18 April 2024
Entertainment Theater

‘Illinoise,’ a Sufjan Stevens Dance Musical, Is Transferring to Broadway

Illinoise,” a dance-driven, dialogue-free musical tailored from a much-loved 2005 album by Sufjan Stevens, will switch to Broadway subsequent month.

The present, which is a collaboration between the celebrated choreographer Justin Peck and the Pulitzer-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury, is to open on April 24 on the St. James Theater; the run is to be restricted, with a scheduled cut-off date of Aug. 10.

“Illinoise” depicts a gaggle of younger artistic individuals gathered round a campfire to share tales about their lives; it finally focuses on the lifetime of a person who’s discovering his method whereas confronting grief. “Plenty of the present is basically concerning the catharsis of opening as much as the group round oneself,” Peck, who’s directing and choreographing the present, stated in an interview.

“Illinoise” joins a crowded spring season on Broadway, which has a heavy focus of openings in late April, posing important financial challenges for producers as a result of prices have risen and viewers numbers have fallen because the coronavirus pandemic.

However the creators and backers of “Illinoise” wish to capitalize on their present’s momentum: It’s simply wrapping up a sold-out run at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan, and it additionally had profitable runs earlier this yr at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and final yr at Bard College’s Fisher Center.

The switch will probably be unusually quick, with simply 29 days between the tip of the run on the Armory and the beginning of the run on the St. James. There will probably be a quick rehearsal interval, however no previews; the primary efficiency may even be the opening, which is unusual for Broadway.

“We have now this type of lightning in a bottle with this present that’s not one thing that one can create deliberately,” Peck stated. “We wish to protect the vitality of the present, and the longer we wait between phases of this, the higher we danger shedding what that vitality is.”

“Illinoise” is carried out by a dozen appearing dancers and a trio of vocalists, together with a reside band.

The present’s use of dance to drive a story is just not unprecedented: The historical past of such so-called dansicals consists of the Tony-winning “Contact,” which opened in 2000, in addition to the 2002 manufacturing that the majority influenced Peck, “Movin’ Out,” which Twyla Tharp choreographed utilizing the songs of Billy Joel.

“The music and the story and the motion mix in your personal thoughts, reasonably than being mixed onstage in entrance of you,” Drury stated in an interview. “And there’s one thing about that that feels actually stunning and thrilling. It simply permits the viewers to actually empathize and join emotionally with what’s happening onstage.”

The Broadway run is being produced by Orin Wolf, John Kinds and David Binder, in affiliation with Seaview.