Vocal Theater Works Principal Production: Hydrogen Jukebox
During the spring term of 2019, the students of Vocal Theater Works will present the musical theatre piece Hydrogen Jukebox by Allen Ginsberg and Phillip Glass. The Hydrogen Jukeboxproject is an educational outreach performance that addresses ways in which our collective American culture and actions have shaped the modern world, resulting in ongoing issues of cultural suppression, war, and environmental degradation. A regional premier, this production allows Vocal Theater Works to examine central themes of this iconic work and their relevance to our local and university community. After each performance, a panel comprised of performers and authorities from both the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest community will engage the audience in conversation about the work and its primary themes. The students of Vocal Theater Works ask for a $6,000 grant from the Campus Sustainability Fund to help us complete this project. The Hydrogen Jukeboxproduction and post-performance discussion sessions will be held in Meany Studio Theater on the University of Washington Campus. This production represents collaboration between multiple ensembles within the School of Music, while also engaging input from across the University in the areas of anthropology, public health, and comparative literature.
For more information on this project, faculty and artistic directors involved please visit: https://music.washington.edu/events/2019-04-26/vocal-theatre-workshop-ph....
Vocal Theater Works’ production of Hydrogen Jukeboxprovides various opportunities for student involvement. Eleven students will perform all principle sung roles in our double-cast production of Hydrogen Jukebox.The production also features spoken poetry and correspondence performed by a student narrator throughout the production. In their role preparation, students of Vocal Theater Works will apply their skills in acting, singing, movement, and musicianship, bringing life to individual and ensemble performances in this technically demanding work of Music Theatre. Each singing actor has the responsibility to establish the narrative world in which the sung poetry occurs, and to articulate Ginsberg’s call for cultural sustainability, peace, and environmental stewardship.
Narrator: Trevor Ainge
Soprano 1: Sarah Fantappiè, Lauren Kulesa
Soprano 2: Erika Meyer, Tasha Hayward
Mezzo: Vivianna Oh, Inna Tsygankova
Tenor: Will Schlott, John O'Kane
Baritone 1: DJ Jordan, Christopher Benfield
Baritone 2/Bass: Jacob Caspe
Instrumental Ensemble: The instrumental ensemble of 10 players consists of both students and School of Music Faculty.
Student Development Coordinator:
Trevor Ainge serves as the 2018-2019 student development coordinator for Vocal Theater Works at the University of Washington. He serves in a leadership capacity in fundraising and outreach for this project.
The post-performance discussion panels will consist of the ensemble cast of Hydrogen Jukebox. Cast members will share their experiences in creating the performance and speak to the work’s promotion of themes of peace, cultural sustainability, and environmental stewardship. The panel will also consist of authorities from the wider Pacific Northwest community, including Tom Carpenter, executive director of Hanford Challenge, and Liz Mattson, deputy director of Hanford Challenge. We will seek additional input from the departments of anthropology, public health and comparative literature at the University of Washington as well as local LGBT advocacy groups.
In addition to the singing actors, narrator, and instrumentalists creating the production, the performance process includes stakeholders from the student population at the University as well as the broader community in the all-important role of audience members engaged in critical thinking and dialogue in the context of the shared experience of these performances.
Education & Outreach:
The Hydrogen Jukebox performances are by nature an educational outreach project. In their collaboration on this work, Glass and Ginsberg strove to form a portrait of America and assess the fruits of our collective identity. They felt that pressing social and environmental issues, with implications for both Americans and our global community, were not being addressed by contemporary politicians and media outlets. They created Hydrogen Jukebox to call attention to and assess our collective role in occasions of war, environmental devastation, cultural oppression, and the moral, health and environmental crisis occasioned by the proliferation of nuclear technology. Our presentation of this work provides the unique historical perspective of American views on the social and environmental problems that defined the latter half of the twentieth century. While the work stands as a valuable historical document, its relevance is maintained because American society still grapples with many of the same issues today.
A predominant theme throughout Hydrogen Jukebox is the development and prevalent dependency on nuclear technology during the twentieth century. Nuclear technology in the United States was first developed as a weapon of war, and subsequently harnessed as a source of renewable energy. During the twenty-first century, the international community continues to struggle with issues surrounding the development of nuclear weapons and the use of nuclear energy. In 2011 the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in Japan disturbed surrounding communities and ecologies and posed a complex global engineering problem. We have potent examples of Ginsberg’s themes here in Washington state. Our state is home to an increasingly complicated nuclear containment dilemma at the decommissioned Hanford nuclear production site. This very site is the birthplace of our colored relationship with nuclear technology, having provided the plutonium used in the bombing of Nagasaki. After the second World War, the Hanford Site continued its production of plutonium for nuclear weapons and civilian power until 1987. Many workers involved in the development and ongoing containment of spent nuclear material have suffered due to exposure to radiation. Inadequate containment of nuclear waste at Hanford continues to pose an ongoing threat to the environment and communities along the Columbia river. A startling comparison may be drawn between Ginsberg’s imagery of a landscape marred by nuclear fallout and the tangible environmental and personal effects of living and working along a nuclear site in Eastern Washington and along the Columbia river.
