Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Here's What's On Tap at New Haven Festival of Arts & Ideas

From the tour of Traces. Photo by Michael Meseke


Lalah Hathaway & Ruben Studdard
with the Connecticut Governor’s Arts Awards
June 14, 7pm—Festival Opening Night
New Haven Green (Free)
Lalah Hathaway is a supremely gifted vocalist and pianist, whose style effortlessly fuses elements of R&B, jazz, and pop. Her voice, soulful and resonant, has carried her through a Grammy winning career lasting over two decades. Hathaway is joined by special guest Ruben Studdard, the winner of the second season of American Idol, who has charmed audiences with his big voice and R&B/jazz style ever since.
To open the evening, the State of Connecticut Governor’s Arts Awards will honor several Connecticut artists in a ceremony celebrating their outstanding impact on arts and culture in the state.

Martha Redbone Roots Project
with Cry You One
June 15, 7pm
New Haven Green (Free)
Martha Redbone's music is a brilliant fusion of her magnificent voice and a cornucopia of roots music—folk, country, piedmont blues, gospel, honkytonk, bluegrass, soul, and traditional Native. Roots Project comprises a collection of William Blake poems set to Redbone's music of Appalachia.
The evening opens with music from Cry You One, a project by Louisiana-based ensembles Mondo Bizarro and ArtSpot. The concert features music and dances from the cultures of South Louisiana's vanishing coastal communities. Before the concert, at 6:15pm, artists from the show will lead the crowd in an “all-come” Louisiana dance class.

Dianne Reeves
with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra
William Boughton, conductor
June 21, 7pm
New Haven Green (Free)
Dianne Reeves is among the pre-eminent jazz vocalists in the world. Her breathtaking virtuosity, improvisational prowess, and unique jazz and R&B stylings have earned her multiple Grammys and accolades, and her work has appeared on the biggest stages and screens around the world.
At the Festival, she performs a special program with our city's cultural treasure, the New Haven Symphony Orchestra—one of the premiere orchestras in the region.
Before the show, all are invited to an all-musicians play-in with musicians from the New Haven Symphony Orchestra and Music Haven. Sheet music and additional details will be available on the Festival’s website in early June.

Brandy Clark with Bronze Radio Return
June 22, 7pm
New Haven Green (Free)
Grammy nominated country songwriter Brandy Clark represents the next generation of Nashville, her expansive style incorporating storytelling vocals and elements of Americana. She will sing songs from her debut album, 12 Stories, telling us about a diverse set of characters from all walks of life.
The evening starts with Bronze Radio Return, whose music is drenched in harmony, warmth, and soul: their songs are made to make people come together, with sing-alongs, foot stomps, hand claps, and all.

 La Santa Cecilia with Nation Beat
June 28, 7pm
New Haven Green (Free)
2014 Grammy winner for Best Latin Rock album, La Santa Cecilia leaves crowds mesmerized with colorful and fiesta-like performances. This vibrant ensemble combines Pan-American rhythms—cumbia, bossa nova, rumba, bolero, tango, jazz, rock—into big, passionate music that gets you moving.
Opening the evening, from Brazil by way of New Orleans, Nation Beat performs a vibrant show that is frequently known to burst into crowd-wide, Carnival-style drumming and singing.

Les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers)
June 24, 25, 27, 27 at 8pm
June 28 at 1pm & 5pm
University Theatre, 222 York St ($35/$65)
A hit off-Broadway, Traces combines traditional acrobatic forms with street elements such as skateboarding and basketball. From the same company that created the acrobatics in the Broadway revival of Pippin, Les 7 doigts de la main (7 Fingers)’s Traces uses smart theatricality and contemporary movement to surprise, awe, and delight at every turn.  Crowds went wild for 7 Fingers’ Sequence 8 at the Festival last year.
On June 25, an Ideas panel on Contemporary Circus Practice will bring together circus producers, artists, and innovators—including members of the 7 Fingers company—for a discussion on new circus production today and its path to the future. See the IDEAS portion of this release for more information.

