Curtain Up!

World and American premieres highlight the Peak Performances 2015 – 2016 season

Lucie Jansch

Robert Wilson in "Krapp's Last Tape."

Peak Performances, Montclair State University’s acclaimed performing arts series, launched its 2015 – 2016 season in style with the world premiere of Elements of Oz, a new work by The Builders Association that integrated augmented reality technology with live performance – a first in the theater world.

Charles Isherwood wrote in The New York Times that Elements of Oz is “loose, loopy and enjoyable…a technologically sophisticated new show that riffs on ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” and “illustrates the pervasive cultural reach of the movie.”

The production was an auspicious beginning to a season that encompasses works by an audacious group of international artists expanding the boundaries of contemporary theater, dance and music.

In addition to Elements of Oz, which ended its run on October 4, the season includes three more world premieres. Award-winning jazz pianist and composer Fred Hersch returns to Peak Performances October 15 – 18 with Rooms of Light: The Life of Photographs, a song cycle he created with acclaimed poet Mary Jo Salter that explores the impact of photography, from the Civil War to the selfie.

Choreographer Liz Gerring’s last appearance at Peak Performances generated wildly enthusiastic reviews and was named one of The New York Times’ top ten dance performances of 2013. She will debut her latest work, Horizon, at Peak Performances December 10 – 13.

Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire, named a “rock star of downtown dance,” debuts a live piece called Portrait of Myself as My Father along with the second film produced by Dance for Film on Location at Montclair State University next April.

The season also includes an extraordinary performance by legendary theater director Robert Wilson as Krapp in Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape (American premiere, March 17 – 20); a rare East Coast appearance by Seattle-based choreographer Pat Graney, whose interest in the feminist artists of the 1970s inspired Girl Gods (October 22 – 25); the American premiere of The Book of Disquiet, the first large-scale work by Grawemeyer Award-winning Dutch composer Michel van der Aa to be produced in the U.S. (January 21 – 24); The Grand Parade, Double Edge Theatre’s brilliant, Chagall-inspired revue of the events of the 20th century; La Double Coquette, a charming revision of a 1753 opéra comique full of romance and mistaken identity from France’s Ensemble Amarillis; the return of Romeo Castellucci (Hey Girl and On the Concept of the Face…) with the American premiere of Go down, Moses; and performances by Montclair State’s resident string quartet, Shanghai Quartet, on December 18 and May 7.

Peak Performances is a program of the Office of Arts and Cultural Programming (ACP). “Peak Performances is the new gold standard for arts programming at institutions of higher education across the country,” says ACP Executive Director Jedediah Wheeler. “If one was in doubt, look at the high caliber of artists being offered at the Alexander Kasser Theater for an insanely reasonable ticket price.

Tickets to all performances are $20 and are available at the Alexander Kasser Theater Box Office, by calling 973-655-5112 or online at peakperfs.org. There is no charge for Montclair State University undergraduates with valid ID. Please arrive at least 30 minutes before curtain to claim your PAF ticket.