THEATRE - Folk Wandering
February 1, 2018
One of my all-time favorite projects, long layed fallow, has sprung back up thanks to the industrious and ambitious team at Pipeline Theatre Company. Folk Wandering, a musical written by Jacklyn Backhaus, co-conceived with Andrew Neisler, and composed by a crew of nine songwriter-composers, is an almost unimaginable feat of collaboration. We wrote this show when we were all in our early twenties, and after performances at Ars Nova's Ant Fest and two sold-out concerts at Joe's Pub, it hit a dead end. Now we've returned to the material with Pipeline's support, and crafted a new vision of the show in conversation with ourselves from the past that puts the past in conversation with our audiences. It's been a large labor of love, and we have assembled a DYNAMITE team of performers and designers to bring it to life. In addition to my role as a co-composer/lyricist, I'll be reprising the role of Everett Ruess!
This is first show I've co-written that has received a full production! I'm very excited to share it with you. Get your tickets pronto!
Conceived by Jaclyn Backhaus & Andrew Neisler*
Book by Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Andrew Neisler*
Music by Blake Allen, Mike Brun, Andrew R. Butler, Joel Esher, Alex Fast, Jo Lampert, Barrie McLain, Annie Tippe, and Dominique Toney
Lyrics by Blake Allen, Jaclyn Backhaus, Mike Brun, Andrew R. Butler, Joel Esher, Jo Lampert, Barrie McLain, and Annie Tippe
February 23 – March 18
Mezzanine Theatre at A.R.T./New York Theatres
502 W. 53rd St., NYC
Tickets now available at a highly limited pre-sale rate, while supplies last!
In 1911, Rosealia dreams of a better life.
In 1933, Kai struggles to keep her daughter safe.
In 1955, Hannah finally fights for herself.
Folk Wandering is a sweeping new musical conjured from the hearts and minds of Jaclyn Backhaus (Men on Boats), Andrew Neisler (Charlatan, Clown Bar), and nine emerging singer-songwriters. This expansive story investigates the making and breaking of the American dream across three bygone generations. Join Pipeline Theatre Company and their band of troubadours this spring for an awakening of the hope, heartache, and longing that binds us all together.
Featuring: Kim Blanck, Andrew R. Butler, Seth Clayton*, DeMone, Adrian Blake Enscoe, Morgan Siobhan Green, Lena Hudson, Kate Loprest, Dan Tracy*, Jordan Tyson, Nicole Weiss.
Band: Blake Allen (violin/viola), Mike Brun (percussion), Magda Kress (bass), Sydney Shepherd (cello), Ellen Winter (piano).
Music Director: Ellen Winter
Set Design: Carolyn Mraz
Lighting Design: Christopher Bowser*
Costume Design: Heather McDevitt Barton
Sound Design: Jim Petty of Five Ohm Productions
Props Design: Emmie Finckel
Choreography: Ben Hobbs
Casting: Telsey + Company/Lauren Harris
Arrangements by Mike Brun and Joel Esher
Orchestrations by Blake Allen and Mike Brun
Production Stage Manager: Kristy Bodall*
Production Manager: Jenny Beth Snyder
Associate Production Manager: Tyler Perry
Assistant Stage Manager: Anna Aschliman
Press: Matt Ross PR
Photography: Suzi Sadler
Graphic Design: Brendan Dalton
Advertising: Caolan Hunter
Assistant Director: Sam Leopold
Assistant Music Director: Simone Allen
Assistant Lighting Design: Asa Lipton
Assistant Prop Design: Jess Cummings
Production Assistants: Joanna Pisano, Priscilla Villanueva
Originally developed in collaboration with Jessie Barr, Kim Blanck, and Lena Hudson
Folk Wandering is made possible, in part, thanks to a producing partnership with Triumph Productions, Christopher Schout and Wayne Zink.
Performance space for this production was subsidized by the A.R.T./New York Theatres Rental Subsidy Fund, a program of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York (A.R.T./New York).
