Empire of Teeth performance art group is putting a post-modern spin on an offbeat 19th century musical that caused a sensation during the early days of Broadway theater. The Crook: A Revival, written, directed and choreographed by Michael Sakamoto and Rochell Fabb, is scheduled to be performed at 8:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through May 6th, at Track 16 Gallery, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors.
In conjunction with the performances, an installation created by Empire of Teeth members will be on view at Track 16 Gallery during its regular gallery hours, 11 to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission to the gallery installation is free.
The Crook: A Revival is loosely inspired by The Black Crook (1866), considered a prototype Broadway musical. The Black Crook was a combination of a Faustian folk tale and burlesque style song and dance numbers that ran over five hours in total. The play was performed for about 30 years and introduced U.S. audiences to women in “flesh-colored tights,” according to Empire of Teeth.
The original show is said to have set an example that was often used in American blockbuster stage shows and subsequently early Hollywood films.
In the Empire of Teeth production, the group deconstructs scenes and characters from the original show in a contemporary context. In The Crook: A Revival, the mass hysteria of revival preachers and Broadway theater hype collides with “icy dehumanization of postmodern culture,” in which “everyone is a crook,” according to Empire of Teeth.
The adaptation utilizes elements of theater, dance, performance art and “low-tech lighting and sound,” according to Empire of Teeth.
A random oddball cast of characters appears in the production, including mass murdering preacher Jim Jones, a “self-cannibalizing Queen of the Underworld and a “Warholian devil.”
The cast includes Rochelle Fabb, Lauren Mace, Michael Morrissey, Michael Sakamoto and Joe Seely with a live sound score by Bob Bellerue.
Information, (310) 392-9396.