Music by Gregory Spears

Libretto by Greg Pierce

Based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, Fellow Travelers follows Timothy Laughlin and Hawkins Fuller as they navigate love and betrayal against the backdrop of McCarthyism and the “lavender scare” in 1950s Washington.

Friday June 5, 2020
Saturday June 6, 2020
Sunday June 7, 2020

At the Human Rights Campaign headquarters near Dupont Circle

In collaboration with Wolf Trap Opera

Tickets on sale in 2020

Fellow Travelers marks UrbanArias’ first ever co-production – an exciting collaboration with Wolf Trap Opera! Together with On Site Opera’s Eric Einhorn, we will produce a new, site-specific staging of Gregory Spears’ masterpiece at the Human Rights Campaign headquarters.

120 minutes long with one intermission.

Conducted by Robert Wood
Directed by Eric Einhorn

Featuring members of Inscape Chamber Orchestra

Complete casting information available in January, 2020!

Click the link menu below for more information:







Based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, Fellow Travelers takes place in 1950s Washington, D.C., and follows Timothy Laughlin, a recent college graduate and devout Catholic eager to join the crusade against Communism. A chance encounter with a handsome State Department official, Hawkins Fuller, leads to Tim’s first job in D.C. and – after Fuller’s advances – his first love affair. With senator McCarthy’s investigations into ‘sexual subversives’, Tim struggles to reconcile his political convictions, his love for God, and his love for Fuller – an entanglement that ends in a stunning act of betrayal.



CLICK HERE to read the libretto of FELLOW TRAVELERS





Complete casting information will be available in January, 2020!

Conductor Robert Wood founded UrbanArias in 2009. Under his guidance, the company has achieved national recognition as an innovator in the field of opera, and has given over 120 performances in Arlingon, DC, and New York City. He has conducted all of UrbanArias’ productions. Highlights include Paul’s Case (Spears), As One (Kaminsky), The Last American Hammer, Blue Viola and The Filthy Habit (Hilliard), After Life, Josephine, and Glory Denied (Cipullo), Before Breakfast (Pasatieri), Independence Eve (Boquiren), Why Is Eartha Kitt Trying to Kill Me?: A Love Story (Smith), and Three Decembers (Heggie).

Maestro Wood made his debut with the San Francisco Opera in 2004 with Verdi’s La traviata, and has also conducted L’italiana in Algeri and several concerts there. He recently conducted Rigoletto at Austin Opera, Silent Night at the University of British Columbia, As One at Lyric Opera Kansas City and Hawaii Opera Theatre, Three Decembers at Kentucky Opera, Carmen at Annapolis Opera, Die Fledermaus at Hawaii Opera Theater, and Roméo et Juliette and Carmen at Opera Colorado.

Mr. Wood was appointed Conductor in Residence at the Minnesota Opera from 2006-2008, leading productions of L’italiana in Algeri, Le nozze di Figaro, La donna del lago, Rusalka, and Il barbiere di Siviglia. Mr. Wood has also conducted L’italiana in Algeri at Vancouver Opera, Die Entführung aus dem Serail for Hawaii Opera Theater, The Love for Three Oranges at Indiana University Opera Theater, La cenerentola at Opera New Jersey, and The Nutcracker for San Francisco Ballet. Mr. Wood’s collaborations with the Wolf Trap Opera Company include Le Comte Ory and Die Zauberflöte.

He served as chorus master for the Santa Fe Opera from 2001 – 2004, and has also conducted for companies including Opera San Jose, Vermont Opera Project, and the Merola Opera Program.

Eric Einhorn has been praised by The Austin Chronicle as “a rising star in the opera world” and by Opera News for his “keen eye for detail and character insight.” He is the co-founder of On Site Opera, a company dedicated to immersive, site- specific productions. Mr. Einhorn has directed productions for Chicago Lyric Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Ft. Worth Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Florentine Opera, Austin Lyric Opera, Utah Opera, Michigan Opera Theater, the Pacific Symphony, and Gotham Chamber Opera. He has been a member of the stage directing staff at the Metropolitan Opera since 2005. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named Mr. Einhorn’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites for Pittsburgh Opera one of the top ten classical music performances of 2011. He originally created the production for Austin Lyric Opera in 2009 and was awarded “Best Opera” at the Austin Critics’ Table Awards in addition to garnering him a nomination for “Best Director.” During summer of 2014, he directed Rameau’s Pygmalion at Madame Tussauds New York and the Lifestyle-Trimco mannequin showroom. This production featured the world’s first implementation of supertitles for Google Glass.


Gregory Spears has been commissioned by The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Cincinnati Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Seraphic Fire, The Crossing, Volti, BMI/Concert Artists Guild, Vocal Arts DC, New York Polyphony, The New York International Piano Competition, and the JACK Quartet among others. He is currently working on a new evening-length opera, Castor and Patience, with U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, commissioned by Cincinnati Opera and scheduled for premiere in 2020.

