The Last American Hammer

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The Last American Hammer

Music by Peter Hilliard
Libretto by Matt Boresi

Who has the patience for passive resistance?

Saturday, September 22 at 8 p.m.
Sunday, September 23 at 3 p.m.
Friday, September 28 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, September 29 at 8 p.m.

Click here to buy tickets

At Atlas Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $45 and are on sale now!

STARRING

Elizabeth Futral as Tink Enraught
Timothy Mix as Milcolm Negley
Briana Elyse Hunter as DeeDee Reyes

Conducted by Robert Wood
Directed and Set Design by Grant Preisser
Lighting Design by Abigail Hoke-Brady
Costume Design by Grace Santamaria

SYNOPSIS

Milcom Negley, a one-man militia, rages against the tyranny of federal overreach. He is hunkered down in a rural Toby jug museum where Tink Enraught, a mannered curatrix, offers him tea and cookies. Milcom is a “Thirteenther” – a conspiracy theorist who believes an obscure, would-be Thirteenth amendment negates the authority of our government. He occupies the museum because it is the only place left in his failed town to receive federal funds – a grant for the upkeep of a rare 17th-century British pitcher known as “Sir Oswyn”.  Although Milcom expects to be swarmed by military drones, attention is paid only by Agent Reyes, a young rookie FBI field specialist. Milcom explains that the town’s only major source of employment – a hammer manufacturer – has gone under, leaving the residents lost. He is armed with “the Last American Hammer” to roll off the plant’s line and intends to hold a proxy trial against the US government using Toby jugs as physical stand-ins for a court.

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The Last American Hammer was commissioned by UrbanArias with very generous support from Dan and Gloria Logan; and an anonymous admirer of UrbanArias in memory of Deborah Brewer.

Ms. Futral’s appearance is underwritten by an anonymous donor and the Billy Rose Foundation.

Click here to read the libretto

Click here to meet the characters through their vlogs.

Click here to learn more about the cast.

Click here to learn more about the artistic team.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

American soprano Elizabeth Futral has established herself as one of the world’s leading sopranos. With her stunning vocalism and vast dramatic range, she has embraced a repertoire that ranges from the Baroque to world premieres. Ms. Futral debuted with the New York Philharmonic in Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 under Zubin Mehta and has returned there for Handel’s Messiah with Sir Neville Marriner and Mozart’s Abduction from the Seraglio with Sir Colin Davis.

In demand for contemporary repertoire, Ms. Futral has sung the world premieres of Ricky Ian Gordon’s 27 at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Tobias Picker’s Dolores Claiborne at the San Francisco Opera, Andre Previn’s Brief Encounter at the Houston Grand Opera, Philip Glass’s Orphée for the American Repertory Theatre, Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice for Great Performers at Lincoln Center, Dominic Argento’s Evensong: Of Love and Angels at the National Cathedral, and Stephen Paulus’ Three Poems of Dylan Thomas with the Tuscon Symphony. Other notable performances include concerts and recording of Paulus’ To Be Certain of the Dawn with the Minnesota Orchestra and Osma Vänskä, Ricky Ian Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath at Carnegie Hall and Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men at the Houston Grand Opera.

Finnish-American baritone Tim Mix recently returned to The San Francisco Opera as Monsieur de Brétigny in Manon, performed Jack Hubbard in the Santa Fe Opera’s new production of Doctor Atomic directed by Peter Sellers, and debuted with Virginia Opera as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor. In the 2016/17 season, Tim debuted at Finnish National Opera as Escamillo in Carmen, returned to the Santa Fe Opera to sing Tsar Dodon in The Golden Cockerel, and returned to Opera Colorado as Enrico in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Past career highlights include performances with Washington National Opera as Renato in Un Ballo in Maschera as well as Ford in Falstaff. With the New York City Opera he performed Ford in Falstaff and Edward Gaines in the New York debut of Richard Danielpour and Toni Morrison’s Margaret Garner, for which he received the Christopher Keene award. He has also performed in concert with Gustavo Dudamel and the L.A. Philharmonic as Ping in Turandot. Other appearances include the Arizona Opera, The Dallas Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Palm Beach Opera, Portland Opera, Washington Concert Opera, and the San Francisco Opera.

Briana Elyse Hunter’s previous credits include 27 (Gertrude Stein), Carmen (Carmen, Mercédès), La tragédie de Carmen (Carmen), Little Women (Jo), Porgy and Bess (Annie), Xerxes (Arsamenes), Die Fledermaus(Ida/Prince Orlofsky), Iolantha (Laura), La fanciulla del West (Wowkle), La traviata (Flora).  She was a 2014 recipient of the Lys Symonette award in the KWF’s Lotte Lenya Competition.  In 2016 she competed in the Mid-Atlantic Regionals of the Met Competition at the Kennedy Center.  She has been on the rosters of The Santa Fe Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Knoxville Opera, American Opera Projects, Opera in the Heights, I SING BEIJING, Sarasota Opera, El Paso Opera, and Music Academy of the West where she sang the title role of Carmen under the tutelage of the great Marilyn Horne. She is excited to be making her debut with UrbanArias after which she returns to NYC to sing Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea with Bare Opera.

