May 15, 2019 - New York, NY


 Cutting-Edge Performances and International Artists Provoke, Challenge and Engage



  • NYU Skirball season opens on September 6, 2019 with the premiere of JoAnne Akalaitis’s BAD NEWS! i was there…, a site-specific processional work performed throughout NYU Skirball’s lobbies and backstage
  • The U.S. premiere of Philippe Quesne’s Welcome to Moleland features giant punk-rock playing creatures in a mysterious, underground world


  • U.S. premiere of Tony Award-nominee Daniel Fish’s White Noise, freely inspired by Don DeLillo’s National Book Award-winning book


  • U.S. premiere of Wild Bore from Australia’s Malthouse Theatre, featuring Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez and Adrienne Truscott, three masters of outrageous political comedy


  • World premiere of John Kelly’s Underneath the Skin, an NYU Skirball Commission, meditates on the life of poet, novelist, tattoo artist and author of erotic fiction, Samuel Steward


  • The NYC premiere of George Lewis’ Soundlinespresented by International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), inspired by Steven Schick’s 700-mile walk across California


  • U.S. premiere of Mette Ingvartsen’s to come (extended), features 15 performers and questions the notion of individual sexual freedom


  • Big Dance Theatre’sThe Road Awaits Us features two North American premieres and a beloved solo by choreographer Annie-B Parson


  • Elements of Ozcombines augmented reality with live performance to celebrate and deconstruct the iconic film, The Wizard of Oz, from the New York-based performance company, The Builders Association



NYU Skirball’s Fall 2019 season will open on Friday, September 6 with the New York premiere of JoAnne Akalaitis’s BAD NEWS! i was there…, a site-specific work to be performed throughout NYU Skirball, today announced Director Jay Wegman.


The fall season will feature nine cutting-edge, interdisciplinary works, including a world premiere, two North American premieres and four U.S. premieres by today’s most innovative, provocative and adventurous national and international artists, including Joanne Akalaitis, Daniel Fish, Mette Ingvartsen, John Kelly, Paul Lazar, George Lewis, Zoe Coombs Marr, Ursula Martinez, Annie-B Parson, Philippe Quesne, Adrienne Truscott, The Builders Association, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Malthouse Theatre Melbourne, Big Dance Theatre, The Guthrie Theatre and France’s Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers.


NYU Skirball is located in the heart of Greenwich Village, historically a center of resistance, dissent and free thinking. NYU Skirball’s programing reflects this history, and embrace’stoday’s renegade artists and companies, presenting works that aim to engage, provoke and inspire audiences.


“NYU Skirball’s fall season is a genre-bending mix of daring, fun, relevant subjects, from the sexual and political to outrageous works that reflect the tumultuous and extraordinary world we live in today,” said Jay Wegman. “We are happy to present a season of world premiere NYU Skirball commissions; North American, U.S. and N.Y. premieres;  and genre-bending works in theater, dance, augmented reality and music.”


The Season: Chronology


JOANNE AKALAITIS: BAD NEWS! i was there…                         N.Y. Premiere                              THEATER

Friday, September 6 – Sunday, September 8


The NYU Skirball season opens with the New York premiere of JoAnne Akalaitis’s BAD NEWS! i was there… a site-specific processional theater work that explores the monumental impact of the Messenger character from classic drama. Taken from the works of Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Racine, Brecht and more – as seen through the creative lens of distinguished translators and poets such as Yeats  and  Ezra Pound – BAD NEWS! i was there…., with an original score by Bruce Odland, is both individually and chorally  spoken and sung, in English, interwoven with  Greek, Latin, German and French, and features movement influenced by the Indian Kathakali tradition. Created in the spirit of the Greek polis, where the audience came together as resident spectators to witness tragedies that called into question the basic rationality of mortals and the justice of the gods, the spectators  follow a path throughout  NYU Skirball on a journey  from the lobby to spaces in the auditorium and halls to witness simultaneously performed descriptions of the horrifying events in the great classical stories, ending on the empty  stage  with  the story of the horrifying battle from The Persiansby Aeschylus, the oldest surviving play in Western Literature,  followed by a sharing with the audience. The visual design of the piece is by Julie Archer and the Lighting by Jennifer Tipton.