The Events  (US Premiere)
June 24, 25, 27, 27 at 8pm
June 28 at 3pm & 8pm
Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel St ($35/$65)
By David Greig, directed by Ramin Gray, music by John Browne
Featuring 6 choirs from our region
U.S. premiere at the International Festival of Arts & Ideas
David Greig’s highly acclaimed, daring new play asks how far forgiveness will stretch. Dealing with issues of community, tolerance, and how to cope in the wake of traumatic events, The Events tells of tragedy, obsession, and our desire to fathom the unfathomable. The production features local choirs and a soaring musical soundscape.
At the Edinburgh Festival last summer, The Events received 4 and 5 star reviews in The GuardianDaily TelegraphIndependentThe TimesThe ScotsmanTime Out, andFinancial Times.  The show was named Best Theatre Production of 2013 by The Guardian newspaper, which described The Events as "a mighty play about what it is that makes us human."  The show was also awarded the prestigious Carol Tambor Best of Edinburgh Award.
A post-show discussion will follow each performance. On June 27, the show’s composer John Brown will join other artists to discuss the role of art in conflict in a panel conversation, part of the Festival’s IDEAS series.
The Events is a co-production of Actors Touring Company (London), Brageteatret (Drammen), Schauspielhaus (Vienna) and the Young Vic Theatre (London).

Elevator Repair Service
June 18, 19, 20 at 8pm
June 21 at 3pm & 8pm
June 22 at 1pm
Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel St ($35/$65)
Created and Performed by Elevator Repair Service, directed by John Collins
In this “wittily inventive” (The New York Times) and “boisterously entertaining” (Entertainment Weekly) show, acclaimed theater ensemble Elevator Repair Service explores the drama emerging from Supreme Court oral arguments in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, a 1991 First Amendment case brought by a group of erotic dancers and the proprietors of the Kitty Kat Lounge in Indiana.
Arguendo is a staging of the case’s entire oral argument verbatim, interspersed with bits of real interviews with the justices, the lawyers and an exotic dancer who traveled all the way from the Déja Vu Club in Saginaw, Michigan to listen to the argument at The Supreme Court.
A post-show discussion with First Amendment experts will follow each performance. After the matinee on June 22, a panel with First Amendment and Supreme Court scholars and commentators will be featured as part of the Festival’s IDEAS series. Panelists will include Robert Post, dean of Yale Law School and a First Amendment scholar; Linda Greenhouse, a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and Yale Law School lecturer; and Emily Bazelon, senior editor for Slate.

Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group
June 18, 19, 20 at 8pm
June 21 at 5pm
University Theatre, 222 York St ($35/$55)
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group is a company that dances with stylishness and athleticism: the movement is bold and vibrant, drawing from blues, slave, and spiritual cultures. Steps are then combined with dance drawn from freestyle, disco, and classical sources. In Moses(es), choreographer Reggie Wilson finds inspiration in Zora Neale Hurston's Moses, Man of the Mountain, reflecting on the migration of people and cultures around the world.  The New York Times called Moses(es) a “thrilling new work.”
Several context activities are included as part of the company’s performances in New Haven, including: on June 18, a pre-show talk from culture writer Claudia La Rocco introducing the show; on June 18 & 20, post-show discussions with Reggie Wilson; on June 19, an Ideas series panel with Wilson and Zora Neale Hurston scholars at the Beinecke Library; and two master-classes taught by Wilson and company members on June 17 and 21.

 Lemon Andersen
County of Kings
June 14, 15 at 5pm
Yale Repertory Theatre, 1120 Chapel St ($35/$55)
Developed and Directed by Elise Thoron
Performance artist, playwright, and Tony Award winning performer and poet Lemon Andersen's one-man journey towards self discovery in County of Kings flows from hard-edged drama to street poetry: the show is a vivid portrait of his adverse yet often humorous coming-of-age experiences during 1980s and 90s Brooklyn. Andersen’s story taps a loving relationship between a mother and son, neighborhood mores, young romance, juvenile crime, addiction, and ultimately, redemption and personal triumph. Variety described the show as "electrifyingly fresh and unquestionably moving.”

