STEEL HAMMER at Brooklyn Academy of Music
Julia Wolfe; SITI Company; Bang on a Can All-Stars
Part of 2015 Next Wave Festival
Julia Wolfe and SITI Company
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Directed by Anne Bogart
Who was John Henry? According to Johnny Cash, Bill Monroe, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen, he was a steel-driving railroad man who outperformed a steam drill before dying with his hammer in hand. But versions of the indelible American myth vary.
In this staged incarnation of her work Steel Hammer, 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe teams with director Anne Bogart and SITI Company to distill the discrepancies of over 200 variants of the classic ballad and legend into a theatrical post-minimalist mountain-music hybrid. Playwrights Kia Corthron, Will Power, Carl Hancock Rux, and Regina Taylor provide additional texts as three singers and the Bang on a Can All-Stars—fortified with banjo, bones, jaw harp, and other Appalachian instruments—give the folk hero a newfangled song for a new century.
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