Beyond documenting the largest environmental concerns of the past century, the work treats themes of the twentieth century Gay liberation movement and the lived experiences of LGBT individuals. Allen Ginsberg, author of the Hydrogen Jukebox libretto, lived and worked as a prominent gay artist in a society that criminalized his sexual identity, and his experiences are highlighted throughout the work. While strides toward equality for this community have been made since the turn of the twenty-first century, we are still working towards equal rights for LGBT individuals across the nation. Only twenty-two states have outlawed discrimination against individuals based on sexual identity and gender identity. This leaves the LGBT community with unequal protection against discrimination in housing and employment across regions of the United States. Our production of Hydrogen Jukebox will engage the LGBT community and wider campus population in evaluation of the local impact of themes and issues relating to social justice and sustainability. This Production will also serve to further the historical preservation of this important work, insuring its ongoing potential to provoke thought, discussion, and change.
The Vocal Performance department of the School of Music has a robust publicity program in place for its productions. An event and information webpage created by the School of Music marketing department has been included in this proposal. The marketing department and students of Vocal Theater Works have also created social media profiles, events, and promotional materials for this production. In addition to our internet presence, promotional posters advertising Hydrogen Jukeboxwill be created and distributed throughout campus and the wider community at the beginning of the Spring 2019 term. Invitations to departments whose fields of study are related to this work will also be sent out in the months prior to the two performance dates. If funding allows, there are also plans for local radio and print media advertisements.
- Living Systems and Biodiversity
- Environmental Justice
- Community Development
- Cultural Representation
- Social Justice
This project does not require any long-term management or maintenance. Preparation for this project began January 7, 2019 and will culminate in two performances on April 26th and 27th, 2019.
The primary sustainability challenge that we are addressing is a need for historical knowledge of how twentieth century American actions and culture continue to impact our contemporary world. Vocal Theater Works’ Hydrogen Jukeboxproduction and post-production discussions will engage the community with a portrait of American culture and demonstrate how our collective actions have resulted in war, environmental degradation, and cultural suppression. We hope that audience members will evaluate their own role as citizens and work collectively to learn from past mistakes in order to create a more just and environmentally sustainable future.
Our secondary sustainability challenge will be to mitigate the environmental impact of production materials through the use of rented, borrowed and recycled goods. We will use a projector and visual media to minimize the use of physical set materials. When we must use physical goods such as props and costumes, we will use recycled materials. When acquiring goods, we will ensure that they can be reused or repurposed in future productions.
Explain how the impacts will be measured:
Sustainability impacts will be measured by attendance to the performance, and through participation in performance talk backs. We will hold two performances of Hydrogen Jukeboxin Meany Studio Theater, a performance space seating 250 guests. Our goals will be evaluated by the percentage of possible attendees who engage with the work. We will also provide a physical opportunity for audience members to provide feedback as to contemporary issues and themes relevant to the work and the issues raised by the production.
We will also quantify the physical goods acquired for this project. We will evaluate our success by the proportion of goods acquired that can be recycled and repurposed in future productions.
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?:
|Item||Cost per Item||Quantity||Total Cost|
|Post-Event Disussion Panel and Recognition Ceremony||200||2||400|
|Commercial Media Publicity and Outreach||400||1||400|
|Item||Cost per Item||Quantity||Total Cost||Funding Source|
|Music Direction||10,000||1||10,000||Friends of Opera Fund and Cisco Matching|
|Stage Direction and Project Management||10,000||1||10,000||Friends of Opera Fund and School of Music Budget|
|Professional Orchestra Player||750||1||750||Friends of Opera Fund|
|Projector Rental||2,000||1||2,000||Friends of Opera Fund|
|Music Rental Fee||650||1||650||Friends of Opera Fund|
|Music Rental Liscencing||400||1||400||Friends of Opera Fund|
|Vocal Score Rental||15||12||180||Friends of Opera Fund|
|Task||Timeframe||Estimated Completion Date|
|Production Meeting #1||1 day||December 10, 2019|
|Production Meeting #2||1 day||January 14, 2019|
|Musical Rehearsal||4 weeks||February 3, 2019|
|Staging and Choreography||11 Weeks||April 19, 2019|
|Orchestral Rehearsals||13 Weeks||April 22, 2019|
|Sound System Confirmation||13 Weeks||April 22, 2019|
|Michrophone Purchase||1 month||March 6, 2019|
|Costume Sizing for Cast||1 day||March 4, 2019|
|Costuming and Props||7 Weeks||April 16, 2019|
|Set Design Confirmation||7 Weeks||April 16, 2019|
|Lighting Design||14 Weeks||April 15, 2019|
|Projector Rental Confirmation||7 Weeks||March 6, 2019|
|Projection Design||15 weeks||April 22, 2019|
|Discussion Panel: membership confirmation||5 weeks||February 25, 2019|
|Discussion Panel: preliminary meeting||1 day||March 14, 2019|
|Promotional Materials: generation||10 weeks||March 18, 2019|
|Promotional Materials: distribution||ongoing||March 18 - April 27, 2019|
|Lighting Meeting||1 day||March 4, 2019|
|Program Materials: compilation||1 day||April 1, 2019|
|Program Printing||1 day||April 22, 2019|
|Frinal Room Run #1||1 day||April 17, 2019|
|Orchestra Sitzprobe||1 day||April 18, 2019|
|Final Room Run #2||1 day||April 19, 2019|
|Projector Delivery and Instalation||1 day||April 20,2019|
|Meany Studio Theater Load-in||1 day||April 22, 2019|
|Piano Tech Rehearsal||1 day||April 22, 2019|
|Production Tech/Lighting||5 days||Aprill 25, 2019|
|Orchestra Dress Rehearsals||2 days||April 25, 2019|
|Performance #1, Discussion Panel||1 day||April 26, 2019|
|Performance #2, Discussion Panel||1 day||April 27, 2019|
|Set Strike||1 day||April 27, 2019|
|Load Out||1 day||April 28, 2019|