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Streaming the Songs of the Last Remaining Musical Trees Made by Mur

Streaming the Songs of the Last Remaining Musical Trees Made by Mur

Streaming the songs of the last remaining Trees, this eccentric majestic new musical sprouts up strong and sure, spreading its wide branches to address the issues of climate change, deforestation, and the selfishness of mankind, just in time for Christmas. The compelling and magically sung piece of art and design is an eclectic downtown diversion from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Scrooged” and one I’m most grateful for. It’s a far cry from all the Yuletide gay Hallmark-y Christmas tales I’ve been watching as of late, and a much wiser and interesting walk Into The Woods. Dynamically based on the very true horror story of how we are destroying our planet, moment by moment, tree by tree and inspired by Peter Wohlleben’s international best selling book, “The Hidden Life of Trees“, the compellingly intricate and hypnotizing video-on-demand musical takes us back to the days of live East Village theatre. Splicing together some Sondheim sensibilities with an abundance of abstract performance art, the new creation, with music and lyrics by its wildly creative director Mur (Shopgirl The Musical), grows forth with bold strokes, giving us a new breed of streamed theatre to be in awe of and fully embrace. 

the wild project’s Trees. Photo by David Doobinin.

Towering above us all, in dynamically created pillars of tubular color, the talented crew of singer performers; Aisha Kerensa, Jade Litaker, Nyah Raposo, Haley Fortune, and Mur, find and deliver the power of Trees with a vocal force to be reckoned with. They entice and caress you in to their dimension, with melodically performed harmonies and wisely structured lyrics, to discover and get a glimpse into the magical musical woods unlike any other, including Sondheim. With structured compilations, the rainbow grove of Trees entwine it all together to teach us the wise lessons required “through the summer and rain.” With beauty, they each stand strong, representing the sole living species survivor on our troubled planet, from Oak to Ginkgo Biloba. They plead with a determined strength, asking us to stop our attack on the lungs of our planet. Singing forth with passion and “a life of pain” that resonates with the intended shaming of our blind intentions, the piece gives focus and clarity through a fantastically intricate staging that elevates the fringy, off -off Broadway feel, giving it a higher branch-waving stance to take in and be excited by. 

the wild project’s Trees. Photo by David Doobinin.

And then man, in green haired form, comes along, and made me want to step back and not care as much. I would have chopped him down, if I could, and I guess that’s the point, to feel and see the disheartening disregard of all that soulful humanity that lives and breathes in those majestic towers of strength. “Stop the fire!” they proclaim, as the “extinction rate is alarming,” and the warning of imminent danger is impossible not to see. The somewhat twisted many branched musical generally holds us tight in its strongly constructed and uniquely crafted branches, making us visualize the bigger forest for all those trees. It’s not the most obvious or straightforward of pieces (and definitely not for all tastes), but the determined precision and clever vision, with an eye for creative detail, thanks to choreography by Hannah Cullen; costumes by Carter Kidd; makeup by Alex Levy; assistant director, Hannah Cullen; director of photography and still photos by David Doobinin; and lighting by Kryssy Wright, are hard to ignore. Filmed and produced by wild project and Ana Mari de Quesada, Trees was originally intended to premiere in its entirety at La MaMa on April 2 2020 but was obviously postponed because of the COVID19 pandemic. But like any great artist, Mur took on the current restrictions that face the performing arts community and used the framework as an opportunity for innovation, creation, and evolution in theater.

the wild project’s Trees. Photo by David Doobinin.

After being trimmed down to 30 minutes, Trees leans most wisely into the evolution and beauty of digital theater, giving it a polished and purposeful look and feel. This video-on-demand will be available beginning Friday, December 18 and be available to view through January 1, 2021. Tickets are $15 per household, available at thewildproject.org.

the wild project’s Trees. Photo by David Doobinin.

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Off Broadway
@#frontmezzjunkies

My love for theater started when I first got involved in high school plays and children's theatre in London, Ontario, which led me—much to my mother’s chagrin—to study set design, directing, and arts administration at York University in Toronto. But rather than pursuing theater as a career (I did produce and design a wee bit), I became a self-proclaimed theater junkie and life-long supporter. I am not a writer by trade, but I hope to share my views and feelings about this amazing experience we are so lucky to be able to see here in NYC, and in my many trips to London, Enlgand, Chicago, Toronto, Washington, and beyond. Living in London, England from 1985 to 1986, NYC since 1994, and on my numerous theatrical obsessive trips to England, I've seen as much theater as I can possibly afford. I love seeing plays. I love seeing musicals. If I had to choose between a song or a dance, I'd always pick the song. Dance—especially ballet—is pretty and all, but it doesn’t excite me as, say, Sondheim lyrics. But that being said, the dancing in West Side Story is incredible! As it seems you all love a good list, here's two. FAVORITE MUSICALS (in no particular order): Sweeney Todd with Patti Lupone and Michael Cerveris in 2005. By far, my most favorite theatrical experience to date. Sunday in the Park with George with Jenna Russell (who made me sob hysterically each and every one of the three times I saw that production in England and here in NYC) in 2008 Spring Awakening with Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele in 2007 Hedwig and the Angry Inch (both off-Boadway in 1998 and on Broadway in 2014, with Neal Patrick Harris, but also with Michael C. Hall and John Cameron Mitchell, my first Hedwig and my last...so far), Next To Normal with Alice Ripley (who I wish I had seen in Side Show) in 2009 FAVORITE PLAYS (that’s more difficult—there have been so many and they are all so different): Angels in American, both on Broadway and off Lettice and Lovage with Dame Maggie Smith and Margaret Tyzack in 1987 Who's Afraid of Virginai Woolf with Tracy Letts and Amy Morton in 2012 Almost everything by Alan Ayckbourn, but especially Woman in Mind with Julia McKenzie in 1986 And to round out the five, maybe Proof with Mary Louise Parker in 2000. But ask me on a different day, and I might give you a different list. These are only ten theatre moments that I will remember for years to come, until I don’t have a memory anymore. There are many more that I didn't or couldn't remember, and I hope a tremendous number more to come. Thanks for reading. And remember: read, like, share, retweet, enjoy. For more go to frontmezzjunkies.com

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