Spears’ most recent evening-length opera, Fellow Travelers, written in collaboration with Greg Pierce, premiered at Cincinnati Opera in 2016 and was seen in the 2017-18 season at the Prototype Festival (NYC), The Lyric Opera of Chicago, and in a new production at Minnesota Opera. It was hailed as “one of the most accomplished new operas I have seen in recent years” (Chicago Tribune) and an opera that “seems assured of lasting appeal” (The New York Times). The premiere was featured in The New York Times’ Best in Classical Music for 2016. Cincinnati Opera released a commercial CD recording in 2017.

Spears’ first opera, Paul’s Case, written in collaboration with Kathryn Walat, was described as a “masterpiece” and a “gem” (New York Observer) with “ravishing music” (The New York Times). It was developed by American Opera Projects and premiered by UrbanArias in 2013. The opera was remounted at the Prototype Festival in New York, and presented in a new production by Pittsburgh Opera in 2014. Paul’s Case was released on National Sawdust’s record label featuring the original cast in 2019. Spears’ children’s opera Jason and the Argonauts, also written with Kathryn Walat, premiered in 2016 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and was subsequently performed for over 20,000 school children. An opera about space exploration, O Columbia, written with Royce Vavrek, premiered in 2015 at Houston Grand Opera.

Recent commissions include a new vocal work, The Bitter Good, commissioned by New York Polyphony — made possible by a 2016 Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program grant, as well as The Tower and the Garden for a consortium of choirs including The Crossing underwritten by the Ann Stookey Fund for New Music. Spears also recently completed a Double Trumpet Concerto for Concert Artists Guild and the soundtrack for the British feature film Macbeth (Kit Monkman, director) featuring 18th-century instruments.

Other commissions have come from The Five Boroughs Music Festival, OPERA America, poet Tracy K. Smith, Christopher Williams Dances (Requiem), the Dalton School Orchestra, Houston Grand Opera (The Bricklayer), pianist Marika Bournaki, the Present Music Ensemble, New Vintage Baroque, the Damask Ensemble, and the Greater Princeton Youth Orchestra. He has been an artist-in-residence at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Aaron Copland House, the Rauschenberg Residency at Captiva Island, and was a participant in American Opera Projects’ Composers and the Voice program. He holds degrees in composition from Eastman School of Music (BM), Yale School of Music (MM), and Princeton (PhD). He also studied as a Fulbright Scholar at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen with Hans Abrahamsen. He currently teaches composition at Purchase College (SUNY). His music is published by Schott Music and Schott PSNY.

Greg Pierce grew up in Shelburne, Vermont. His play Slowgirl was the inaugural play of Lincoln Center’s Claire Tow Theater (LCT3). It was subsequently produced by Steppenwolf Theatre and the Geffen Playhouse among others. His play Her Requiem, a Lincoln Center Theater commission, was also produced by LCT3. His play Cardinal was commissioned and produced by Second Stage Theater. The Landing, a musical written with composer John Kander, premiered at the Vineyard Theatre in NYC. His second musical with Kander, Kid Victory, was co-produced by Signature Theatre in VA and Vineyard Theatre. Fellow Travelers, an opera he wrote with composer Gregory Spears, based on the novel by Thomas Mallon, premiered at Cincinnati Opera. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, co-written with director Stephen Earnhart, based on the novel by Haruki Murakami, premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival, and went on to play the Singapore Arts Festival. The Quarry, with music by Greg’s brother Randal Pierce, was commissioned and produced by Vermont Stage Company. Greg has received fellowships from the Edward F. Albee Foundation, Yaddo, The Djerassi Institute, the New York Public Library, and the Baryshnikov Arts Center. He currently holds commissions from Manhattan Theatre Club/Sloan Foundation. His work has been developed with Naked Angels, The New Group, Atlantic Theatre Company, Asia Society, the Rattlestick Theater, and the Public Theater’s Under the Radar festival.

Greg’s stories have appeared in literary magazines such as New England Review, Avery, Berkeley Fiction Review, Confrontation, and Conjunctions. For years, he wrote and performed with a theater group called The Bad Astronauts. His verses to accompany Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals (written with Brian Hargrove) were performed at the Hollywood Bowl with the L.A. Philharmonic. He has a B.A. from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild and the WGA. His plays are published by the Dramatists Play Service. His work is represented by Scott Chaloff at WME.

Thomas Mallon’s ten books of fiction include Henry and Clara, Fellow Travelers, Watergate (a Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award) and the just-published Landfall.  He has also written volumes of nonfiction about plagiarism (Stolen Words), diaries (A Book of One’s Own), letters (Yours Ever) and the Kennedy assassination (Mrs. Paine’s Garage), as well as two books of essays (Rockets and Rodeos and In Fact).  His work appears in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review and other publications.

Mallon received his Ph. D. in English and American Literature from Harvard University and taught for a number of years at Vassar College.  His honors include Guggenheim and Rockefeller fellowships, the National Book Critics Circle citation for reviewing, and the Vursell prize of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, for distinguished prose style.  He has been literary editor of Gentlemen’s Quarterly and deputy chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and in 2012 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is Professor Emeritus of English at The George Washington University and lives in Washington, D. C.