*Members of the Pipeline Theatre Company Ensemble
THEATRE - Andrew & Andrew at Guild Hall in East Hampton
January 14, 2018
My writing partner Andrew Farmer and I are looking forward to a short writing retreat and concert as part of the JDT Lab at Guild Hall in East Hampton. We'll be travelling out to work on our musical Blessing for a couple of days, before shifting gears to putting together our version of a songbook concert: Andrew & Andrew Make A Deal With The Devil: Southern Gothic Songs And Stories. The show will feature our frequent collaborator and MD Rick Burkhardt, as well as performer Aleca Piper. It'll be January 23rd at 7:30pm!
If you know any folks out there, send them our way! We're incredibly excited to receive the support of this storied institution and perform in their gorgeous theatre!
THEATRE - Memory Retrograde at UTR
January 1, 2018
After our packed shows at Ars Nova, we're excited to make the leap to The Public for the last two performances of Memory Retrograde. We've done a solid chunk of work in the interim, and are ready to bring the newest version to new audiences! The tickets are almost completly sold out, but the waitlist will be in effect, and due to the way APAP presenter tickets work, usually lots of folks get in.
The Public: Shiva Theater
Friday, January 5 - Saturday, January 13
The discovery of a pocket watch in a timeworn attic catapults a pair of old lovers through an epic expanse of generations and landscapes—the Venetian Renaissance, an Egyptian burial, a 1970s doctor’s office, and a virtual reality forest in the near future. In this dioramic triptych of realism, post-modern historic farce, and media performance, harunalee confronts the ways memory and trauma are racialized and gendered across time. Memory Retrograde negotiates the inextricable relationship between personal and cultural memory, and transforms the English language into an emotional territory, where heightened experience is synonymous with the irrationality of words and language.
Written by Kristine Haruna Lee
Directed by Andrew J. Scoville
Conceived by Andrew R. Butler and Kristine Haruna Lee
Produced by Lauren Swan-Potras
Assistant Directed by Charlotte Murray
With Jessica Almasy, Andrew R. Butler, Ben Holbrook, Bob Jaffe, Kristine Haruna Lee, Giovanni Naarendorp, and Dawn Akemi Saito.
Costume Design by Karen Boyer
Sound Design by Jen Goma
Sceneic Design by You-Shin Chen
Lighting Design by Sarah Lurie
Associate Lighting Design by Elizabeth M. Stewart
Projection Design by Stivo Arnoczy
Photography by Sasha Arutyunova
THEATRE - Edelweiss w/OTR
December 10, 2017
I'v snagged another chance to work with one of my favorite theatre companies, On The Rocks. (If you've never been to their website, it's a must. Check it out.)
While I will again be performing for the company, this round I will also step into a new role: composer! I'm writing several songs for their upcoming holiday bar pageant Edelweiss. This dark comedy is a memorial service for Santa (who unexpectedly kicked the bucket) thrown together by a botanical society consisting of four elves and a one reindeer. As they work through their greif and attempt to keep their shit together through the stress of honoring the man who gave them a reason to exist, they figure out what Christmas means to them. CLASSIC, RIGHT? It's a free 40 minute show at the bar/lounge at Dixon Place, and I couldn't be more excited to share it with New York City. Come on out and mourn Santa with us. It's gonna be great.
THEATRE - Memory Retrograde
December 1, 2017
My experimental theatre company harunalee has a big couple of months ahead! Our new show, Memory Retrograde, written by Kristine Haruna Lee, is going to receive five performances, across two major NYC institutions between December and January.
First we'll be wrapping up our Makers Lab residency at Ars Nova with a weekend of performances of the show:
THEN, in January we'll be at The Public's Under The Radar Festival as part of the Incoming! Series for two performances:
Hopefully this won't be your last chance to see this show. We've been working on it for about four years, and are thrilled to have the chance to develop and share it through these two incredible institutions!
THEATRE - Political Subversities at Bell House
November 1, 2017
PoliSub is back!
