“Peck can do anything he wants with choreography: a virtuoso of the form.”
—The New York Times
“Sufjan Stevens is the rarest of talents: prolific, intelligent, and—most importantly—brimming with heart-wrenching melodies. Illinois is his masterpiece so far.”
With inclusion on several reviewer’s “best of the decade” lists when it was released including those of Paste, NPR, and Rolling Stone, Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed 2005 concept album Illinois enjoys cult status for its lush orchestrations and wildly inventive portrayal of the state’s people, landscapes, and history, complete with UFOs, zombies, and predatory wasps. This musically ambitious work, which weaves together cinematic orchestral anthems, jazz riffs, and other musical influences to explore wide-ranging narratives about blossoming queerness and self-exploration is expanded upon through a mix of live music and impressionistic choreography to revisit the beloved album’s themes of self-discovery.
Dancer, choreographer, and director Justin Peck has assembled an impressive body of creative projects, starting out as a soloist with New York City Ballet and moving on to create work for that company and prestigious companies from around the world, as well as on Broadway with Carousel and Stephen Spielberg’s acclaimed film West Side Story. The Tony Award-winner embraces Stevens’ album in an ecstatic pageant of storytelling, theater, dance, and live music with a cast of virtuosic dancers, singers, and musicians with a narrative crafted with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury (Fairview, Marys Seacole). Featuring new arrangements of the entire album by composer and pianist Timo Andres for a live band and three voices, ranging in style from DIY folk and indie rock to marching band and ambient electronics, this bold, new music-theater production leads audiences on a mighty journey through the American heartland, from campfire storytelling to the edges of the cosmos.
Director and choreographer Justin Peck is joined by American writer and academic Hua Hsu to discuss the creative process and development of Illinoise, from concept album to fully realized theatrical production.
Illinoise Opening Night Benefit Celebration
Thursday, March 7, 2024
New York City Premiere—An Armory Commission
Co-commissioned by Park Avenue Armory, Fisher Center at Bard, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Southbank Centre, TO Live, and Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC), and produced in association with ArKtype / Thomas O. Kriegsmann by special arrangement with the Perelman Performing Arts Center (PAC NYC)
Originally commissioned, developed, produced, and premiered at the Fisher Center at Bard
Music and Lyrics Sufjan Stevens
(Based on the Album Illinois)
Story Justin Peck and Jackie Sibblies Drury
Direction and Choreography Justin Peck
Music Direction and Supervision Nathan Koci
Music Arrangements and Orchestrations Timo Andres
Scenic Design Adam Rigg
Lighting Design Brandon Stirling Baker
Sound Design Garth MacAleavey
Costume Design Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung
Props Design Andrew Diaz
Masks Julian Crouch
Illinoise is generously supported, in part, by the Blavatnik Family Foundation, Slobodan Randjelović and Jon Stryker, Jody and John Arnhold, and the Harkness Foundation for Dance.
Photo of original company member Matthew Johnson: Matt Murphy
Monday–Thursday at 7:30pm
Friday at 8:00pm
Saturday at 2:00pm & 8:00pm
To view a full schedule of performances, click here.
Wade Thompson Drill Hall
View the seating chart.
This performance is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes without an intermission.
Tickets start at $35 (plus fees)
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