The world premiere of SONGS ABOUT TRAINS will be presented in April
working theater, Radical evolutionand New Ohio Theater will present the world premiere of songs about trains, a musical exploration of the many cultural communities that have built the American railroad system. This theatrical concert dives headfirst into conversations about immigration, labor and Manifest Destiny. Created by a multicultural cohort of artists, Songs About Trains questions the complexity of progress while celebrating the diverse communities that helped create the United States as we know it today. The production runs from April 5-23, 2022 at the New Ohio Theater with a scheduled opening April 10.
Through a collection of 21 folk songs from diverse cultures and imaginary letters from those whose stories have been lost to history, Songs About Trains highlights how this pivotal moment in United States history helped forge a superpower worldwide, has generated incredible wealth for a select few and done so at the expense of thousands of lives, while inspiring one of the deepest musical canons ever created in this country. This theatrical concert questions the complexity of progress while celebrating the Chinese, Irish, Mexican, African American, Appalachian, and Navajo immigrant communities who helped create the United States as we know it today.
Songs About Trains is created by Radical Evolution and directed by Rebecca Martínez and Taylor Reynolds. The creative team includes musical director and arranger Julián Mesri, choreographer Joya Powell and artistic producer Meropi peponids. Lead author is Beto O’Byrne with additional contributions from Eugenie Chan, Reginald Edmund, Rebecca Martínez and Jay B Muskett.
Working Theater Artistic Director Producer Laura Carbonelle Monarque commented, “We couldn’t be more excited to bring our audience this new theatrical experience from Radical Evolution that imagines the untold stories of the workers who worked to build the incredible infrastructure that is the American railroad system. I so look forward to opportunities for conversation around who embodies the work we too often take for granted, how we value work and workers, and the origins of some beloved songs about work.
Meropi peponids and Beto O’Byrne of Radical Evolution commented, “We created Songs About Trains in response to the xenophobia and historical revisionism of the past half-decade. We wanted to highlight the personal stories of the many cultural groups that built this country and celebrate them with the same songs that railroad workers may have sung. After more than five years of dreaming up the work, we couldn’t be more thrilled to share the rich, multicultural canon of railway music we’ve come to know and love, and to elevate the stories of the workers who made such an impact. deep in history.”
New Ohio Theater Robert Lyons commented, “We’ve been supporting the development of Songs About Trains since Radical Evolution joined our Archive Residency program in 2019. It’s vital, urgent and joyful theatre. Co-produce it with working theater is an exciting example of small businesses pooling their resources to support exciting artists. We can’t wait for people to see this!”
Twenty-one performances of Songs About Trains will run from April 5-23, 2022 at the New Ohio Theater, located at 154 Christopher Street in Manhattan. The performance schedule is Tuesday through Saturday at 7 p.m. with additional shows at 3 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and April 20. Critics are welcome from April 7 for an official opening on Sunday April 10. Tickets can be purchased at https://theworkingtheatre.org/ and are available on a sliding scale with a suggested price of $30. Standard ticketing fees apply. The New Ohio Theater can be reached by the #1 train to Christopher St. or the A, B, C, D, E, F, or M train to West 4th St.
Proof of full vaccination for all performers, staff and audience members is required. CDC-recommended masks and/or face coverings are also required for audiences and employees inside the theater at all times. These policies are subject to change based on local conditions and federal, state, and local guidelines. For more information, please visit https://newohiotheatre.org/uncategorized/covid-19-protocols/.
Songs About Trains is an Archive Residency premiere in partnership with IRT Theatre.