JoAnne  Akalaitisis an award-winning director and writer  who has staged works by Euripides, Shakespeare, Strindberg, Beckett, Pinter, Tennessee Williams and Jean Genet at theaters all over America and in Europe. She has taught at institutions such as the Juilliard School , Bard College, Fordham and Yale Universities.


BAD NEWS! i was there…is presented in cooperation with the Guthrie Theater.




Thursday, September 12 – Saturday, September 14

French theater director and visual artist Philippe Quesne has created a mysterious world inhabited by giant punk-rock playing creatures who live deep underground in a parallel world, free of words and of humans. New Yorkers of different ages will have the chance to meet the Moles in three distinct events:


Parade of the MolesThursday, September 12

The Moles will venture forth from NYU Skirball to explore the great outdoors and Greenwich Village landmarks. The public is invited to join in this  free, informal parade as the creatures explore the NYU neighborhood.


Night of the MolesFriday, September 13 & Saturday, September 14

A burrow. Seven giant moles emerge from cardboard tunnels. They dig, cook, draw, copulate and even form a punk-rock band. A disconcerting microcosm that could only have come from Philippe Quesne’s imagination. Wordless theater of the ecological and philosophical underground, this is an improbable journey to the center of the earth.


Afternoon of the Moles: Saturday, September 14

In this family-friendly performance, the Moles form a punk band that rocks their underground world. There will be a pre-show activity for children and their families. Philippe Quesnestudied fine arts, visual design, and stage design in Paris. In 2003, he founded Vivarium Studio. His many works, which have been presented to great acclaim internationally, combine scenography with visual art and performance. Since 2014, he has been artistic director of France’s Nanterre-Amandiers theatre. In his work, Quesne creates spaces that function like ecosystems, where the performers explore the dynamics within a community. In addition to his work for the theater, he creates performances and interventions in public spaces or natural sites and displays his installations in the context of exhibitions. In 2019, he was named artistic director for the Prague Quadriennal.


Welcome to Moleland is presented in cooperation with France’s Théâtre Nanterre-Amandiers.



DANIEL FISH: WHITE NOISE                                               U.S. Premiere                            THEATER

Friday, September 20 – Sunday, September 22

Daniel Fish, Tony Award nominee for his  revival of Oklahoma!on Broadway, brings a new work freely inspired by Don DeLillo’s National Book Award-winning White Noiseto NYU Skirball. Originally staged in 2018  by Theater Freiburg and Ruhrfestspiele Recklingshausen in Germany, the production is a collaboration between Fish, actor Bruce Mackenzie, designers Jim Findlay (video), Andrew  Lieberman (set) and Doey Lüthi ( costume), composer/drummer Bobby Previte, and nineteen teenagers from Freiburg, Germany seen on video. The 70-minute work meditates on the themes of the novel: rampant consumerism, guns, media saturation, fear of dying, underground conspiracies, the disintegration and reintegration of the family, and environmental disaster.


Daniel Fish is a New York-based director who makes work across the boundaries of theater, film, and opera. He draws on a broad range of forms and subject matter including plays, film scripts, contemporary fiction, essays and found audio. Recent work includes  Oklahoma!(Broadway and St. Ann’s Warehouse), Michael Gordon’s opera Acquanetta(Prototype Festival), Don’t Look Back (The Chocolate Factory), Leonard Bernstein’s A Quiet Place (Curtis Opera), Who Left This Fork Here (Baryshnikov Arts Center, Onassis Center), Ted Hearne’s The Source (BAM NEXT WAVE, L.A. Opera, San Francisco Opera), andEternal.His work has been seen at theaters and festivals throughout the U.S. and Europe, and his residencies and commissions include The MacDowell Colony, Baryshnikov Arts Center,  Mass MOCA, The Chocolate Factory and The Bushwick Starr.  He is the recipient of the 2017 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts for the Theater.




