The Flea Theater in association with Four Arts Media will present a groundbreaking new dramatic series comprised of original plays for radio and mobile media. Each of the 13 one-hour-long episodes will explore American life decade by decade from the early 20th century to the present. Says series creator, Arthur Yorinks, "Each stand-alone play will be modern, edgy, raw and compelling."
American Song takes its name from the way the narrative of each episode in the series is inspired by a quintessential American song from the decade in which it is set. The songs, freshly interpreted, are performed at the beginning and end of the episodes by some of the best contemporary musical artists of our time. This series will feature vocalists such as Rosanne Cash and Catherine Russell along with actors Sigourney Weaver, Frances McDormand, Joan Allen, Linus Roache, Adam Driver, Danny Burstein, Rebecca Luker, Jay O. Sanders, Maryanne Plunkett, Peter Gerety, Linda Powell, Reg E Cathey and others.
Each episode will have a one night only public performance at The Flea Theater. The first four performances will take place on October 15, November 5, November 26, and December 17. In 2013 SiriusXM Satellite Radio, WGBH and partner Public Radio International will record and broadcast this series nationally to an audience of nearly 75 million.
American Song has been created and developed by Mr. Yorinks in association with Bruce Fagin, senior executive producer, and Flea Theater artistic director, Jim Simpson, who is co-directing the series.
Arthur Yorinks (American Song Creator, Writer, Co-Director, Executive Producer) – has written and directed for opera, theater, dance, film, and radio and is the author of over thirty acclaimed and award-winning books. His numerous accolades for his work for children include the prestigious Caldecott award. After veering off his path of becoming a classical pianist in his teens (studying under Juilliard professor Robert Bedford), Mr. Yorinks has spent nearly four decades working in the performing arts, writing and directing numerous original plays including So, Sue Me, which premiered at The Kennedy Center, and recently the multimedia audio work, The Invisible Man which premiered at The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York. In opera, Mr. Yorinks was Philip Glass’s librettist for his operas The Juniper Tree and The Fall of the House of Usher, which have been performed worldwide. Mr. Yorinks’s work in dance includes collaborations with companies such as The Hartford Ballet and Pilobolus (where he helped create the full-length dance/theater piece, A Selection). In his varied and wide-ranging career, Yorinks’s work brought him into collaborations with celebrated artists including Andre Serban, Bill Irwin, Richard Foreman, Maurice Sendak, Robert Redford and legendary filmmaker Michael Powell, among many others. Compelled by the use of sound in the theater Mr. Yorinks has, for twenty years, experimented with the relationship between audio and live performance. Twelve years ago he formalized that passion into a company devoted to exploring, evolving, and redefining audio theater. Since then, Mr. Yorinks has written and directed over forty original audio plays performed in seasons at The Kennedy Center, The Henry Street Playhouse (Abrons Arts Center), The Jacob Burns Film Center, The New Victory Theater as well as New York Public Radio’s Jerome L. Greene Performance Space in New York, where he originated their theater initiative A New Theater of Sound. He has directed the radio works of Tom Stoppard, adapted Garson Kanin’s stage works for radio, adapted numerous literary works for theatrical audio including Kafka’s Metamorphosis and Gogol’s The Portrait as well as Dickens’ A Christmas Carol which was broadcast for several years on Barnes & Noble’s website and was newly recorded and broadcast by WNYC Radio starring F. Murray Abraham. Mr. Yorinks latest work for radio was his original radio play adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. The play, starring Phylicia Rashad and Roslyn Ruff, was performed live in New York City and was directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. Mr. Yorinks directed the radio broadcast which premiered on September 14, 2012 on WNYC Radio. Philip Glass has recently called Yorinks, “a great librettist” and their opera, Usher, will begin the 2013 Season at Chicago Opera Theater. Mr. Yorinks’s audio theater work has been broadcast nationwide on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and on WNYC radio.