Gertrude Stein Saints! OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo:
  • NY TIMES

  • VILLAGE VOICE

  • TIME OUT

  • THEATER PIZZAZZ

  • STAGE BUDDY

Opening Night:
June 12, 2014
Closing:
June 28, 2014

Theater: Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement / 466 Grand Street, New York, New York, 10002

Synopsis: 

Gertrude Stein set out to write the sound of American language. In this spirit, Theater Plastique scores Stein’s text using distinctly American music genres. Featuring rap, country, rock ’n’ roll, hollerin’, gospel, barbershop, cowboy ballads, bounce, jazz, and bluegrass, Gertrude Stein SAINTS! is an award-winning celebration of what it is to be American and has aptly been called a ‘Theater of Joy.’

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  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Following in a Writer’s Rhythms
    ‘Gertrude Stein Saints!’ Sets Vivid Words to Music

    Alexis Soloski

    June 17, 2014: In Everybody’s Autobiography, Gertrude Stein explained why she preferred saints to martyrs. “A really good saint does nothing,” she wrote. “Anybody is more interesting doing nothing than doing something.” The busy, exuberant cast of Gertrude Stein Saints! would respectfully disagree. They flirt and tease and frolic. They belt and croon and chant. They take Stein’s libretto for Four Saints in Three Acts, as well as selections from the play Saints and Singing and a couple of lines from her lecture “The Gradual Making of The Making of Americans” and set them to original songs. The 13 members of this ensemble, called Theater Plastique and made up of current and former students at Carnegie Mellon University, are also the composers of this sung-through piece, which earned glowing notices at last year’s New York International Fringe Festival. Cute as tender buttons, the singers race around the stage in carefree pastels, a touch that occasionally gives the evening the feel of a long, avant-garde American Apparel ad.

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  • VILLAGE VOICE REVIEW OF Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Rose Is a Rose Is a Musical: Gertrude Stein SAINTS!

    Jacob Gallagher-Ross

    June 17, 2014: Gertrude Stein might seem like an unlikely candidate for the jukebox musical treatment. But with Gertrude Stein SAINTS!, now running at Abrons, director Michelle Sutherland and her talented ensemble have accomplished this counterintuitive feat, setting a salad of Stein texts to a whole jukebox's worth of American popular music, from country to crunk. At first it's beguiling to hear how well Stein's idiosyncratic rhythms meld with Beach Boys–style harmonies, gospel hollering, and bumping hip-hop. (And the accompanying moves: the performers twerk, step-dance, and parody ballet with panache.) It's an avant-garde/pop jamboree Stein probably would have adored. But SAINTS! is kind of a one-idea show. After a few numbers, there isn't much left to think about except the company's virtuosic ability to dress Stein's words in clever musical costumes. Gentrified by seductive melodies, her looping lines just slip by, pretexts for the (excellent) singing.

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  • TIME OUT NEW YORK REVIEW OF Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Diane Snyder

    June 12, 2014: You'll find plenty of avant-garde ecstasy at Gertrude Stein Saints! The brainchild of director Michelle Sutherland, an MFA candidate for directing at Carnegie Mellon, the piece resets passages from Stein's opera librettos Four Saints in Three Acts and Saints and Singing in musical styles from the great songbook of Americana. (Though remembered as a Paris expat, Stein was born near Pittsburgh.) The modernist icon’s characteristic wordplay—a maelstrom of poetic sounds that carry little linear meaning—comes freshly alive when teased out by such styles as doo-wop, bluegrass, jazz, soul and even hip-hop, sung with minimal instrumentation to music developed for the project by its cast of 13 undergrads.

    READ THE REVIEW
  • THEATER PIZZAZZ REVIEW OF Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Susan Hasho

    June 15, 2014: The world premiere of Gertrude Stein Saints! was at LaMaMa during FringeNYC in August of 2013. It is now at the Abrons Arts Center for a run June 12 – 28, Thursday –Saturday at 8pm with an additional performance June 17 at 8pm. Saints! is a Gertrude Stein poem set to music by this incredible ensemble of young actors and directed by Michelle Sutherland. She has formed a collective called Plastique which develops original music, theater, opera, and plays called The New American POP Theater.Saints! and explores what it is to be an American or, as Stein says, “I felt this thing, I am an American and I felt this thing, and I made a continuous effort to create this thing in every paragraph that I made…because this thing is an essentially American thing this sense of a space of time and what is to be done within this space of time not in any way excepting in the way that it is inevitable that there is this space of time…” and so it goes in style and feel. And what the ensemble does is explore this language through their own sensibilities and their own enormous energy and inventiveness.

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  • STAGE BUDDY REVIEW OF Gertrude Stein Saints!

    Review: Gertrude Stein SAINTS!

    June 16, 2014: Take it from an English major, Gertrude Stein is a tough nut to crack. In her bold (and at first glance, very strange) modernist writings, narrative meaning comes secondary to the exploration of language and sound. That's why it's fitting, yet certainly curious, for Stein's work to serve as the source of inspiration behind a relatively new and unquestionably unique... I hesitate to say musical because I feel that's slightly misleading... piece of theater. Directed by Michelle Sutherland and presented by Theater Plastique, SAINTS! originally premiered at the NYCFringe Festival with funds they raised through Indiegogo and Kickstarter. Now it's back on stage through the end of the month at the Abrons Arts Center, and it deserves every bit of the "heavenly" buzz it's been getting (my only pun I promise).

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Gertrude Stein Saints! Review REVIEWS

Opening Night:
Closing:
Open Ended

Theater:

Synopsis: 

You'll find plenty of avant-garde ecstasy at Gertrude Stein Saints! The brainchild of director Michelle Sutherland, an MFA candidate for directing at Carnegie Mellon, the piece resets passages from Stein's opera librettos Four Saints in Three Acts and Saints and Singing in musical styles from the great songbook of Americana. (Though remembered as a Paris expat, Stein was born near Pittsburgh.) The modernist icon’s characteristic wordplay—a maelstrom of poetic sounds that carry little linear meaning—comes freshly alive when teased out by such styles as doo-wop, bluegrass, jazz, soul and even hip-hop, sung with minimal instrumentation to music developed for the project by its cast of 13 undergrads.

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