We have a show on Election Eve at The Bell House in BK, featuring special guest performers and special guest speakers from local political action orgs. We're incredibly excited to bring our usual high-speed musical-comedy cabaret to the Bell House and get y'all ready to VOTE. More details on our website here.
THEATRE - (Parkland/Weathers) at ARS NOVA
September 27, 2017
(Parkland/Weathers) returns to Ars Nova for one night!
The good folks at my favorite theater and long-time artistic home, Ars Nova, invited me to remount my Ant Fest show from June for one night at the end of September. We jumped at the opportunity to share it with more people. I'm currently working on a new draft that I hope to get to workshop somewhere in the next year, but this performance will only have a few small changes from the Ant Fest iteration, due to a lack of reherasal time. Fingers crossed, we will get offered some support and a future production! I've been working on the Rags Parkland universe since 2009, and it feels like the time is now to make (Parkland/Weathers) in full.
APPARENTLY, TimeOut theatre critic Helen Shaw saw the show at Ant Fest and tweeted the below:
"UTTERLY BRILLIANT" and "sci-fi musical theater gloriosity" are pretty much the most incredible phrases I could ever dream being written about this show!
Tickets and more info are currently available here.
THEATER - The Old Boat Goddess
July 12, 2017
I'm spending my summer back in Salem, NY with the Mettawee River Theatre Company. We are completing a two-year process bringing to life an adaptation of an ancient Korean folk tale, Before The Sun And Moon.
Mettawee is run by master puppet and mask maker Ralph Lee, and company founder Casey Compton who designs and builds all of the costumes. This is their 43rd season creating new works for small communities in upstate New York, Vermont and Massachusettes. After shows, audience members often introduce their kids, and recall seeing Ralph's shows when they were kids themselves. It's an incredible lineage to be a part of, and a rare chance to perform in mask!
BEFORE THE SUN AND MOON
Adapted from an ancient Korean folk story
Performers: Andrew Butler, Tanya Dougherty, Claire Moodey, Rob McFadyen, Jan-Peter Pedross and Jon Riddleberger
Musician: Ed Rosenberg III
Playwright: Kristine Haruna Lee
Composer: Neal Kirkwood
FILM - Friday Afternoon
July 10, 2017
I'm feeling extraordinarily lucky to be playing a large role in an indie feature written and directed by Paige Campbell. The film, titled Friday Afternoon, is about to go into shooting. I'll be performing across from my dear friend and frequent collaborator Kim Blank, who is playing the protaganist of the film, a young woman named Gus. The movie follows her on the day she prepares to get a medical abortion, and we watch as this event cracks open the truth of several of her relationships. It feels to me like a powerful and beautiful meditation on the moments that make us reassess our lives and the people around us, as well as an exploration of an incredibly common, but heavily stigmatized experience shared by many women. I'll share updates when screenings are imminent!
THEATER - (Parkland/Weathers) in Ars Nova's ANT Fest
May 21, 2017
I started creating the world of Rags Parkland in 2009, and a year later I presented a concert by Rags at Ant Fest at Ars Nova. It was the very first time my work had been on a professional stage. I've continued to expand Rags' world and hone that material. Last year in a Fresh Ground Pepper's Playground Playgroup I wrote (Parkland/Weathers), and seven years after performing Rags in ANT Fest the first time, I'm returning with this new iteration of the project.
by Andrew R. Butler
directed by Jordan Fein
Performed & Arranged by Rick Burkhardt, Andrew R. Butler & Maya Sharpe
June 23rd at 7pm
at Ars Nova
tix available now: $15 in adv $20 at the door
(Parkland/Weathers) is a nesting doll double-bill of sci-fi folk music concerts that unpacks the lives and relationship of singer-songwriters Rags Parkland and Beaux Weathers. In the 2200s, music is their best shot at winning over a world that insists only one of them is human.
