BOUNCE The Basketball Opera
Ardea Arts announces the World Premiere of BOUNCE The Basketball Opera. Performances will take place at Calvary Baptist Church Recreation Center, 150 E. High Street, Lexington, KY, on Friday and Saturday, November 10 & 11 at 7:30pm, and Sunday, November 12at 2pm. General Admission, $18, Students $9. For more information, visit www.ardeaarts.com/bounce/.
BOUNCE is grounded in pressing issues facing today's audiences. Based on the Greek myth The Flight of Icarus, BOUNCE tells the story of Ike "The Flight" Harris, a high school basketball star bound for stardom. Audiences will see if "Flight" can rebound from the emotional and physical pain of gun violence, as the story plays out on local basketball courts across the country. First Stop - Lexington KY.
BOUNCE pairs diverse casting with a fresh approach to arts engagement. Local youth ages 16-26 and UK Students work alongside seasoned professionals and are integrated into the production using the powerful medium of basketball. They become the basketball players, the cheerleaders and Flight's classmates and teammates. Local and national community leaders also participate in a number of the guest adult roles.
Basketball is a simple game - get the ball in the basket. But this 'simple' game becomes complex when outside forces like money and fame challenge team ethics. Isaac "Flight" Harris, a gifted and ambitious young player is on a fast track to stardom until his wings are clipped by his own hubris and by the actions of a jealous teammate. We experience Flight's descent, then the powerful epiphany that changes his world forever. Synthesizing the grandeur of operatic singing with the grittiness of street rhythms, electronic dance music and urban hip-hop vocal stylings, BOUNCE asks: how does one rise up after being knocked down? The answer is in the game of basketball itself.
The creative team includes: Glen Roven (Lead Composer/Music Supervisor), Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Story and Libretto), Grethe Barrett Holby (Concept & Stage Director), with additional music by Tomás Doncker (Global Soul Composer) and Ansel Elgort (Basketball Tracks-EDM Composer), and David Wolfson (Orchestrations). The Production staff includes Dr. Everett McCorvey (Conductor), Marcellus Barksdale (Basketball Choreographer/Coach), Stephanie Kerley Schwartz (Set Designer), and Chidi Ozieh (Media Director).
The BOUNCE cast features Philip Gay as 'Ike "The Flight" Harris', UK Senior Blake Denson as 'TJ "The Future" King', Troy Press as 'Game Announcer', with basketball players Javone Blincoe, Ryan Brightwell, Ezra Garner, Marc-Andre Petitfrere, Dante Stewart, Trayvon Thompson and Jamere Walker.
Ardea Arts has been developing BOUNCE in partnership with The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre. BOUNCE partners and advocates include prominent local council members, community leaders, and basketball industry advocates, many whom will participate in the production, including basketball legend and KY radio sports celebrity Matt Jones and former Big Blue WildcatJohnathon Davis. This project is made possible in part by the support of OPERA America's Audience Development Grant, Art Works/The National Endowment for the Arts, The John and Jody Arnhold Foundation, UK Women and Philanthropy, The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, and many private individuals, including Ardea Arts board member J. Speed Carroll. Corporate sponsors include in-kind contributions from Alltech, Bryant's Rent-All, Liquor Barn, OperaLex, Highbridge, Springs Water and 21C Museum Hotels.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Grethe Barrett Holby (Concept & Direction) The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center Festival, Houston Grand Opera, La Scala, LA Opera & companies across the US. Originating cast member Einstein on the Beach; collaborations with Leonard Bernstein (A Quiet Place), Lou Reed (Metal Machine Music), Robert Wilson and Yusef Komunyakaa (The Three Astronauts.) Founding Artistic & Executive Director Ardea Arts and Family Opera Initiative, Founder of American Opera Projects, and a Rockefeller Fellowship recipient, Holby holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from MIT. She has been working with UKOT on BOUNCE since September 2015.
Glen Roven (Lead Composer/Music Supervisor) Composer, lyricist, conductor, pianist; Founder and Artistic Director for RovenRecords, distributed worldwide by Naxos; 12 -time nominee and four-time Emmy Award winner; collaborated with Quincy Jones, Wynton Marsalis, Frank Sinatra, Julie Andrews, Aretha Franklin, Renee Fleming, Kathleen Battle and hundreds of other celebrities for film, television, Broadway, Carnegie Hall and many other international venues and orchestras. His music has been played around the world at such famous venues as: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center David Geffen Hall, Alice Tully Hall and many others.
Charles R. Smith, Jr. (Story and Libretto) Award-winning author, photographer and poet with over thirty books to his credit including a Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration (2010) for his photographs accompanying the Langston Hughes poem "My People" and a Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award (2008) for his biography on Muhammad Ali, "Twelve Rounds to Glory." Early books such as "Rimshots", "Hoop Kings" and "Hoop Queens" focus on his love of basketball.
