(Via John Wyszniewski, Everyman Agency; Photo: Rona Siddiqui.)
Ars Nova, “a company known for pop-culture-savvy experimentation, with a hipness that sets it apart” (New York Times), under the leadership of Founding Artistic Director Jason Eagan and Managing Director Renee Blinkwolt, is proud to announce its second slate of 2021 programming including six new events curated by composer Rona Siddiqui as part of the new Ars Nova Vision Residency program. All events will take place on Ars Nova Supra, a new streaming platform from Ars Nova that showcases some of New York City’s most promising emerging artists and currently serves as the online home for the majority of Ars Nova presentations.
Designed to foreground Ars Nova’s values through the creation of more equitable and power-sharing curatorial practices, the Vision Residency expands Ars Nova’s artistic vision by inviting seven artist-curators to each program one month of events on Ars Nova Supra. Programming can include their own work as well as work by artists they champion and admire, with Ars Nova providing financial and staff resources to develop each piece. In addition to Siddiqui, the 2020-2021 Vision Residents are Starr Busby, nicHi douglas, JJJJJerome Ellis, raja feather kelly, Jenny Koons, and David Mendizábal.
Founding Artistic Director Jason Eagan commented, “I feel so fortunate to get to share the curation of our season on Ars Nova Supra with this newly formed cohort. Bringing this incredible group of artists and thinkers into a conversation about who and what will be featured on our platform this year expands our — and their — potential. The Ars Nova community has always thrived most when it is looking forward, and I am thrilled to discover where these visionaries will take us next.”
Vision Resident Rona Siddiqui said, “I brought together a small group of MENASA friends to brainstorm ideas for my residency’s programming, and so many ideas and phenomenal artists immediately came to mind. It goes to show how easy it is to spotlight brilliant brown people when you just reach out and collaborate. So, in making MENASA voices the focus of my residency, I want to show the world that we’re here, and we’re creating and contributing to the vitality of America and the dream of its potential. In heightening our visibility, I want to show that we’re multi-faceted: We’re complex, we’re independent, we’re queer, we’re disabled, we’re silly, we’re fierce — and we’re also about to take you on a multi-sensory ride through these six events.”
In addition to Vision Residency programming, Ars Nova presents a special digital edition of Showgasm, Ars Nova’s own monthly variety-show-meets-party, guest hosted by triple-threat prince Joél Perez and on February 11.
Tickets for Ars Nova Supra livestream events are $5-10 per event, with subscriptions available for $15 per month. Subscribers receive access to all monthly livestreams at one low price, plus exclusive on-demand access to the Ars Nova Supra library, where they can catch any shows they may have missed.
More details follow and can be found at https://arsnovanyc.com/SUPRA.
ARS NOVA SUPRA Lineup (Feb. 8–27)
February 8 at 7 PM ET
Vision Residency: Authenticity vs. Opportunity: New Possibilities in MENASA Recognition & Representation
Moderated by Thomas Simsarian Dolan
Featuring Azita Ghanizada, Jamil Khoury, Sharone Sayegh, Torange Yeghiazarian
90 minutes; Free
This free panel discussion profiles creators and activists in film, TV and theater to offer insights into this moment of possibility for MENASA representation in art, and the need to think coalitionally and relationally along with other communities of color facing similar challenges.
*Note: This panel discussion takes place on Zoom and requires free, advance registration. Register at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_jTUKgeOOTKCwDLDtSeeYRQ
February 11 at 7 PM ET
Ars Nova presents: Showgasm.
with Guest Host Joél Perez
60 minutes; $5
Triple-threat prince Joél Perez guest hosts a live-for-digital version of our untamed monthly variety-show-meets-party, introducing us to his who’s-who of the weird and wonderful — from comedy to burlesque and everything (and anything) in between.
February 12 at 7 PM ET
Vision Residency: A Very MENASA Valentine’s
Written by Ida Sofia Bahar Esmaeili, Ryan J. Haddad, Vishaal Reddy & Nandita Shenoy
Hosted by Sherz Aletaha
Directed by Danny Sharron
Stage Managed by Tia Harewood-Millington
40 minutes; $10
Four sexy writers, one juicy topic and sweet, sweet alcohol! Join us for four flash plays on dating in the time of COVID, hosted by everyone’s favorite cocktail artist, Sherz Aletaha. It’ll fly by quicker than a first date shag, with none of the deeply embedded cultural shame!
February 16 at 7 PM ET
60 minutes; $10
Vision Residency: A Trip to Persia
Created & Directed by Behzad Jamshidi
Created & Performed by Behzad Jamshidi & Atef Boulaabi
Curated by Vision Resident Rona Siddiqui
Take a trip to Persia in this interactive online culinary event, hosted by Chef Behzad Jamshidi (Moosh NYC) and Atef Boulaabi of (SOS Chefs). You’ll explore the unique fragrances and flavors of Persian cuisine as Jamshidi & Boulaabi teach you to make a delicious Persian pistachio soup, sharing rituals of Persian culture along the way.