THEATER - Workshop at The Public
May 20, 2017
I'm spending this week performing in a workshop reading of The Public Theatre's Public Works show for this summer: As You Like It. Laurie Woolery is directing and co-adapting the play with composer Shaina Taub. It's been a blast so far! The reading is internal for development, and most of the roles played by the fantastic actors in the room will later be given to non-professional performers from communities across New York City. I saw last year's show, and jumped at the chance to contribute to the process of this year's. It's a truly remarkable and inspiring project that serves an emormous swath of our city and uses theatre as the community-building cultural resource it can be!
THEATER - American Cryptids: Ep. 1 New York City
May 8, 2017
The culmination of my year in The Civilian's R&D writers group is coming to a close with the first public presentation of my newest show with Andrew Farmer. A blurb and details are below!
American Cryptids is a live documentary series about people who have encountered cryptozoological creatures and the cryptozoological creatures they have encountered. Creators Andrew Farmer and Andrew R. Butler interview individuals who have seen such elusive American fauna as the legendary Bigfoot, the debunked Montauk Monster and the downright weird Carnivorous Pink Cloud, to create a show that explores loneliness, conviction, American Regionalism, and how it feels when no one believes in you.
THEATER - Memory Retrograde at BAX
April 22, 2017
Next weekend my experimental company harunalee is performing two residency showings of our latest play written by Kristine Lee, Memory Retrograde. Kristine and I have been developing this piece for several years, and for the past two the project has been the focus of Kristine's residency at BAX. We're excited to show what we've been building, and hopefully find a future home for it!
written x directed by Kristine Haruna Lee
April 28 + 29 @ 8pm
BAX 421 5th Ave.
Tickets: $16 general admission / $10 low-income
A couple finds a strange 'remembering' object in the attic, and ponders over the possibility of having lived past lives together. The act of remembering conjures their younger selves, and they all mingle in simultaneity. Their ‘time travels’ take them to their past life in Venice 1515, an Egyptian Burial, the 1970's, Ancient Greece, and a virtual reality forest some time in the far future. As memories epically span generations and landscapes, one couple's trauma is brought to light and replayed over and over again through all these layers of time and space as they figure out how to deal with a single tragedy that haunts their lives.
associate directed by Lauren Swan-Potras
conceived with Andrew R. Butler
sound design by Jen Goma
set design by Greg Laffey
costume design by Karen Boyer
lighting design by Sarah Lurie
video design by Stivo Arnoczy
production manager Teri-Ann Caryl
stage manager Hayley Cartee
production assistsant Lyndsey Bourne
mask by Mettawee River Theater Co.
with: Jess Almasy / Andrew R Butler / Keith McDermott / Madeline McCray / Josh Gelb / Shiree Adkins / Imran Sheikh
CABARET - The Civilians' Let Me Ascertain You Cabaret at Joe's Pub
April 13, 2017
A couple of weeks ago I was asked to write a song for The Civilians' cabaret/podcast series Let Me Ascertain You at Joe's Pub, and I happily obliged. The topic of this episode was hate, and I was given an interview with a charming and clever seven year old girl who had some delightful and honest things to say about the topic.
While I was sadly out of town for the cabaret itself, my song (adapted from the interview text) was performed by singer/actor/multi-instrumentalist Pearl Rhein (currently in Natasha & Pierre And The Great Comet of 1812). I wrote this tune for her on the uke!
The evening will be released as a podcast sometime in the near future and I can't wait to hear it. I'll be sure to post a link when it's availabile.
MUSIC/THEATER - HAIL OBLIVION: A Pirate Fantasia
April 9, 2017
I loved pirates as a child. I know that's super common. But I probably dressed up as a pirate for approximately half of the Halloweens for which I donned a costume. It just so happens that in my adult life I had the chance to be a part of the most incredible and awesome pirate project ever to sail the seven seas. Or, uh, stages. Although the current iteration is sailing the soundwaves as a brilliantly produced and sound designed live concert recording of the show. It features Broadway's Bryce Pinkham! And Rick Burkhardt! And Ato Blankson-Wood! And Amber Gray! And many many others, including me!
