BOX OFFICE 610.644.3500

Bach at Leipzig

"Imagine the Marx Brothers and Tom Stoppard collaborating on a play." -Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

By Itamar Moses

Directed by Pete Pryor

July 9-August 10, 2014

Steinbright Stage

“Imagine the Marx Brothers and Tom Stoppard collaborating on a play.” (Milwaukee Journal Sentinal) In this innovative comedy by playwright and screenwriter Itamar Moses (Outrage, Boardwalk Empire), seven rival musicians resort to a hilarious battle of wit, bribery, and blackmail to win the most sought-after musical post in Europe. Set in 1722 Leipzig, Germany, “Moses uses an obscure historical incident as a jumping-off point for this funny, fiercely intelligent romp.” (Los Angeles Times)

Approximate run time is 2 hours, including one 15-minute intermission. This show is best enjoyed by ages 12 and up.

Scoop on Sunday: History, Context, and Gossip
People’s Light continues its program called Scoop on Sundays: History, Context, and Gossip, a lively discussion before every Sunday 7 pm performance. Resident Dramaturg Gina Pisasale will host an artist from the production and get the inside scoop about such things as the rehearsal and production process, design choices, and the world of the play. The program begins at 5:30 in The Farmhouse Bistro on July 13, July 20, July 27, August 3 and August 10. Cost of $15 includes light fare. Call the Box Office at 610.644.3500.

Dinner & A Show Packages

Enjoy a prix fixe dinner and a show package for $70 (Wed, Thurs, Sat matinee, Sun eve) and $80 (Fri, Sat eve, Sun matinee) at The Farmhouse Bistro prior to the Wed-Sun evening performances. That's a savings of up to 15% off the single ticket price! Click here to view the full menu. Call 610.644.3500 or order online.

Johann Friedrich Fasch: Greg Wood*
Georg Balthasar Schott: Kevin Bergen*
Georg Lenck: Jabari Brisport*
Johann Martin Steindorff: Danny Gardner*
Georg Friedrich Kaufmann: Stephen Novelli*
Johann Christoph Graupner: David Ingram*
The Greatest Organist in Germany: TBA
Director: Pete Pryor
Set Design: Roman Tatarowicz
Costume Designer: Marla Jurglanis
Lighting Designer: Lily Fossner
Production Stage Manager: Kate McSorley Fossner*
Sound Designer: Jorge Cousineau
Dramaturg: Gina Pisasale
Line Producer: Samantha Bellomo


* Member, Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers.


EXPLORE Bach at Leipzig




JUMP TO:
Itamar's historical interest and the fugue
The Musicians
Tour the Thomaskirche



Itamar's historical interest and the fugue

Playwright Itamar Moses took his dramaturgical cues from 2 major sources:

1. Actual historical events of 1722, when there were indeed auditions held to fill the post of Thomaskantor in Leipzig, Germany. Moses encountered this footnote in music history while taking a class during his sophomore year at Yale.

He remembers, “I liked the idea of a[n] organist contest, where one of the guys says, ‘Hello, I’m Bach. Good luck.’”



2. The musical structure of a fugue. A fugue is a musical composition in which a principle theme (or subject) is repeated or imitated and developed in counterpoint (or as a countersubject) by successively entering voices. Oftentimes, varying entries of the subject are separated by episodes, or connecting passages of modified material heard previously.

The fugue became a central form and technique of musical composition and performance during the Baroque era, known for its polyphony full of modulations and dissonances. This was also burgeoning era of theatre. Music merged with innovations in spoken dramas and religious texts, giving birth to opera and the oratorio. Within music itself, scores became dramatic and contained voices, themes, counterpoints, and resolutions.

Moses specifies the use of Bach’s Fugue in A minor in the sound design of the play when his fictional version of Johann Freidrich Fasch describes this form at the top of Act II. Here is a graphic depiction of the fugue, with its voices color coded:

And here is organist John Scott Whiteley playing this Prelude and Fugue on an organ contemporary to Bach’s time:





The Musicians

The general circumstances of Bach at Leipzig are based loosely on actual historical events. The organists vying for the position of Thomaskantor were professional musicians at the time of Bach’s appointment. Here is some historical information about these talented musicians:

More information coming soon.


Tour the Thomaskirche

The play is set in 1722 at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. Here, organists auditioned for the revered title of Thomaskantor after the death of Johann Kuhnau. Take a virtual tour of the Thomaskirche:

Articles

Bach At Leipzig
by Brie Knight, County Lines Magazine


Reviews

Skullduggery in the organ loft

by Jim Rutter, Philadelphia Inquirer

BACH AT LEIPZIG (People’s Light): 60-second review

by Debra Miller, Phindie

People’s Light presents ‘Bach at Leipzig’: Musical mayhem

by Bill Murphy, Broad Street Review

Review: 'Bach at Leipzig,' accompanied by lesser colleagues

by Howard Shapiro, Newsworks

‘Bach at Leipzig:' A rogues gallery of sniping schemers emulating a fugue

by Dante J.J. Bevilacqua, Daily Local News

J.S. Bach’s theatrical job audition very entertaining

by Clark Groome, Chestnut Hill Local

Downwind

by Caryl Huffaker, Southern Chester County Weeklies

People’s Light goes Baroque with farce, ‘Bach At Leipzig’

by Ellen Wilson Dilks, Delco News Network