WILD BORE                                                 U.S. Premiere                     THEATER/COMEDY

Friday, September 27 – Saturday, September 28


The first rule of making art is don’t respond to your critics. But in the U.S. premiere of Wild Bore, three masters of smart, political and outrageous comedy delve into the torrent of critical fury that has been aimed at baffling, misunderstood and downright awful works of art (including their own). Zoe Coombs Marr (AUS), Ursula Martinez (UK) and Adrienne Truscott (US) team up to play certain critics at their own game, and prove they too are not afraid to talk out of their arses.


Zoe Coombs Marr was the winner of the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF) award for Trigger Warningand has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe, London’s Soho Theatre and MICF. Ursula Martinez is an established international writer, performer and cult cabaret diva. She produces explosive live performance, for theatre, cabaret and beyond. Adrienne Truscott is a choreographer, circus acrobat, dancer, writer, and as of late, comedian, who makes genre-straddling work in New York City and abroad.wildbore/


Wild Bore is presented in cooperation with Malthouse Theatre Melbourne, Australia.



JOHN KELLY: UNDERNEATH THE SKIN                                   NYU Skirball Commission                  THEATER

Friday, October 11 & Saturday, October 12


Underneath the Skin, commissioned by NYU Skirball,is a solo dance theater work based on the life of Samuel Steward (1909-1993), a gay novelist, poet, and scholar who abandoned his post as university professor to reinvent himself as an author of erotic fiction (as Phil Andros), and one of the 20th century’s most accomplished and influential tattoo artists (as Philip Sparrow). Stewart also attracted the friendship of the writer Gertrude Stein, the playwright Thornton Wilder, and became an unofficial collaborator at the Kinsey Institute for Sex Research in the 1950’s.


Underneath the Skinincludes theatrical movement and choreography, theatrical renditions of Steward’s actual words (culled from his essays and unpublished memoir), video projections, and digital animations of Stewards tattoo designs and erotic illustrations.


John Kelly is a performance and visual artist, vocalist, and dancer. His performance works are sometimes autobiographical or character-driven, and other times focus on the struggles encountered by artists and social outsiders, and the nature of creative genius. His works have been performed at BAM’s Next Wave Festival, La MaMa, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and London’s Tate Modern. His visual artwork is based in various aspects of self-portraiture, including drawing, painting, photography, and video. A recent solo exhibition Sideways into the Shadowsincluded over 50 hand-drawn portraits of friends and lovers lost to the AIDS epidemic, and he recently completed his first graphic novel, A Friend Gave Me A Book. He has received two Obie Awards and two NEA American Masterpieces Awards; and fellowships from The American Academy in Rome and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.



ICE: GEORGE LEWIS’ SOUNDLINES                                                   NYC Premiere                            MUSIC

Friday, October 18 & Saturday, October 19

Soundlines, a NYC premiere, is MacArthur Fellow George Lewis’s musical interpretation of Steven Schick’s journal documenting his 700-mile walk from the US-Mexico border to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2006. Schick’s diary, written during the many months of this trip, has been used by Lewis as the text for a speaker, accompanied by a percussionist; a chamber ensemble with eight instruments; and electronics. Reminiscent of Alexis de Tocqueville and Henry David Thoreau, the text describes his inner moods, doubts, meditations, aesthetics, his personal musical practice, and social commentary.


George Lewis, Professor of American Music at Columbia University and Area Chair in Composition, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. Lewis’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. A member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) since 1971, Lewis’s work in experimental music and interactive media is documented on more than 150 recordings, and his AACM opera Afterword (2015) has been performed internationally. His 2008 book, A Power Stronger Than Itself:  The AACM and American Experimental Music, received the American Book Award. George Lewis/


The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) is an artist collective committed to transforming the way music is created and experienced. ICE explores how new music intersects with communities across the world. The Ensemble’s 36 members are featured as soloists, chamber musicians, commissioners and collaborators with the foremost musical artists of our time. Works by emerging composers have anchored the Ensemble’s programming since its founding in 2001, and the group’s recordings and digital platforms highlight the many voices that weave music’s present.


