Shows added to Justin Vivian Bond and Anthony Roth Costanzo's 'Only an Octave Apart'

St. Ann's Warehouse makes a momentous reopening to full-capacity audiences this fall with Only an Octave Apart, a theatrical concert in which two iconic performers, Justin Vivian Bond and Anthony Roth Costanzo, join forces, subverting distinctions between high and low and juxtaposing their vocal pitches, performance styles, repertoires, and degrees of camp. Today the Brooklyn waterfront theater adds two performances to the run (making for a 12-night world premiere, September 21 - October 3) and reveals the full dream team of designers and musicians collaborating with Bond, Costanzo, director Zack Winokur (The Black Clown), and music director Thomas Bartlett (Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright, Florence Welch and the Broadway-bound The Great Gatsby) to stage and perform the show.

St. Ann's Warehouse has announced that the renowned fashion designer Jonathan Anderson, for his eponymous label, JW Anderson, and for the Spanish luxury house for which he is creative director, LOEWE, has joined the star-studded Only an Octave Apart team as costume designer. Anderson has achieved both critical acclaim and commercial success for his collections. T, the The New York Times Style Magazine, has called him “one of the most forward-thinking designers working today." In 2019, Anderson was named trustee to the board of London's Victoria & Albert Museum, one of the world's leading museums of art, design, and performance. Only an Octave Apart is his first-ever stage production.

Photo: Ruvén Afanador

Justin Vivian Bond has garnered an OBIE Award, a Bessie Award, a Tony Award nomination, and an Ethyl Eichelberger Award, and has been named “the greatest cabaret artist of [their] generation" by The New Yorker. The New York Times describes Anthony Roth Costanzo, GRAMMY Award nominee, Musical America's 2019 Vocalist of the Year, and the exquisite star of Phillip Glass' Akhnaten at the Metropolitan Opera, as a “vocally brilliant and dramatically fearless countertenor." In Only an Octave Apart, they express their queer identities through unique interpretations of classical, pop, and hybrids of the two, making the gendered history of the music their plaything. Whether invoking mythology or nature, romance or radical compassion, Bond and Costanzo carve new pathways between opera and politically subversive cabaret—two art forms that, as Bond puts it, “have been kept alive for generations by queens"—and allow old works to reveal surprising new stories.

Cabaret is really intimate and spontaneous and dangerous because you don't know what's going to happen, whereas opera at its best is very calculated. There are so many people onstage that every piece of the puzzle has to fit perfectly. So in our work together, Anthony and I get to bring elements of both of those things so it loosens up the opera part a bit and recontextualizes it and, for me, it gets me into a more formalized, practiced way of performing. I think it brings out the best, and something new, in both of us.
Justin Vivian Bond

Bond and Costanzo have been each other's “friends and groupies" since they were introduced a decade ago when Costanzo caught a performance by Bond at Joe's Pub—and, soon after, performed as a guest in Bond's next appearance there. They have long wanted to join their distinct styles in a Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall/Sills and Burnett at the Met-inspired performance. During the pandemic, across two development workshops at the Fisher Center at Bard, they researched echoes of classical music in pop. They ultimately selected a repertoire of songs that can elevate, deliciously debase, and thematically elucidate one another, such as Purcell's 17th century aria “Dido's Lament" and Dido's early 2000s radio hit “White Flag," and Akhnaten and the Bangles' “Walk Like an Egyptian."

Music director Thomas Bartlett, on piano, will lead a band of musicians including Claudia Chopek (Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway, Justin Vivian Bond) on violin, Kate Spingarn (Harry Connick, Jr. - A Celebration of Cole Porter, Kinky Boots on Broadway) on cello, Doug Wieselman (Anohni, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson) on guitar and reeds, Parker Ramsay (recently acclaimed for his recording of The Goldberg Variations, Nico Muhly) on harp, and Alex Sopp (yMusic, St. Vincent, The National) on flute. They will perform new arrangements of the songs by Nico Muhly (The Glass Menagerie on Broadway, Two Boys at the Metropolitan Opera).

Costanzo describes St. Ann's Warehouse as “the perfect place" to formally introduce this work to audiences, “because there are very few places with more history and panache when it comes to presenting great concerts with malleability and theatricality than St. Ann's."

Performance Schedule, Tickets, and COVID-19 Protocol

Performances of Only an Octave Apart take place September 21-25 and September 28-October 2 at 7:30pm, and on September 26 and October 3 at 5pm.

Tickets start at $40 and are on sale now at stannswarehouse.org and 718.254.8779.

To reach full capacity safely, ID and proof of full vaccination will be required of all audience members. St. Ann's Warehouse will be following CDC, New York State, and New York City recommendations for audience members to wear masks when attending indoor events. Visit the St. Ann's Warehouse Health & Safety page for more information.

St. Ann's Warehouse is located in Brooklyn Bridge Park, at 45 Water Street|DUMBO|Brooklyn, NY 11201.

About St. Ann's Warehouse

St. Ann's Warehouse plays a vital role on the global cultural landscape as an American artistic home for international companies of distinction, American avant-garde masters and talented emerging artists ready to work on a grand scale. St. Ann's signature flexible, open space allows artists to stretch, both literally and imaginatively, enabling them to approach work with unfettered creativity, knowing that the theater can be adapted in multiple configurations to suit their needs. In the heart of Brooklyn Bridge Park, St. Ann's Warehouse, Marvel Architects and Charcoalblue theater consultants have designed a spectacular waterfront theater that opened in October 2015.

Over four decades of consistently acclaimed landmark productions that found their American heart and home at St. Ann's include Lou Reed's and John Cale's Songs for 'Drella; Marianne Faithfull's Breaking Away and Seven Deadly Sins; Charlie Kaufman and the Coen Brothers' Theater of the New Ear; The Royal Court and TR Warszawa productions of Sarah Kane's 4:48 Psychosis; Lou Reed's Berlin; the Donmar Warehouse all-female Shakespeare Trilogy: Julius Caesar, Henry IV, The Tempest; Kate Tempest's Brand New Ancients; Tricycle Theatre's Red Velvet, the Young Vic production of A Streetcar Named Desire with Gillian Anderson; Mark Rylance's Nice Fish, the National Theatre's People, Places & Things, and the World Premiere of the complete Taylor Mac's A 24 Decade History of Popular Music, and many more.

www.stannswarehouse.org

Financial Planning for the LGBTQ+ community

The new year has arrived. For many people, that means making resolutions and thinking of ways they can do better in the coming year and beyond. Money management and financial planning are often very popular resolutions and goals, but most financial advice tends to be aimed at heterosexual couples who want to grow their family and raise children.

But, what if your life goals are different? What if you don’t receive the same protection under the current laws as hetero couples?
What if you don’t want to have kids?

Keep reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

Slane Irish Whiskey bottles

Disclaimer: My trip was provided courtesy of a press trip but all opinions about the trip and events are my own. Please note there are affiliate links and at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Keep reading Show less
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Mental Health for LGBTQ+ Aging Adults

Queer elders have made a big impact on the world. Queer folks over the age of 65 were around during the Stonewall Movement in the 1960s and may have even campaigned to improve the rights and freedoms of LGBTQ+ people around the world.

But, as queer elders enter later life, they may need to find new ways to protect and preserve their mental health.

Keep reading Show less