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This project was successfully funded on August 22, 2013

Tamar of the River

by Marisa Michelson


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TAMAR OF THE RIVER is an original music-theater work created by Marisa Michelson (music / co-bookwriter) and Joshua H. Cohen (lyrics / co-bookwriter) with support from the American Musical Voices Project: The Next Generation at Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia, where the first workshop was undertaken in July 2010.  Earlier this year, a reduced oratorio version was performed by NY Theatre Barn and Choral Chameleon in Brooklyn, and in February 2013 Prospect Theater Company produced a two-week workshop under the guidance of Broadway director Daniel Goldstein, to further develop the script and storytelling. 

Prospect Theater Company is a 15-year-old non-profit organization that supports the development and production of new musicals by emerging artists.  The company's work has been critically acclaimed, most recently receiving a 2013 Drama Desk Award for Outsanding Ensemble Performance.  Prospect's production is the world premiere of this barrier-breaking, chorally-driven new musical, and represents the first major New York professional production of Michelson and Cohen's work.  

TAMAR OF THE RIVER is set in a fictitious, war-torn world where the East and West are divided by a River red with blood In this world, where the River is worshipped as God, a young woman named Tamar believes she has been chosen to bring peace, and is called to raise her voice.  She sets out single-mindedly, leaving her homeland and venturing into enemy territory, concealing her true identity.  On this journey, she finds a new family and unexpected love -- but each decision that brings her closer to her goal also becomes a choice she struggles to justify and accept

Inspired by the biblical story of Tamar, Cohen and Michelson bring to life an innovative and compelling new music theater work that illuminates the moral complexity inherent in the struggle for peace.  While the story is set in a mythic world, it reflects on powerful questions that may be applied to the challenges surrounding any longstanding conflict in our modern world, and the human factors involved in the struggle for an ideal of peace. The score has been inspired by influences of Middle Eastern, Jewish, and Asian music as well as pre-Western chanting, weaving together many voices and sounds into a sophisticated new work for the contemporary musical theater.

We are asking for $12,500 to help with funding a full professional production of TAMAR OF THE RIVER, presented by Prospect Theater Company at Baruch Performing Arts Center (in the Nagelberg Theatre), for a total of 26-30 public performances from Sept. 21 - Oct. 20, 2013.  Our total budget for the project exceeds $150,000 and will also be supported by government and foundation funding sources, supplemented by critical individual donations to the project. Our expense figure includes theater and rehearsal space rentals; production costs (costumes, scenery, lights, sound equipment, props, etc); marketing and advertising; salaries for everyone involved in the project (creative team, performers, musicians, designers, crew, etc); and even nitty-gritty things like photocopies of the script and score.  A portion of our costs will also be covered by ticket sales. 

Any money we raise with USA Projects beyond our minimum $12,500 will be used to support Marisa in further enhancing her music and orchestration capacity beyond our baseline budget, providing additional support for the music needs of the production. Thank you very much for supporting Prospect Theater Company’s production of  TAMAR OF THE RIVER. Please spread the word, and we hope to see you at the theater!

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