More than two decades in the making, PAC NYC, the performing arts center at the World Trade Center site, which will have an official ribbon-cutting September 13, today announced its inaugural season, which features (among much else) a one-man play by Laurence Fishburne, a new opera by David Henry Hwang, a “Pose”-like version of “CATS,” and “a genre-defying exploration of justice and forgiveness” conceived by Bill T. Jones.
Below are some of the details of the theatrical productions.
“We will both present and produce theater, dance, music, chamber opera, film and performances that blur boundaries between disciplines.” Bill Rauch told me in an interview on the twentieth anniversary of September 11, two years after Rauch had been hired to be the inaugural artistic director of what was officially called the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center. When I asked him whether there would be a connection between the center and 9/11 — and whether the function of art as healing will play a part of the programming at the PAC — he replied:
“There are many layers of trauma as well as glimmers of the best of what our country might be embedded in the land of Lower Manhattan: from Dutch settlers driving out the Lenape, to enslaved New Yorkers being buried outside what was then city limits, to the wave after wave of immigrants that arrived in this part of New York harbor. The Twin Towers themselves were intended as a symbol of international peace. Even when works of art in our building have a tragic theme (and there will be plenty of joyful projects as well), there is something inherently optimistic and hopeful about performing arts happening on this site. I absolutely believe that art is healing, and live performance has a special ability to bring people together in life-altering ways.”
Watch Night (Nov. 3-18, 2023)
In the aftermath of unspeakable tragedy, an opportunistic reporter visits a sacred space defiled by American violence, in search of a story ready made for Hollywood—only to find that history repeats itself too soon, and too close to home. Co-conceived by Bill T. Jones and Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and composed by Tamar-kali. “A genre-defying exploration of justice and forgiveness that fuses melodies rooted in spirituals, percussive breath, and fiery opera.
Motion/Matter: Street Dance Festival (Jan. 5-14, 2024) – A celebration of the multitude of street dance movements emerging from New York City and from around the world.
The Following Evening (Feb. 1-18, 2024)
An intimate portrait of a couple creating what may be their final performance together after a lifetime at the heart of the experimental theater scene. A unique collaboration between two much acclaimed theater-making couples a generation apart – Ellen Maddow and Paul Zimet of Talking Band, and Abigail Browde and Michael Silerstone of 600 Highway
Between Two Knees (Feb. 3-24, 2024)
Ninety years in the life of a fictional Native American family by the acclaimed intertribal sketch comedy troupe The 1491s, which brought us the hilarious (and poignant) Hulu TV series “Reservation Dogs.”
Like They Do in The Movies (Mar. 10-31, 2024) – Laurence Fishburne’s one-man play about “the stories and lies people have told me. And that I have told myself.” Directed by Leonard Foglia.
Number Our Days (April 12-14, 2024)
Each day for 18 years, Jamie Livingston documented his life by taking a single Polaroid—until his death at age 41. Then his “Photo of the Day” went online, creating an immediate global sensation years before Instagram launched. With music for chorus, orchestra, and soloists by Grammy nominee Luna Pearl Woolf (Fire & Flood) and a non-fiction libretto by acclaimed filmmaker David Van Taylor (Good Ol’ Charles Schulz), this multi-media oratorio explores our era’s strange alchemy of technology, memory, and community
An American Soldier (May 12-19, 2024)
This opera by David Henry Huang and Huang Ruo, directed by Chay Yew, tells the story of Pv. Danny Chen, a young soldier from Manhattan’s Chinatown, who on October 3, 2011 was found dead in a guard tower at his base in Afghanistan.
Cats (June – July 2024)
Zhailon Levingston (young, Black, queer Broadway director of “Chicken & Biscuits”) and (PAC artistic director) Bill Rauch reimagine Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, within Ballroom culture of the 1970s.