The show is HAIL OBLIVION: A Pirate Fantasia, by Stephanie Ryan Johnstone and Joshua William Gelb and it is totally incredible and intricate and bold and thrilling. Go to this link and listen to this and buy a copy!
THEATER - FRED opens at Dixon Place
March 22, 2017
FRED opened this past weekend at Dixon Place and while I wasn't able to be at the performances (due to The Skin Of Our Teeth) I'm hearing great things! A few online reviewers from around town have said some nice things about the show as well.
Ran Xia at theasy.com called FRED, "seventy-five minutes of non-stop exuberant day dreams that turns out to be quite moving."
And Culture Catch even gave me a shout out: "music director Andrew R. Butler manages to get a lot of laughs despite appearing only as the disembodied voice of the ship." As well as calling the show a "Buoyant new comedy!" "Godot-esque!" "original-star-trek-series-worthy!" "unexpectedly moving" and "campy fun!"
That all sounds right on the money to me. You can get tickets and read more here.
Here's a promo shot of The Kunzigs, Outer Space's Premier Carptenter's Tribute Band! I arranged and recorded synth backing tracks of a number of Carpenters songs, (and Bacharach tunes that The Carpenter's covered!) and served as music director, shaping the sound and performance of the fictional future lounge act. I'm super proud of my work and these performers.
February 20, 2017
Here's my 2016 reel!
Andrew R. Butler
On Camera Performance Reel 2016
Dir. Anna Kerrigan
"Straight Outta Tompkins"
Dir. Zephyr Benson
Dir. Sam Cooke
"But Not For Me"
Dir. Ryan Carmichael
Dir. Andrew Rhymer
Dir. Andrew Neisler
THEATER - The Skin Of Our Teeth in Previews
February 15, 2017
We had our first preview performance of The Skin Of Our Teeth tonight at Theatre For A New Audience. I'm completely floored by the company and creative team of this show and the incredible work that they're doing. Get your tickets now before they sell out.
Check out this neat slideshow of rehearsal photos from TFANA's Flickr:
THEATER - harunalee In Ars Nova Makers Lab
January 15, 2017
My experimental theater company harunalee has just been announced as an artist in residence at Ars Nova in 2017 as part of the theater's new Makers Lab! We're overjoyed to be receiving the support of one our favorite theaters in NYC, and to have the chance to grow as a company while we continue to make wild new experiences for our audiences.
Here's what Ars says about the lab:
"Makers Lab provides a dynamic group of generative theater artists with individually tailored residencies designed to holistically support their careers and develop their new works. Working in a range of category-defying forms and disciplines, these artists, collaborators and companies use Ars Nova as a home base for twelve-month creative residencies. Through a wide range of development tools, institutional resources and hands-on artistic support, Makers Lab residents are encouraged to think big, take risks and push their creative potential as they make work under our roof."
More to come about what we'll but up to under their roof, and when our newest creations will be ready to share!
THEATER: FRED at Dixon Place
January 10, 2017
I'm reuniting with one of my absolute favorite theatre companies, On The Rocks, for their next show FRED, premiering at Dixon Place in March. Here's a little description:
After two hundred years of keeping his inventor’s comatose widow alive, Fred the robot decides they both could use a change. Taking a leap of faith, he packs up their home in Phoenix and the odd couple relocate to The Clam—a once luxurious retirement space station orbiting Pluto. There, The Clam’s in-house alien band The Kunzigs awaken something special in Fred’s ancient companion.
I recommend checking out the video OTR made about FRED for their kickstarter campaign.
While my body won't be onstage for FRED (it will be busy performing in The Skin Of Our Teeth at TFANA!) I will be providing some pre-recorded vocal performance as the voice of The Clam. I have also stepped into the role of music producer, director and arranger for the production. I'm currently in the process of recording 70s-esque synth arrangements of songs by The Carpenters that The Kunzigs perform to, as well as arranging the vocals and music directing their performance.
FRED only happens for six nights, so be sure to pick one and get tix!
Fridays and Saturdays:
March 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and April 1 at 7:30PM
at Dixon Place
161A Chrystie Street