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 90 performances in Arlingon, DC, and New York City. He has conducted UrbanArias’ productions of Independence Eve (Boquiren), As One (Kaminsky), The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (Nyman), After Life, Josephine, and Glory Denied (Cipullo), Before Breakfast (Pasatieri), Blue Viola and The Filthy Habit (Hilliard), Paul’s Case (Spears), 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 Orpheus and Euridice at the Vermont Opera Project, Three Decembers at Kentucky Opera, Die Fledermaus at Hawaii Opera Theater, and Roméo et Juliette and Carmen at Opera Colorado. Maestro Wood returns to Hawaii to conduct As One with the original cast in January 2018, and will conduct the same opera at Lyric Opera of Kansas City later that month.

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.

Grant Preisser continues a diverse career of directing and designing across the country, having recently directed The Cunning Little Vixen at Opera Steamboat, designed a double bill of New Zealand composer Michael Williams’ The Prodigal Child, an American premiere, and Menotti’s The Medium for Florida State University, directed Le Nozze di Figaro for University of Michigan, and designed a Star Trek inspired The Abduction from the Seraglio for Opera Orlando. Mr. Preisser returns to UrbanArias this season, having directed and designed Shining Brow in the previous season, and also returns to Opera Orlando as scenic designer for Tales of Hoffmann, Pagliacci/Pulcinella, and Noye’s Fludde. He will also direct and design their holiday production of Hansel & Gretel. This Winter Mr. Preisser debuts with Opera in the Heights, directing and designing their production of Maria de Buenos Aires, as well as returns to University of Michigan to direct and design Alcina.

Abigail Hoke-Brady is a New York based lighting designer. Recent design projects include ‘FLORIDA’ with UrbanArias, ‘To Be Sung’ with Centre for Contemporary Opera, ‘The Wolves’ at Williams College, ‘Glory Denied’ with Tri Cities Opera, and ‘Blithe Spirit’ with Elements Theatre Company. Other recent projects include assistant lighting design for ‘Fairview’ with Soho Rep and associate lighting design for ‘Angels in America’ with New York City Opera. 2017 recipient of the Robert L.B. Tobin Director-Designer Grant through Opera America. Current and upcoming projects include ’Three Decembers’ with Tri-Cities Opera and new works at Williams College, Ars Nova through their Makers’ Lab, and Soho Rep’s Writer/Director Lab.

Grace Santamaria recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Theatre Design and Production. Experienced in design for theatre, musical theatre, and opera, she is particularly drawn to new works and stories that engage with race, class, and sexuality. Regional: Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Exit Left Theatre Company; Much Ado Para Nada, Shakespeare in Detroit. University Productions: Le Nozze di Figaro (CD), The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui (CD), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (ACD), Romeo et Juliette (ACD). U-M student projects: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (CD), Big Fish (CD), Spring Awakening (CD), Boom (CD), The Nether (CD), Serious Money (CD), Sleuth (ACD). Grace is currently based in Baltimore, MD.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Peter Hilliard holds degrees from the San Francisco Conservatory and NYU, and is the Music Director of Villanova University’s Graduate Theatre Program. With Matt Boresi, Peter has written award winning operas and theatre works, and his choral music has been performed across the country. His works have received awards and nominations from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the Turner Classic Movies Young Film Composers Competition, Vocal Essence, The Young New Yorker’s Chorus, and the Ned Rorem Award. Peter is music director of the Savoy Company, the oldest company in the world dedicated to performing Gilbert and Sullivan. He has conducted The Pirates of Penzance and Iolanthe at the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, UK. With Glen Clugston, Hilliard restored a new edition of Victor Herbert’s lost 1911 Masterpiece Natoma for a New York reading in 2014. OperaNews wrote that Natoma “turns out to be a real piece of buried treasure. Herbert’s score is gorgeous.”

Matt Boresi (librettist) is the wordsmith whose work with composer Peter Hilliard includes the blues opera “Blue Viola” (UrbanArias, Opera Memphis) and the chamber comedy “The Filthy Habit”, which goes up at Lyric Opera of the North in October. Matt and Peter have created critically-lauded crossover work from Off-Broadway’s “Don Imbroglio” and “Going Down Swingin’” to the puppet opera “Eat Your Greens: Verdi by Vegetables.” Matt’s collaboration with composer Jeff Tang, “Beautiful Catastrophe” was showcased at New York’s National Sawdust in August.

Matt is Director of Theatre at Lake Forest Academy, Director of Arts Integration at Music Institute of Chicago, adjunct Opera faculty at Carthage College, and a National Parenting Media Association award-winning contributor to Chicago Parent magazine. He often appears on Chicago television and radio as a parenting humorist and occasional promoter of aluminum foil. Matt is married to Northwestern University Musical Theatre professor Melissa Foster, and their daughter, Viva, is 6.75 years old.