Soundlines was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association; the International Contemporary Ensemble, with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation; and in honor of the Taylor Family through ICE’s First Page, with lead support from Billie and Tim Taylor.


METTE INGVARTSEN: to come (extended)                                  U.S. Premiere                                   DANCE

Friday, October 25 & Saturday, October 26


With wit and sensuality, political sensitivity and great candor, the U.S. premiere of to come (extended) explores indistinctions between private and public space in regard to sexual representation. In a performance that literally disrupts erotic orders, a group of 15 performers questions the notion of individual sexual freedom by working on orgiastic relations. The bodies of the performers merge into a collective group formation by making their surfaces indistinguishable from one another. Working directly on how bodies can physically connect, mechanisms of desire are rethought by experimenting with sexual, orgasmic and social expressions.


Mette Ingvartsen is a Danish choreographer and dancer. Questions of kinesthesia, perception, affect and sensation have been crucial to most of her work, which includes several site-specific projects that have been seen around the world. Her works include 21 pornographies, to come (extended)69 positions, The Artificial Nature Project, The Extra Sensorial Garden, and many more. Mette was artist-in-residence at the KAAITHEATER in Brussels from 2013 till 2016 and has been part of the artistic team at Volksbühne in Berlin since 2017. She teaches and gives workshops often related to developing methodologies within choreographic practices. Since 2005 she has been working on “everybodys,” an ongoing collaborative project based on open source strategies, aiming at producing tools and games that can be used by artists to develop work.



BIG DANCE THEATRE: THE ROAD AWAITS US                 North American Premieres           DANCE/THEATER

Friday, November 8 & Saturday, November 9


The Road Awaits Usfeatures two North American premieres and a beloved solo from Big Dance Theatre. The titular work, The Road Awaits Us(2016) , by Annie-B Parson, was created originally for Sadler’s Wells Elixir Co. The dance is based loosely on an absurdist play by Ionesco, staged as a birthday party for a company of esteemed dance elders, including Bebe Miller, Meg Harper, Keith Sabado, Sheryl Sutton, George Faison, Betsy Gregory, Brian Bertscher, and Black Eyed Susan.


Ballet, a North American premiere, is a duet based on the imagery, the fundamental actions, and the materiality of ballet traditions.


Back by popular demand, the solo Cage Shuffle: redux, features Paul Lazar speaking a series of one-minute lectures by John Cage from his 1963 score “Indeterminacy,” while simultaneously performing a complex choreographic score by Annie-B Parson.


Under the Artistic Direction of Annie-B Parson, Big Dance Theater (BDT) creates original works which mix dance, music and visual design with literary and found text. Founded in 1991, the company has received numerous commissions from BAM, The Walker Arts Center, National Theatre of Paris/ Chaillot and The Old Vic/London among others. BDT received two Bessie Awards, an OBIE, a Jacob’s Pillow Dance Award, a Franky Award, and was honored by PS 122. The company received its first commission from Dance Theater Workshop in 1991 and has worked with collaborators that include Anne Carson, Jonathan Demme, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.





Saturday, December 7 & Sunday, December 8


Elements of  Oz draws on one of the richest examples of escapist American entertainment, The Wizard of Oz. We revel in the multiplicity of interpretations of this iconic example of popular culture and examine how tens of thousands of people across the country (and across the globe) have made Oz their own. Through the use of You Tube tributes, a re-contextualization of the film, and the incorporation of new technologies, Elements of Oz celebrates and deconstructs this incredibly rich cultural artifact.