Regina Carter
Southern Comfort
June 17, 8pm
Morse Recital Hall at Sprague Hall, 470 College St ($35/$55)
Regina Carter (MacArthur “Genius” Fellow) is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. At the Festival, she explores and celebrates the folk tunes that her paternal grandfather would have heard in the South: Cajun fiddle music, early gospel and coal miners' work songs are meshed with contemporary tunes to form Carter's unique and engaging sound.
Before the show on June 17, Carter will discuss cultural heritage, identity and the power of improvisation in a talk with Crystal Feimster, part of the Festival’s IDEAS series. 

The Gloaming
June 19, 8pm
Morse Recital Hall at Sprague Hall, 470 College St ($35/$55)
With Iarla O’Lionaird (vocals), Thomas Bartlett (piano), Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh (hardanger d’amore), Martin Hayes (violin/fiddle) and Dennis Cahill (guitar)
Irish & American folk supergroup The Gloaming carves new paths connecting the rich Irish folk tradition and the contemporary music scene. From haunting songs to rousing instrumental medleys, they make music that is both ancient and utterly new.
Adele Myers & Dancers
Einstein’s Happiest Thought
June 24, 25, 27, 27 at 8pm
June 28 at 1pm
Iseman Theater ($35/$55)
Adele Myers & Dancers is a New England-based contemporary dance company whose performances have been described as “engrossing” (The Village Voice). The company's newest work, Einstein's Happiest Thought, delves into sensations budding from the charged physical states of risk and anticipation: the dancers push and pull, run and pause, moving to music by Josh Quillen of contemporary music ensemble So Percussion.
One hour before each performance, audiences are invited to explore the company's style and gestures in a 30-minute "warm-up" with Adele Myers. No dance experience or special attire is required. Myers will also teach a master class on intermediate/advanced contemporary dance technique on June 25, as well as an all-levels “movers and shakers” class on June 26. 

Île O
Compagnie Barolosolo
June 14, 15 at 12pm & 5pm
New Haven Green (Free standing room with seating available for $35 advance/Pay-What-You-Wish on site)
A pool of water, a pole to climb on, and two clowns with musical instruments: what could possibly go wrong? Mathieu Levavasseur and William Valet go from comic to absurd, creating a playful world where aquatic poetry and music fill the New Haven Green.

Erik Friedlander
Block Ice & Propane
June 15, 1pm
Iseman Theatre, 1156 Chapel St ($35/$55)
Presented in collaboration with the Yale University Art Gallery
Images by Lee & Maria Friedlander
Films by Bill Morrison
Cellist Erik Friedlander draws on his experiences as a child traveling across the United States with his family—across America's wide open landscapes with its colors and sounds—to create an engaging solo performance that brings together Erik's rich, inspired cello music, his own stories from now-distant road trips, images taken by his father the photographer Lee Friedlander, and haunting road films contributed by filmmaker Bill Morrison.
Erik Friedlander’s performance is presented in association with the Yale University Art Gallery’s exhibit, Jazz Lives: The Photographs of Lee Friedlander and Milt Hinton.  A curator-led tour of the exhibit will be offered as part of the Festival on June 17.
Echoes: Early Music Reimagined
Yale Choral Artists
June 20, 8pm
Church of St. Mary, 5 Hillhouse Ave ($35/$55)
The Yale Choral Artists, a professional ensemble of singers led by director Jeffrey Douma, has become an audience favorite at the Festival with its incisive musical performances. Returning to the Festival for its third appearance, the ensemble explores early music in our times, juxtaposing beloved compositions by Tallis, Josquin, and Bach with commissions by two acclaimed young composers, Ted Hearne and Hannah Lash.

