Tuesday, February 19, 2013

West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's "Green Sneakers" creating media buzz

Cellist Kathyrn Bates Williams and Barihunk Jesse Blumberg (Photo by Michael Colbruno)
The West Coast premiere of Ricky Ian Gordon's "Green Sneakers" has created quite a media buzz before its one-night only performance tonight at Fort Mason's Southside Theater in San Francisco. The Jewish Weekly, Bay Area Reporter and San Francisco Chronicle all named it as one of their top theater picks for the week.

The Advocate ran a lengthy interview with Ricky Ian Gordon today, who wrote the mini-opera as a way of dealing with the loss of his lover Jeffrey Grossi to AIDS in 1996. Gordon told the Advocate, "The world is so different now than it was when Jeffery died in 1996. Young people today missed seeing what it was really like at the height of the AIDS crisis so for them they think it’s OK because you just get to take a few pills all the time. Today, HIV is romanticized in a way because you get to be like that character in Rent, but young people need to know that there’s nothing romantic about it."

You can read the entire interview HERE.

Jesse Blumberg and the Del Sol Quartet (Photo by Michael Colbruno)
The San Francisco Examiner hailed Gordon as a natural successor to Stephen Sondheim along with Jason Robert Brown, Adam Guettel and John Michael LaChiusa. You can read the entire article HERE. San Francisco's KDFC radio also aired an interview with the composer.

Green Sneakers, which is broken into nineteen songs and runs about 80 minutes, is being directed by one of operas most exciting young talents John de los Santos. The theatrical song cycle was written for Baritone, String Quartet, and Empty Chair, with a libretto by the composer. It premiered on July 15, 2008 in Vail, Colorado and has had a number of subsequent performances since, mostly with Blumberg. Remarkably, it had never been performed in the two cities most impacted by AIDS - New York City and San Francisco. This performance and an upcoming show at Lincoln Center on April 6th finally bring this important piece to the audiences most touched by the epidemic. 

Jesse Blumberg in rehearsal for Green Sneakers in San Francisco (Photo by Michael Colbruno)
Tickets for the February 19th performance are available at the Fort Mason website. Tickets for the New York show are part of the American Songbook series at Lincoln Center and available HERE.

A complete photo album from the San Francisco rehearsals is available HERE

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