Hart Island Requiem, an experimental, immersive, and investigative theater piece, highlights stories of those who have died and are buried in Hart Island, a public burial ground located in the Bronx. It will be presented by Exploring the Metropolis Con Edison/Flushing Town Hall Composer-in-Residence Tidtaya Sinutoke, who created Hart Island Requiem in collaboration with Ty Defoe.
“Our panel was very excited by Tidtaya’s music. It’s music that’s fresh and invigorating, but also rooted in traditional American musical theater,” says David Johnston, Executive Director of EtM. “She draws on the best of musical theater and Broadway – Stephen Schwartz, Jason Robert Brown, Rodgers and Hammerstein – but she is working with very dark content, examining the lost and forgotten of Hart Island.”
Tidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก) is a Thai born, New York City-based composer, writer, and musician, whose composition credits include: Clouds Are Pillows for the Moon (Yale Institute for Music Theatre, ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, Kilroy’s Honorable Mention List), Gender Nation, Crossing Borders (CAP21 Residency), Sunrise Prayers (Johnny Mercer Writers Colony) and Yellow Cycle.
A proud member of ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. MFA: NYU’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, she participated in the 2014 Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, the 2015 Johnny Mercer Songwriter Projects, the 2015 New York Foundations for the Arts (NYFA) IAM Mentoring Program, and the 2016 Robert Rauschenberg Residency, and most recently, has been a 2016-2017 Etm Con Edison Composer-in-Residence. And in February, Tidtaya Sinutoke and Ty Defoe were the recipients of 2017 Jonathan Larson Grants, given annually to honor emerging composers, lyricists and book writers, help to continue Tony Award®-winning composer Jonathan Larson’s dream of infusing musical theatre with a contemporary, joyful, urban vitality.
“Hart Island Requiem is a theatre piece depicts stories of spirits who were buried there, and are gathering at an abandon theme park to remember their life and death,” Sinutoke says, describing her musical style as a “contemporary music theatre sound.”
The presentation takes place at 2:00 PM on Sunday, May 21 at Flushing Town Hall. Admission to the event is free, and no RSVPs are required. More details can be found here.
“We are presenting what we call ‘a table reading’ of the piece. I just recently finished writing all the songs and am very excited to hear it from beginning to end for the first time at Flushing Town Hall,” she says. “I love seeing people’s reaction. When you write something on the page, you won’t know if it’ll work until the audience get to hear it. As theatre writer, we consider the audience as our collaborator too. So it is really exciting.”
This will also be the first time the audience will hear the show from beginning to end as well, and she is grateful to Flushing Town Hall for the space to perfect this presentation. “I always love coming here and walking upstairs to play the piano on the stage,” she says. “Everyone is so kind and supportive of my writing and I’m so happy and lucky that I got to finish this project here. And Flushing is the best place to go get delicious lunch!”
The EtM Con Edison Composers’ Residency program is funded by Consolidated Edison, The Amphion Foundation, the George L. Shields Foundation, AOH Foundation, DJ McManus Foundation, The Reed Foundation and individuals. The program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.