Yale Institute for Music Theatre
Open rehearsal readings:
Afterland – June 14 at 1pm, June 15 at 5pm
Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon – June 14 at 5pm, June 15 at 1pm
The Yale Institute for Music Theatre (Mark Brokaw, Artistic Director) is an exciting chance for theater and music lovers to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the creation of new music theater. The Institute offers emerging composers, book writers, and lyricists the opportunity to develop their work in an intensive lab setting with a company of professional directors, music directors, actors, and singers. The two-week residency at Yale School of Drama culminates in open rehearsal readings of each project, presented as part of the Festival.
The Institute has selected two original book musicals to be developed in an intensive lab setting in New Haven, June 3-15.  Afterland, with music and lyrics by Benjamin Velez and book and lyrics by Kathryn Hathaway, will be directed by Mark Brokaw; and Clouds are Pillows for the Moon, with music by Tidtaya Sinutoke and book and lyrics by Ty Defoe, will be directed by Leigh Silverman.
Go to for a complete description of each project.

Opening Celebration: The Governor’s Arts Awards
June 14, 3pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
Recipients of this year’s Connecticut Governor’s Arts Awards for excellence and lifetime achievement in the arts participate in an onstage panel to discuss the state of the arts in Connecticut. 

Jack Hitt: From Electric Car to Obsolete Highways
June 15, 3pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
Last year, Jack Hitt converted his combustion engine Cabrio to an all-lithium-battery powered car. He hoped to find out why our highways are not teeming with Teslas. Instead he discovered that the coming technology points not so much to Elon Musk as Doc Brown (“Roads? Where we're going we don't need roads.”). The next generation is already learning to abandon (almost all) the control assumed by the once proud designated driver. The road ahead will see the self-piloted flying car and a future when highways become as obsolete as the Santa Fe Trail. 

On the Waterfront: Responses to Our Embattled Waterways
June 17, 12:30pm
Burke Auditorium, Kroon Hall, Yale School of Forestry (Free)
Changing landscapes are an environmental as well as cultural transformation: Cry You One investigates the ways in which cultural traditions change as landscapes change, inspired by the disappearing Louisiana coastline. In this talk, artists join environmental activists and community experts involved in saving New Haven’s own waterways for a discussion on the intersection of performance, science, and activism. 

Down Home: The Musical Heritage of the American South
June 17, 5:30pm
Yale Center for British Art (Free)
Regina Carter (performing at the Festival on June 17) is a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellow whose work has explored the African roots of the violin. Her most recent album is inspired by her family background in Alabama, where her grandfather was a coal miner. Together with historian and Yale professor Crystal Feimster, Ms. Carter discusses cultural heritage, identity and the power of improvisation.

The Cooking Gene: Tracing My African American Story Through Food
June 18, 5:30pm
Yale Center for British Art (Free)
For African-American culinary historian Michael W. Twitty, there was a giant hole in the story of American cooking as big as the one in the story of most African-American families. Putting the microscope on himself, Twitty traced his family history through the story of Southern and American food. Using genetic research, historic interpretation, nature study, heirloom gardening, and interviews with contemporary voices in food, his journey led him to his family’s origins in West and Central Africa and a front seat in the debate over race and food in American life. 

Zora Neale Hurston: The Inspiration Behind Moses(es)
June 19, 12:30pm
Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library (Free)
Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group’s new dance Moses(es) (at the Festival June 18-21) is inspired by Zora Neale Hurston’s novel Moses, Man of the Mountain. In this discussion, Reggie Wilson joins Beinecke Library curator Melissa Barton, and James Madison University professor Mollie Godfrey to talk about the impact of Zora Neale Hurston, the novelist best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Thinking About Sports
June 19, 5:30pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
People the world over love watching—and listening to and reading about—other people playing games. On a warm June evening in the heat of the World Cup in Brazil, the NBA finals, the baseball season and NFL minicamps, the legendary sportswriter Frank Deford, prize-winning poet Elizabeth Alexander, NPR and Slate sportswriter Mike Pesca, and best-selling author Nicholas Dawidoff will discuss sports in society.
Beginning with personal thoughts on spectating and following sports, the panel will address the broader appeal of games in a wide-ranging conversation that promises to engage with everything from how to save football from violence (and baseball from football) to why Americans have been the last to appreciate the truth and beauty in the beautiful game of soccer.