Tomás Donker (Additional Music) Global Soul composer and producer. Directs, composes and performs with his ensemble, Tomás Doncker Band. Guitarist for James Chance & The Contortions, Defunkt, J. Walter Negro & The Loose Jointz. Collaborated with Boosty Collins, Yoko Ono, The Itals, & Prince Charles Alexander. Current projects with Ivan Neville, Bonnie Raitt, Meshell Ndegeocello, Living Colour's Corey Glover, P-Funk keyboardist Amp Fiddler Shamekia Copeland, & Bill Laswell.
Ansel Elgort aka Ansolo (EDM Basketball tracks) A DJ and Electronic Dance Music Producer, Elgort has performed in major EDM concert venues and festivals around the world including Japan, Korea, The Philipines, Las Vegas, and in NYC including Pasha, Electric Zoo, TomorrowWorld, Life in Color, and Ultra Music Festivals in Japan, Bali and Miami. Signed to Island Records and Sony, most recently the actor-turned-producer-singer appeared on rapper Logic's album Everybody in the song "Killing Spree;" and this summer was seen on screens around the world in the title role of Edgar Wright's 2017 blockbuster movie Baby Driver. He is a graduate of LaGuardia Arts High School in New York City.
Everett McCorvey (Conductor/Producer) Professor of Voice, OperaLex Endowed Chair in Opera Studies, and Director and Executive Producer of The University of Kentucky Opera Theatre: Artistic Director of the National Chorale, New York City; Director, American Spiritual Ensemble; Vice chair Kentucky Arts Council. Professional Credits: the Kennedy Center, Metropolitan Opera, Teatro Communale (Italy), Radio Music City Hall. A basketball fan, he often sings the National Anthem for UKY Wildcats games.
Frank X Walker (Poet)Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is a founder of the Affrilachian Poets and the author of nine collections of poetry including, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers. Voted one of the most creative professors in the south, he is the originator of the word, Affrilachia. The Lannan Poetry Fellowship Award recipient has degrees from UK and Spalding University as well as four honorary doctorates from the University of KY, Spalding University, Centre College, and Transylvania University.
Marcellus Barksdale (Basketball Choreographer)A native of Lexington, KY Marcellus continually serves his community through various efforts such as youth sports coaching, mentoring, and volunteering with local nonprofit organizations. Currently in the beginning stages of living the dream as both a professional athlete, speaker and writer, Marcellus has always dreamed to positively inspire others through creativity. As such, Marcellus is proud and honored to have the opportunity to be an intricate piece of the Ardea Arts creative team.
For additional bios of creative and production team, please visit www.ardeaarts.com
ARDEA ARTS is the premiere company in the U.S. creating new, high-quality opera-theater works for multi-generational and general audiences, commissioning and producing provocative new works of music-theater and opera to entertain, challenge and inspire today's diverse global community, uplift the human spirit, and encourage new ways of seeing our world. The company was founded in 2006 by Grethe Barrett Holby to create a substantial new repertory with the goal of bringing a 21st century opera experience to a widely diverse audience, and the commitment to engage the community in the process and performance of the work. Family Opera Initiative (FOI), a major initiative of Ardea Arts, was established by Holby in 1995. In addition to BOUNCE: The Basketball Opera, FOI has commissioned and developed a repertory of opera-works including the holiday opera Flurry Tale by Rusty Magee & Billy Aronson; the swashbuckling Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Richard Peaslee & Kenneth Cavander; the summer pageant Fireworks! by Kitty Brazelton & Billy Aronson; Animal Tales by George Plimpton, Kitty Brazelton, and Grethe Holby, about "having the gumption to spread ones wings" as well as the accompanying CATfor younger audiences. FOI has also premiered Glen Roven's Goodnight Moon & Plums- five songs for kidsduring FOI's summer performances in Southampton, NY, David Wolfson's 10-minute gem Maya's Ark based on a true story from inner-city Newark NJ by David Wolfson, and a staged and choregraphed version of Babar, the little elephantwith The French Institute FI-AF NYC. Works currently in development include The Three Astronauts, based on the book by Umberto Eco and Eugenio Carmi, by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, and an international team of writers and composers. Please see www.ArdeaArts.com and www.TheThreeAstronauts.com for more information.
Ardea Arts/FOI has collaborated on these new works with extraordinary artists unexpected in the field of family entertainment. Performances have been co-produced with American Opera Projects, the Clark Studio Theater NYC, Fort Greene Park in Brooklyn, TADA! Youth Theatre NYC, Playfest/Orlando Shakespeare Theater FL, NYC's Central Park Zoo, Infinity Music Hall CT, The International Symposium for Personal and Commercial Spaceflight NM, WNYC's The Greene Space, & The Parrish Art Museum, with workshops at Atlantic Center for the Arts, American Opera Projects, Ardea Arts Center, Montclair State University-Peak Performances (NJ), and New York City area schools and community organizations. The Development and Premiere of BOUNCE The Basketball Opera is the first collaboration with University of Kentucky Opera Theatre (UKOT).
Ardea Arts, Inc. is a professional company member of Opera America, International Society of Performing Arts (ISPA), Theater for Young Audiences (TYA), and International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY). Ardea Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. Ardea Arts recently received funding from OPERA America's Opera Fund, in partnership with UKOT, and its second Art Works award from the National Endowment for the Arts for BOUNCE The Basketball Opera.