February 19 at 7 PM ET
Vision Residency: Rona & Her Sketchy Friends
Featuring & Curated by Vision Resident Rona Siddiqui
With the talents of Manik Choksi, raja feather kelly, Sade Namei & Assal Ghawami
35 minutes; $10
From the zany quarantine brain of Rona Siddiqui comes a video trilogy about a woman and the fleece-lined sweatshirt she dared to love. Featuring a groundbreaking debut performance by Hoodie from the Gap, Rona & Her Sketchy Friends also includes the premiere of an animated feature from her show Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, with animation by Manik Choksi. Plus, writer/performers Sade Namei and Assal Ghawami round out the night with Iran Mustache Crisis originals, pulling patriarchy by the short hairs, one sketch at a time.
February 23 at 7 PM ET
Vision Residency: MENASAfied
Directed by Sharone Sayegh
Arranged & Music Directed by Mona Seyed-Bolorforosh
Featuring George Abud, Sherz Aletaha, Shoba Narayan, Jonathan Raviv, Sharone Sayegh, Vishal Vaidya, Kuhoo Verma
Videography & Video Editing by Brian Vinik
45 minutes; $10
Join us for an evening of beloved pop, musical theater, and folk songs reinvented through the lens of the Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian (MENASA) musical soundscape, featuring Broadway and NYC’s most exciting MENASA performers and musicians.
February 27 at 9 PM ET
90 minutes; $10
Vision Residency: Queer MENASA Dancy Partayyy
Hosted by Jackie Cox
Produced by Thomas Simsarian Dolan
Shake the winter blues away with “Persian princess of drag” Jackie Cox (Ru Paul’s Drag Race), hosting a Zoom dance party featuring the hottest dance jams and some very special surprise guests. Come ready to strut in this Queer MENASA Dancy Partayyy!
Note: This interactive event takes place live on Zoom and you’re encouraged to turn your camera on and join in the dance party! Wanna leave your camera off and dance like no one’s watching? That’s cool, too. (More details will be emailed to ticket buyers before the event.)
About Rona Siddiqui
Rona Siddiqui is a composer/lyricist based in NYC. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Grant and Billie Burke Ziegfeld award. She was named one of Broadway Women’s Fund’s Women to Watch. Her show Salaam Medina: Tales of a Halfghan, an autobiographical comedy about growing up bi-ethnic in America, had a reading at Playwrights Horizons (dir. by Raja Feather Kelly). Other musicals include One Good Day, Hip Hop Cinderella, and The Tin. She is the recipient of the ASCAP Harold Adamson Lyric Award, the ASCAP Foundation Mary Rodgers/Lorenz Hart Award and ASCAP Foundation/Max Dreyfus Scholarship. She has written pieces for Wicked’s 16th anniversary commemoration Flying Free, 24 Hour Musicals, Prospect Theater Company, The Civilians, and has performed concerts of her work at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Feinstein’s/54 Below. Rona music directed the Off-Broadway Pulitzer Prize-winning A Strange Loop for which she received an Obie along with the cast and creative team (Playwrights Horizons). She has orchestrated for Broadway Records, Broadway Backwards, NAMT and Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. www.ronasiddiqui.com
About Ars Nova
Ars Nova exists to discover, develop, and launch singular theater, music and comedy artists in the early stages of their professional careers. Our dynamic slate of programs supports outside-the-box thinking and encourages innovative, genre-bending new work. Dubbed by The New York Times as a “fertile incubator of offbeat theater,” Ars Nova blurs genres and subverts the status quo. With our feverish bounty of programming, we are the stomping ground and launching pad for visionary, adventurous artists of all stripes. By providing a protective environment where risk-taking and collaboration are paramount, Ars Nova gives voice to a new generation of diverse artists and audiences, pushing the boundaries of live entertainment by nurturing creative ideas into smart, surprising new work.
Ars Nova has been honored with an Obie Award and a Special Citation from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle for sustained quality and commitment to the development and production of new work. Notable past productions include: The New York Times critic’s pick Dr. Ride’s American Beach House by Liza Birkenmeier, directed by Katie Brook; “Outstanding Musical” Lortel Award-winner and The New York Times’ “Best of 2018,” Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future, created by Andrew R. Butler and directed by Jordan Fein; “Outstanding Musical” Lortel Award-winner KPOP, created by Jason Kim, Max Vernon, Helen Park, and Woodshed Collective, directed by Teddy Bergman; “Best New American Theatre Work,” Obie Award-winner and “one of the best new plays in the last 25 years” (The New York Times), Underground Railroad Game by Jennifer Kidwell and Scott R. Sheppard with Lightning Rod Special, directed by Taibi Magar (now on international tour); “Outstanding Musical” Lortel Award-winner FUTURITY, by César Alvarez with The Lisps, directed by Sarah Benson; The New York Times’ and New York Post’s “Best of 2015,” Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl, directed by Rachel Chavkin; Time Out New York’s “Best of 2014,” JACUZZI by The Debate Society, directed by Oliver Butler; the Tony Award-winning smash-hit Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy, directed by Rachel Chavkin; Jollyship the Whiz-Bang by Nick Jones and Raja Azar, directed by Sam Gold; the world premiere of the 2009 season’s most-produced play boom by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb, directed by Alex Timbers; the show that put Bridget Everett on the map, At Least It’s Pink by Everett, Michael Patrick King, and Kenny Mellman, directed by King; and Lin-Manuel Miranda and Thomas Kail’s first New York production, Freestyle Love Supreme by Anthony Veneziale and Miranda, directed by Thomas Kail (Broadway 2019). www.arsnovanyc.com