This week's Awesome Person Thursday post comes to us from reader Sarah Taylor Ellis, who has decided to mix things up a bit and offer us an Awesome Company. Take it away Sarah!
You may have instituted "Awesome Person Thursdays," but I'd like to temporarily change the title to "Awesome Company Thursdays." Instead of singling out a star individual, I wanted to draw your readers' attention to an innovative LA-based theater company that is bringing its brilliant ensemble work to NYC this fall!
Psittacus Productions - founded by Louis Butelli, Chas LiBretto, and Robert Richmond - explores what constitutes a "classic" in the 21st century with smart, stimulating, multi-media theatrical adaptations of texts ranging from Euripides to Shakespeare. Their first two productions have quickly established them as a company to follow in the Los Angeles area. Their latest show, CYCLOPS: A Rock Opera, makes its East Coast premiere in the NY Musical Theatre Festival from Sept. 29 - Oct. 5! Check it out: http://www.nymf.org/cyclops
CYCLOPS is a brilliant new rock opera based on Euripides' satyr play. This carnivalesque inversion of Odysseus' encounter with the Cyclops is told through the Cyclops' eye - with a live band of horny goat men and sexy maenads! Rocky Horror meets Hedwig and bel canto opera meets glam rock in this raucous postmodern play, which received rave reviews in its LA premiere!
Psittacus is an awesome company not only because of the obscenely intelligent and entertaining results of their labor, but because of their fearless collaborative process. The company for CYCLOPS is a productive collision of worlds: classically-trained theater practitioners (like founders Butelli and LiBretto) and rock musicians (like composers Jayson Landon Marcus and Benjamin Sherman). This hybridization creates an astonishing performance work that feels fresh and exciting at every encounter.
I saw CYCLOPS a grand total of (I think) 8 times in LA. I streamed it online a few times too. And the cast recording became the soundtrack for all my PhD qualifying exam prep. In short, I have a deep, affective bond to this show. Psittacus is also awesome because they welcomed a dork like me with open arms. I was initially invited to see the show as a critic -- then kept coming back, writing more and more about the production. I still haven't stopped; in fact, CYCLOPS is going in my dissertation. Psittacus' willingness to engage in a dialogue with their critics and their audiences makes them especially awesome in my book. Let CYCLOPS consume you this fall!
All the best,
Sarah Taylor Ellis
Theater Critic, EDGE Los Angeles
Regional Theater Correspondent, Stage and Cinema
PhD Candidate, Theater and Performance Studies, UCLA