The Art of Bibliotherapy, or, How to Match-Make Between Books and Readers
June 21, 3pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
For centuries, the role of the bookseller—or librarian, or literary friend—has been akin to that of the country doctor: get to know patients through time and experience, then lovingly place the right prescription in their hands at the right time in their lives. In a world of and crowd-sourcing, has that central role of a personal literary mediator been lost? Susan Elderkin, a bibliotherapist at The School of Life in London and co-author of The Novel Cure, speaks on how and why to recommend books. 
After the lecture, Susan will be conducting an ‘On the Couch’ bibliotherapy workshop. Bring her your ailments for a made-to-measure reading prescription, and practice the art of bibliotherapy yourself. Register in advance at

Speech: The First Amendment in the Spotlight
June 22, 3pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
Elevator Repair Service created its show Arguendo (performing at the Festival June 18-22) from a Supreme Court transcript of oral arguments from a First Amendment case. Leading experts in First Amendment law and the Supreme Court will discuss and reflect on the issues at hand in the play and beyond. Panelists include Yale Law School Dean and First Amendment scholar Robert Post, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Yale Law School lecturer Linda Greenhouse, and Slate Senior Editor Emily Bazelon.
Brilliant: The Science of How We Get Smarter
June 24, 5:30pm
Yale Center for British Art (Free)
Most of us assume that intelligence is immutable, set by our genetic inheritance or by our upbringing. Writer and reporter Annie Murphy Paul explodes that myth by revealing the impact of the microenvironment. From the physical postures we assume to the amount of sleep and exercise we get to the techniques we use to commit material to memory: the situations we create (or find ourselves in) can evoke or suppress intelligent thought and behavior.

Photographs of Britain and Ireland
June 25, 5:30pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
American photographers Bruce Davidson and Paul Caponigro reflect on their experiences while working in England, Wales, and Ireland during the 1960s and 1970s. This talk opens the exhibition, Bruce Davidson/Paul Caponigro: Two American Photographers in Britain and Ireland, on view at the Yale Center for British Art. The exhibition presents two dramatically distinctive American visions of the enduring landscapes and changing cultural scenes of Britain and Ireland.
In partnership with the Yale Center for British Art.

Contemporary Circus: Innovative Approaches to Partnership, from Quebec to New England
June 25, 6:30pm
Location TBA (Free)
The Northeast Corridor is ripe with innovative approaches to creative practice and live performance. In this discussion, producers, artists, and innovators explore how inspiration from Quebec has resulted in opportunities for community-building, collaborative business models, and out-of-the-box artistry, with circus skills as a catalyst.
How to Make a Human Being
June 26, 5:30pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
Six million years ago, our ancestors were chimpanzee-like creatures that spent much of their time in the trees. How did we humans become so different from our primate cousins? New York Times columnist and science writer Carl Zimmer shares new research that tells us where we have been and where we are headed, with surprising revelations about human health. 

Can Music Mediate Conflict?
June 27, 5:30pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
Scholars and composers join in conversation about the ways in which music can mediate conflict and be a source of uplift. Participants including John Browne of The Events(performing at the Festival June 24-28) and Byron Au Yong of Stuck Elevator (from Festival 2013) will reflect on the communal possibilities of choral music, on the role of music in the play The Events, and on their own approach to negotiating hope and humanity through art.
Working Through It: Artists on Developing New Work
June 28, 10am
Location TBA (Free)
Festival artists in residence Aaron Jafferis (writer) and Byron Au Yong (composer) are continuing a music-theatre trilogy that began with Stuck Elevator (Festival 2013): they are currently working on Trigger, an oratorio for 32 singers that focuses on mental health and violence in the wake of the Virginia Tech Massacre.
Join them for a workshop in which they will share outcomes as well as involve participants in their creative process. As part of their residency, Au Yong and Jafferis will be developing the piece and engaging with audiences and artists throughout the Festival.

