and flute. Katchor's drawings are projected on stage in a rich and elaborate set.
The Rosenbach Company at MASS MoCA is sponsored by ValleyAdvocate.com and The Porches Inn at MASS MoCA.
Katchor is the creator of Julius Knipl, Real Estate Photographer and the best-selling comic strip novel, The Jew of New York. His work has won him awards, national syndication and a huge cult following. In addition to the 2000 MacArthur Fellowship, he is the recipient of the Guna S. Mundheim fellowship in Visual Arts at The American Academy in Berlin, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Obie Award for Best New American Production (libretto and drawings) for The Carbon Copy Building. In 1996, Katchor co-produced a series of radio-dramas for National Public Radio. He produces a weekly newspaper comic strip entitled Hotel & Farm which appears in a dozen cities, and his monthly comic strip on architecture and design appears in Metropolis Magazine. He currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York City and does extensive lecturing at museums and universities. He was the subject of a full-length profile in the New Yorker magazine by Lawrence Weschler.
Mark Mulcahy is the composer and producer of The Slugbearers and performs as a singer and musician. He lives in Springfield, Massachusetts, and is a former member of Miracle Legion. He has toured extensively as a solo performer throughout the world, including the Rough Trade 25th Anniversary Festival at Union Chapel, London. He has written and performed many themes for film and television, including music for The Adventures of Pete and Pete. The Sunday Republican says, "With a voice that falls somewhere between the Buckleys and the Wainwrights, Mulcahy offers a captivating, low-key approach, twisting lyrics in unexpected directions."
Tickets for The Rosenbach Company are $20 for orchestra seats or $16 for mezzanine. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams. Through June 30, the box office and galleries are open from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. (closed Tuesdays). From July 1 through Labor Day the box office and galleries are open 10- 6 every day. 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