In much the same way the classic MGM movie transported us from the stark black and white of Kansas to a vibrant Technicolor Oz, this piece uses AR (Augmented Reality) in a new way which enlivens and deepens the audience’s experience. Audience cell phones remain on and the stage action interacts with viewers’ smart phones through a unique app that delivers the Technicolor Land of Oz of our imaginations. 

The Builders Association, founded in 1994 and directed by Marianne Weems, is a New York-based performance and media company that creates original productions based on stories drawn from contemporary life. The company uses the richness of new and old tools to extend the boundaries of theater. Based on innovative collaborations, Builders’ productions blend stage performance, text, video, sound, and architecture to tell stories about human experience in the 21st century. From BAM to Bogata, Singapore to Melbourne, Minneapolis and Los Angeles to Budapest, The Builders Association’s OBIE award-winning shows have toured to major venues the world over.





NYU Skirball’s free Monday night speaker series – Skirball Talks – launches its third season with compelling and challenging thought leaders from the worlds of the arts, humanities, entertainment, media and politics. Co-presented with departments and institutes across NYU, this series is free and open to the public, and brings together the best of NYU’s arts and academics. Previous speakers include Angela Davis, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Judith Butler, Larry Kramer, and Reverend William Barber.




Presentations are enhanced by free pre-and post-show discussions and special events, drawing on the expertise of NYU’s renowned faculty and educational resources, along with online resources including video interviews, suggested readings and contextual materials for all performances. The events are designed to provide context and allow audiences to interact with the artists, reflecting NYU’s commitment to education in, and through, the performing arts.




National Theatre Live returns to NYU Skirball with screenings of acclaimed broadcasts. Launched in 2009, National Theatre Live broadcasts have been seen by an audience of over 5 million people at 2000 venues in 50 countries.



Tickets go on sale to NYU Skirball members at noon on May 16; tickets to the public go on sale on June 5. For complete scheduling, dates and times, visit Tickets can be purchased by visiting the box office in person, Tuesday – Saturday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm (holiday and summer hours may vary). Tickets can be purchased by calling 212.998-4941. NYU Skirball is located at 566 LaGuardia Place at Washington Square, New York, New York 10012.



NYU Skirball, located in the heart of Greenwich Village, is one of New York City’s major presenters of international work, and has been the premier venue for cultural and performing arts events in lower Manhattan since 2003. The 800-seat theater, led by Director Jay Wegman, provides a home for internationally renowned artists, innovators and thinkers. NYU Skirball hostsover 300 events annually, from re-inventions of the classics to cutting-edge premieres, in genres ranging from dance, theater and performance arts to comedy, music and  film.


NYU Skirball’s unique partnership with New York University enables it to draw on the University’s intellectual riches and resources to enhance its programming with dialogues, public forums and conversations with artists, philosophers, scientists, Nobel Laureates and journalists.


Jay Wegman is the Director of NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts. Prior to NYU Skirball, he served as Director of the Abrons Art Center for ten years. During his tenure, Abrons was awarded various honors, including a 2014 OBIE Award for Innovative Excellence and a 2015 Bessie Award for Best Production. He was also a Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and for over a decade served as the first Canon for Liturgy and the Arts at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. He is the recipient of the 2015 FRANKY award for “making a long-term, extraordinary impact on contemporary theatre and performance in New York City.” While not a performer, he has appeared in Brian Roger’s film “Screamers” (2018), Sibyl Kempson’s 12 Shouts to the Ten Forgotten Heavens (2017), and Romper Room (1969). Jay is a graduate of Yale University.


NYU Skirball’s performance season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Additional generous support provided by the Booth Ferris Foundation, Collins Building Services, FACE Foundation, Marta Heflin Foundation, and the Mertz Gilmore Foundation, as well as NYU Skirball Business Partners, Patron Circle supporters, and NYU Skirball Members.


Subways: A, B, C, D, E, F, M to West 4th St.; R & W to 8th Street; 6 to Astor Place.

Programs, artists and ticket prices are subject to change.