South Africa Now: Reflecting on 20 Years of Democracy
June 28, 3pm
Yale University Art Gallery (Free)
2014 marks 20 years of democracy in South Africa, as we contemplate South Africa’s post-Apartheid hearings and the legacy of Nelson Mandela. Has the Truth and Reconciliation process been a catalyst for other communities emerging from violent histories? Where is South Africa on today’s world stage? The panel includes award-winning journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and other experts. 


Family Matters: The Personal Cinema of Alan Berliner
A film series presented in association with the Yale Summer Film Institute, with screenings, talks, and panels with filmmaker Alan Berliner
June 13-15 (Free)

A street-performance water balloon fight!
June 27-28, New Haven Green (Free)

Walking Tours (27 events)
Dozens of tours and talks at sites, buildings, and neighborhoods throughout New Haven. For a complete list, go to
June 14-28

Exhibition & Gallery Tours (18 events)
Art and exhibit tours led by experts and curators at the Yale University Art Gallery, Yale Center for British Art, Knights of Columbus Museum, Yale-China Association, Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum, New Haven Museum, ARTSPACE, and the Ethnic Heritage Center at Southern Connecticut University.
For a complete list, go to
June 14-28

Bike Tours (12 events)
Explore the New Haven area and Southern Connecticut coastline with Elm City Cycling
For a complete list, go to
June 14-28

Food Experiences (3 events)
Three experiences at foodie locations in New Haven
For a complete list, go to
June 14-28

Noon to Night: Weekday Concerts (16 events)
Tuesday to Friday at 12pm and 6pm on the New Haven Green
For a complete list of acts & events, go to
June 17-27

Family Stage: Shows for All Ages (8 events)
Tuesday to Friday at 1:15pm on the New Haven Green
For a complete list of events, go to
June 17-27

Master Classes & Workshops (10 events)
Dive deeper into the performances on stage in these classes and workshops with Festival performing artists
For a complete schedule, go to
June 14-28

Weekend Showcase
Talents from the New Haven community take the main stages of the New Haven Green on weekend afternoons.
For a complete list, go to after June 1

Enjoy pizza from pizzerias throughout New Haven, proceeds benefitting New Haven’s ConnectionFund
June 19-20, 26-27, 12pm

Pop-Up Celebrations (3 events)
Community celebrations in New Haven’s neighborhoods, pre-ambles to the main Festival
May 31, June 1, June 7
Locations TBA

Family Activities on the New Haven Green (~4 events)
Box City, June 14 & 15 from 12pm-5pm
Children’s Film Festival, June 14 at the Yale Center for British Art

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures, and conversations that celebrates the greatest artists and thinkers from around the world. Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven, Connecticut, with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul.

More than 80% of Festival programs are completely free to the public, including events that feature some of the most prestigious jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists in the world. The Festival’s programs have an impact throughout the year, including engagement and educational programming such as the Festival Fellowship Program for underserved youth, and the Visionary Leadership Award held in autumn of each year.

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas was established in 1996 by Anne Calabresi, Jean Handley, and Roslyn Meyer. The founders envisioned an annual celebration in New Haven—a small city rich with diversity and steeped in strong cultural and educational traditions—distinguished from established arts festivals by its fusion of ideas events. Their aim was to gather world-class artists and pre-eminent thinkers from around the globe, showcasing the city and the state as a major arts destination.

Festival 2014 is presented with major support from the State of Connecticut, Yale University, First Niagara Bank, the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Eucalyptus Foundation.

More information at

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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