59E59 Theaters will welcome the US premiere of THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME, written by Neil Bartlett and Jessica Walker, and directed by Mr. Bartlett to Brits Off Broadway. THE GIRL I LEFT BEHIND ME begins performances on Tuesday, April 30 for a limited engagement through Sunday, May 19. Press opening is Sunday, May 5 at 7:30 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday - Thursday at 7:30 PM; Friday at 8:30 PM; Saturday at 2:30 PM & 8:30 PM; and Sunday at 3:30 PM & 7:30 PM. Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $25 ($17.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.59e59.org.
From the swaggering cross-dressers of the Victorian Music Hall, belting out their innuendoes in black tie and tails, to the ambiguous boy-heroes of Mozart and Strauss, to the back-room tuxedoed blues singers of the Harlem Renaissance, this is a provocative, flirtatious and deliciously personal one-woman guide to a whole forgotten chapter of female performance.
With just a piano, a microphone and a few well-chosen items of male attire, mezzo-soprano Jessica Walker conjures up an entire world. Ranging from Victorian and Edwardian Music Hall and American vaudeville, to some well-known hits like Burlington Bertie from Bow and the achingly beautiful After The Ball, each song is illuminated by the stripped-down musical settings and by Walker's very personal singing style, bringing alive both the songs and the stories of the women who sang them for a contemporary audience.
Jessica Walker (writer/performer) is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has performed roles for Opera North, Glyndebourne, Nationale Reis Opera, Musiektheater Transparant and ROH2, among many others. In 2010-11 she toured The Girl I Left Behind Me, commissioned by Opera North projects, to great critical acclaim. Performances included a week's residency at the Barbican Pit. The piece was recently published as a play script by Oberon Press. Her new solo show, Pat Kirkwood is Angry, co-produced by Opera North, in association with Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, had performances at the Manchester Royal Exchange and the Howard Assembly Rooms in October 2012, and tours into 2013 including performances at the St. James Theatre, London and Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. Other projects for 2013/14 include Jessica's debut at the Chatelet, Paris, in Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George. In May 2013 her cabaret opera, An Eye for an Eye, written with David Knotts, premieres at the International Bath and St Magnus music festivals. In October 2013 she plays Gwendolen in Gerald Barry's opera, The Importance of Being Earnest, for Opera Northern Ireland. Recent recordings include the critically acclaimed Mercy and Grand: the Tom Waits Project, from the tour with Opera North and Gavin Bryars, released on the GB label. Aside from her singing and writing, in 2009 Jessica began her part-time PhD studies at Leeds University, with the support of a bursary from the School of Performance and Cultural Industries. Her practice-led research is looking at 'The Singer as Creator and Co-collaborator: a performer-led model for new music theatre works.'
Neil Bartlett (writer/director) is an acclaimed British director and writer, with a thirty-year career of cutting-edge theatre and performance. He was an early member of Complicite - winning the Perrier Award with them back in 1985 - and first came to prominence in his own right in London with a series of controversial performance pieces, most notably A Vision of Love Revealed in Sleep (1987-1990). From 1994-2005 he was Artistic Director of the Lyric Hammersmith in London, where his collaborators included Robert Lepage and Improbable, and his Signature Productions included Genet, Rattigan and Marivaux. His more recent credits have included projects as diverse as directing John Lithgow as Malvolio in a cross-dressed Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company (2007); collaborating with Handspring (the creators of War Horse) on a new play for The National Theatre in London - Or You Could Kiss Me - in 2010; being invited to direct Benjamin Britten's The Turn of the Screw as the first opera production in the new Studio Theatre at the composer's home of Aldeburgh; having his third novel, Skin Lane, long-listed for the Costa Award, and directing the sell-out world premiere of his own new adaptation of Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray at The Abbey, Ireland's National Theatre in Dublin ( 2012). In the US, his scripts and translations have been produced by (amongst many others) New York Theatre Workshop, La Jolla Playhouse, The Goodman in Chicago (Moliere's The Misanthrope, with Kim Cattrall), The American Repertory Company in Boston and Arena Stage in Washington, DC. There is full documentation of Neil's work past and present at www.neil-bartlett.com.